Honeymoon

Cruise tips from the Cruise Queen

CMGragainCMGragain
10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
member
edited December 2015 in Honeymoon
I love cruising.  It is one of the best bargain vacations available.  It isn't for everybody, but it suits me perfectly!
Cruising works best for people who are on a budget, and who want a great vacation experience with minimum planning and risk. If you want an in-depth cultural experience, getting to know the native lifestyle, cruising probably isn't for you.

There are a number of big cruise ship companies that do a great job.  They cater to different market segments.  Carnival is the largest, and cheapest. Mid-priced ship lines aren't much more, but have better  quality food, and a different passenger spectrum.  Young people generally like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian (more casual), Celebrity, and Princess.  If you are American/Canadian, I think you will be happiest on a ship with others so you don't have to deal with multiple languages.

There are four kinds of cabins.  All will have twin, convertible to queen sized beds, bathroom with marine toilet, sink and shower (tight fit!), TV, closet with hangers, drawers, mini-fridge, and in room safe for passports and jewelry.  The water is safe to drink.
1.  Inside cabin:  cheap and clean little area for sleeping.  No windows.  Central air keeps it cool.
2.  Ocean view cabin:  usually has a small picture window to let in light.  Cheaper cabins have a lifeboat obstructing part of the view.
3.  Balcony cabin:  you have a sliding glass door where you can walk outside and watch the water roll by.  It will have a small table and chairs, but isn't very private.  It is separated from the balcony space next door by a partition.  Sunbathing might be possible, or not, but there are security cameras out there, so don't go topless unless you want to be entertainment for the crew.  The best advantage is that you can open the door and smell the fresh air.  Smoking is forbidden on most balconies, and even in some cabins.  (Big fines!)
4.  Mini-suites:  balcony cabin with more space, larger balconies, and sometimes bathtubs instead of the tiny showers.

ALL CABINS GET THE SAME FOOD, SAME ENTERTAINMENT, SAME CRUISE!

Cruise fare are incredibly cheap.  In order to stay in business, the cruise ships need to persuade you to spend more money.  This is your choice.  You can have a great cruise without spending extra money, but you need to know what to expect.  You don't need cash while on board ship.  They give you a plastic ID card, and swipe it to charge to your account.  Bring cash when on land.

