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#3
New York City
7,507 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by Sudden Change
I have never been on a cruise
Where and how do I start
Welcome to Cruise Critic Sudden Change.

How long of a cruise do you want to take?

Where do you want to go?

Are you on the east coast or closer to Florida or the West Coast?

What's your budget?

Do you want a big ship with tons of activities and lots or a smaller ship?

First timers often book shorter cruisers to get a feel for it.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has a great ship Anthem of the Seas that sails from New Jersey doing 5-night cruises to Bermuda.

The 3 and 4 night short cruises from Florida tend to attract a party crowd. Ideally, 7-nights is the best.

Speak with a travel agent that specializes in cruising. There is no fee involved. The agent earns a commission from the cruise line.

Start reading about the various cruise lines, Carnival, NCL, Princess, Royal Caribbean.

There is a ton of information on the Cruise Critic boards here.

Jonathan
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Liberty of the Seas Review - 8/22/15
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2253857

Live from the Explorer of the Seas - 2/16/14
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1990840

Live from the Noordam Transatlantic - 4/5/08
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=749667

2017 - QM2 - Anthem of the Seas - 2016 - Regal Princess -
2016 - RCCL Anthem of the Seas - 2015 RCCL Liberty of the Seas
2014 - RCCL Quantum of the Seas - 2014 RCCL Explorer of the Seas
2011 - Cunard - Queen Elizabeth - 2010 Celebrity Summit
2009 - Cunard QM2 - 2008 - HAL Eurodam - 2008 HAL Noordam
2007 - HAL Noordam - 2006 - Cunard QM2 - 2006 Cunard QM2
2005 - Cunard QM2 - 2004 Cunard QM2 - 2003 - Cunard QE2
1979 - Royal Viking Line - 1976 - Mississippi Queen - 1974 HAL Rotterdam
1973 - SS France - 1972 - Cunard QE2- 1971 - Cunard QE2 -
1970 - Cunard Franconia - 1969 - Leonard Da Vinci



Royal Carribean Cruise Line - Platinum
Cunard Line - Platinum
#5
Northern California
3,181 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
All of what others said is good, but I'd add one thing. Not everybody instantly falls in love with cruising. In fact, I know two people who tried and hated it. I think that's a defect on their part, but different strokes. So, what I'd add is that for your first cruise, you should choose something that's simple and won't break the bank. That way if you really don't like cruising, you won't have wasted a lot of time and money.
#6
Nevada
6,601 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
All great advice! After a bit of the basic research needed before booking ANY trip, let your personality dictate how much time and effort you want to expend doing further research. Cruising can be tons of fun for the "go with the flow" personalities, and "planning things out to the last detail" personalities also are well served,cespecially by Cruise Critic. Don't be afraid to ask questions!
#7
North West NJ
4,825 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Since you live in Florida, you have sooooo many choices! I suggest reading, reading, reading about all of the major cruise lines and see which one you are drawn to, and take it from there. I believe there are 5 cruise ports in Florida. (Lucky stiff)
Royal Caribbean (RCCL)
Norwegian (NCL)
Celebrity
Hal (Holland America)
Princess
MSC (Italian Cruise line. Two ships....Divina and the Brand new Seaside coming in 2018.)
Carnival
Disney


As another poster stated, just ask questions and we will be happy to help.
#8
New York City
7,507 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
You're in Florida, the cruise world is your oyster.

There are dozens of cruises leaving from all over Florida year round.

If your Caribbean bound try and book one from January to April before it gets too hot.

If you're budget allows try and book a balcony cabin. This is something very special to have a private sanctuary to read, relax and look at the waves.

Take a look at the cruise search engines here on Cruise Critic and see what cruises are available for the time frame you are considering.

If you're traveling without children try and book a cruise that is not during school vacations, when it will be much quieter on board.

For example the Regal Princess is sailing a 7-night cruise round trip Fort Lauderdale with stops in Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Thomas a balcony cabin is $858 per person.

Princess is a great cruise line, gorgeous ships, Regal is about a year or two old.

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas one of the biggest cruise ships in the world is sailing a 7-nighter round trip Port Canaveral to Haiti, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico. Balcony cabin $949 per person.

Go to youtube.com look at some videos of these ships, see what floats your boat. Speak with a travel agent and book your cruise.

Jonathan
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Liberty of the Seas Review - 8/22/15
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2253857

Live from the Explorer of the Seas - 2/16/14
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1990840

Live from the Noordam Transatlantic - 4/5/08
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=749667

2017 - QM2 - Anthem of the Seas - 2016 - Regal Princess -
2016 - RCCL Anthem of the Seas - 2015 RCCL Liberty of the Seas
2014 - RCCL Quantum of the Seas - 2014 RCCL Explorer of the Seas
2011 - Cunard - Queen Elizabeth - 2010 Celebrity Summit
2009 - Cunard QM2 - 2008 - HAL Eurodam - 2008 HAL Noordam
2007 - HAL Noordam - 2006 - Cunard QM2 - 2006 Cunard QM2
2005 - Cunard QM2 - 2004 Cunard QM2 - 2003 - Cunard QE2
1979 - Royal Viking Line - 1976 - Mississippi Queen - 1974 HAL Rotterdam
1973 - SS France - 1972 - Cunard QE2- 1971 - Cunard QE2 -
1970 - Cunard Franconia - 1969 - Leonard Da Vinci



Royal Carribean Cruise Line - Platinum
Cunard Line - Platinum
#9
Point Richmond CA
5,050 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by champagne123
Since you live in Florida, you have sooooo many choices! I suggest reading, reading, reading about all of the major cruise lines and see which one you are drawn to, and take it from there. I believe there are 5 cruise ports in Florida. (Lucky stiff)
Royal Caribbean (RCCL)
Norwegian (NCL)
Celebrity
Hal (Holland America)
Princess
MSC (Italian Cruise line. Two ships....Divina and the Brand new Seaside coming in 2018.)
Carnival
Disney


As another poster stated, just ask questions and we will be happy to help.


