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  #1  
Old November 19th, 2013, 05:50 AM
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zodiac6573 zodiac6573 is offline
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Default Which cruise line is best for the Caribbean?

Hi everyone,

I have never been on a cruise before but my partner and I have now decided to do one in the Caribbean. This will really be a new experience for us. I am just confused as to which cruise line to choose.

We are looking for a 14 day itinerary which are offered by Holland America, Princess and Celebrity. To give an idea of ourselves, we are a couple in our 40's with no kids.

We would love to do shore excursions mostly. We aren't huge party animals but we also love socialising and meeting other people. Most likely we are hoping to get a balcony room for our first cruise.

The itineraries are similar but to give an idea:

Princess: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; Princess Cays, Bahamas; St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands

Celebrity: Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Maarten

Holland America: Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Key West, FL

Any advice given would be appreciated! Thank you
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  #2  
Old November 19th, 2013, 05:58 AM
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dorisis dorisis is online now
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Welcome to Cruise Critic. You have chosen 3 of my favorite lines.You can't go wrong with any of them. Holland American has the smaller ships and Celebrity and Princess are larger with more activities. When it comes to excursions, we prefer to arrange privately instead of using those offered by the ship. After you choose your cruise sign up on the rollcall for that ship and you will find others who can help with activities.
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  #3  
Old November 19th, 2013, 06:00 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is online now
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I think all three are great options. I would add that the specific ships should be considered.

Let me recommend that you go to the member review section of cruise critic and read the reviews.

You will never get consensus on all the reviews but I would go with the 80/20 rule.

In other words if 80% of the people rate something favorably or even unfavorably I would accept that as fact until you experience it yourself.

Personally, I like the first two itineraries the most.

Keith
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  #4  
Old November 19th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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Welcome to Cruise Critic Zodiac6573. Flip a coin, these are all great lines. We have yet to sail with Princess but, are very eager to.

We love Holland America Line their newer ships, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam are elegant with excellent service and delicious food.

You can't go wrong with Celebrity either and their modern ships. You will be undoubtedly be hooked on cruising from the moment you stroll up the gangway so perhaps you'll cruise with all three sooner or later.

Jonathan
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  #5  
Old November 19th, 2013, 08:24 AM
cb at sea cb at sea is offline
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What do you know about your potential ports? Get a guidebook, and see which itineraries appeal to you the most....base your choice on that, since you stated that the main reason for cruising would be excursions!

The cruises themselves will be more similar than different. There will be friendly people on each cruiseline!
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  #6  
Old November 19th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb at sea View Post
What do you know about your potential ports? Get a guidebook, and see which itineraries appeal to you the most....base your choice on that, since you stated that the main reason for cruising would be excursions!

The cruises themselves will be more similar than different. There will be friendly people on each cruiseline!
Cb at Sea makes an excellent point. Personally, the voyage with the most appealing islands is the Celebrity cruise. I think the Southern Caribbean is the prettiest and Saint Maarten, Curacao, St. Lucia are among our favorite ports.

But, if you pick up a good guide book Fodor's or Frommer's, see which islands you find the most interesting. I have never been much of a fan of the Western Caribbean. You can also read the Caribbean forum on Cruise Critic and glean information from people who have cruised those regions.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=587

Jonathan
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HAL Noordam - 4/5/08, 2007 - QM2 - 2009, 2006 x2, 2005, 2004 -
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  #7  
Old November 19th, 2013, 09:17 AM
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Gunner22aa Gunner22aa is offline
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I don't think you can go wrong with any of the cruise lines that you are looking at. If it were me it would boil down to the itinery that interests you the most. While the wife and I are pretty much Princess fans I would cruise on either of the other two lines if they had the places we wanted to visit and Princess didn't. Welcome to the world of cruising and the countless options available to you to see the world. Pick one and enjoy!
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  #8  
Old November 19th, 2013, 09:53 AM
Hlitner Hlitner is offline
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We are going to strongly recommend the Celebrity Cruise (in this particular case) and here is why! The Celebrity itinerary (we assume you are looking at the Eclispse) is a true 14 day Caribbean cruise that gets you to some of the Southern Caribbean ports (i.e. Aruba, Curacao). The other two cruises are simply back-to-back 7 day Caribbean cruises where you will have to return to your original Florida port and go through the usual Customs and Border Patrol hassles which involve getting off the ship, clearing immigration, and after a wait you would eventually be allowed to reboard.

In addition, there is a totally different atmosphere on true 14 day (and longer) cruises then back to back 7 day cruises. In fact, on that back to back you are going to have 2 Welcome Aboard Shows (many cruisers think these first night shows are a waste) and 2 farewell shows. You might find that many (if not all) of the dining room menus are repeated, shows might be repeated, etc. You are also going to have many passengers getting off after 7 days and a new crop boarding. The true 14 day cruise gives you a better chance of making new friends...and having more time to enjoy their company.