Extras:
1.  Port charges are paid by the cruise ship line to the port in which the ship is docked.  The ship passes this on to you.  You have to pay it when you pay for your cruise.  They don't profit on this.
2.  Hotel charge (tips):  The crew works unbelievably long hours to make your cruise the best vacation possible.  They are not paid much at all.  At the end of the cruise, they will split up the hotel charge among the crew so it is fair for everybody.  Normal charge is about $24 per day, per couple.  It adds up.  Technically, you don't have to pay this at all, but that is considered to be one of the rudest, cheapest things you can do.  These people are depending on those tips.  Pay them!  We usually give a little extra to our cabin steward.  Since the tips are now handled automatically by the ship, you don't need to worry about passing out tips on the last night personally, as was customary in the old days.
3.  Alcohol is extra.  Watch your bar bill.  SOME cruise lines allow you to bring on a bottle of wine or champaigne to drink, but not hard liquor.
4.  Soft drinks are extra.  There are packages you can buy if you have to have your Cola every day, but that is up to you.
5.  Coffee and tea are free in the buffet and the dining room, but there are coffee shops where you can get better specialty coffee for extra.
6.  There are small shops selling clothing, souvenirs, travel necessities, and their prices are outrageous!  Don't buy anything on the ship.  Bring your own meds!
7.  Stay out of the casino.  'Nuff said.
8.  There is a lot of free entertainment on board, including musical reviews, magic shows, movies, dance classes, trivia contests. music and dancing.  Shipboard wi-fi is slow, frustrating and limited, and it is not free.  There is a computer center for important communication, but don't try to do your normal load of work.  They'll help you print your airline boarding passes, though.
9.  There are specialty restaurants with extra charge if you want a romantic dinner for two.  The food in the dining room is very good, and it is paid for, but you will probably sit at a table with other passengers.  It is fun to meet different people.  The Lido deck has the buffet.  Quality varies there.  Burgers and pizza is usually served poolside.  Bars are everywhere ($).
10.  Many cruise lines will try to sell you art at "champagne art auctions".  Stay far, far away!  Not worth your time! 
11.  Do spend money on at least one shore excursion.  The ship knows what you want to see, and they will make sure that you do - if you pay.  If you book through the ship, they will guarantee to wait for your group to return before sailing away.  If you book independently and the tour bus breaks down, they won't wait for you.  I think it is worth it to have peace of mind.  You can book your excursion on line, several month before you cruise.
12.  Many cruises feature a day at a private beach.  Lovely, and cheap!  Enjoy, but watch your sun exposure.
13.  The ship's spa costs about twice as much as you would expect to pay on land, and they will try to sell you beauty treatments.
14.  The ship's photographers will be asking you to pose for pictures.  Their prices are sky high!  Bring your own camera, and ask other passengers to take shots of you two together.  Those are your best souvenirs!
15.  The use of the ship's gym equipment is free.
16.  If you have a medical emergency, there is a doctor on board.  His services are not included in your fare.  ALWAYS buy trip insurance!  I was on a ship where a young girl was helicoptered off the ship for an emergency appendectomy!  If her parents hadn't bought the insurance, the bill would have been ten times the cruise fare!  It happens!
17.  Most electronic gaming systems are in the children's area, and this is out of bounds for adults, just as the bars are forbidden to the kids.  They are very strict about this.
18.  There will be "shopping presentations" on board where a crew member will tell you all the best places to shop.  Bull!  They tell you about all the stores that pay them a percentage to be recommended.  Especially in the Caribbean, you will be told about stores with names like "Diamonds, International" and "Columbian Emeralds".  These stores are affiliated with the cruise line.  They are not local.  There are no diamond mines in the Caribbean.  Except for a souvenir pair of earrings or a silver bracelet, spend your money with your trusted jeweler back home.
19.  Smoking - rules vary.  The trend is to ban smoking in most places, including cabins and private balconies.  Fines are big!  There are some designated smoking areas around the ship.  The Casino is one of them, but the cruise industry has discovered that there are a lot of people who won't go there if it is smoky, so they designate non-smoking nights in the casino to try and lure passengers in to their most profitable activity!  There is a least one bar where smoking is permitted, and a designated pool area on the Lido deck.  Don't even THINK about smoking marijuana!  The captain can have you arrested, confined to a locked cabin, and delivered to the authorities at the next port!
20.  No-no items.  Hard liquor, illegal drugs (duh!), electric irons, coffee makers, candles.
21.  Good stuff to bring - extension cord, collapsible laundry basket, your own laundry detergent, US quarters (laundry machines), water bottle, a lanyard to hold  your plastic cruise card, camera, meds.

Dress codes:  This varies with the cruise ship.  Usually, shorts and tees are frowned on for dinner in the formal dining room, but are OK in the buffet.  Most lines (except Norwegian) have a formal night.  Cocktail garb is usual.  (Little black dress.)  Tuxedos are rarely seen these days, thanks to airline luggage limits.

I think cruising is one of the most fantastic, stress free vacations ever!  I have been all over the world on cruise ships in perfect comfort without overspending.  Prices vary by season.  When kids are out of school, prices zoom upwards.  This is hard on teachers - I used to be one.  Holiday prices are highest, but if you can wait a week, they will plummet.  Cheap cruising times are before (USA) Thanksgiving, before Christmas break, and early January for the Caribbean; late spring and early fall for Europe and Alaska. 
I always use a travel agent.  If something goes wrong, I call my agent, and he calls the cruise line to fix it.  Without a travel agent to represent me, I am just one of a long line of complaining passengers, without much power.  All on line booking services are travel agents.  They are paid a commission by the cruise line, just like a local travel agent. Sometimes they can get you perks, like a free bottle of wine, or credit to pay your shipboard bills.  Most prices are comparable.
I hope I have answered some of your cruise questions.  My daughter took an Alaska cruise for her honeymoon, and she loved it!  Happy honeymoon!
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Re: Cruise tips from the Cruise Queen

