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Icewinter89

Eastern Caribbean Cruise For 2021

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Hello! Forgive me as this is a little long....I am looking to plan a 5-7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise for 2021. I’ve been on 2 cruises before, but I will be traveling with my mom and aunt who have never cruised before. They are in their early 60s and I am In my early 30s. My previous trips were Royal Caribbean to Bermuda and Celebrity to Cozumel/Key West). On my previous cruises I traveled with a family friend and the other family did all the booking, planning etc. I just packed my bag and followed along. Therefore I have limited knowledge about planning and booking.

 

I'm strongly considering Royal Caribbean. Although I have never been on Carnival, it seems to be aimed at younger, adventurous families. We are not super adventurous, so I think Royal Caribbean would be a better choice. Destinations of interest include St Thomas, St Kitts and St Maarten. 
 

Price is another important factor for me. My mother is on a fixed income, so I will have to pay her way almost completely. My aunt is able to pay her own way. For cost purposes, I would like all 3 of us to share a single cabin. We don’t mind it being a little “cozy”.

 

My big questions are:

Any other destination suggestions besides St Thomas, St Kitts and St Maarten?

When would be a good time to book so I can score the best deals? Is booking now too far in advance?

From my previous experience, if one member of a cabin wants a drink package, all members of that cabin must purchase the same drink package. My mother doesn’t drink alcohol for personal/medical reasons. Will she still be required to purchase this package? 

Any other tips or suggestions? 

 

 

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Welcome 🙂 

 

If you are comfortable with Royal's product then I would stick with them, if for nothing else familiarity and one less unknown.

 

My family of 4 cruised on Anthem last June in a deluxe ocean view and the cabin was very spacious.  Bathroom scheduling was a little tight, but overall it was a good cabin for two 40 somethings and then 18yo daughter and 14yo son.  It would likely be a narrow space between the two singles based on pictures I've seen, and the third bed is a sleeper sofa (we had it set up as trundle style where the second half was still on the floor).

 

I think your mother would be required to purchase the non-alcoholic beverage package, but you should verify with the cruise line and your travel agent.  A travel agent should be able to advise when to book.  If you can price match later then I would book as soon as possible for the best cabin choice.  Be sure to have good travel insurance, at a minimum medical and evacuation.

 

Have a great cruise with your mom & aunt.

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8 hours ago, Icewinter89 said:

Hello! Forgive me as this is a little long....I am looking to plan a 5-7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise for 2021. I’ve been on 2 cruises before, but I will be traveling with my mom and aunt who have never cruised before. They are in their early 60s and I am In my early 30s. My previous trips were Royal Caribbean to Bermuda and Celebrity to Cozumel/Key West). On my previous cruises I traveled with a family friend and the other family did all the booking, planning etc. I just packed my bag and followed along. Therefore I have limited knowledge about planning and booking.

 

Welcome!

Icewinter89,

I have something to share with you.

1. Two ships of the same cruise line may differ like day and night, and may have little to nothing in common. So please do not make a major mistake: do not measure cruises by cruise lines. It's hard to find anything more different than let's say Vision of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas (same cruise line!) 

 

8 hours ago, Icewinter89 said:

We are not super adventurous, so I think Royal Caribbean would be a better choice. Destinations of interest include St Thomas, St Kitts and St Maarten.

 

An instant question will be: which one of at least four different Royal Caribbeans? Four different products?

Royal Caribbean is an abstract feature that does not make sense. Only ships do.

There a few good cruises on different RCI ships to choose, but the itineraries do not cover (completely) your destinations of interest, and the prices are high.

This really good cruise on the Symphony of the Seas (the price is for the cheapest inside cabin for three, a shoe box):

7 Days Caribbean-Eastern

Royal Caribbean Int. • Symphony of the Seas

Miami, Labadi/Labadee, San Juan, St. Thomas/Charlotte Amalie, Perfect Day Coco Cay, Miami

1 departure date: Mar 20 2021

Currently available price: from $3,000 total for cabin ("gratuities" - a daily service charge ~$12 pp is not included).

