Honeymoon Discussions

How do I go about comparing cruises for our honeymoon??

Me and the Fiance are in the planning stages of our wedding. We've decided on a date (April 2016); mostly so we can afford it, be less stressed and he can have some vacation days racked up. He works for the state as a correctional officer. We agree on so many things and I love that we are planning our wedding together. We both have decided hands down we want to do a cruise for our honeymoon but we are open for other ideas. Is April a good month for one?

I like researching, planning, and making pro/con lists. The more I keep looking up things the more confused I get. My options are limited anyways simply because we live in NC and we dont want to drive more than 6 hours to get to a port. So our options are Charleston SC, Norfolk VA and Jacksonville Fl. Port Can FL is close to 8 hours for us. I kept ending up at Carnival. Those of you that have used them, would you recommend it? would you go again? 

Does anyone have any advice?

I want to have the least stressful trip and just enjoy each other. I understand the costs of some items like Wifi and Alcohol is extra. What websites are recommended to use? Should we book as far as a year in advance or wait til a little bit closer? I understand travel in that I have flown before many times. I want to make good decisions and not regret the trip. 

Anyways if anyone can recommend travel agents, websites, or other such things I do appreciate it. I just want to go about it the right way. Especially if there is a registry. Which if there is one, has anyone used it? whats your thoughts on it? 

Thank you deeply. 

Re: How do I go about comparing cruises for our honeymoon??

  • Cruise critic is a great website full of forums where you can ask people who have actually been on all ships and all itineraries. 

    April is a good time, except some weeks are spring break and school vacation which can jack up the prices. 

    Is flying an option? You said you want it to be stress free and I think that would really be achieved with a one hour flight to a better port rather a 6 hour drive to a not so great port. I prefer the southern Caribbean which normally depart out of San Juan. But that's just me. 

    I prefer Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, not Carnival. You should really go see a travel agent. My mom works for AAA and she's a cruise expert. Someone like her could really point you in the direction of everything you want and make sure to get you all the extras like free room upgrades. 

                                                                     

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    romanticoz
  • I haven't heard good things about Carnival, but loved Royal Caribbean. Remember, you get what you pay for!

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    romanticoz
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited November 2014
    Read the sticky I wrote at the top of this board about cruising.
    The cities you mention are not major cruise ports.  You will have many more options if you can take a short flight to Fort Lauderdale or Miami.  Southwest flies to Fort Lauderdale.
    Knot rules say we cannot recommend travel agents.  If you PM me, I cam share my on-line agent with anybody, but not on the open forum.  I have been very pleased with him, and have used him for years.
    You do get what you pay for.  You should talk to a good travel agent about what you want.  Some people love Carnival; others hate it.  It depends on who you are and what you enjoy.  Late Apeil would be better than early April because you will miss the spring break rush.
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    romanticoz
  • We used Carnival for our honeymoon and had the time of our lives. We did a European cruise (they don't offer those anymore). From what I've heard the Caribbean Carnival cruises tend to have more of a party atmosphere so depending on your personalities that might not be what you're looking for, or it might work for you. For us we were less concerned about the high quality of food, rooms, etc and more on being able to afford our dream honeymoon. To us the food, rooms, etc on the Sunshine were to our satisfaction, but it all depends on your expectations/taste. Once you decide what's most important in your cruise you can start to narrow down your choices. Like PP said, Cruise Critic is a great place to read some reviews.
    Vacation
  • I also agree that you get what you pay for.  We went on Royal Caribbean for our honeymoon and we have 3 more booked (we sail on 11/2!!!!).  As CMGr pointed out, you didn't mention major cruise ports of departure.  What about Baltimore or Port Canaveral?  Those would be your best driving options.  I wouldn't pay for Wifi if you don't have to...just turn off your phone and put it in your safe.  Cruise Critic is a good source but I belong to multiple Facebook groups for Royal Caribbean that are not administered by the company, just fans of cruising, and I find that to be far more helpful than Cruise Critic.  Once you determine the port you can get to easiest, determine your budget and the type of room you can afford and it should be easy from there.  I don't like using travel agents.  I'm a control freak and once a TA has your booking you can only work through them to make changes and you cannot contact the company directly.  I book directly on Royal Caribbean's website.  I don't know about Carnival but if you see a price drop prior to final payment you can call them and get them to match that price so if you monitor it, you'll save money.
  • I also notice you mention a registry...  Don't do a honeymoon or cruise registry.  It's rude to guests.  Please read the sticky about honeymoon registries.
    CMGragainromanticoz
  • mlg78 said:
    I also agree that you get what you pay for.  We went on Royal Caribbean for our honeymoon and we have 3 more booked (we sail on 11/2!!!!).  As CMGr pointed out, you didn't mention major cruise ports of departure.  What about Baltimore or Port Canaveral?  Those would be your best driving options.  I wouldn't pay for Wifi if you don't have to...just turn off your phone and put it in your safe.  Cruise Critic is a good source but I belong to multiple Facebook groups for Royal Caribbean that are not administered by the company, just fans of cruising, and I find that to be far more helpful than Cruise Critic.  Once you determine the port you can get to easiest, determine your budget and the type of room you can afford and it should be easy from there.  I don't like using travel agents.  I'm a control freak and once a TA has your booking you can only work through them to make changes and you cannot contact the company directly.  I book directly on Royal Caribbean's website.  I don't know about Carnival but if you see a price drop prior to final payment you can call them and get them to match that price so if you monitor it, you'll save money.
    Any travel agent will get you that same refund.  I have saved hundreds of dollars with mine.
    I discourage people from booking directly with any cruise line.  If you have a travel agent and something goes wrong, they have clout, and can negotiate for you.  If you book directly, there is nobody to advocate for you, and you will find yourself in a long line of complaining passengers with no pull at all.  It is like going to court without a lawyer.  Most cruises go smoothly, but if you are unlucky enough to have problems, you need a travel agent on your side.
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  • Just chiming in to say that, as a former travel agent, I'd never recommend Carnival unless you're on a serious budget. We used to refer to it as the Wal-Mart of cruise lines for good reason.

    You don't have to spend the money on a Crystal or even Celebrity cruise, by any means, but in my opinion it is worth the small increase in price to choose, say, Royal Caribbean (who are not high-end or anything either but do generally have a better standard of rooms, amenities, service, and food) instead. 

    Everyone is different and has different priorities, but honestly, in travel, the cheapest option is rarely the best value. Most of the time a small increase in price will net you a proportionally larger increase in comfort, style, and amenities. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    mlg78romanticoz
  • Thank you everyone for your responses... omg yall have been very helpful!
    mlg78
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