  • @Knotporscha, could you consider making this a sticky?  It is a lot of work to post it, and I do get lots of cruise questions.  Thanks!
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  • MegIAmMegIAm
    10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    WOW! I have been debating on honeymoon options for what seems months now. I keep flipping between all-inclusive swanky resort or budget friendly cruise. You have just helped me immensely and we live so close to a port. My only reservation with a cruise is the length of time I'm traveling and not on a beach. Did you ever have that worry before you became a "cruiser"? :)
  • I would also suggest shoreexcursionsgroup.com for port tours. We've had amazing experiences using them! They often don't get as many customers so your groups will likely be smaller and more intimate. We booked a tour in New Zealand through them for the same price as a ship's tour and ended up with only three other couples. We has so much extra flexibility and time because of this that the guide stopped at several extra sites. They also guarantee to have you back to your ship on time.

    Also, use cruisecritic.com to research which ports will absolutely require organized excursions (Rome, Florence/Pisa, Nice/Monaco, Lanzarote) and which don't necessarily (Barcelona, Naples, Sydney, Auckland, Funchal, Casablanca, Nassau).

    And lastly, don't automatically discount a private car and driver because of the cost. H and I went this route in Morocco and were so glad we did. It was twice the price as the ships tours, but we had an amazing customized experience plus the bonus of a translator. Worth every penny and then some!!
    blueberrymuffin17
  • MegIAm said:
    WOW! I have been debating on honeymoon options for what seems months now. I keep flipping between all-inclusive swanky resort or budget friendly cruise. You have just helped me immensely and we live so close to a port. My only reservation with a cruise is the length of time I'm traveling and not on a beach. Did you ever have that worry before you became a "cruiser"? :)
    Usually, the ship sails at night while you are sleeping, and you wake up at a new port in the morning.  The cruise director will give you information about how to get to a good beach by yourself.  Just be sure and be back before sailing time.
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  • @CMGragain‌ do you have feedback on windstar cruise line? Smaller, more upscale yacht cruise ship. We are considering them for our honeymoon but haven't found anyone else who has done it. Have you been on one or know anyone who has and have any feedback? Thanks!
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  • Go over to the http://www.cruisecritic.com board.  They have places where you can post questions about specific lines.  I have always heard excellent things about Windstar, which is an unusual cruise line geared to active people.
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  • mlg78mlg78
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    MegIAm said:
    WOW! I have been debating on honeymoon options for what seems months now. I keep flipping between all-inclusive swanky resort or budget friendly cruise. You have just helped me immensely and we live so close to a port. My only reservation with a cruise is the length of time I'm traveling and not on a beach. Did you ever have that worry before you became a "cruiser"? :)
    My husband is a total beach/pool kinda guy whereas I like to be active and sightsee or do activities so that's why cruising works really well for us.  We both get our fix...  Personally, I hate beaches and the way sand gets in everything.  I much prefer pools and the adults only Solarium pool that Royal Caribbean has (and I'm sure most lines have the same equivalent) is always a nice spot for us.


  • mlg78mlg78
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    CMGragain said:
    Go over to the http://www.cruisecritic.com board.  They have places where you can post questions about specific lines.  I have always heard excellent things about Windstar, which is an unusual cruise line geared to active people.
    Cruise Critic is a great resource.  I also look for Facebook groups.  I'm in two very large Facebook groups for Royal Caribbean and there's an abundance of knowledge and I continue to learn new things about RCI and the cruising industry all the time!


