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suralottie

What was your favorite cruise and why

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We came back from our first cruise this August and I am thinking of planning our next. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how interested I am now in the different ships and routes. We sailed from Vancouver to Seward on the Noordam. Now that I'm back I get excited when I hear friends have also sailed the Noordam-it's like we have a good friend in common. I was surprised that I loved the days at sea as much as the days in port. I appreciated just how relaxing it was, the beautiful scenery, walking the promenade for exercise, healthy choices for meals, interesting people I met-all things I didn't especially associate with cruising previously. In the ports I appreciated the amount of time we had to explore and the ease of getting off and on the boat. 

 

I am hoping to retire this January-my husband is already retired. We'd planned to fly to New Zealand and take a few weeks to hike there. Now dances of cruises are also playing through my mind. What cruises have you loved the most and why? Do you find yourself attached to certain ships or cruise lines?

 

Looking forward to reading your stories.  

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Posted (edited)

I can't pick ONE favorite. Norway for scenery. Australia because it was a bucket list and did not disappoint. And for a very personal and emotional reason, our second Panama Canal because we traveled with friends after she finished chemo and had "enough hair to travel." 

 

All were on Cunard, my favorite line. I love that it's formal without being stuffy, classy without being pretentious. An excellent variety of things to do day and night. HAL is my second choice because they go places I want to go, like Caribbean in the winter. And that's it. I've tried some other mass-market lines and not been happy as their ships have become larger and their service/quality has diminished. 

 

Favorite ship will always be QE2. Sadly, she is long gone. When I stepped onto the new Queen Elizabeth, I had a sort of "ahhh, home" feeling that I get on Cunard. QM2 is larger than I like, but I like transatlantics, so she's my most frequent ship now. 

 

I like the Vista class ships--Noordam is a Vista. So is QE, which is part of why I liked her so much. My next cruise is Zuiderdam in the Caribbean. After two cruises on the K, which I did not like, I'm hoping a cruise on a Vista will make me love HAL again.

 

Edited by 3rdGenCunarder

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We don't have a favorite cruise but do cruise a lot with HAL mainly because of the itineraries. The Black Sea & the Baltic because of the ports of call, places we've read about and got to see & experience, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, etc.   

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Our second cruise was on the Rotterdam to the Eastern Med. after 13 years and many more cruises it remains at the top of my list of favorites, because I got to go to Egypt a life-long dream. Also loved Istanbul. 

Other favorites are the Voyage of the Vikings, also on the Rotterdam, and all European cruises. We’re retired now and enjoying longer cruises. 

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My standard answer is always the cruise on which I met my wife.  That was on North German Lloyd's Bremen, 7 days from NYC to the Caribbean a half a century ago.  There have been many favorites since then including our first cruise after we got married on the old Rotterdam.  Now I can name bucket list Grand cruises as favorites, especially the Grand Med, Grand Asia, and Grand World.

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A few years back, I decided to try as many cruise lines as possible instead of sailing on just one, and so far, I’m very happy about that decision. Variety seems to work for me.

 

As far as destinations go, I also loved Alaska. Western Mediterranean was absolutely fantastic (Valletta, Malta was my favorite port of call. Like sailing into a post card). I also enjoyed our cruise to Cuba last year (before regulations changed). It was like going back in time 60 years. One of the most memorable and mind boggling destinations I’ve ever been to.

 

As far as cruise ships or cruise lines go, I still haven’t pinpointed what my favorite is. We’ve had wonderful cruises on ships ranging from 16,000 tons to 225,000 tons, each one for different reasons. Our next cruise will be aboard the Niew Statendam and I’m looking forward to the more “intimate” and traditional experience, at least compared to some of the ships and cruise lines that I’ve been on. 

