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Needing help on which ship and itinerary for our Carnival Cruise


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For my daughters graduation present we have decided to go on a cruise. I want to be able to go on a ship that offers everything she wants while having a great time. She is bringing some friends and they are all around 18 yrs old. I have my three options that I need help choosing from. I'm looking for a ship that has lots of activities for their age range and people they can make friends with as well. Also a ship that has lots of nightlife, I want this to be a trip to remember. We are looking more into an itinerary that isn't touring but more just going to the beach and spending our days there. This is also our first time cruising, so I need all the help I can get. These are my options for summer 2021:

 

an 8 day southern Caribbean cruise on Carnival Sunrise from Miami, FL that stops in Half Moon Cay > Grand Turk > Aruba > Curacao

next option is a 8 day eastern Caribbean cruise on Carnival Dream from Galveston, TX that stops in Key West > Freeport > Half Moon Cay >Nassau

then lastly a 9 day western Caribbean cruise on Carnival Radiance (used to be Victory) from Galveston, TX that stops in Grand Cayman > Mahogany Bay > Belize > Costa Maya > Cozumel 

Edited by karrotscruiser
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Obviously this isnt in your choices but since its your first cruise I figured i would put my opinion..

 

Me and my wife have been to alot of the bahama and Caribbean islands most are very nice.. freeport not so much. Our favorite was Nassau just for the Atlantis waterpark which was fairly expensive.

But we have come to realize that being docked in 1 place for the 2 or 3 days is really nice especially since she gets sea sick sometimes. Bermuda is a beautiful island and has alot to offer you can come and go on the ship to the island and dont have to worry about it leaving without you until departure day. Horseshoe bay with the pink sand was the nicest beach we have been to on any cruise. 

Usually the pride sails there throughout the summer.. it doesn't have a ton of stuff to do for nightlife but is a nice spacious ship. I've heard next summer carnival will be sailing multiple ships to Bermuda though including the Magic which we are planning to try out. 

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I'm going to rank them 3, 1, 2. With 3 getting the edge because of the extra day, the newly renovated ship, and hitting the three best western cab ports IMO (GC, MB, Coz). I like the Dream but Freeport is my least favorite port. A lot of people don't like Nassau either. 

 

Edited by Saint Greg
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My choice would be southern. Beautiful beaches at GT & Aruba.  Didn’t go to beach at Curaçao but wow is that place pretty.  They would probably have more fun though on your 3rd choice.  Grand Cayman they can do a stingray excursion and whoop it up in Cozumel.   Scratch 2nd choice off your list completely. The Dream is a beautiful ship but aside from key west those other stops they wouldn’t enjoy IMO.  We brought our son & 4 friends on their grad trip 9 years ago & he still talks about Cozumel.  
 

As for the nightlife, trust me, whichever you choose they will have lots of fun on a summer cruise making new friends and dancing their tails off at the clubs.  We’ve watched kids (and some adults) in them during the late night hour and if the music is right they’re having a great time! 😂

 

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For the ship, I like the Dream.  It's the largest of your three choices.  Atlantis in Nassau is amazing.  So is HMC
For the itinerary, I like #1 - HMC, Grand Turk, Aruba, and Curacao.  HMC has a beautiful beach.  It's amazing.  Grand Turk is a good beach day.  Aruba and Curacao are fantastic places to explore.

I wouldn't choose #3 because I prefer the itineraries of the other two.

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1 hour ago, karrotscruiser said:

We are looking more into an itinerary that isn't touring but more just going to the beach and spending our days there. This is also our first time cruising, so I need all the help I can get.

 

I would choose option #1.  Half Moon Cay is absolutely beautiful, Grand Turk is also a great beach (head to your left off the pier and walk to the beach in front of Jack's Shack) and how can you go wrong with Aruba??  I think the Dream is the best ship in your three options but for me the stops at Nassau and Freeport kind of tip the scale towards Sunrise and the Southern Caribbean.  In fact, I'm going to check out that cruise for myself!

 

Take care!

C

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You also need to factor in airfare to the equation.  Your second and third choices are out of Galveston and you need to fly into I believe Hobby airport in Houston.   Your first choice is out of Miami and you have the option to fly into Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. The first choice also includes HMC and Grand Turk, two relaxing beach days and two of the best southern stops of Aruba and Curacao.  The second choice would be my bottom because of Nassau and Freeport,  the worst 2 cruise ports, IMHO.

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I won't give an opinion on the itineraries, since I don't think my opinion would help much.  I will, however, put my two cents in on a few issues you mentioned:

 

  • Your daughter and her friends - 18 is a tricky age for cruise ships to handle.  The younger kids go into their clubs, those 21+ can hang out in the casinos and at the various bars.  Carnival had a club of sorts for the 18-20 crowd, but that seems to have gone away.  The young 'uns may end up having to either hang out with you guys or with each other.  I suggest finding roll calls (or similar gatherings elsewhere) and trying to find other parties with guests of similar ages.
  • Eighteen - 18-year-olds can attend all the comedy shows (even the ones with the dirty words) and they should be OK in the nightclub.  They might be able to get some drinks in port either because 18 is legal there or because they're, um, lax at checking IDs.  Don't tell anyone I said that, but I'm sure they'll figure it out. 🤪
  • Music - If any of you are country music fans, you'll find a lot more of it on the Galveston ships.

I hope my post was of some use, and I wish you a wonderful cruise - whichever one you choose.

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I want to add in to what Honolulu Blue said.