  • @CMGragain‌ thabks for turning me on to cruise critic which has helped me in my research today immensely. We cruised once about 4 years ago on royal Caribbean and we liked it but not the itenirary we chose. Hopefully we'll have better luck this time.
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    CMGragain
  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Can we also get it "closed" so the good advice doesn't get hidden in pages and pages of questions?
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  • MegIAmMegIAm
    10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    @mlg78 can anyone pop into those Facebook groups? If so, do you mind sharing or sending me a PM with a link?
  • we booked our honey cruise

    8 days to the caribean

     

     

     

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    CMGragain
  • A seasoned cruise veteran (now retired from cruising) offering her two-cents.
    CMGragain said:
    Extras:
    1.  Port charges are paid by the cruise ship line to the port in which the ship is docked.  The ship passes this on to you.  You have to pay it when you pay for your cruise.  They don't profit on this.
    2.  Hotel charge (tips):  The crew works unbelievably long hours to make your cruise the best vacation possible.  They are not paid much at all.  At the end of the cruise, they will split up the hotel charge among the crew so it is fair for everybody.  Normal charge is about $24 per day, per couple.  It adds up.  Technically, you don't have to pay this at all, but that is considered to be one of the rudest, cheapest things you can do.  These people are depending on those tips.  Pay them!  We usually give a little extra to our cabin steward.  Since the tips are now handled automatically by the ship, you don't need to worry about passing out tips on the last night personally, as was customary in the old days. We usually tipped extra for above and beyond service. Those people who cook your food, make your bed, and entertain you make peanuts, and because the cruiselines are "flagged" in other countries, they can legally get away with this because they don't have to adhere to U.S. Labor laws. Don't remove the tips from your account and be a cheapass. Karma will come back and smite you.
    3.  Alcohol is extra.  Watch your bar bill.  SOME cruise lines allow you to bring on a bottle of wine or champaigne to drink, but not hard liquor. If you do bring your own wine, they will charge you a corkage fee if you want to bring it to dinner. Be sure to check out the your cruiseline website for specifics on the amount you can bring in.
    4.  Soft drinks are extra.  There are packages you can buy if you have to have your Cola every day, but that is up to you.
    5.  Coffee and tea are free in the buffet and the dining room, but there are coffee shops where you can get better specialty coffee for extra.
    6.  There are small shops selling clothing, souvenirs, travel necessities, and their prices are outrageous!  Don't buy anything on the ship.  Bring your own meds! We found some prices to be reasonable. Wait for the times they have sales if you want to splurge on souvenirs. However, you're going to pay out the nose for sunscreen.
    7.  Stay out of the casino.  'Nuff said. Some people like casinos. I think as long as people know the risks, and are okay with parting from money, knock yourself out. I'm told the slots are loosest at the beginning of the cruise, but then could be heresay.
    8.  There is a lot of free entertainment on board, including musical reviews, magic shows, movies, dance classes, trivia contests. music and dancing.  Shipboard wi-fi is slow, frustrating and limited, and it is not free.  There is a computer center for important communication, but don't try to do your normal load of work.  They'll help you print your airline boarding passes, though. Agreed. If you dock in American ports (Key West, St Thomas), you can usually hook into the local wi-fi for free). Take advantage of the contests and stuff.
    9.  There are specialty restaurants with extra charge if you want a romantic dinner for two.  The food in the dining room is very good, and it is paid for, but you will probably sit at a table with other passengers.  It is fun to meet different people.  The Lido deck has the buffet.  Quality varies there.  Burgers and pizza is usually served poolside.  Bars are everywhere ($). We always tried the specialty restaurants and found the food and service to be well above that of the main dining room. At $35 a person, you can't get a meal like this on the mainland. If anything, just do it once on your cruise for a special, intimate night. Also, if you decide you hate your dining companions, or just want a different table, see the Matre D. He can usually get you squared away.
    10.  Many cruise lines will try to sell you art at "champagne art auctions".  Stay far, far away!  Not worth your time!  Don't buy the art, but stay for the free bubbly.
