Best Cruise Line for special Ocassion

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Kernersville,North Carolina
752 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
My partner and I wil celebrate 20 yrs together this Fall. I have been thinking of treating him to a special vacation on a cruise. Just regular guys here. Enjoy eating out, drinks. good conversation, meeting new people, not party animals, I am a nurse and he is a chemist, both professionals. Just enjoy life. We act the same no matter the circumstances. Anyone suggest a cruise line to look at?? We have never been on a cruise before.

Dan and Miguel
San Francisco, CA
633 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Hi, Dan and Miguel - What a great way to celebrate! Congratulations on 20 years!

From your description of yourselves, it sounds as if you'd be happier on a "mainstream" line and less so on an "upscale" line. You may want to look at NCL or Princess, both of which have a variety of dining options so you don't need to eat with strangers if you don't want to, and don't need to dress up for dinners. Other mainstream lines are Royal Caribbean or Carnival. Regardless of the cruise line you should probably stick to their newer ships, which have the largest variety of options for dining, as well as for entertainment. You may want to browse the boards for any cruise line you're interested in to get a sense of each line's personality. Some are more gay friendly than others.

As you decide, keep in mind some basics of cruising: there are more kids onboard during school holidays; the longer the cruise the older the average age; the more expensive the cruise the older the average age (within reason); the more "fun" the destination the more "party-hearty" the fellow cruisers (on any cruise line the Caribbean has more heavy drinkers than the same line in Alaska or the Baltics); the newer and larger the ship the more options there will be for dining and entertainment and the greater variety of affordable cabins there will be.
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Legend OTS, Western Med 5/2000; Galaxy, Alaska 8/2000; Sun Princess, Pacific Coastal 5/2001; Millenium, Eastern Caribbean 11/2001; Infinity, Alaska 7/2002; Norwegian Star, Hawaii 1/2003; Coral Princess, Pacific Coastal 5/2003; Mercury, Mexican Riviera 10/2003; Dawn Princess, Pacific Coastal 5/2004; Zuiderdam, Western Caribbean 6/2004; Constellation, Canada/New England 10/2004; Infinity, Pacific Coastal 8/2005; Millenium, Transatlantic 11/2005; Diamond Princess, Pacific Coastal 5/2006; Infinity, Pacific Coastal 6/2006; Jewel OTS, Baltic/Russia 8/2006; Constellation, Transatlantic 4/2007; NCLA Pride of Hawaii repo HON - LAX 2/2008; Celebrity Reflection, Transatlantic 4/2013; Monarch OTS, Bahamas 10/2013; and upcoming: Grand Princess, Pacific Coastal 9/2015
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,334 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
For a special occasion like this...the Paul Guaguin of Radisson Cruise line...a 7 day cruise in Tahiti........fabulous views, food and service. Crew is very gay friendly....according to one of the MaitreD, half the crew is gay. I had a superb week, met other gay couples on board as well as straight couples celebrating anniversaries and or weddings.........the South Pacific is very very romantic........and Radisson is tops. Me , I sail on Radisson in December out of Ft Lauderdale on their Voyager....cant wait.
San Francisco, CA USA
1,492 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Try Oceania Cruise Line. We took our first cruise on their ship ,Insignia, and loved the entire experience. Resort casual is the rule every day which I like. Food and service was top of the line. We booked another cruise on one of their other ships.
998 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
As you can see, the recommendations you are getting are all over the place, not just in term of destination, but more importantly, PRICE. You have people here recommending $3,000/pp cruises, which is alot of money by any measure.

You need to 1st establish HOW MUCH you plan to spend on your cruise; this should include the cruise itself, air travel, and other expenses such as sightseeing.

Then you need to figure out WHERE you want to go.

Then you need to figure out approximately When you want to go.

Then you can figure out which cruiseline you should consider.

