Cruise Ship Vacations

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #1
    Any big fans of cruises here?

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    Just got back from a one week Disney Cruise to the Caribbean out of Galveston on the Disney Wonder. This is my first ocean cruise, did a Viking River Cruise Last year. My observation that if you are into the cruise ship as the destination, then a cruise ship could be an excellent way to relax, or go play bingo, see a movie, watch a show, take a class on flower arranging, etc. Internet? Forget it unless you don't mind spending $.75/minute for snail speeds.

    However if ship activities don't really interest you, and you look at it as a means to get to an exciting destination, then it's inferior, because you are just not going to see much of a place in 9 hours (or so) except for lots of SHOPPING exposure. I knew this in advance, the cruise just confirmed it.

    The cruise we did was to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Based on this and previous trips to Jamaica, don't go there unless you want to hang out on the beach in the "protected compound" or take a guided tour. Don't plan on seeing the real Jamaica. Grand Cayman was ok, probably better if I had gone and done some rushed snorkeling. Finally Cozumel, we went on a tour visiting a Mayan ruin at San Gervasio. It was the most single interesting thing we did on the trip. Then we stopped by the tequila farm and got a good deal on coffee flavored tequila among other flavors. :D

    Comparing the ocean cruise to the Caribbean vs the river cruise through Europe, I give higher marks to the river cruise because of more stops and less cruising time. Obviously if you live in the States and are taking a cruise in Europe, you got to get there to start it. Living in Houston, a Galveston departure was convenient, although we had people on the ship from as far away as New York and New Mexico (that I knew of). For a river tour, although you are working with the same available time frames (8-12 hours), you get to do walking tours and see more history. You don't spend 3 days getting to your first stop and 1.5 days to get home. And you don't have to deal with rough seas, although overall the weather was good, one day we were rock'n and roll'n. And although cruises are sold as all inclusive, restaurant and room keeping rely on tips that the cruise line is gracious enough to figure into your bill. And if you are a normal person with a spouse, allow for an extra $800-$1500 (possibly less or more) for whatever.

    To emphasis my point, if the cruise ship is the destination, that is ok, but if the goal is to spend quality time at a destination, don't go there on a cruise.

    BTW, I give Disney high marks for service, cleanliness, outstanding meals, and food available just about 24 hours a day (did not checks from 1-5am), two large theaters to watch... Disney related movies (saw Man of Steel and the new Thor there, but missed Monsters University) and overall an outstanding atmosphere and environment if you don't mind listening to Disney songs 24 hrs a day. "Just a spoon full of sugar..." ;) Wine and beer were not free. Our ship's capacity (Disney Wonder) was about 2700 people, not counting crew. Of the other ships we saw, Disney was the most esthetically pleasing, looking more like a traditional ocean liner, not a glorified cargo container ship, and compared to the largest ships out there, I think there is something to be said for less being more. And I think we got a pretty good price at $1600 (I think) for 2 people for 1 week, 2200 miles (approx) of cruising.

    For "party" atmosphere, I really can't compare Disney to Carnival, Princess, or Holland America. The big Caribbean Pirate Deck Party was definitely child/teen oriented. The fire works were so-so but what can you really expect onboard a ship?
     
  2. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #2
    I love cruises. My family has been in a couple of 4 night cruises with Disney. They were wonderful.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    It think you hit the nail on the head. If you view the ship as a transport mechanism then it's a poor use of your money and time. If the cruise is your vacation and the destinations are a bonus the it will be fun
     
  4. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030

    wrinkster22

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4
    Cruises are excellent vacations. I go on one every two years over Christmas. A few other members are cruisers. Glad you went on a Disney, would love to try the, someday
     
  5. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    #5
    I don't like big cruise ships. Too crowded.

    Went on two small cruise ship cruises (Windstar), and loved it.
    Next is probably going to be with Seaborne.

    -t
     
  6. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #6
    Love going on cruises, been on cruises all over the place, including a few in Alaska.

    Agreed with the above, do not see the ship as a Transport device, most ships have tons of stuff to do 24/7.
     
  7. macquariumguy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Sarasota FL
    #7
    I used to think I would hate cruises, but my wife dragged me along on a short 3 day trip to the Bahamas and I was sold. We've been on 6 in the last few years (including 2 full boat clothing optional charters on Carnival ships) and enjoyed them all.

    Some port favorites. The giant zip line at Labadee, Haiti, a helicopter tour and helmet diving in Grand Cayman, Swimming with dolphins and Carlos & Charlies in Cozumel, hiring a taxi to drive us around Montego Bay, and cave tubing in Belize. Cozumel probably wins for the most things to do and local places to eat. We rented this car and spent the day driving around the island. Found this most awesome restaurant on the beach with the freshest food we've ever had.

    The private islands in the Bahamas that the cruise lines own are some of the best stops. Great beaches and plenty of staff to take care of you. Carnival has Half Moon Cay and Royal Caribbean has Coco Cay, both beautiful places.