    11.  Do spend money on at least one shore excursion.  The ship knows what you want to see, and they will make sure that you do - if you pay.  If you book through the ship, they will guarantee to wait for your group to return before sailing away.  If you book independently and the tour bus breaks down, they won't wait for you.  I think it is worth it to have peace of mind.  You can book your excursion on line, several month before you cruise. Cruiselines charge almost double what local outfitters charge for the same excursion. You can find plentiful recommendations online (cruise critic being a good resource, just check out the port of calls board) True, the ship will not wait for you if you are late, but the only time I ever heard that was an issue was when a bus on a "ship sanctioned tour: in Belize rear-ended a garbage truck (due to faulty brakes) and stranded passengers three hours away. I've always used outside tour operaters, and have consistently had better experiences, for half the money, than those who booked through the cruise ship.
    12.  Many cruises feature a day at a private beach.  Lovely, and cheap!  Enjoy, but watch your sun exposure.
    13.  The ship's spa costs about twice as much as you would expect to pay on land, and they will try to sell you beauty treatments. If you get there early, sometimes you can get free treatments as part of the spa tour. Also, salon appointments fill up quick on formal nights.
    14.  The ship's photographers will be asking you to pose for pictures.  Their prices are sky high!  Bring your own camera, and ask other passengers to take shots of you two together.  Those are your best souvenirs! One caveat, the ship doesn't allow for personal use of their backdrops and props.
    15.  The use of the ship's gym equipment is free. But be sure to use the disinfectant wipes on the equipment, lest you take home ringworm.
    16.  If you have a medical emergency, there is a doctor on board.  His services are not included in your fare.  ALWAYS buy trip insurance!  I was on a ship where a young girl was helicoptered off the ship for an emergency appendectomy!  If her parents hadn't bought the insurance, the bill would have been ten times the cruise fare!  It happens! Ship infirmaries don't take your personal health insurance (the medical staff are subcontractors to the cruiseline). You can pay them out of pocket, and then hope your insurance company reimburses you when you get home. Buy the travel insurance!
    17.  Most electronic gaming systems are in the children's area, and this is out of bounds for adults, just as the bars are forbidden to the kids.  They are very strict about this.
    18.  There will be "shopping presentations" on board where a crew member will tell you all the best places to shop.  Bull!  They tell you about all the stores that pay them a percentage to be recommended.  Especially in the Caribbean, you will be told about stores with names like "Diamonds, International" and "Columbian Emeralds".  These stores are affiliated with the cruise line.  They are not local.  There are no diamond mines in the Caribbean.  Except for a souvenir pair of earrings or a silver bracelet, spend your money with your trusted jeweler back home. At these shopping talks, they do give away free stuff. So, that is a plus. Also, You can get freebies from shops in port by being a passenger (by showing your pass). Not high-quality stuff, but if you have young neices that love jewelry, it's a cool little gift. I have purchased loose stones from jewelers abroad and brought them back home for mounting. You do cut some cost with that, but it has more to do with U.S. Cutoms.
    19.  Smoking - rules vary.  The trend is to ban smoking in most places, including cabins and private balconies (fires have been started by inconsiderate asshats that smoke on their balcony and flick their butts "out to sea"). Fines are big!  There are some designated smoking areas around the ship.  The Casino is one of them, but the cruise industry has discovered that there are a lot of people who won't go there if it is smoky, so they designate non-smoking nights in the casino to try and lure passengers in to their most profitable activity!  There is a least one bar where smoking is permitted, and a designated pool area on the Lido deck.  Don't even THINK about smoking marijuana! (But Cuban cigars are fine...just make sure you smoke it before you get back to US soil)  The captain can have you arrested, confined to a locked cabin, and delivered to the authorities at the next port!
    20.  No-no items.  Hard liquor, illegal drugs (duh!), electric irons, coffee makers, candles. Flat irons, blow dryers, curling irons, electric shavers okay.
    21.  Good stuff to bring - extension cord Power strip works best, collapsible laundry basket, your own laundry detergent, US quarters (laundry machines), water bottle (Big insulated or Tervis cup for days lounging by the pool (ship only has small 12 oz cups), a lanyard to hold  your plastic cruise card, camera, meds. Crystal lite or drink drops if you are not a soda person, and want more than just water all week, phone/tablet/camera chargers.

