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Accidentally posted this in the money saving tips area so let me try this again in the right forum :o

Hello Everyone! Like my topic says I am new here and completely new to crusing and have no idea how it all works. Up until recently I swore that I would NEVER take a cruise. All I kept hearing about was how people would go missing or how everyone on the ship caught the Norwalk Virus, it did not sound like a fun vacation until my sister won a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Cruise line. She came back ready to book her next cruise saying that it was her best vacation ever, so here I am looking into cruises. :) I know that there are no 2010 cruises available yet but I like to get an early start looking into how it all works. My husband and I are wanting to take a cruise in summer 2010 for our 10 year anniversary. We want to go somewhere tropical and we would most likely be taking our 3 children along for the trip. At the time of the trip they would be 10, 7, & 5 and our oldest is mildly autistic. Which cruiselines are the best for kids other then Disney because we cannot spend $5-6,000 on a 3 day cruise? Which offer resaonable prices? After putting down a deposit how do payments work, monthly, whenever you can pay? Any Info would be greatly appricated and I look forward to getting to know everyone better and booking our cruise!!!

Thanks,

Tina

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RCI has a wonderful childrens program. Carnival does, too! Really, any of the "mainstream" cruises will be fine!

RCI's larger ships (Voyager and Freedom class) have SO MUCH to do--boredom won't be a factor!

You need to talk to a good cruise travel agent--they will point you in the right direction! Once you've done a cruise, you'll be hooked!

And remember--you only hear about the bad things on the news--Hundreds of thousand folks cruise every year. It's no more "dangerous" (or safe) than any other form of vacation or activity!

Deposits are made at time of booking--each cruiseline will have a different payment schedule--this is where your TA will be helpful! Cost depends on the length and itinerary of the cruise! And don't forget airfare, if you have to fly to port. And spending money, once you get there! Excursions can really bump the price up! But all in all, a cruise is a great value!

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Thank you so much for your reply. It is so helpful. I was checking out the best price cruises website and wondered if it was a good site to book through. After checking a few websites out I am thinking about booking a 3 day "trial" cruise for next summer. I am getting excited about this and I haven't even booked yet!!! :D

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First, find a local travel agent. Since you don't know much about cruising, TA's can be very valuable in answering your questions. You don't pay anything to a travel agent, as their commission is paid by the cruise line. Get brochures and read up on every line out there. See if a travel agent provides any perks---mine pays gratuities and includes some on board credit. And, it costs you nothing to walk into a travel agency and you're not obligated to book a cruise with them.

 

I do need to caution you about three day cruises. Many times they don't really give you a real idea on cruising and those short cruises can be turn out to be nothing more than party till you puke cruises. Quite a few of those short cruises are taken by those who want to shove 7 days of partying into three short days of cruising. And, with three kids in tow, you're going to find yourself just starting to relax when you have to worry about packing up again. Not a stressless cruise.

 

Realize that your kids will be paying less than the full fare so it may not be as expensive as you think. This is where a good travel agent comes in handy. Some lines have certain cruises where kids sail for just the port taxes and fees. That could mean your kids could cruise for less than $150. Not bad, huh? You might find that a 7 day cruise for the entire family could be well under what a 4 day cruise on Disney costs. Again, a travel agent could find the best deals for you. Also, for now, the earlier you book, the cheapest it will be, and the bigger the choice of cabins you'll find. And, if the price of your cruise goes down, you'll get the cheaper price. But if the price goes up, you won't have to pay the higher price.

 

As for payment, when you book you have to put down a deposit which is usually around $300 per person, with less cash for the kids. You don't pay like it's a layaway. About 80 days before your cruise departs, your travel agent will call and tell you the balance is due. That's when you pay off the remaining amount.

 

I think RCCI or Carnival would be a good choice for the kids. They handle special needs kids every week, so as long as you go with your son and talk to the kid's counselors telling them about your son, there should be no problems.

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Hi Tina,

 

In your opening post, you said "most likely" would be taking the kids. Please don't misunderstand me, but if you and your husband can manage to take your first cruise alone together for your 10th anniversary, then do it. It will allow you two to investigate to see if your family is a crusing family. I would hate to see you invest the $$ and find out that maybe it was a bad idea for all of you. So, if you can get a sitter, you and your husband get out there and have fun and check things out for the kids first. That's just my opinion Tina. Whatever you guys decide, have a great cruise!!!!!!!!

 

Barry

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I agree with Barry. Since you've never cruised before, and it is for a very short period of time, and it's your anniversary, I highly recommend just you and hubby go. It won't cost you a lot of money, and you can experience everything that the ship has to offer and see if you like it or not. Be prepared tho........3 or 4 days will leave you wanting more! :D

 

If you do enjoy it, then you can come home and start planning the next one and make it a family cruise!

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Thanks everyone! I think what we are going to do is take a 4-5 night cruise next summer with the kids and then for our anniversay do a 7 night alone. I want to take them along because I think that they would just love it, but I think your right about going on the anniversary trip alone.

 

You guys have been helpful & we are going to talk to a travel agent soon about next summer.

