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First Time Cruisers for 20 year anniversary


AZFirsttime42
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I will apologize in advance for my lack of detailed information but was hoping the experts here could help. 
 

I am surprising my wife with a cruise for our 20 year anniversary. No kids. In reviewing all ports I believe we would enjoy one of the cruises that include the Virgin Islands. 
 

We are looking at 7 nights max in April and I would like to get something that has a balcony. To be honest we travel a lot so the actual cruise ship is as important if not more important than the stops. 
 

Id say cruise budget is $2–4k without airfare. I’m not looking for a cruise where we are the youngest (40’s) but also not interested in crazy partying.

 

Good Entertainment, Good Food, and Cocktails. 
 

We are drinkers but mostly Tito’s and Mixers so if I can buy a bottle and have it delivered to our room that will be good. 
 

I’ve spent the last week or so researching like crazy and am at the point of being overwhelmed.  I understand everyone has different opinions but am hoping what I’ve outlined above will help you answer me. I can also answer anything else that might help. 
 

Which Line/Ship is the best that sails in April and goes to the Virgin Islands?

 

What room type, deck, floor, front, rear, side, etc is best on this specific ship? The amount of choices is insane. Don’t want obstructed views, or dancing above our room, but want something special. I don’t want to buy the most expensive room on a cheap cruise, really looking for what’s the best deal. 
 

Is there a better Line/Ship that travels in April, is 7 nights, that is a completely different route? US based that you would suggest? I’m not sold on VI, just what is leading right now but if there is another boat that’s superior I can be swayed. 
 

Thank you for your time. 
 

 

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12 minutes ago, AZFirsttime42 said:

I’ve spent the last week or so researching like crazy and am at the point of being overwhelmed.  I understand everyone has different opinions but am hoping what I’ve outlined above will help you answer me.

You've put in a large order here.  I'd suggest that you find a travel agent to work with.  They are more than capable of sort out some of the information for you.

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April of THIS year?

No partying Caribbean "booze cruises" or kid-filled floating amusement parks, even though it's "spring break" prime time for cruises that are a week or less in duration?

 

"Tall Order" is putting it mildly.

 

IMO, unless you're willing to do a premium/luxury line or, at least one of the higher end mass market lines like Celebrity or Viking (many of which may already be "waitlisted"), you may not have the experience I assume you're looking for.

 

Find yourself a cruise specialist travel agent who will grill you about your travel profile: experiences, preferences, expectations and the means to pay for it. 

 

One suggestion is to do the real math for the "net daily rate" rather than cabin cost. That seemingly "more expensive" price for some premium/luxury cruise lines may include all sorts of amenities for which you'll pay extra on a    mass market line (e.g., airfare [or air credit for DIY], Internet, beverages, booze, tours, specialty restaurants, etc.).

 

 

 

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I have gone to https://www.cruisetimetables.com/ and searched April cruises that stop at St. Martin, for example.  Of those that call there, that offer good food and a little more sophistication I would look at Celebrity.  Some will recommend Princess, but I recently reacquainted myself with them, and I am still underwhelmed with their food.  EM

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Agree with many of the PPs. April of this year is quite last minute for cruises. And since Easter is in April, many ships will have a lot of kids on board for spring break for the first part of the month. Because you are booking so late, some cabin categories may be full, or have limited availability. The better cabin locations go fast, but you may get lucky with a cancellation.

 

Since you have no previous cruise experience, and will need to book this ASAP, find a cruise specialist Travel Agent who can hunt down something that comes close to what you want. One of the Celebrity Eastern Caribbean cruises may work for you. Best of luck.

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10 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

April of THIS year?

No partying Caribbean "booze cruises" or kid-filled floating amusement parks, even though it's "spring break" prime time for cruises that are a week or less in duration?

 

"Tall Order" is putting it mildly.

 

IMO, unless you're willing to do a premium/luxury line or, at least one of the higher end mass market lines like Celebrity or Viking (many of which may already be "waitlisted"), you may not have the experience I assume you're looking for.

 

Find yourself a cruise specialist travel agent who will grill you about your travel profile: experiences, preferences, expectations and the means to pay for it. 

 

One suggestion is to do the real math for the "net daily rate" rather than cabin cost. That seemingly "more expensive" price for some premium/luxury cruise lines may include all sorts of amenities for which you'll pay extra on a    mass market line (e.g., airfare [or air credit for DIY], Internet, beverages, booze, tours, specialty restaurants, etc.).

 

 

 


Thank you for the response. 
 

Surprisingly I’m finding all kinds of availability for all kinds of price points for this April. 2020. 
 

I also can increase the budget if need be to be on a better cruise line. 
 