    Dress codes:  This varies with the cruise ship.  Usually, shorts and tees are frowned on for dinner in the formal dining room, but are OK in the buffet.  Most lines (except Norwegian) have a formal night.  Cocktail garb is usual.  (Little black dress.)  Tuxedos are rarely seen these days, thanks to airline luggage limits.General rule of thub: pack your suitcase, remove half the clothing, that is all you will need. I've gone from taking two large suitcases to just traveling with a carry-on suitcase. It's pretty awesome.

    I think cruising is one of the most fantastic, stress free vacations ever!  I have been all over the world on cruise ships in perfect comfort without overspending.  Prices vary by season.  When kids are out of school, prices zoom upwards.  This is hard on teachers - I used to be one.  Holiday prices are highest, but if you can wait a week, they will plummet.  Cheap cruising times are before (USA) Thanksgiving, before Christmas break, and early January for the Caribbean; late spring and early fall for Europe and Alaska. Also, be mindful when booking during hurricane season. You run a higher risk of missing ports due to weather.
    I always use a travel agent (some travel agents deal exclusively with cruises...google is your friend).  If something goes wrong, I call my agent, and he calls the cruise line to fix it.  Without a travel agent to represent me, I am just one of a long line of complaining passengers, without much power.  All on line booking services are travel agents.  They are paid a commission by the cruise line, just like a local travel agent. Sometimes they can get you perks, like a free bottle of wine, or credit to pay your shipboard bills.  Most prices are comparable.
    I hope I have answered some of your cruise questions.  My daughter took an Alaska cruise for her honeymoon, and she loved it!  Happy honeymoon!
      Cruising is a great option to get your feet wet with travel. Visit the islands, see which ones like, return later for extended visits. Cruising is also ideal for the budget conscious, but remember to read the fine print. Traveling with your room is nice. However, if you live life on schedule, you may not like cruising because everything is about schedules. The times you eat, how long you get to stay on a island. Cruising isn't for everyone, so do your research before you book.
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited September 2014
    Just one note:  the rules on small electric appliances are changing!  I had my curling iron confiscated on my last Holland America cruise.  :-(
    @headhurt, why are you now retiring from cruising?  Just curious.
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  • CMGragain said:
    Just one note:  the rules on small electric appliances are changing!  I had my curling iron confiscated on my last Holland America cruise.  :-(
    @headhurt, why are you now retiring from cruising?  Just curious.

    That figures. Not surprised CCL would go the route to confiscating curling irons. I bet they would encourage you to use their salon if you need to style your hair.

    As for us retiring from cruising...we just grew weary with it. First cruise was awesome, and the service was amazing, the food fantastic. But with each one after, we found the quality becoming less and less. We even tried a cruise line that touted itself as being more luxurious, and found the differences to be minimal, definitely not worth the extra cost. Cruiselines are making cuts to improve their profit margins, and we noticed (and we're not alone in this) that some of those cuts really diminished what made cruises special to begin with. The breaking point was definitely the last cruise. FI and myself have jobs in which being on a tight schedule is paramount, and we found that being on a cruise closely reflected that. Had to be up by a certain time if you wanted to have breakfast, had to get up early if you wanted a chair by the pool, had to eat dinner at a certain time, had only a limited time in port before you had to be back on the ship. What was really the final straw was when we had to get up at 6:30AM to go through customs once we arrived in Key West. We came back from vacation more exhausted than when we left, not even feeling like we were just on a week-long vacation. We decided that we had seen enough of the islands to know which ones we liked, which ones we hated, and would do all-inclusives for the time being.

  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited September 2014
    I had the same thought about my curling iron!  LOL!

    We usually do Princess and Holland America.  Both those lines have flexible eating times, and they enforce their pool chair policy.  (If you aren't in it after half an hour, they take your stuff and let another passenger sit there.)

    I know that Royal Caribbean doesn't have the flexible dining policy, which is one reason why we've never tried it.  DH wants to eat when he feels like it - which is usually all the time!  We have done the Caribbean.  Most of our cruises are overseas.  DH is a very nervous traveler, and cruise ships give him the opportunity to see exotic locations without worrying about strange hotels, unsafe water, or native food.  He orders steak or roast beef every night.  Next cruise - Singapore!
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  • CMGragain said:
    I had the same thought about my curling iron!  LOL!