Tina

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Just a comment on taking the kids. Ours are 14 & 20. We went on our first cruise a few years ago without the kids and decided that on our next one we would give them the option. We are going to Alaska this summer and neither of them wanted to go with us. The oldest felt that he wanted to wait until he was older, same with the 14 year old. They thought they would have more fun staying behind and doing activities with their friends. I should mention that they have traveled quite a bit for their age so perhaps a cruise doesn't carry the excitment that it does for us. Personally I would go without kids first so you get a feel for what cruising is about.

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Be careful with you TA choice. Ask questions! Make sure they are available to you when you have a question. Ask if they offer any perks. Let them know that you are asking other TA's so that you'll be sure to get the one that you feel you can work with best.

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Tina: I've sailed both Carnival and RCI, and although I travelled with a teen who wasn't interested in organized kids' programs, it did seem like Carnival was more geared for kids the age of yours. It has the added benefit of being more economical as well. :)

 

Welcome to the board, and post often -- no question is too big or too small.

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Just a couple of quick comments in things that new cruisers often do not realize:

 

Most ship cabins hold only 4 people, with a family of five you will need two cabins. Some of the older Carnival ships hold five, as do some of the larger family suites. But the older ships show their age and don't have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships, and the suites cost $$$.

 

A deposit is required (amount varies, but figure ~$250-$500 per person depending on line & length of cruise) and then FULL final payment is required 60-70 days before the trip. Unlike airfare and hotels, cruise purchases are fully non-refundable and non-transferable after certain time limits. So most people purchase travel insurance in case they need to cancel for medical reasons or other covered reasons. Policies vary, some cover any reason cancellations, some don't.

 

READ ALL THE FINE PRINT--many cruisers don't get around to the fine print in either the cruise contract or insurance contract until AFTER they have a problem. That is not the time to discover what is or is not covered or what is or is not part of the purchase price.

 

This site is a wealth of information--I suggest going to the main page and reading the first time cruisers resources, which will get you started with basic knowledge in most areas, and then come back to these boards when you have specific questions about your chosen ship or itinerary. Here is link to that page:

http://www.cruisecritic.com/ftc/

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Up until recently I swore that I would NEVER take a cruise.

Welcome Tina,

I just wanted you to know that I also felt JUST like you did about cruising and I recently returned from my first cruise this month. Loved it!!:D (My mom had planned to go with others and her roommate canceled... hence MY user ID name... Tagging Along. Boy am I ever glad I decided to go!)

 

The best news is that you are in the right place (Cruise Critic) and it's never to early to learn and start to get excited about cruising. I had all the same concerns as you & then some. Trust your sister, get to know people here and go for it with or without your kids. I have already booked my NEXT cruise if that tells you anything. I know that I was way more prepared and knew NOT to expect perfection etc etc all for all the great folks on this website that are here to help you. (Ignore the rest :cool: Ha!).

 

Andrea

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Welcome to the board Tina,

 

I went on my first cruise last Oct with my sister. I had a great time. I didn't bring my DH nor DS1 & DS2.

I am so glad I went with my sister (who had been on a previous cruises) because she told me all the in's and out's of cruising. Your smart joining this board before you cruise.

I have sense booked two cruises for myself and family. I may have been a fool but I did it through the cruise line and I'm pretty sure I got a pretty good deal. $1300/cruise (break down is $65 to $75/day pp) I can't even go to the shore here in NJ for that cheap.

I hope you are able to find a great cruise. Good Luck

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Thanks for the replies. We are still looking around at different TA's. I want to find a good one that might have some perks, but thanks to all of you I am going into this knowing more then I would if I would have just walked into the TA's office and booked a cruise. Now I know what kinds of questions to ask.

 

Thanks

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Just a couple of quick comments in things that new cruisers often do not realize:

 

... most people purchase travel insurance in case they need to cancel for medical reasons or other covered reasons. Policies vary, some cover any reason cancellations, some don't.

 

READ ALL THE FINE PRINT--many cruisers don't get around to the fine print in either the cruise contract or insurance contract until AFTER they have a problem. That is not the time to discover what is or is not covered or what is or is not part of the purchase price.

 

This site is a wealth of information--I suggest going to the main page and reading the first time cruisers resources, which will get you started with basic knowledge in most areas, and then come back to these boards when you have specific questions about your chosen ship or itinerary. Here is link to that page:

http://www.cruisecritic.com/ftc/

 

Hi cherylandtk,

 

I can't agree with you more. The saying "the devil is in the details" must've been created because of contracts.

 

For the OP: If you haven't read read this article on cruise critic about travel insurance, it's a good place to start: http://www.cruisecritic.com/cruiseplanning/articles.cfm?ID=274

 

In fact, look at any of the Cruise Critic articles for good advice: http://www.cruisecritic.com/cruiseplanning/

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Another suggestion: maybe you and the hubby could go in the off season (when children are in school) if you decide not to take the children? Cruises are cheaper when less people travel :) . We have sailed for $40 a day even! I can say that our Carnival cruise last November was cheaper when we booked it (around June or so) and the prices got higher as sailing day approached. Our T/A (transatlantic) in April kept going down of course! A good travel agent (get a cruise specialist and do question which lines they have sailed and how many times) will be able to guide you with prices and I do believe the first one, should indeed, be booked with a great agent! Good luck! :D

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