 

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I would not pick celebrity just because of entertainment, rccl has the best . If you wanted to increase your budget I would go to msc yacht club on seaside. Most of lines will sell you a drink package for 50 to 70 a day per person and this will definitely include Tito’s , msc yacht club gives you drink package as part of the fare , seaside is a beautiful new ship , yacht club includes really nice suite lounge , suite restaurants, pool and bars. 
   By the way welcome to cruise critics. Talking to a travel agent is also a good idea. Good luck.

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35 minutes ago, AZFirsttime42 said:


Thank you for the response. 
 

Surprisingly I’m finding all kinds of availability for all kinds of price points for this April. 2020. 
 

I also can increase the budget if need be to be on a better cruise line. 
 

 

Availability? Perhaps. I just quick searched Oceania for Caribbean this April. Only availability is one 10 day cruise and almost every category is waitlisted.

Location? Best spots (even on mass market lines) are long gone.

 

With no idea of your travel profile, no one here can say which line is best for you. We're in that group that has a "preferred" line because it fits our profile of long/unique itineraries, excellent food and service, no nickel/diming, cosmopolitan demographic, very few kids and true value for all that is included. 

 

But, that may not work for you. For example: do you like Las Vegas? Well, you couldn't pay me to spend more than an airport connection there. You really need to be clear about what you want which is why you're hearing the several posts recommending a good TA (which is slso a challenge).

 

 

 

Edited by Flatbush Flyer
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30 minutes ago, George C said:

I would not pick celebrity just because of entertainment, rccl has the best . If you wanted to increase your budget I would go to msc yacht club on seaside. Most of lines will sell you a drink package for 50 to 70 a day per person and this will definitely include Tito’s , msc yacht club gives you drink package as part of the fare , seaside is a beautiful new ship , yacht club includes really nice suite lounge , suite restaurants, pool and bars. 
   By the way welcome to cruise critics. Talking to a travel agent is also a good idea. Good luck.


Thank you. 
 

In my limited research I haven’t read great things about MSC. And keep in mind this is extremely limited. 
 

I thought I read somewhere it was one of the lowest ranked cruise lines. Is that not the case?

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14 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Availability? Perhaps.

Location? Best spots are long gone.

 

With no idea of your travel profile, no one here can say which line is best for you. We're in that group that has a "preferred" line because it fits our profile of long/unique itineraries, excellent food and service, no nickel/diming, cosmopolitan demographic, very few kids and true value for all that is included.

 


What is your preferred line? Your description is intriguing. 
 

If by location you mean rooms and decks, there are owner suites and multi level ones for $3-$5k for 2. I’m just wondering if anyone has suggestions for the route/ship. 
 

I’ve looked at 6 cruise lines with some variation of VI and all have what looks to be good rooms that are well reviewed. I’ve even gone as far as looked up reviews for the actual room numbers. I think there is more availability for April 2020 than what is being perceived here, maybe just not on a ship that meets my expectations?
 

Thanks for your time. 
 

**edit. 
 

Is there a trusted source to find good travel agents? 

Edited by AZFirsttime42
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16 minutes ago, AZFirsttime42 said:


What is your preferred line? Your description is intriguing. 
 

If by location you mean rooms and decks, there are owner suites and multi level ones for $3-$5k for 2. I’m just wondering if anyone has suggestions for the route/ship. 
 

I’ve looked at 6 cruise lines with some variation of VI and all have what looks to be good rooms that are well reviewed. I’ve even gone as far as looked up reviews for the actual room numbers. I think there is more availability for April 2020 than what is being perceived here. 
 

Thanks for your time. 

Any regular CC poster will know that I prefer Oceania. Read some of the threads in their forum here on CC. In fact, read the threads for any cruise line you're considering. Of course, take it all with a grain of salt.

 

Now, if we decided to take our 6 yo granddaughter on a cruise, it would be Disney. If it was a Caribbean only, short (7-10 day)  itinerary with close friends, we'd do a yacht charter (not as expensive as some folks may think).

 

But, if I want great food and service with less than 700 passengers on a transpacific or Indian Ocean crossing or South America -Cape Horn and Amazon itinerary (for example) with well- traveled folks who have worked hard for their money and know "true value for quality,"' I choose Oceania. 

 

You mention "owners suites." As for cabins, we're sailors. So, a regular balcony cabin is plenty large for us. Some other folks want the equivalent of their master bedroom at home. My point is that everything is really tied to your personal profile.

 

BTW, a 7 day Caribbean cruise in a balcony  on Oceania would run about $2000-$2500 per person. But, that includes airfare (or you could opt for a DIY credit), internet, beverages, specialty restaurants and a choice of perks from menu of booze, tours or SBC. "R" ships are <700 passengers and "O" ships are <1200.

