Posted March 31st, 2005, 01:59 PM
Last edited by kwokpot; March 31st, 2005 at 02:04 PM
Kwokpot, thanks for the sound advice. Which line do you normally use??? A friend has recommened Princess.
Dan and Miguel
As a person who is interested in travel planning, and with a professional background in both Sales & Project Mgt., I always approach travel recommendations with a 'Fair & Balanced' ( NOT the Fox interpretation of this phrase) approach.
Finding a cruise that is 'just right' sometimes maybe an elusive thing, since some requests are generally mutually exclusive when it comes to cruising.
Take, for instance, the desire for A) A Classy, sophisticated experience with B) A youthful (In AGE as well as spirit) and energetic crowd with lots of fun, late-nite partying.
I'm not sure you will find a non-chartered cruise that can fulfill that those requirements.
(Anyone can jump in and provide examples to the contrary)
Our most classy cruise was on the Celebrity Millennium. The ship is elegantly designed, with a modern, upscale atmosphere, not unlike a designer boutique or hotel in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, or Chicago.
The more formal dress code for dinnertimes added to that feel. We sat at a table for 8, and my partner & I, 40 at the time, were the youngest at the table, with the 3 other couples all our parents age. NEVERTHELESS, each night we had WONDERFUL, ENJOYABLE conversations, and were treated by our tablemates with the same respect as accorded to all. It was a comfortable enough atmosphere where someone asked how we had met, and we proceeded to tell the story. The ship's pacing of the meal (Always 2 hrs long, sometines 2 1/4 hrs long) lent itself to meaningful discussions.
On the otherhand, on this 7 night Winter Southern Carribbean cruise, the Millie's beautiful and very large disco was empty every single night, with no more than 10-15 people TOTAL ever there. The other lounges that featured live band music EARLIER in the evening was PACKED, with couples dancing traditional standards. The other lounges that featured piano playing and traditional string quartets were popular also. Sadly, by midnight, the ship was quiet as a mouse, and the ship's public spaces were absent of people except for the few in the disco.
I think out favorite cruise to date was our 12 nt Vancouver to Hawaii on the Carnival Spirit. The ship is GREAT ship, beautiful but definately NOT classy or sophisticated. Think Ceasars Palace Casinos, Gotti Mafia, THE Donald......
But the 5 days at sea were a great way to relax. Contrary to what many people say, we DO spend time in our cabin. We ordered room service breakfast every morning, and generally didn't leave our cabin until 10. We had a great cabin with French Doors(obstructed view category) but no balcony; that still allowed us to open the doors for fresh air and views, since the cabin was between lifeboats. As an aside, Carnival's regular staterooms on all their ships are the largest among all the mass market lines.
We enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere at dinnertimes, having to wear a tie only on formal evenings. Our biggest surprise was the ship's buffet; of the 8 cruises I have taken, the Carnival Spirit had the best and freshest food!
In fact, the buffet food, at times, was better than some of the entrees at the dining room, where food quality varied greatly, from mediocre to very good.
But definately the highlight of the cruise was the 7 days we spend in the Hawaiian islands. This was our 3rd time to Hi., but our 1st cruise of the islands.
In summary, the point I was trying to make was that we enjoy different cruiselines for different reasons. Sometimes I want a vacation where I want the experience of wearing a suit & tie to dinner every night, other times that would be the last thing on earth I would want to do. (In fact on one of our NCL cruises, we didn't even pack any suits or ties; instead we took dress shirts and slacks only.)
With regard to Princess, we will be taking our 2nd Princess cruise in May (14nt transatlantic); unfortunately, I can't tell you much about our 1st Princess Cruise (Sun Princess) because I REALLY don't remember much about the ship - since it was an Alaska Cruise, it was the scenery and the itinery, NOT the ship, that made that trip a memorable one. That also leads to another point that some cruise vacations are more about the itineries and stops (Alaska, Europe, Hawaii) rather than the ship itself, with the ship really being thought more as a floating hotel than a destination unto itself.
Again, as I have said, these are all things one must think about when planning a cruise vacation. But for a 1st timer, my recommendation would be a trip no longer than 7 nts.