 

I recommend that you try as many cruise experiences as you possibly can. Best way to find out what your niche is. Have fun figuring it out! 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, suralottie said:

We came back from our first cruise this August and I am thinking of planning our next. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how interested I am now in the different ships and routes. We sailed from Vancouver to Seward on the Noordam. Now that I'm back I get excited when I hear friends have also sailed the Noordam-it's like we have a good friend in common. I was surprised that I loved the days at sea as much as the days in port. I appreciated just how relaxing it was, the beautiful scenery, walking the promenade for exercise, healthy choices for meals, interesting people I met-all things I didn't especially associate with cruising previously. In the ports I appreciated the amount of time we had to explore and the ease of getting off and on the boat. 

 

I am hoping to retire this January-my husband is already retired. We'd planned to fly to New Zealand and take a few weeks to hike there. Now dances of cruises are also playing through my mind. What cruises have you loved the most and why? Do you find yourself attached to certain ships or cruise lines?

 

Looking forward to reading your stories.  

 

Sydney-Tasmania, Melbourn-Millford New Zealand -New Caledonia-Fiji- Tahiti- Hawaii-LA   34 day Regent.   

    LA-hawaii-Marqusea-Bora- Moorea Tahiti  21 day.  Oceania       Nothing beats discovering the South pacific by sea  east to west... rather than flying to a place... arrive by ship as the explorers did.  on  a 600 pax ship. 

Tokyo-to Singapore 18 days  Oceania....       

Tahiti- Easter island- Pitcairn, Lima,  to NY  35 days via the canal.  Oceania

You may find that some cruise lines fit your wants and personality better than others.   Not everyone has the same taste and desire.     Maybe you should try several options  on short local cruises on several lines  to feel out YOUR best.

 My niche is wanting to be on a smaller ship under 1000 pax with wonderful cuisine and  low key fellow passengers. where most things are included.. no nickel dime sales... Lots of sea days. casual dress no formal dress up or class systems,. There is an entirely different atmosphere and ambiance with ships in the 600 to 1000 pax range... rather than thousands. To me smaller is better  with everyone being treated the same

.

I sail 90% of my cruises with 1 line that fits me......you need to find yours

Edited by Hawaiidan

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I have to say that I’ve had too many wonderful itineraries to pick an absolute favourite.

 

Sailing to the Baltics and down the Kiel canal on the Prinsendam was magical.

 

Sailing into little English and Irish ports on the same ship was wonderful especially when we were in Colbe and the last stop of the Titanic before she set sail to cross the ocean (to name a few)

 

Our 2013 Prinsendam cruise was moving with our Normandy stop to Juneau and the D Day beaches.

 

And out last Prinsendam cruise to the wonderful Spanish and French ports - Bordeaux overnight, Bordeaux wineries - just fabulous.  

 

The Prinsendam had fabulous itineraries but there are other great itineraries....

 

Our Rotterdam cruise to spots where Columbus sailed from was great.

 

The list is endless.  There is no favourite I can pick with such nice sailings as with the Sail a Way gang on the Westerdam to the Panama and the Pearls of the Pacific group for Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas.

 

Each sailing is memorable in it’s own way.  

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Posted (edited)

2 favorites, first one 1999 on the R1 sailing from Istanbul where we stayed 3 days and 2 nights and then visited Ephesus, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini and finishing up in Athens for 2 1/2 days. Very special time in Athens as I touched bases with my roots meeting a bunch of Aunts, Uncles and Cousins who wined and dined us from 10pm to 2am at a beautiful outdoor restaurant on a hill with a great view of Athens.

 

In 2007, we sailed on the Veendam from Venice round trip to Messina, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Monoco, Corsica, Naples (Sorrento, Pompeii) and Dubrovnik. Great cruise with so many things to see and really not enough time. In Rome and Florence we had tours that started with the bus trip at 7am and didn't make it back to the ship until 830pm just in time to grab dinner in the buffet.

Edited by MISTER 67

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Our favorite cruise was on the Noordam to the Caribbean. 

We went to:  Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Martin, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay.

Martinique was a surprise- we went on an excellent excursion to St. Pierre, the rainforest,

Balata Gardens (very nice), and Balata Church.

Everything on the Noordam was good-  food, service, etc. 