Edited by Flatbush Flyer
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I just returned from my second cruise on Celebrity Edge. It was excellent!   I highly recommend Edge or Apex. Take a look online at those 2 ships. I would rate that class of ships higher than premium brands.  
 

It was about 2k per person in a balcony room and it included drinks, gratuities, internet and $150 OBC per person. 

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51 minutes ago, AZFirsttime42 said:


Thank you. 
 

In my limited research I haven’t read great things about MSC. And keep in mind this is extremely limited. 
 

I thought I read somewhere it was one of the lowest ranked cruise lines. Is that not the case?

I have done over 60 cruises and recently all in suites on several different lines, you cannot compare normal cabins to yacht club suites, also even entertainment in rest of the ship was pretty good. Research msc yacht club on new seaside ships and you should get some good reviews we were impressed, many cruises pool is crowded and hard to find pool chairs not in YC , they have there own pool and hot tub areas , along with outdoor restaurant by pool and really nice lounge and restaurant inside along with live music in the evening. For all you get I thought YC was a bargain , liked it so much we booked it for next year also. 

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HI, First congrats on your anniversary. In my opinion you should also look at the more luxury cruise lines. They might be a bit pricier but more is included. So create a list what is important for you.  And because you don't really know what you would like, a travel agent specialized in cruises would be a good idea. 
Once you have a more specific idea, you can ask us again and we would all be happy to help!

Good Luck

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Not really helpful in response to your question, but this reminds me of how we picked our first cruise which was for our 25th anniversary. It was late 2001, and I suggested we try a cruise for our anniversary coming up the following summer.

 

I suggested Bermuda since we would not have to fly, and who at that point really wanted to get on an airplane, DW said no. (We have since cruised to Bermuda.). She suggested Alaska, and now it was my turn to say no. (We have since cruised to Alaska.)

 

I then sent away for some cruise brochures and found a Western European cruise from Barcelona to Barcelona including ports like Rome and Florence. Since DW is an art teacher, I knew she would love this, and it is what we picked together.

 

Whatever you choose, I'm sure you will both love it and probably get hooked on cruises. Congratulations in advance on your upcoming 20th anniversary. 

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2 hours ago, ontheweb said:

Not really helpful in response to your question, but this reminds me of how we picked our first cruise which was for our 25th anniversary. It was late 2001, and I suggested we try a cruise for our anniversary coming up the following summer.

 

I suggested Bermuda since we would not have to fly, and who at that point really wanted to get on an airplane, DW said no. (We have since cruised to Bermuda.). She suggested Alaska, and now it was my turn to say no. (We have since cruised to Alaska.)

 

I then sent away for some cruise brochures and found a Western European cruise from Barcelona to Barcelona including ports like Rome and Florence. Since DW is an art teacher, I knew she would love this, and it is what we picked together.

 

Whatever you choose, I'm sure you will both love it and probably get hooked on cruises. Congratulations in advance on your upcoming 20th anniversary. 


Love this. Thank you for sharing. 
 

I know we will have fun regardless, just seeing what others might suggest. 
 

Thanks so much. 

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Look at the Celebrity Edge beautiful new ship, plenty of fabulous restaurants, inviting public spaces and nifty innovations. 

 

If you really want to do something special, book a 7-night Mediterranean cruise. I know you said 7 night max but, a transatlantic repositioning cruise can be a great buy. Often around 10 to 12 days with 4 or 5 ports but, very attractive pricing.

 

Mid-ship is the place to be for the most stable ride. 

 

Jonathan 

Edited by cruiserking
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On 1/28/2020 at 5:03 AM, ontheweb said:

Not really helpful in response to your question, but this reminds me of how we picked our first cruise which was for our 25th anniversary. It was late 2001, and I suggested we try a cruise for our anniversary coming up the following summer.

 

I suggested Bermuda since we would not have to fly, and who at that point really wanted to get on an airplane, DW said no. (We have since cruised to Bermuda.). She suggested Alaska, and now it was my turn to say no. (We have since cruised to Alaska.)

 

I then sent away for some cruise brochures and found a Western European cruise from Barcelona to Barcelona including ports like Rome and Florence. Since DW is an art teacher, I knew she would love this, and it is what we picked together.

 

Whatever you choose, I'm sure you will both love it and probably get hooked on cruises. Congratulations in advance on your upcoming 20th anniversary. 

 

Love your post...exactly our thoughts....and same experience.

To the OP, Happy 20th Anniversary! 😊

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Princess is running a special for the caribbean.  This cruise is for 5 Apr. This price is for mini suite on Royal Princess

 

from
$ 1,679
per person
  • Wi-fi package
  • Premier beverage package with tips
  • Full onboard gratuities included

 

 

 

 

Edited by AF-1
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