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  #41  
Old February 6th, 2013, 01:48 PM
johneeo johneeo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srlafleur View Post
My intent wasn't to offend. Pardon me, please. I, myself, personally, would be more inclined to go to go to Florida or another beach destination, or to an all-inclusive if going to the beaches were my only intent, being personally more interested in the destinations than the ships. That's all I meant to say. YMMV
This goes to you and everyone else on CC.

There is nothing that anyone could post to me on CC that would offend me. I might respond, but, really, no offense taken.

And as noted, I love the ships, the ports are relatively meaningless to me.

A lot of folks really need to lighten up a bit.
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  #42  
Old February 6th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Talking Here's an idea!!!

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Originally Posted by shibes372 View Post
Hi there! I'm a first-time cruiser, trying to schedule our December 2013 honeymoon adventure. We've settled on Norwegian as having the most offerings in the style and price range we'd prefer. We're childless 31-year-olds who want some romance, adventure, fun, and good food on our own time table.

The problem is, I'm totally stuck on three different cruises. The first is on NCLs newest ship, the Epic. We're inclined towards that one b/c of the myriad options for food and entertainment. However, I'm not that thrilled with the itinerary (St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Nassau). There are two other trips (New Orleans to Montego Bay, George Town, Cozumel on the Jewel and Tampa to Mahogany Bay, Belize City, Costa Maya on the Dawn) that sound so much more interesting to me, but the ships are older and less grandiose.

So my question is: What's more important about the cruise? The ship b/c that's where you'll spend the most time, or the islands b/c that's where you get to adventure?

Okay, so you like the idea of being on a new ship cuz of the entertainment but are not thrilled with the itinerary. Well, go for the itinerary that you DO like. I bet it might be cheaper for you to go on an older ship anyway. If so, book a nicer room on the ship of the itineray that you DO like!!! That will make you feel better. Yes, you can always say, "oh im going on the biggest cruiseship by NCL" (which by then the Breakaway will be around so it won't be) but isn't more fun to say "I'm going on a cruise to (insert exotic ports here) for my honeymoon and I have a penthouse suite (or whatever nice room you book)!!"????

Some people say you won't spend much time in your room but if you think about this, you just might spend more time if you had a nicer room. Being that this is your honeymoon, I'm guessing you will be spending more time in your room LOL so book the itinerary that you like and a much nicer room and forget the ship. Besides, there will be many more cruises you guys will take. Trust me, our honeymoon was a cruise and we have been addicted since!!!
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Last edited by cruzn4abruzn; February 6th, 2013 at 02:06 PM.
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  #43  
Old February 6th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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Not sure why it's not showing in my "signature" but this is what we chose to do for our NCL Pearl cruise in 2014. We opted for this older ship but got ourselves a nicer room.
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  #44  
Old February 6th, 2013, 03:16 PM
blonde1981 blonde1981 is offline
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With all of my cruises I aim to go to ports I haven't visited before. I don't worry about the ship all that much because the things I enjoy on the ship - main dining room, adult pool area, gym, etc are things that are on most of the ships. Some are just newer or bigger than the others. The extras like the ice rinks, sports courts are nice but I don't miss them on the smaller ships when I sail on them.

So for me ports first, ship second.

Don't forget there are ships & lines in Galveston, TX as well and some have an itinerary that goes to Roatan, Belize City, and Cosumel which might sound more appealing (NCL won't start till 2014 though).
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Last edited by blonde1981; February 6th, 2013 at 03:16 PM.
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  #45  
Old February 6th, 2013, 05:47 PM
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Definitely ship!!! If I am interested in a particular destination, I go on a land vacation.
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  #46  
Old February 6th, 2013, 07:05 PM
zoncom zoncom is offline
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Default Best combo

Used to cruise NCL often, am Platinum. Dawn is getting old,tired. No Dawn. I much prefer Eastern Caribbean over W. Caribbean . Nassau OK. To me, both the best ship and itin are found on Epic.Order of importance to me; 1) ship.especially its food. 2) itin. 3) cabin. PS. ON NCL, be prepared to spend extra for dinners at speciality restaurants.