I'm not poo-pooing luxury cruises; but if someone has in mind a budget of $1,000/pp for the cruise portion, recommending a $2,500 doesn't help much, regardless of how nice the ship or desination is. that also doesn't mean that a $800 cruise can't be a wonderful vacation.
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,334 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
The points made about price are very good ones. I responded based on the idea that the cruise in planning was a very special one and perhaps the price limit might be pushed because it was special......
Why Radisson?
well it is pricey unless you get a 2 for one deal that they advertise on their web site.
I choose Radisson for the following reasons:
1. As a single the surcharge is not always 5o%, but much less
2.Cabins are like suites are other if you compare cabin size to other ships the cost is not that much different. Especially if you like a tub and balcony. On the Mariner and Voyager, all cabins have verandas.
3. Single seating for dinner.
4. No surcharge for specialty restaurants. (savings of $25 per person over other ships)
5.Tips included (savings of approx $100 per person )
6. 2 bottles of alcohol in your cabin (your choice) (savings depends on your consumption...(but at least a $50 savings could be realized)
7. Wine included in dinner. If you do not drink wine, then cocktails are included. (savings of $30 per night or $180 per week if you like wine during dinner).
8. Soft charge (savings could be as much as $100+ per week) .
9. Bottle charge savings could be as much as $50 per week).
10. Champagne in the cabin upon boarding.
11. Pool side meals...steak sandwiched, ribs, fish in addition to hot dogs and hamburgers. Lido has full course meals...and the steamed shrimp are always available.
12. No crowds, no hunting for a deck chair
13. Few families with children.
14. Small things like cloth napkins by the pool. drinks in glassware, not plastic
15. very gay friendly crew.....fellow passengers seem to be very accepting.
16. Always a class act with whatever they do......the crew does not seem to know the word no. Special requests seem to be fulfilled if at all possible.

The ships are not party boats, so if a real party atmosphere is important..then a bigger ship is probably a better choice. I personally like the attention to detail, the lack of crowds and feeling like my hard earned vacation is being spent of something special, where my surroundings are a class act even if I am not. I remember on the Alaska cruise we were moving up the inside was snowing gently, we were all wrapped up in our coats. The stewards came out with big blue woolen blankets for us..then brought out hot wine, hot coco with whipped cream and then cheese danish and freshly made donuts. Something like this you would never find on a mass market ship with 2000 plus passengers.
To some this would not be important..but for special occasions, like the Alaska cruise was for me (my birthday) , I was willing to pay the extra dollars. I did compare a Celebrity ship dollar for was more expensive than radisson when they charged the single surcharge of 200%, then included all the things that were not provided by, wine, soda, water etc.
So this is why I like the line...and will continue to sail them.
998 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Originally posted by nckvilledudes
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.
Kernersville,North Carolina
752 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Capt. Tom, looked at the Radisson web site cople of weeks ago. Ordered some info, already arrived. Very speedy delivery. Impressed by the 2 for 1 deals. Your description of the line was great. Their cabins seem to be larger than most lines and well apointed. Did you meet may other gay couple on the line??? The Radisson is an option for a special cruise. Like you when on vacation, I want to feel like it was deserved and special. How did you first chose Raddison??? What is your second choice in cruise lines???

Dan and Miguel
Kernersville,North Carolina
752 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Kwokpot, looking at the Celebrity Millennium and found it impressive. So far Celebrity, Radisson, and Crystal have been the most responsive in ordering info. I looked at RCCL but so far the 3 mentioned so far seem to be my choices. Will look at Oceania soon. Thanks for all the insight.

Dan and Miguel
44 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
If you've narrowed your choice down to Celebrity, Crystal and Radisson, I think that you'll be happy no matter which one you choose. My partner and I have been on all three, and we've had terrific experiences!

Last autumn, we celebrated our twenty fifth anniversary on Celebrity Horizon to Bermuda, and it was very special...some of the staff went out of their way to recognize our celebration. We very briefly mentioned our anniversary to the Social Hostess (she asked if we were sailing 'for a reason' or just as a vacation) and she sent some delicious chocolates and a hand written card to our room. Needless to say, we are now Celebrity advocates; however, if I were forced to choose just one cruise line on which to sail for the rest of my life, I would probably go with Crystal. We've only been on three Crystal cruises, but every single crew member and every single experience on these cruises exceeded our expectations.

So much of what we love about our vacations has to do with the time that we spend together, the ports, and the every day 'little things' like finding deck chairs easily, having good food/service, finding private places on the ship where we can just watch the ocean going by, feeling like there is plenty to do yet not feeling like we're missing something if we decide to take a long nap in the afternoon, etc. We've had these experiences on most cruises, and I can honestly say that we've never, ever had a 'bad' experience. Sure, we've met a few people whom we'd rather not see again, we've been rained out of several excursions and we even nearly froze to death snorkling in South America, LOL, but even these 'bad' moments are now some of our most cherished memories.