You say the kids are around 18. 18 is a magic number. At 18, they can't go to the kids club, but can go to the regular club, adult comedy, etc. At 17, they can go to the kids club, but not the regular club or adult comedy. Are all the kids 18? Just something to think about.

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Everyone will have their own reason for picking a certain itinerary, but we are not you, your daughter or her friends.  My suggestion would be to research the ports and what excursions they have to offer.  Then base your decision on which itinerary will offer the best activities that match your interests.  Also, if the ship itself matters to you at all, then Carnival's website has a comparison tool that will allow you to do a side-by-side comparison of up to three ships.  Good luck, and welcome to cruising!

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12 hours ago, karrotscruiser said:

an 8 day southern Caribbean cruise on Carnival Sunrise from Miami, FL that stops in Half Moon Cay > Grand Turk > Aruba > Curacao

next option is a 8 day eastern Caribbean cruise on Carnival Dream from Galveston, TX that stops in Key West > Freeport > Half Moon Cay >Nassau

then lastly a 9 day western Caribbean cruise on Carnival Radiance (used to be Victory) from Galveston, TX that stops in Grand Cayman > Mahogany Bay > Belize > Costa Maya > Cozumel 

 

The 8 day on the Sunrise has the best ports, that'd be my #1 choice.

The 9 day on the Radiance would be my second choice, decent ports.

I would probably remove the 8 day on the Dream from my selection, if it were me. The Dream is a great ship and Half Moon is wonderful but, to me the Nassau & Freeport stops would be a waste of 2 great days and a waste of money. 

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3 hours ago, Honolulu Blue said:

I won't give an opinion on the itineraries, since I don't think my opinion would help much.  I will, however, put my two cents in on a few issues you mentioned:

 

  • Your daughter and her friends - 18 is a tricky age for cruise ships to handle.  The younger kids go into their clubs, those 21+ can hang out in the casinos and at the various bars.  Carnival had a club of sorts for the 18-20 crowd, but that seems to have gone away.  The young 'uns may end up having to either hang out with you guys or with each other.  I suggest finding roll calls (or similar gatherings elsewhere) and trying to find other parties with guests of similar ages.
  • Eighteen - 18-year-olds can attend all the comedy shows (even the ones with the dirty words) and they should be OK in the nightclub.  They might be able to get some drinks in port either because 18 is legal there or because they're, um, lax at checking IDs.  Don't tell anyone I said that, but I'm sure they'll figure it out. 🤪
  • Music - If any of you are country music fans, you'll find a lot more of it on the Galveston ships.

I hope my post was of some use, and I wish you a wonderful cruise - whichever one you choose.

 

Carnival allows guest 18 years or older to gamble in the casino. 🙂

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I know I posted my other 3 options but seeing what everyone has said I have decided not to go with the dream that goes through Freeport. I want to know between these two picks which would be the best for my 18 yr old daughters grad trip in 2021. I want her to be able to make plenty of friends on the ship, they are social people. We want a fun ship with fun nightlife and activities but want an itinerary that includes more of us just chilling on the beach during our stops. Please let me know what you think is best for her and her friends:

 

8 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the carnival magic starting in New York stopping in Amber Cove > Grand Turk > Half Moon Cay

Next choice being an 8 day Southern Caribbean cruise starting in Miami, FL stopping in Half Moon Cay > Grand Turk > Aruba > Curaçao

Any advice also is great just let me know!! it’s our first time cruising

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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do the 8 day Southern.   Aruba and Curacao are wonderful islands to visit.  Half Moon Cay is a great stop. Grand Turk's cruise center is basically Carnival owned, not a lot to do on the island, although I happen to like a couple of places in Cockburntown and Jack's Shack just up the beach from the pier can be a great hangout.

 

The 8 day Eastern is just to Carnival owned ports, albeit again Half Moon Cay is a great stop,

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To me, there is no comparison.  A cruise to HMC, Aruba, and Curacao is so much better than the other itinerary. My husband loved going to Aruba and Curacao so much that we went there again soon afterward.

Edited by TNcruising02
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I have narrowed down my two picks for my daughter and her friends grad trip in summer 2021. We want a fun ship with activities and fun nightlife but we also want an itinerary with relaxing beaches because we mainly wanna go to just stay on the beach for our stops. I need all the advice I can get I just want to make it the perfect trip but I’m having troubles deciding. please let me know what you think:

 

a 9 day eastern Caribbean on the Carnival Radiance (used to be victory) from Galveston, TX stopping in Key West > Grand Turk > Half Moon Cay > Nassau

or

a 8 day southern Caribbean on the Carnival Sunrise from Miami, FL stopping in Half Moon Cay > Grand Turk > Aruba > Curaçao

Any advice would be helpful as well!! let me know what you think the best option is whether it’s ship or itinerary

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If the ship is most important, I would pick Dream. If the itinerary is most important, I would pick the Southern Caribbean. The ABC islands are among the best in the Caribbean in my book, so I would put more emphasis on the itinerary than the ship. 

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8 day Southern Caribbean is your best choice for beach stays. I would gladly swap out Nassau and Key West for Aruba and Curacao.

I would hold off on booking for awhile. If these cruise lines don't get back to business by October there is no telling what the summer of 2021 is going to like with ships/ports/itinerary. 

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8 day Southern Caribbean is your best choice for beach stays. I would gladly swap out Nassau and Key West for Aruba and Curacao.
I would hold off on booking for awhile. If these cruise lines don't get back to business by October there is no telling what the summer of 2021 is going to like with ships/ports/itinerary. 

How long would you recommend waiting to book considering everything that is happening?
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