Last edited by zoncom; February 6th, 2013 at 07:10 PM.
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  #47  
Old February 6th, 2013, 08:20 PM
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Listen to some of the old time cruisers here. It will cost you extra to have good food on NCL. Probably equal to going on one of the newer Celebrity ships out of Miami. Look up the Tuesday sales of Celebrity. Xciting Deals.com( or something close). Todays listings show the Silhoutte 7N $579. 2 months out. First 10 days or so Dec. are Historically the slowest cruise time of years and priced accordingly! Something to consider.
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  #48  
Old February 7th, 2013, 01:27 AM
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Congratulations on getting married! Like everyone has said it really is a personal choice. My husband and I are also in our early 30's. We like a mix of both however I think we now lean more towards the ship than the ports. We have only cruised on Princess and while the ships are lovely and the ports were wonderful we were bored on sea days since the activities were geared for a much older crowd.
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  #49  
Old February 7th, 2013, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kitty9 View Post
For those who've not cruised much at all, itinerary is probably the most important. For those of us who've been on a lot of cruises, the ship is usually the destination and the ports are secondary.

Is there any reason why you seem tied to NCL? There are a lot of other lines out there that might be more conducive to your needs. NCL is an OK line, but you'll find lots of kids on board, like you would on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Have you looked at Princess or Celebrity? They are a bit more upscale and are known for a more refined cruise experience with what many feel is better food and service.

If you take the time to read a lot of threads, you'll see one of the least popular ports is Jamaica. Most consider it a dangerous place for many reasons and a lot of people tend to stay on the ship if it's part of an itinerary.

Can you manage a cruise longer than 7 days? The reason I ask is, we just returned from an 11 day cruise on Celebrity Equinox that might be of interest to you. On that itinerary they had things like cave tubing, arial trams through the rainforest, a trip through the Panama Canal, ziplining, kayaking and a lot of other active tours.

I would suggest finding a good local travel agent and just talking to them about what you need/want from a cruise. Pick up some brochures----it doesn't cost a thing and a good TA might provide some perks for your cruise like on board credit or wine or whatever.
Although I agree with most of what has been suggested so far, this post is the one I agree with most. We have sailed, Princess, NCL, RCCL and Celebrity. If it is your honeymoon and your first cruise, PLEASE look at Celebrity Solstice Class Ships...Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse, Silhouette all sailing from Ft. L or Reflection out of Miami. As someone mentioned Ft. L is our favorite to sail from and if you are flying from PGH the flights on SOUTHWEST are probably your best deal.

We will be on Celebrity Silhouette for 2 weeks March 31 to April 14 and we are booked in AQUA class. It is absolutely the greatest. Please check it out. We prefer the ship and what it has to offer over the ports it visits.

No matter what, enjoy your time at sea.

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  #50  
Old February 7th, 2013, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srlafleur View Post
If the only thing you are interested in on the islands are the beaches, then, yes, the islands are all the same, pretty much.
For those who only care about the beaches I agree one island is the same as the others. I know the beaches can be different, I grew up in Va Beach and it's an ugly beach, rough sand, and very ugly grey/green/brown water and from the ages of 5 to 19 I probably went to the beach maybe 15 times and usually because other people visiting wanted to go. My experiences with Southern Florida beaches and Caribbean beaches is that they are pretty much the same. I'm not a beach person so Florida, Grand Turk, HMC...etc are pretty much the same, only HMC has less to do and therefor boring in my opinion and all have too many people for me to find them relaxing. Besides, if I wanted to see a beach there are plenty much closer to me (though admittedly much uglier), I want to see and experience the things not around me.

Though we all have different ideas of what is interesting about the destination I think we can all agree that we like the journey. When we do arrive at the destination we can all be grateful that I (and other non-beach avoid the baking sun if possible people like me) am not taking up someones space at the beach and they aren't in my way while I'm trying to explore what I think are the more interesting parts of the islands.
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  #51  
Old February 7th, 2013, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by prophet0621 View Post
For those who only care about the beaches I agree one island is the same as the others. I know the beaches can be different, I grew up in Va Beach and it's an ugly beach, rough sand, and very ugly grey/green/brown water and from the ages of 5 to 19 I probably went to the beach maybe 15 times and usually because other people visiting wanted to go. My experiences with Southern Florida beaches and Caribbean beaches is that they are pretty much the same. I'm not a beach person so Florida, Grand Turk, HMC...etc are pretty much the same, only HMC has less to do and therefor boring in my opinion and all have too many people for me to find them relaxing. Besides, if I wanted to see a beach there are plenty much closer to me (though admittedly much uglier), I want to see and experience the things not around me.

Though we all have different ideas of what is interesting about the destination I think we can all agree that we like the journey. When we do arrive at the destination we can all be grateful that I (and other non-beach avoid the baking sun if possible people like me) am not taking up someones space at the beach and they aren't in my way while I'm trying to explore what I think are the more interesting parts of the islands.
I also avoid the sun. Having a clinical backgroud including many physicians in the family including derm and plastic sugery, i am well aware of the dangers of the sun. We sit under an umbrella, use Spf 75 and up. We love watching the water and going in the calm (mostly) caribbean sea.
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  #52  
Old February 8th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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DH and I cruise for the ship first, and the island second.

