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Trying to book 1st Cruise


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Hi Everyone! This is my first post and I am in the process of trying to book a first cruise for my family for next April 2010 spring break.


Here's my background: Me and DH (mid/late 30's) and DS-will be 9 at time of cruise. I spent several weeks doing some research and we all narrowed it down to NCL Pearl Eastern. I booked it. Mini suite aft cabin facing outward off the back of the ship(awesome stateroom!!!)-we were SO totally excited and then the next day found out that our spring break was not the week after Easter next year...it will be the 3rd week of April.:eek: I'm a teacher, so I have to go when the spring break is. So, I raced to the NCL site hoping that we could just move the cruise to the 3rd week. No such luck. The Pearl starts a 14 day repo cruise after the one we were booked on. Now, I'm sick to my stomach-not because of the deposit-I know that is fully refundable-but because we really felt that this cruisline, this ship, this itinary, this stateroom were perfect for us. So after doing a search on NCL, there was NOTHING available in the Caribbean that week but a 5 day western. We aren't interested in a 5 day. We really want a 7 day. Even the agent I spoke with when I cancelled at first thought we could find something else, but we couldn't. It's just that time of year when they are repositioning the ships.


So, now I'm starting all over again and really having a hard time. I've narrowed it down to RCCL and Princess because of the kid's programs. I looked at Carnival-and no offense to anyone-but it just didn't appeal to us at all. Looked at Disney-but no 7 night cruises that week-just 3 and 4 day. Looked at Celebrity-but no 7 night that week. On the one hand, they are all nice I'm sure, but I'm just not getting the "wow" factor like I was getting with the Norweigan Pearl.


Some of the things that were attractive to us on the Pearl:

my son was really excited about the yellow twisty pool slide, the bowling alleys, the 2 story wii, the room. He also prefered the Eastern itinary and the private island stop.

Me and DH: the room and location, freestyle dining, the price (about 800-1000 less than what I'm finding for RCCL and Princess for 3rd week) Eastern itinary and private island stop, 12 different restaurants to choose from-incl. sushi bar, the kids program


So, now on the one hand I think we should go with Princess because we can pick the Anytime Dining and the itineries have private island stops vs. RCCL that don't have private island stops when we are able to cruise and they have a more traditional dining situation. But, the Princess ship just looks really plain and sort of boring to me. And RCCL looks almost like too much-too big, (example...everyone eating in one dining room for the most part) too sports/physical activity centered...too crowded, too much stimulation for me. It looks overwhelming. The "stuff" that is a big draw for RCCL just isn't a draw for us: Johnny Rockets-got one here in town and rarely go to it, Flo Rider-don't care, ice rink-wouldn't use it...The mini golf looks way better on RCCL than Princess though and we would use that. The Sanctuary on Princess looks nicer than the Solarium on RCCL-but fees involved for the Sanctuary-but looks like it might be worth it.


I just don't know what the right move is. Sorry for the long, rambling post.:o

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RCI has started My Time Dining on most of the ships, so you can have that freedom, if you want.

Since this is a 1st cruise, I think you'll be "wowed" on ANY line! (Not sure why NCL was your 1st choice!!!)

You may want to contact a travel agent to help you make the right "pick" for you---using a TA will allow you to compare all the brochures and options "side by side"....

Things like mini-golf, and the solarium shouldn't be the deciding factor--all will be fine for a week's vacation!

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You are right-I should see a TA!


Really? NCL isn't considered as nice? Between looking at the 3 different web sites, CC Reviews and reviews from friends made me come to our choice. That's the thing that is frustrating me-how can I possibly make this decision? I guess a TA would be helpful.


How about this-when we go to Walt Disney World we stay at the Wilderness Lodge-it is a deluxe resort-but the least expensive of the deluxes, we don't stay at the Grand Floridian, but we don't stay at the moderates or the values...so what cruise line is for us?

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You would probably love NCL, They have Freestyle and are the least formal of the lot. but also Royal Caribbean, or Princess. Celebrity is more traditional, and now has no smoking in all cabins and balconies. HAL is also more formal than the first three I mentioned.


Be sure you read all you can on each line before you decide.

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I have only been on Carnival & RCI. On our last Carnival Cruise, Liberty, they had 600 kids & we hardly saw any of them. They were all busy at Camp Carnival. I think Celebrity may be boring for a 9 year old, from what I've read. I don't hear good things about Norwegian but someone must like it, they're still floating & building. We are in our 50's but have a 9 yo granddaughter & she'd love Carnival.

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