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My favorite cruise ever was my first cruise to Antarctica. The scenic cruising was otherworldly in that is was so quiet, peaceful, with scenery unlike any other place I had ever been---including several trips to Alaska and Norway. It was ethereal.

The destination I have been to the most, however, is Norway. Again, the scenery is gorgeous, and I have been fortunate to see the same places in so many different 'moods' with the changeable weather there. It's also so much easier to get there and back than southern South America.

Over the years I have tried several cruise lines, but have not found one that offers the itineraries and value that HAL has. Even though HAL has gone downhill, it seems the others have, too. I feel fortunate that I have been able to cruise to so many places in the manner I have.

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My favorite cruise was a partical Panama Canal one.  Of course it was not as nice as the full transit we did later on, but this one had one advantage - we were in a deck 5 aft-wrap Neptune suite, which provided us with two views of the lock operations (side and rear) up very close!  We really got to see how things operated.

 

Plus, on the return back out we were joined by our table mates and the 6 of us had a great party.  We even got on the ship's video in several places (could not miss us in the corner) so we HAD to purchase it! 

 

Overall, a very fun and informative day.

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There isn't one itinerary that we could pick as each have special interests for us.  Also we have cruised on different cruise lines.  Don't have a favorite ship -- again we choose for itinerary.

 

 

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Our favorite now is Holland America for great itineraries and value although we also enjoy Celebrity too.

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Thanks for your replies. Love the stories of cruising to celebrate a friends recovery, meeting your spouse on the cruise  and spending time with relatives in Greece. I'm especially intrigued with Antartica, St. Lucia, Baltics. I would love to take a smaller cruise ship especially to the Antartic, Galapagos or British Isles-especially if there were kayaking, but am not sure we could afford it-guess it will be an occasion to save up for. I'm soon to be 65 and my husband is 71 so perhaps the time to start that more far flung bucket list is now. We've spent most of our time hiking in National Parks in the US. We liked Holland America as it was a pretty quiet ship, had vegetarian options for my husband and wasn't crowded. Perhaps we should try Celebrity too? When my grandson is older (he is a toddler now) I would try ships with more activities for younger people. Guess it is time to dive in and plan.  You have given me such good ideas. Thanks again.

 

My mother used to volunteer with her friends in the 70's and early 80's at the QE2 when it was sailing from NYC, They never sailed it though. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think we would like the larger ships as we are pretty quiet people and don't feel the need for a lot of entertainment-though who knows maybe we would love it.

 

 

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10-day Panama Canal cruise on the Zuiderdam in 2017. Had a wonderful Neptune Suite where we relaxed on the balcony going through the locks and back while a woman narrated the history of the building of the Canal. Great food, wonderful service, we enjoyed the Southern Caribbean ports, and just an all around wonderful cruise. Although, we have enjoyed all of our HAL cruises and look forward to a 10-day Koningsdam cruise in Jan.

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1.

Westbound Transatlantic on the QM2. We spurred on Grill Class and revelled in fine food and good service. A transatlantic on QM2 is a travel experience not a cruise!

2.  Lisbon to Fort Lauderdale  on Prinsendam. A wonderful relaxed sunshine filled cruise on a lovely ship with a great crew. The ship was beginning to show her age with rattles in the cabin etc, but it did not detract from a magical cruise.

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2002, Volendam's Maiden Asia Pacific Cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles.  A cruise that started with unexpected weather conditions from Vancouver:  very rough seas west of Vancouver Island on the first morning, experiencing the tail end of a typhoon near the Aleutian Islands that resulted in the Chief Engineer being injured and having to be disembarked off Dutch Harbor along with a fugitive Los Angeles Priest trying to get to ?.  More rough seas crossing the Northern Pacific, but ended with many interesting ports.

 

Our Captain, Johnathan Peter Harris and Gary Walker, Cruise Director, who were the most guest friendly of any that I have experienced.  When they participated in the Talk from the Bridge, they were a comedy team that exceeded any comic that was hired.  Captain Harris provided detailed information when there was a "bump" in what we expected in all aspects of our cruise.