Neither of us are much interested in going to the beach. As we usually start our cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, (and fly in the day before) we visit the beach and have our barefoot walk in the sand. As we only cruise RCL, and if we visit one of their islands, we happily enjoy the island; a walking tour of the island, a lounger under the trees, a walk in the sand, a cooling off in the ocean, and the BBQ lunch offered. We head back to the ship shortly after lunch. That is enough beach time to last us until our next cruise.

We are not into spending much time shopping, but do enjoy walking through the stone streets and alley ways, and checking out the old warehouses turned into shops in St. Thomas.

We find that most of the stores/shops are the same on all of the islands. Very little difference. And, well, a beach is a beach - sand, sun water.

We may check out some local history/culture - but that is limited to what is close by. Depending on the island, we may or may not eat lunch in port. Frequently, we are back on the ship in time for lunch. We really prefer to spend the time on the ship, watching the ocean, and just relaxing.
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  #53  
Old February 8th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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Congratulations on your big day! Hope this will be the first of many Cruises that the two of you will enjoy together. Personally, I have always been an itinerary person. Mostly to minimize the time at sea and maximize the number of islands I visit. My favorite would be to sail out of San Juan and visit 6 islands on a 7-day cruise. But, if you are visiting three islands on either of the itinerary you are considering, then I would take the Epic. I was on the Epic this past December. It was one of the best of my 23 cruises. This ship is amazing. The entertainment is phenominal. St Thomas and St Martin are two of the best ports to visit in the Caribbean with plenty to do for all interests. I plan to do this same trip again this December. That having been said, I have never had a bad cruise, so you can't go wrong whatever you decide. So, stop sweating this decision and have a wonderful honeymoon!!!!!
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  #54  
Old February 8th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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Default Choose the Itinerary

When it comes down to it, your interested in the Port of Calls being offered. Why would you settle for a newer vessel and be disappointed and your expectations not met. It's not about the ship for you, it's the itinerary

With the savings of choosing an older ship, you may be able to use the savings to upgrade your accommodations on board which will also enhance your experiences for your celebration!
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  #55  
Old February 8th, 2013, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by poppadevan View Post
Congratulations on your big day! Hope this will be the first of many Cruises that the two of you will enjoy together. Personally, I have always been an itinerary person. Mostly to minimize the time at sea and maximize the number of islands I visit. My favorite would be to sail out of San Juan and visit 6 islands on a 7-day cruise. But, if you are visiting three islands on either of the itinerary you are considering, then I would take the Epic. I was on the Epic this past December. It was one of the best of my 23 cruises. This ship is amazing. The entertainment is phenominal. St Thomas and St Martin are two of the best ports to visit in the Caribbean with plenty to do for all interests. I plan to do this same trip again this December. That having been said, I have never had a bad cruise, so you can't go wrong whatever you decide. So, stop sweating this decision and have a wonderful honeymoon!!!!!
While I truly love the Celebrity Solstice Class Ships, to have everything you could imagine- especially for a young couple, the Oasis Class RC ships would knock your socks off! The many entertainment and dining venues alone are worth the trip! The ship is so fabulous that a Central Park View Cabin on the 9th deck is a great bargain as well as a good sized cabin.

However it is what each person enjoys and we all seem to have varied opinions- That is why all of the cruise lines do so well!
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Last edited by Cruise a holic; February 8th, 2013 at 02:05 PM.
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  #56  
Old February 8th, 2013, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Cruise a holic View Post
While I truly love the Celebrity Solstice Class Ships, to have everything you could imagine- especially for a young couple, the Oasis Class RC ships would knock your socks off! The many entertainment and dining venues alone are worth the trip! The ship is so fabulous that a Central Park View Cabin on the 9th deck is a great bargain as well as a good sized cabin.