Happy Anniversary to you, and have a wonderful cruise!
Louisville, Ky, USA
4,227 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
When I saw your post I immediately thought about the Paul Gauguin of the Raddison Cruise Line. Then I noticed that Capt. Tom has already mentioned it. Everything he says about it is true. We were on that cruise a couple of years ago and without a doubt it was the best of cruise we have been on. We are getting ready for out 23 cruise, been on nine different cruise lines, and Raddison was the best. As far as French Polynesia-absolutely beautiful, unspoiled for the most part, and the people living there were the friendliest and most sincere people we have encountered anywhere in the world. I highly recommend it.
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,334 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
well I originally chose Radisson because I was taking an Alaska cruise and did not want a big ship. Also it was a special birthday and wanted an upscale experience. The Paul Gauguin in Tahiti...if I was to find a spouse, that would be my choice for a romantic is spectacular.
I have not sailed Crystal because 1. the cabins on Radisson are bigger (except for the Paul Gauguin). 2. Crystal line has fixed seating and with an upscale line I prefer the open seating for dining. Lastly, I now prefer casual clothing.......dressing up use to be special for I want ever that does not mean dressing down. In the tropics a linen pair of trousers and a stunning shirt can be very dressy. Also less stuff to drag on the plane is very advantageous.
As for other lines...I did like Wind Star. I use to like Princess, but have not sailed them since they were taken over by Carnival Corp. I did like the Sun Princess (maiden voyage) and later sailed her sister the Dawn....but have not tried the Grand class ships yet. I have booked the Diamond Princess for next year with I will see what she is like...although I do not cater to ships that big. For a fun cruise...Royal Caribbean. Celebrity...have sailed the Horizon, Mercury, Century and Summit. Since they charge me 200% as a single...I find I can sail something loke Radisson for almost the same price and get all the extras.
I for one started cruising when ships were much smaller....when the bartender addressed you by name and knew what you drink. Therefore Radisson fits mu tastes...but realize it is not for everyone. When it comes to a special occasion...price is not the deciding comes down to what will make it special for the both of you.Is it quiet time where the cabin will be very important? Is it the shore excursions where you can make new memories of experiencing new sites and smells and activities together? Or is it a party atmosphere that allows you to get out and party, something your schedules dont allow at home.
For me.....if it was a special cruise for me and my would be a romantic cabin, romantic dining (open sitting) where we could have a table for 2 when we want and dine with new friends when we want....and less city tours and more romantic tropical sites......
Romance, romance, romance...and what surroundings will lend to it.
As for gay couples on Radisson...yes I have met a number of them...there were 2 gay couples I hung out with on the tahiti cruise.....has a great time.
The crew has always welcomed me and made me feel right at home.....and special. I cant wait for the cruise in turns out to be a chocolate lovers cruise.......I will die and go to heaven.
Until then I sail on the Radiance of the Seas on October 15th with Mexico....should be a fun experience...a departure from Radisson.
998 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Great comments here on regarding the premium lines. I hope my previous comments are not mis-construed as thumbing my nose at the luxury lines. My own experience just haven't been on them, and it's by personal choice, not because I can't afford it.

Anyway, I wanted others opinions on Cunard Lines, especially those who have been on QM2. I know, it's a GIANT...

My parents, recently went on the QM2, had nothing but praises for it. ( They went on the The Carnival Elation in Nov. and the QM2 in Jan - talk about contrasts!) They felt that the QM2 was worth every cent of price paid over a Mass Market line.

Given it's size, would cruisers out there recommend that ship for a special occasion cruise?
2,298 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
For a very special occasion I believe you have to connect something personal to your cruise. Perhaps its an island(Bermuda) a common interest(architecture - Europe) or a dream(safari) or a beach holiday(carib, hawaii, or as mentioned the South Pacific).

Recently I have heard wonderful words about the SeaDream Yacht Club. The ships are the former Seabourne Godess ships that have been refurbished. The ships only carry 110 passengers, are all inclusive & have sublime food & service.

They are not cheap - but as Capt Tom said sometimes it breaks even compared to the other lines that charge for alcohol, tipping etc.

I just received their DVD & brochure. Talk about romantic! I know people that sailed on the ships under Cunard & loved them. The refurbishments have made the ships modern & fun with lots of toys, bikes, wave runners etc.

They have beds on deck that you can sleep on at nite - oh my!

Crack that bottle of bubbly.

Also - a big congradulations on your 20th anniversary. Many many more happy years to you & yours.
Raleigh, N.C.
12,033 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
We haven't tried any of the upscale cruises. We've been happy on Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Celebrity. I always dreamed about going on the Radisson Diamond. We saw it anchored near our ship in Cozumel. Unfortunately, the Diamond won't be with Radisson much longer. Perhaps we'll need to plan something more extravagant for our 20th anniversary. It's three years away.
San Francisco, CA USA
1,492 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
"I'm not poo-pooing luxury cruises; but if someone has in mind a budget of $1,000/pp for the cruise portion, recommending a $2,500 doesn't help much, regardless of how nice the ship or desination is."

True, but the OP didn't mention budget. He did say it was a special occasion which could mean spending more than normal.
San Francisco, CA USA
1,492 Posts
Joined Jan 2002

What's the dress code on Radison? We prefer to avoid formal nights which is one reason we loved Oceania. Resort Casual every night, and yet the experience was elegant and fun.