Hank
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  #9  
Old November 19th, 2013, 10:35 AM
Karysa Karysa is online now
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Which if any of these lines have a Caribbean band that plays poolside? That would narrow down the choices for me at least.
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  #10  
Old November 19th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Hi- All three look quite good with the Celebrity itinerary being the one we would choose.

In our experience, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao have some very good excursions, as does Barbados (so much to do there.)

Of course, the private islands are pretty much beach days, however we did enjoy an Eco Lagoon tour on Half Moon Cay. Grand Turk is a good beach day, but we found the town interesting- if a bit run down- sort of like the old Caribbean.

Would highly recommend organized tours in St. Lucia, Antigua,
St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. The last time we were in St. Thomas it was quite crowded, so we were glad to have a tour booked away from town.

Also, went to Orient Beach in St. Maarten which was also crowded-so decided when we go back, we will do a tour to Marigot on the French side.

The individual port forums will give you lots of info.
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  #11  
Old November 19th, 2013, 07:13 PM
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zodiac6573 zodiac6573 is offline
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Talking Thank you!

Thank you everyone for some amazing replies. Based on the feedback you've provided, I think we will choose the Celebrity Eclipse. Even though it is just over 12 months away, I am really looking forward to it.

We are also going to use the Forums you suggested to see which destinations are the best for the different activities. Most of the destinations seem to offer some sort of snorkeling package, but I'm curious to see which ones are the better ones for snorkeling, and leave the other destinations for sightseeing instead.
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  #12  
Old November 19th, 2013, 09:33 PM
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I too favour the Celebrity, but I am biased having only sailed Celebrity.
We are doing a 14 night on March 22 2014 with almost the same itinerary and really looking forward to it.
Eventhough your cruise isnt until 2015 check out the Roll Calls for the 3 Cruises you have selected they can sometimes give you a clue to the átmosphere' of that particular cruise. Once you have decided which cruise you s
are taking do join in with the Roll Call even if you just post to introduce yourself; you will have a more involved feeling for your upcoming cruise. Also, if you do choose Celebrity sign up for the Connections party - it will introduce you to the people you have been reading about on the Roll Call.
Cheers, h.
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Celebrity Eclipse 14 night Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise 22 March 2014. Oh what a perfect cruise, I'm glad I spent it with you.( pics)
_Celebrity Equinox 10 night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise 22 February 2013. A great break from the wet west coast blues.
Celebrity Infinity 16 night Panama Canal 25 April 2012. A great "Connections" group made it an even greater cruise.
Celebrity Mercury 14 night Western Caribbean 20 Dec 2010. A great way to spend Christmas, bring in the New Year and make new friends.
Celebrity Solstice 10 day mediterranean 28 sept 2009 (first cruise). D'oh Mark says it should be 11 nights. It was a great first cruise anyway you write it.
to be
Celebrity Century 14 night Singapore to Dubai 22 March - 5 April 2015. A new adventure waiting in the wings.
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  #13  
Old November 20th, 2013, 02:07 AM
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Lerin Lerin is offline
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You will be happy with any of those.
All things being equal, I'd pick Celebrity simply because it doesn't go to Caymans or Cozumel. If I wanted to go to those ports then I'd pick Princess.
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  #14  
Old November 20th, 2013, 05:22 PM
Karysa Karysa is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karysa View Post
Which if any of these lines have a Caribbean band that plays poolside? That would narrow down the choices for me at least.
I still would like to know the answer to this question. Anyone?
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  #15  
Old November 20th, 2013, 06:34 PM
zoncom zoncom is offline
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Default Hiltners right

Very good point, no use spending many days at sea going back and forth. Also, you are way too young for HAL.Average age way up in 70s.I too dislike Western Caribbean. Getting too crime ridden.Celebrity Eclipse has best food and ports.
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  #16  
Old November 20th, 2013, 07:40 PM
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middlehaitch middlehaitch is offline
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hmmm, Celebrity has played Caribbean music poolside, on occasion, but I wouldn't guarantee it.
Although I agree it would be nice, it really isn't something to base your cruise on. I always think the MDR menu should have dishes that reflect your location, they don't, but it doesn't ruin my cruise- it would just enhance it if they did.
Cheers, h.
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Celebrity Eclipse 14 night Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise 22 March 2014. Oh what a perfect cruise, I'm glad I spent it with you.( pics)
_Celebrity Equinox 10 night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise 22 February 2013. A great break from the wet west coast blues.
Celebrity Infinity 16 night Panama Canal 25 April 2012. A great "Connections" group made it an even greater cruise.
Celebrity Mercury 14 night Western Caribbean 20 Dec 2010. A great way to spend Christmas, bring in the New Year and make new friends.
Celebrity Solstice 10 day mediterranean 28 sept 2009 (first cruise). D'oh Mark says it should be 11 nights. It was a great first cruise anyway you write it.
to be
Celebrity Century 14 night Singapore to Dubai 22 March - 5 April 2015. A new adventure waiting in the wings.
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