However it is what each person enjoys and we all seem to have varied opinions- That is why all of the cruise lines do so well!
The Oasis and Allure are on my Bucket List for the future. My last Cruise on the Epic was my first Solo one and their Studio Cabins with the Studio Lounge was wonderful. I am sure that the RC ships have many, many unique venues that I will enjoy but I am not sure about Solo availability.
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  #57  
Old February 8th, 2013, 03:50 PM
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The Oasis and Allure are on my Bucket List for the future. My last Cruise on the Epic was my first Solo one and their Studio Cabins with the Studio Lounge was wonderful. I am sure that the RC ships have many, many unique venues that I will enjoy but I am not sure about Solo availability.
I do not believe they have solo cabins. However, if you don't mind a promenade cabin- which isn't outside, but facing the promenade, so you get light and an interesting view the price is reasonable even if you pay for a double. I have heard the Epic studio rooms are very small. If you don't mind the size good for a solo.
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  #58  
Old February 8th, 2013, 07:08 PM
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For me, itinerary. For my DW, the ship.

We always try to find the right balance between these 2, sometimes with some compromise ... but it has to be at the right price.
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  #59  
Old February 8th, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by shibes372 View Post
Wow! How great to come here and get all of this awesome feedback! Thanks guys!

Ok, so maybe all of you experienced cruisers can tell me if you think any of these itineraries are really more exotic/exciting than the others? I like the idea of sailing out of New Orleans, b/c we just love New Orleans. And Jamaica sounds like fun (although I'm torn about some human rights issues there, but anyway). The Western Caribbean trip on the Dawn is the one that sounds the most exotic to me - Central America with monkeys and rain forests ... or am I terribly wrong? Are these places all virtually the same with minor differences in cultures? I swear I'm making this into the biggest decision of my life.
Each port is different, yet the same in ways. The shops are pretty much the same everywhere, unless you get away from the cruise ship terminal. Culture is different in each port, but I wouldn't say drastically so. The geography of the ports is different too. Some areas are relatively flat, others very rugged and mountainous.

We prefer the Western Caribbean, and have done that itinerary 3 times, mainly because we love to snorkel, and Belize and Roatan have some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean! Cozumel, it was cool to see the Mayan ruins (very hot, though!), if you go to Tulum, there is a nice beach to cool off in!

We've been to Jamaica once, and are getting ready to go again in April. I highly recommend Dunn's River Falls there, and you can often combine that excursion with something else (at least, Carnival does).
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  #60  
Old February 9th, 2013, 02:10 PM
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We're the same age as you guys, also with no kids. We took our first cruise with NCL and loved it. That said, we purposely chose dates when school is in session, so that there would be fewer kids on board - in fact, there were very few kids on our Oct cruise. We're planning another cruise now and picked our date range based on the same thing. I don't mind kids, but a ship packed with them is not what we're looking for in a vacation at this stage of life! In any case, we thought NCL was a great fit for us and I'd definitely recommend it to others in our age range. That said, we will try other cruise lines as well - but price is a factor and we felt that NCL was a good value for our money.

On the original question, we chose our first cruise based on date, departure port, cruise line and itinerary. We liked the idea of freestyle, so we figured we'd start with NCL. As I mentioned, we chose to travel at a time when school is in session. We had never been to Bermuda and wanted to go, and it was an extra bonus that we did not need to fly to the departure port. I don't think we looked at the ship at all until after we booked it.

For our next cruise, we're traveling with friends - two other couples. Again, we chose our travel dates based on school schedules, to try to avoid large crowds of kids. We decided it would be easiest to cruise out of Baltimore (very close for us!) and looked at what cruises sailed out of Baltimore at the time we wanted to go. We have four options, so now we're debating on which one we like best. For most of us, the itinerary is a bigger factor than the ship, but since the available itineraries are all similar, the ship may be the deciding factor. Like I said, we're debating it at present.

Next cruise after this one, we want to sail on the NCL Epic or Breakaway - so that decision will be more about the ship. If they are sailing itineraries that we don't like at the time we want to go, however, we may change our mind and book something else.

What do you think you'll want to do on the ship during a sea day? If you just want to relax and read or sunbathe, you can do that on any ship. For us, sea days were spent sleeping late, a trip to the gym, eating, having some drinks, relaxing on deck or balcony with a book, maybe a nap, and more relaxing on deck. We like to be outside - either in the sun or the shade. If the weather is great, we're happy as clams. If the weather was bad (which it was about half the time on sea days during our last cruise), we were bored out of our minds on the ship during the day. Literally NONE of the planned activities appealed to us, and we were on an older ship that didn't have a lot of bells and whistles. On a day like that, a game of bowling or something would have been nice - but if we had a cruise with only nice weather during sea days, we'd probably never use those features. Evening was different - we always enjoyed our evenings on the ship. Live music and good drinks almost everywhere - what's not to love? I'll say that the shows generally didn't interest us enough to specifically plan around them - and if we didn't specifically plan on attending it, we usually ended up doing something else and missing it.
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