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NWR: Cruise question

Hi ladies. FI and I are planning on going on a cruise either January or March but we've never been on a cruise so I need some help. We would like to go with Carnival, any good/bad reviews? Also do you have a TA that you enjoyed working with? Is it better to book on your own or use a TA? Anything I should know in general? Thanks ladies :-))

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Re: NWR: Cruise question

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    Hi Pam! FI has only cruised Royal Caribbean, and I've only cruised Carnival. I like carnival because the leave out of ports that are local (well like a 5 hr. drive) to me. And I like the shorter cruises. I've taken a 3 day, a 4 day and a 5 day cruise with them and I enjoyed it each time!! :) I suppose it's really up to where you want to cruise to and what cruise line services that destination. I've found that I've gotten better prices with Carnival when booking on my own! I don't think I'll ever go thru a TA again. Even with the wedding, I got a much better group rate than the TA had to offer! Hope this helps... and again, this is just my personal opinion! :)
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    Thanks Shelli. Did you book through their website?

    Wedding Bio

    New Married Blog
    Anniversary BabyFruit Ticker ~Pamela&Steven~6.25.2011~PuntaCana,DR~ image
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    No problem! And yes I did. Actually, I did all my research on line, then I called and spoke to someone personally. I'm finiky that way and always, always, always make sure I get someone IRL to book and confirm with. I don't trust ANY website at all!!!
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    FI and I cruised with Carnival in '06.  It was our only cruise and we LOVED it!  I practically lived on cruisemates.com the year before our cruise.  There are message boards dedicated to each port, to family cruisers, weddings on board, and each specific cruise line.  We booked directly through Carnival as well, but there are places online that you can get them for cheaper.  We'll look into that for our next cruise for sure.My only advice would be, since this is your first cruise (and I'm assuming you'll have a child with you) that you book your excursions through the cruise line, not from independent companies.  The independent companies might be a few bucks cheaper ($20pp for them vs $25 or $30 on Carnival) but Carnival requires insurance, vehicle maintenance reports, etc.  Plus if you're on a Carnival excursion and they get back late for whatever reason, Carnival will hold the ship and not leave until you're back.  If you book with an independent company and you're late getting back to the dock, the ship WILL leave without you and you will have to pay out of pocket to fly to the next port and meet up with the ship.  Not something you want to do with a child in tow, and last minute airfare can cost a couple thousand dollars, depending on where the next port is. 
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    I've only cruised on Carnival, but loved it.  We always book through the cruiseline directly or on a travel website.   But I'm not even using a TA for my wedding... Keep in mind that March is Spring Break.  Depending on what you are looking for, I would do some research and make sure it isn't a bunch of college kids, or families with small kiddos, on your cruise.  Also, the length of the cruise and ports of call can have an impact on who are your fellow travellers.  We went once in June on a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas from FL and had a bunch of HS seniors (with parents) b/c apparently it is customary to do a trip like that for HS graduation??  However, we went on a 9 day cruise to St. Kitts, St. Martin and T&C in Feb of last year - it was an older crowd (40+ - not old by any stretch, but much older than the 18 y/os!).Best advice is to try and do as much research as possible so that you are getting the trip that you want (i.e. we really wanted the itinerary of St. Kitts and T&C... fellow passengers didnt matter as much).
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    BTW - For a trip in the Caribbean, I would definitely book on Carnival - so many different activities and options and it is much more laid back than other lines (I've heard...).  I would also suggest a bigger ship.  There is more to do, more room at the pool, more activities going on, more places to eat, b/c there are more people - down side is that there are more people.  On our 9 day cruise, we were on a medium size ship...  For the 4 "Fun Days at Sea", the ship was too small.  HTH...
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    I've been on two cruises, Mexican Riviera and Alaskan, they were both on Carnival. I like Carnival and would definitely cruise them again, the only thing I would say is that Carnival seemed very geared towards couples with children. So if you are taking your son along then it will be perfect, they have Camp Carnival and every time we saw those kids they all seemed to be having a ball.
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    Thanks ladies, I appreciate your help. I'll make sure to do my research before I decide on anything. Thanks again.

    Wedding Bio

    New Married Blog
    Anniversary BabyFruit Ticker ~Pamela&Steven~6.25.2011~PuntaCana,DR~ image
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    I've cruised both Carnival and Royal caribbean. I like both for different reasons...I like that Carnival is more personal (royal caribbean seems like they just want to sell you stuff all the time)...and I've taken big and small ships with them and I like smaller better, because is that much more personal.Now Royal Caribbean has better food, a bit more luxurious and more things to do on the ship (like ice skating, roller blading, rock climbing, etc).Over all I prefer Royal Caribbean, but that doesn't mean I don't like Carnival...I actually been on more Carnival cruises than Royal Caribbean....and I'll tell you all about Celebrity when I come back ;-)
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    I'm going to get you hooked on another message board... www.cruisecritic.com click on boards in the top left side of the screen.  SOOOO much information!!! I loved my Carnival Conquest trip, just got back last sunday! YAY! We booked earlysaver- and ended up with 360 on board credit to spend bc prices fell!
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