    Well, I didn't mean to do all that when I started. Yes, we like our cruise ship vacations. :)
     
  8. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #8
    Loved my first cruise years ago and a family cruise is high on my to do list. My kids right now are 3, 6 and 10. The disney cruises are waaaaay more expensive than the other lines and I would have to fly to Florida (they used to have ship from NYC but they don't anymore, AFAIK). Simple question: was the disney experience really worth the extra money?
     
  9. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    Yeah, your kids would love it. My kids were 4 and 12 and really had a wonderful time. Highly recommend it.
     
  10. samiwas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #10
    I had never been on a cruise, nor necessarily wanted to go on one, until exactly a year ago today.

    We also went on a Disney cruise, on the Disney Dream for three nights to Nassau and Disney's Castaway Cay. It was me an my wife, our 7-month-old, and another couple and their 5-month-old twins. Sounds like hell, but the kids were young enough that it wasn't crazy trying to keep up with them, and old enough to not just be screaming messes all the time.

    We actually had a lot of fun, and Disney knows how to do it with kids, with free childcare for a certain amount of time, and pretty low rates after that. We were able to have a lot of adult time as well, which was awesome.

    I can't say that I'm enough of a fan that I'd plan on it every year, and I think now that our kid is a toddler, it would be a lot less fun, but if I did do it again, it would be with Disney.
     
  11. Jbenn425 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #11
    Cruises are amazing. I've been on quite a few and it's always just the most relaxing vacation you can have. On the down side you gain like 10 pounds because of the food being available around the clock.
     
  12. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #12
    It looks like the Disney Cruises originating from Galveston are going away. Don't want to jump on a plane to take a cruise. :(
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    Check out Royal Caribbean (I had to google which one was recommended to my wife) I've heard that Disney has good cruises but they're kid focused (Its Disney duh) but you're paying for the name. Royal Caribbean also has some great family focused cruises as well - at least my friends tell me this.
     
  14. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    #14
    I will be going on my first cruse at the end of January. 7 day trip around the Panama area. We fly into Panama on the Atlantic side and go through the canal to the other. We end up cruising up the cost to San Diego if I remember correctly.
     
  15. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #15
    Will check it out. Thanks! :)
     
  16. joepunk macrumors 68030

    joepunk

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    a profane existence
    #16
    The only cruise I've been on so far was a river cruise on the Nile. An excellent time and many things to see of course. It was just the right size cruise ship for me. Nice and small and no silly midnight buffet.

    I had a great time and it doesn't hurt to give a little money to the guards/workers at the sites in exchange for a little access to parts that are off limits. Just make sure you don't touch/damage anything and don't use flash. Also, many of the guards/workers enjoyed my pins/buttons so much that I almost came home without any.

    For the right discounted price I could maybe take on a much larger cruise ship to European destinations or other destinations with historical sites to explore.
     
  17. triptolemus macrumors 6502

    triptolemus

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    #17
    Also, Norwegian Cruise Lines has one Western Caribbean itinerary beginning in 2014 which leaves from Houston (Pasadena, actually). Supposed to be more in the future.

    http://bit.ly/1byCyMS
     
  18. MattG macrumors 68040

    MattG

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    #18
    Yup I love cruising, and I agree with your sentiments on viewing the cruise ship as the destination, and not merely a means of getting to other destinations. Enjoy your time on the boat, take part in activities, utilize the pools and the decks, and eat eat eat drink drink drink :). I always find the destinations to be somewhat disappointing anyway. Yes, you're going to different countries and whatnot, but you're going to the parts of these countries that have been setup specifically to cater to touristy Americans. You're not really seeing the real thing, unless of course you make an effort to take transportation to a different part of the area and do some things which are off the beaten path. Some destinations on the ships are better than others but, places like Nassau...the part you get to see at least, is mostly just a big tourist trap.

    I've been on about 6 or so cruises at this point, the most recent being an Alaskan cruise earlier this year. I definitely favor Royal Caribbean and Celebrity; not a big fan of Carnival. I'm going on another cruise this coming January -- this one just goes to Cozumel for a day (Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas). Never been on this ship or on this route, so excited about that!
     
  19. Squilly macrumors 68020

    Squilly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    Location:
    PA
    #19
    I took a very similar cruise, to Key West, FL, Grand Cayman and finally Jamaica. Also took one to the Caribbean and to Alaska before. Love cruising. I've done both Carnival and NCL, awaiting to try Royal Caribbean. I have to say, Carnival is my favorite. Like you said, I consider the cruise ship itself to be the vacation and destinations as the 'bonus'. Truly an unbeatable deal if you like both. The food is astounding, ports are usually great, and service is exceptional. I haven't done Disney nor do I really plan to. I really enjoyed Key West and Grand Cayman but Jamaica was a very different lifestyle I couldn't get used to; beggars everywhere doing whatever they could do to make a buck. I had plans to book another cruise for next month but timing isn't working out, the prices are fantastic though (8 night Carnival cruise for $400 after taxes and fees). I'm always anxious for another vacation, especially when it's a cruise.
     

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