The ship carries about 5,400 passengers. It requires careful planning and booking in advance (shows, specialty restaurants). This is the most entertaining ship at sea.

 

8 hours ago, Icewinter89 said:

Price is another important factor for me. My mother is on a fixed income, so I will have to pay her way almost completely. My aunt is able to pay her own way. For cost purposes, I would like all 3 of us to share a single cabin. We don’t mind it being a little “cozy”.

 

My big questions are:

Any other destination suggestions besides St Thomas, St Kitts and St Maarten?

When would be a good time to book so I can score the best deals? Is booking now too far in advance?

 

 

I would recommend another option.

The itinerary is superb. The ship is one of a few most comfortable and relaxing at sea. No crowds, "private yacht feel" on open decks.

Cabin: the most spacious standard (i.e. not for handicapped passengers) cabins at sea (select categories).

Spa thermal suite is one of a few best at sea (highly recommended, it's ~S250 per couple, per cruise, or ~S150 pp - it's worth every penny, (prices may vary).

7 Days Caribbean-Eastern

Holland America Line • Eurodam (2,100 passengers)

Fort Lauderdale, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas/Charlotte Amalie, Half Moon Cay, Fort Lauderdale

2 departure dates: Mar 7, 28 2021

Current price is about $ 2,500 total for an inside cabin category "J".

This itinerary & this ship & this cabin is a hidden brilliant of the Caribbean. It delivers the top quality experience for an amazingly affordable price.

Your cabin:

 

5.jpg

You are lucky.

Current prices listed are higher than they usually are. So you may wait and monitor. But not for too long - "your cabins" may be sold out.

 

Grand Turk is a resort reservation of the cruise line (Carnival Corp.). The ship is docked next to the beach. You won't need to pay for a ride. The only thing that may cost you there is a beach umbrella. The best part of the beach is about a ship's length distance from the pier.

 

Half Moon Cay is a private island (Carnival Corp.). It's a little paradise.

 

18.jpg

 

Passengers are taken to the island by large tenders.

 

3.jpg

 

Enjoy.

Happy cruising!

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So far, Royal Caribbean wins for me.  I've been on several of their ships and I just gotta say, they have a fantastic design for the buffet.  There are "stations" guests can walk around instead of one long cafeteria line.  (I love food).

Edited by bradtvx

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On 1/8/2020 at 7:01 AM, Icewinter89 said:

 

My big questions are:

Any other destination suggestions besides St Thomas, St Kitts and St Maarten?

When would be a good time to book so I can score the best deals? Is booking now too far in advance?

From my previous experience, if one member of a cabin wants a drink package, all members of that cabin must purchase the same drink package. My mother doesn’t drink alcohol for personal/medical reasons. Will she still be required to purchase this package? 

Any other tips or suggestions? 

 

 

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic.

*  Each of the islands in the Caribbean are unique and beautiful...but you'll find the same thing at each port...many vendors selling "Around the island tour" or taxis to the beach.  I would humbly suggest picking a cruise that includes Labadee or Coco Cay...it would give you a day for relaxing at the beach with no or little planning.  You just walk off the ship, find a spot, and your food's included.

*  There really isn't a good/best time to book...if you see a ship/itinerary/price that you like...book it. (Those so called sales are not really "sales"...sad to say.)

The earlier the better...for two reasons: 1. You'll have more choices for cabins.  2. If price drops, you can easily call your travel agent or RCCL (if you booked directly) and have them reprice your fare (up until final payment.)

*  There may be a few exceptions on having everyone in the same cabin to have to purchase the drink package.  The exceptions we know are: 1. If your spouse is pregnant.  2. If the person in your cabin has medical reasons.  3. If the person in your cabin is a child/minor.  We've known passengers in the same cabin where one buys the UDP, "Ultimate Drink Package", and the other only the "soda package".  For this you'll have to call RCCL directly.