You seem to have left out all of the premium/luxury lines.


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#10
Connecticut
12,346 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by Sea Hag
All of what others said is good, but I'd add one thing. Not everybody instantly falls in love with cruising. In fact, I know two people who tried and hated it. I think that's a defect on their part, but different strokes. So, what I'd add is that for your first cruise, you should choose something that's simple and won't break the bank. That way if you really don't like cruising, you won't have wasted a lot of time and money.
Great advice - but I would add that a three or four day cruise might not be a good idea - too much of it would be getting aboard, finding your way, then getting ready to get off. Also the short itineraries do not usually no anyplace interesting, and are often loaded with serious partiers.
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Six US Navy ships,
25+ cruises: Orient (1), Holland America (12), Norwegian (6), Carnival (1), Princess (1), Celebrity (3), Cunard (2), Royal Caribbean (1) - (1996-2017).
Coming up: Royal Caribbean, January 2018
#11
Fredericksburg, va. USA
84,249 Posts
Joined May 2001
I think a visit to a travel AGENCY (not online) is a good 1st start. They can give you brochures, so you can get a "feel" for this sort of vacation....and remember, that's what a cruise is...a vacation! Do you want to vacation "laid-back" in the Caribbean...see Alaska, or Europe....each place has a different "feel" as well!

Get a guidebook on your potential ports...that really helps you find things that interest you...and can also help you choose itineraries!
#13
Point Richmond CA
5,050 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by champagne123




Because I can't afford them! Lol


Instead of comparing cabin costs, compare the net daily rate for all your combined cruise related expenses and you may be surprised at the value of, at least, the premium segment.


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#14
Central Mississippi
1,218 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Looks like folks have pretty well covered the advice you need, so I'll just say welcome to Cruise Critic and the magical, addictive world of cruising!
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Life's a Beach!



Next Cruise: January 8-15, 2017 Carnival Dream!!
#15
Ireland
78 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
It took me the guts of 8 years to go from thinking about a cruise to going on my first one, but then I'd the complication of knowing I'd be travelling solo and living in Ireland so I'd have to add significant flight costs for any booking for a cruise to the Caribbean.
But I loved my first cruise so much I'd booked my next one within a week of getting home.
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Norwegian Escape - May 20-27 2017
#16
In the Valley, CA
23,027 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Some people gave you great advice. Go into a travel agency that specializes in cruises. If you have friends, family members or co-workers who go on cruises (if you ask around, you'll find them) get a recommendation.

Have an idea of where you want to go, what time of year, budget. A good cruise specialist will ask you questions about what's important to you (active activities, foodie, educational/cultural) and try to match you up with a cruise for you.
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Patty the Cruisin' Chick (may all your cruises be smooth sailin')

Hoping for another trip to the land of Aloha!

Carnival Jubilee - Mex. Riv.; Sensation - W. Caribb.; Holiday (2Xs) - Baja; Paradise - E Caribb; Ecstasy - Baja; Star Princess - Mex. Riv.; Sapphire Princess - Alaska; Island Princess - Hawaii; Golden Princess - Hawaii (one of the best cruises ever!!!!); another Golden Princess -- Hawaii

Read about my most recent cruise at
http://www.sites.google.com/site/holidayalohaii/home
#17
89,980 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I would been by speaking with friends and/or relatives who already cruise and see if one can give you a recommendation for a travel agent specializing in cruising.

Keith
#18
South Carolina
28,834 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by Sudden Change
I have never been on a cruise
Where and how do I start
Welcome to Cruise Critic!
Finding a travel agent who specializes in cruising would be very helpful to you!
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Happy Sailing! OCruisers (LuLu & Roundman)
80+ Cruises .... Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, HAL, Carnival, NCL, Costa, etc. (Still miss Sitmar)
#19
Northern California
3,181 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
Great advice - but I would add that a three or four day cruise might not be a good idea - too much of it would be getting aboard, finding your way, then getting ready to get off.
That is so true! I know that on our first cruise we spent the first few days wandering around in mild confusion.
#20
Palm Coast, Florida
351 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Originally posted by navybankerteacher
Great advice - but I would add that a three or four day cruise might not be a good idea - too much of it would be getting aboard, finding your way, then getting ready to get off. Also the short itineraries do not usually no anyplace interesting, and are often loaded with serious partiers.
I totally agree with this. It really does take a few days to relax into the cruise. I would recommend a 7 day cruise, even to begin with. If you like that, you can always do longer (or shorter) cruises. The only time I have done a 3-4 day cruise is right before jumping on a longer cruise (sort of like a B2B but 2 different ships).