    We usually do Princess and Holland America.  Both those lines have flexible eating times, and they enforce their pool chair policy.  (If you aren't in it after half an hour, they take your stuff and let another passenger sit there.)

    I know that Royal Caribbean doesn't have the flexible dining policy, which is one reason why we've never tried it.  DH wants to eat when he feels like it - which is usually all the time!  We have done the Caribbean.  Most of our cruises are overseas.  DH is a very nervous traveler, and cruise ships give him the opportunity to see exotic locations without worrying about strange hotels, unsafe water, or native food.  He orders steak or roast beef every night.  Next cruise - Singapore!
    This is incorrect. RCI has "My Time Dining" so you can dine whenever you want but they also have separate early and late dining for traditional cruisers.


  • .Good to know!  This must be a recent change, since this option had been very popular for CCL and NCL.
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  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    CMGragain said:
    .Good to know!  This must be a recent change, since this option had been very popular for CCL and NCL.
    They have had it for several years now (maybe three or four?).   We tried it a few weeks ago on a 3-night cruise and liked it.  

    Between 5:30-9:30 (or similar hours) you can eat dinner in the main dining room.  You can make reservations if you want, but they aren't necessary.  We never had to wait for a table.  You can ask to sit with others if you want, but we chose just to do a table for two.  The tables were 6 inches from each other which did make it a little awkward, do you say hello?  Do you pretend they aren't sitting there?  lol
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    mlg78
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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    AprilH81 said:
    CMGragain said:
    .Good to know!  This must be a recent change, since this option had been very popular for CCL and NCL.
    They have had it for several years now (maybe three or four?).   We tried it a few weeks ago on a 3-night cruise and liked it.  

    Between 5:30-9:30 (or similar hours) you can eat dinner in the main dining room.  You can make reservations if you want, but they aren't necessary.  We never had to wait for a table.  You can ask to sit with others if you want, but we chose just to do a table for two.  The tables were 6 inches from each other which did make it a little awkward, do you say hello?  Do you pretend they aren't sitting there?  lol
    The cruise we went on had several 2 person tables with a railing on one side (that overlooked the lower dining room) and the aisle/walkway on the other side.  We loved the privacy so much (I HATE those tables with 6 inches between!) that we immediately went to the maitre d afterwards to ask for that table each night.  We had anytime dining, but we did consistently go down around the same time each night to ensure he could hold it for us, but that's definitely an option.  If you see a table you like at the anytime dining, even if you're not sitting at it, get the table number and then talk to the maitre d.
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited September 2014
    We are just the opposite.  We like to meet new people.  A huge table is a problem for DH because he is hard of hearing, but a table for six is just perfect.  We have met fascinating people over the past 12 years.  We only had two stinkers, and since we sat with different people every night, we never had to eat with them again.

    The first was a British couple.  The wife was a dead ringer for Hyacinth Bucket from "Keeping Up Appearances".  She complained that the captain didn't meet them at boarding to shake their hands!  LOL!  She whined about everything.

    The second was a born again Christian who seriously told me that God had sent her on that cruise on a mission to convert the heathen crew members!  You should have seen the faces of the others at the table when she dropped that bombshell!  Her poor cabin stewards!  She was also scandalized that alcohol was being served on board, and that some of the entertainment was risque!  I had so much trouble keeping a straight face.

    Try sharing a table at least once.  I met the man who was Frank Sinatra's personal butler that way.  Now, THAT was a fun night!  I can eat with DH anytime!
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    CharmedPamcowgirl8238
  • CMGragain said:
    We are just the opposite.  We like to meet new people.  A huge table is a problem for DH because he is hard of hearing, but a table for six is just perfect.  We have met fascinating people over the past 12 years.  We only had two stinkers, and since we sat with different people every night, we never had to eat with them again.

    The first was a British couple.  The wife was a dead ringer for Hyacinth Bucket from "Keeping Up Appearances".  She complained that the captain didn't meet them at boarding to shake their hands!  LOL!  She whined about everything.