 

The Hotel Manager was Hans Dernisson (I hope I spelled his name correctly) and he ran a "tight, efficient" Department.  Volendam was a Happy Ship.  And we were a happy group of guests.

 

Port highlights were the maiden sail-in into Tokyo harbor with fire boats using their water cannons, helicopters flying over us with "Today Today" on TV, and a magnificent drum performance on the top of the pier as we were docking.  The program in the Wajang Theater when the Port Officials welcomed the Volendam with her Senior Officers (and those of the guests who chose to attend) with the exchange of gifts.  The Volendam received a beautiful plastic case enclosed Geisha Doll that was never seen again, despite the "promise" that it would be displayed on the Front Office counter.  (Sailing with Mr. Dernisson on a later cruise, I asked him about what happened to this Doll and he had no idea, but he did remember the situation.)

 

Maiden port calls in other ports added to the enjoyment calls, but nothing like Tokyo.

 

Customs/Immigration issues at the port for Bejing caused us to sail late.  We missed our departure slot from that port and for our slot for arrival at Shanghai causing the Volendam to be docked in the cargo area some distance from the city.

 

The most important part of this long cruise was making friends, thanks to CC's Roll Call Forums, with whom I maintain frequent contact, have visited with them, and have sailed with some of them again.

 

I have been fortunate to be able to experience some other long cruises.  None have exceeded my Asia Pacific Maiden Cruise of the Volendam in 2002.  

 

 

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My favorite cruise was the 30 days Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas aboard the Rotterdam, followed very closely by the 26 day Baltic/Transatlantic aboard the Eurodam which was origional sold as a Voyage of the Vikings cruise. The  itinerarys were so different there is no way to compare them other than to say they were both fascinating and beautiful. But the best thing about the Holland America cruises are the wonderful staffs.

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It's difficult to choose! I think I will have to go with my first cruise. In January 2014, my wife was suddenly given the opportunity to take some time off work. We wanted to leave the country, but alas, her passport had just expired. We came up with the absurd idea to take a cruise. We booked it two weeks prior to sailing and off we went. A simple itinerary to Nassau and Castaway Cay on the Disney Dream (we knew we were Disney fans and figured what the heck?). We went with little expectations and returned with new friends and a new fondness for traveling via cruise ship. It blew us away!

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Panama Canal 28 day cruise, San Diego to Fort Lauderdale, return to San Diego, on the previous Statendam;  also the Australian Circumnavigation,  once on the Volendam , also on the Maasdam.  Also enjoy the cruises  around New Zealand.

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Cant pick one. 

 

Yes, yes, hike New Zealand. Then take the ship back. We sailed on the Oceania Marina out of Auckland. One of my favorite cruises!

 

All the best.

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Best cruise ever: it was on the 350-passenger Aegean Odyssey sailing her first season in the Med in 2010 for Voyages to Antiquity. It was special because of the ports: we had two ports in Syria including an overnight with an overland journey to the remains of Palmyra in the Syrian desert, as well as (at the second stop) visiting Aleppo, including the magical covered bazaar there. Of course Palmyra was destroyed by ISIS and the covered bazaar was a casualty of the Syrian civil war. The cruise also had stops in Egypt, Cyprus and Beirut. I loved the small ship, the wonderful lecturers and the itinerary. Since then I've sailed 8 more times on her. 

 

Best HAL cruise: Also Eastern Med, but less exotic -- although it did include Egypt again, as well as stops in Turkey including Istanbul and Antalya. This was on Westerdam, my favorite of the Vistas I've been on. There was just a happy, welcoming air about her. Hope it's still there as I'll be on her again in April 2020 for a voyage around Japan during cherry blossom season. 

 

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We took our first cruise in 1975 but had a long hiatus after that and didn't cruise again until 1997.  Since then, we've cruised a lot and decided to cruise at least twice a year, beginning in 2010, mostly with HAL.  

 

What cruise was our favorite?  All of them.  Since that first one, all of them have special memories.  It would be impossibly difficult to pick a favorite.  

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