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chadcf

Can't decide which cruise...

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I don't know if this is the right board to ask this but I don't see other "general discussion" kinda boards...

 

I'm looking to book a cruise in late august 2020. I've got a narrow window because I want to go after my son turns 21 and before my daughter starts school. This leaves our departure window to be roughly August 26 - August 30. We're looking to do a caribbean which puts us with 3 good options that I can find and we're looking for 2 balcony cabins.

 

MSC Seaside

I actually already booked this one but it's completely refundable. The big pros are what I would consider the best itinerary and lowest price. The ship also looks beautiful. By the time of our trip the cruise will stop at their private island and unlike every other line will stay docked at the private island until 11pm. I feel like this would be awesome, to not be rushed to get back for dinner and get to enjoy the sunset and stars on the island. The other ports also look great (Ocho Rios, Georgetown and Cozumel). Price is amazing at $4200 for 2 balcony cabins. Downsides, the reviews are real questionable. Every cruise I've been on have bad reviews but seaside seems like the ratio of negative to positive is a lot worse. I'm slightly concerned about some of the amenities we might miss though from our past RCL cruises (no real video games in the "arcade", no rock walls, no ice skating, etc etc). Little worried it will be boring, and also it seems like less food options than other cruises (my kids love johnny rockets on RCL, on MSC it looks like you basically have the buffet or dining room and that's it). 

 

Carnival Vista

I like this option because of the havana cabins. While not quite a balcony, having a private pool area would be amazing and I like the lounge chairs on the patio. This is a reasonably good value too, with the havana cabins working out to around $5400 for 2 cabins. The ship looks pretty nice too, and a more similar atmosphere to our past cruises. The itinerary is just a bit meh (Cozumenl, Belize City and Roatan). But with that private havana pool area sea days might be a lot more pleasant. One concern is the Galveston departure. This is not actually bad since we have some family in Houston we could visit but I heard from someone else that cruises departing from Galveston tend to be 90% Texans and have a bit of a Texas vibe that may or may not be great depending on your perspective...  Also from the reading I've done it sounds like the port at Galveston is a hot mess compared to the florida ports. There's also the option of doing the Carnival Horizon out of Miami but it's a 6 day instead of a 7 day and instead goes to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

 

Harmony of the Seas

We've already done Harmony and like the boat so we pretty much know what to expect on this one. The itinerary looks pretty good (Perfect Day at Cococay, Cozumen, Roatan, Costa Maya). All things considered we'd probably do this one again but it's by far the most expensive at $6700 for two balcony cabins. Ouch! But it might be worth the splurge. 

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To avoid issues at the Galveston port,  try to arrive as late as possible.  Let the bulk of the crowd get on before you. I'd arrive at the port at 1:30 or so. That way, the crowd will have moved on to their rooms.

 

As far as a TX vibe, what can you do? People are people regardless of where you are. Unless you were planning on making new friends, you should be okay.

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