    The second was a born again Christian who seriously told me that God had sent her on that cruise on a mission to convert the heathen crew members!  You should have seen the faces of the others at the table when she dropped that bombshell!  Her poor cabin stewards!  She was also scandalized that alcohol was being served on board, and that some of the entertainment was risque!  I had so much trouble keeping a straight face.

    Try sharing a table at least once.  I met the man who was Frank Sinatra's personal butler that way.  Now, THAT was a fun night!  I can eat with DH anytime!
    I LOVE sharing tables! My husband isn't nearly as social as I am so he rolls his eyes at me and puts up with it :)  While on our honeymoon I met a woman at our table and she and I have become quite close and we have booked a cruise for October 2016 together!  My mom met a family last September on a cruise and they're joining us on our Alaska cruise in May. 


    CMGragain
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    member
    Lovely thread!
    CMGragain
  • Not to be Debbie Downer, but be weary of cruises if you sensitive to motion sickness. I thought I would be Ok with Dramaine and Bonine....no dice. ANY time the ship was in motion, I was nauseous.
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited May 2015

    Not to be Debbie Downer, but be weary of cruises if you sensitive to motion sickness. I thought I would be Ok with Dramaine and Bonine....no dice. ANY time the ship was in motion, I was nauseous.

    I think you mean "wary"?  Yes, cruises are not for everybody.  Modern cruise ships have computer controlled systems that help minimize motion, but if you are very sensitive to motion sickness, cruising may not be ideal for you.  Alaska is much calmer than open water cruises.  The Mediterranean is usually calmer than the Atlantic.  Cabins on the lower decks are not only cheaper, but they have less motion.
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  • cstar1015cstar1015
    25 Love Its Second Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited June 2015
    @CMGragain - I'm the same way as well! Every year since college graduation, my mom and I have taken a mother/daughter cruise for a week in the Caribbean - almost exclusively RCCL (Celebrity once, which is the same company). We've met some amazing people on cruise ships and have had great stories. We actually invited 4 people to my wedding who we've met on those trips, and 2 are coming  - the one couple that we became close friends with took me out on my destination Bachelorette! :)

    I'll add another tip --for the drink packages on RCCL if you're debating to get one - the cruise ship will almost always win - with one exception - if you're a wine drinker. In small print, it says it'll comp any drink up to $12 per drink, and if your ship has a fancy wine bar, I was taking down bottles that were $35 at home/$90 on the ship, one drink at a time! If you're not a wine drinker and over the age where hangovers last 2 hours or less, then the drink package is not worth it. You'll hit it hard day 1-2, and then stop drinking by the end.
    CMGragain
  • decembergrl2014decembergrl2014 NYC!!!
    250 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited August 2015
    I was always interested in cruises since my parents used to take them all the time. They always took Norwegian Cruises since they leave from NY a lot, and my father had a fear of flying. H and I just got back from our Hawaiian honeymoon, 2/3 of it was a cruise. (We spent 3 nights in Honolulu before the cruise.) We LOVED it!!! We got to see all of the major islands. Granted, we didn't see everything, but we saw highlights of each island. We would recommend it to anyone. This was my second cruise, and DH's first. Halfway through this cruise, we booked one for next summer! We will be taking the kids and going on a cruise to Bermuda for a week. An extra bonus is that since the cruise already leaves from NY, we won't have to fly. Anyone that is interested in a cruise, I say go for it!

    Anniversary

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  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited August 2015
    ALL online sites like Vacations to Go, Expedia, Travelocity and store sites like AAA, Costco, and Sam's Club ARE TRAVEL AGENCIES!  They are getting the same commission that your local agent gets from the cruise line.  For heaven's sake, chose an agent who will give you some personal service.  It costs you nothing, and you will not get a better deal by booking directly with the cruise line.
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  • Update on cruising for late 2015-2016.  Due to falling fuel prices, cruise lines are attracting customers with premium packages, including "free" drink packages, covering tips (my favorite), and complimentary special dinner for two at the specialty restaurants.  Will they lower fares?  No.  They give you something that won't cost them as much.
    Anybody who is looking for a cruise honeymoon/vacation take notice.  This is a good time to book.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    ChelleJayne
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