Posted December 26th, 2012, 12:15 PM
Either line is fine for first timers. Personally, I'd choose Carnival as NCL isn't my cup of tea for many reasons.
She won't necessarily get seasick. I've known people who get very car sick, but felt nothing on a ship. Come prepared with Bonine or have her visit her doctor for other medications, just in case. Best cabins for those who get sea sick are down lower in the middle of the ship. The higher up, or far front or back are the worst for those who don't like the movement.
Balconies are very small and only have chairs. Plus, you could wake up feeling like a pretzel because you'll most likely be covered in sea salt. Not really a good idea to sleep outside.
The things in room refrigerators are insanely expensive.
Internet is expensive and slow--it can take over a minute or two just to download one page. You can count on around $.75 a minute unless you purchase a block of minutes, which lowers the per minute price. If you use the phone in your cabin to call home, the cost varies but it's around $7.50 a minute. Depending on your provider, most calls will run around $2.49 a minute.
A budget is difficult. A lot depends on your spending habits. But if you drink, be it soft drinks, bottled water or alcohol, those things add up. Beer is $4 to $5, cocktails run $6 to $8, wine is $8 and up per glass, martinis usually start at $10. Soft drinks are $1.75 to $2 per can and bottled water is $3.50 and up, plus all beverage purchases have 15% added to the bill. If you want to hit the casino, that's more money you'll need. Then you have tours, anything purchased in the on board shops and any photos that the ship's photographers take of you, which you don't have to purchase. Then you have the daily gratuities. You can pre-pay your gratuities, which will be anywhere from $12 to $15 a day, depending on what cruise line. Oh, and you don't use cash on a cruise ship. You back your on board purchases with a credit card and all your purchases are charged to your account. You can put cash down for your account, and most cruise lines will ask for $300 per person at the time you check in. But it's really just easier to use a credit card.