* And absolutely agree with being careful with your choice of ship....if you choose one of the Oasis class ships, the ship in itself will become the destination.

Lastly, enjoy and embrace the planning...we find it fun and just as exciting as the sailing itself...and bring one thing....a smile. Happy Sailing! 😊

 

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Where do you live?

If your able to drive to your port, you save money on airfare and hotel

Try and go for 7 days 

Princess cruises may be a thought also

Not every one in a cabin has to purchase the drink package on Princess 
Stay away from spring break times, school vacations and summer. Prices are higher

That is some of Feb and March 

Early December is a good time also to cruise

😊

Edited by janetz

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1 hour ago, janetz said:

Where do you live?

If your able to drive to your port, you save money on airfare and hotel

Try and go for 7 days 

Princess cruises may be a thought also

Not every one in a cabin has to purchase the drink package on Princess 
Stay away from spring break times, school vacations and summer. Prices are higher

That is some of Feb and March 

Early December is a good time also to cruise

😊
 

Hi, thanks for the response. I live in New York State. Driving to FL wouldn’t really be feasible or cost effective. 

 

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Thank you to everyone who responded. After much consideration, we have decided on the Carnival Breeze. We have also opted not to purchase the drink package. My mom will not be drinking alcohol, she mainly drinks water or unsweetened iced tea. My aunt and I have decided we will have limited alcohol and it would be cheaper to purchase drinks a la carte. 
 

https://www.carnival.com/itinerary/8-day-eastern-caribbean-cruise/ft-lauderdale/breeze/8-days/ce3?Military=N&PastGuest=N&Senior=N&abCode=&itinportcode=fll&numGuests=3&offerCode=&promoCode=&rateCode=&roomType=IS&sailDate=04242021&smp=Y

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Of course you are not going to drive to Florida Have you looked at all the ships sailing from NY? Many sail to the Caribbean 

There are many great cruises from NY and NJ, also Boston😊

Edited by janetz

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On 1/21/2020 at 7:07 AM, Icewinter89 said:

Thank you to everyone who responded. After much consideration, we have decided on the Carnival Breeze. We have also opted not to purchase the drink package. My mom will not be drinking alcohol, she mainly drinks water or unsweetened iced tea. My aunt and I have decided we will have limited alcohol and it would be cheaper to purchase drinks a la carte. 
 

https://www.carnival.com/itinerary/8-day-eastern-caribbean-cruise/ft-lauderdale/breeze/8-days/ce3?Military=N&PastGuest=N&Senior=N&abCode=&itinportcode=fll&numGuests=3&offerCode=&promoCode=&rateCode=&roomType=IS&sailDate=04242021&smp=Y


The Carnival Breeze is my favorite ship.  I really like the layout, the theater, comedy club, and other things a about this ship.  My husband and I only have one or two drinks a night, so we never purchase the alcohol plan.  If you are a moderate drinker, I think you will be fine buying as you go.  You can order bottled water to be delivered to your cabin ahead of time for around $5.00.  It's a good deal and always nice to have cold bottled water on hand. You can also order soda, but I believe it's $10 per six pack.  You are allowed to bring canned soda on the ship if you like.  We always just order two six packs for the cabin.  It costs more, but we don't want to deal with carrying it on.

We also take our own yeti type cups that hold hot or cold beverages.  I like to fill mine with coffee in the morning and tea later on in the day.  My husband gets the soda package and fills his with soda throughout the day.

We usually arrive for shows about 1/2 hour early to get good seats.  They have movies at night on the top pool deck with free popcorn. They always have several different types of live music throughout the ship on a lower deck.  It's nice to listen to live music.  There are always different types of music, so it's a good assortment for people with different tastes.  There are plenty of relaxing places on the ship, so you can always find quiet places if you want to get away from the crowds.

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