Cruise recommendations

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Cruise recommendations

Postby sunnyday » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:20 pm

I'm planning to give my parents a gift and was thinking about giving them a cruise. It would be out of Cape Canaveral, FL and my budget is $500-$800 total. They've been on a cruise before and really like good entertainment (dancing and maybe shows), good food and drinks. They're not picky as far as having a nice room and think that most cruise lines are similar. A few questions I have are:

1. What is the cancelation policy for most cruises?

2. Is alcohol usually cash bar? Can you buy credits or carry beer or wine on? (I don't want my parents to have to pay for drinks)

3. I've never been on a cruise, any recommendations in general?

4. Anything to look out for or definitely avoid?

5. What would you pick within my budget?
Last edited by sunnyday on Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby mephistophles » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:31 pm

Suggest another type of vacation. Based on the severity of recent problems on several lines, a trip could turn into a disaster.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby mike143 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:35 pm

The best search site I have found for cruises is vacationstogo.com. They ask for you email address and I have given it but they have never emailed me. I use their search and buy direct. I am in Titusville, FL, 30 minutes from Port Canaveral.

Booking a cruise for experienced cruisers is difficult. Its probably better to credit their account, if they allow that, and let them book it.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby sunnyday » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:18 pm

mephistophles wrote:Suggest another type of vacation. Based on the severity of recent problems on several lines, a trip could turn into a disaster.

Any trip could turn into a disaster. I think they're willing to take the chance with a cruise.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby playtothebeat » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:28 pm

I haven't been on a cruise, so can't provide too much advice, but I would say check out costcotravel.com when you are ready to book. I actually had a cruise booked through them this year, but had to cancel for unforeseen reasons. Costco was great to work with, their customer service handled the issue and took care of it all for me.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby livesoft » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Does anybody use cruisecritic.com?
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby Iorek » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:12 pm

livesoft wrote:Does anybody use cruisecritic.com?


The forums over there are the equivalent of this site for cruises (lots of knowledgeable people willing to offer their advice).

For actually booking our cruise we used a cruisecompete.com, which is a bidding service where you indicate what cruise you are interested in and internet travel agents send you their best price for that cruise.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby JamesSFO » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:15 pm

Iorek wrote:
livesoft wrote:Does anybody use cruisecritic.com?


The forums over there are the equivalent of this site for cruises (lots of knowledgeable people willing to offer their advice).

For actually booking our cruise we used a cruisecompete.com, which is a bidding service where you indicate what cruise you are interested in and internet travel agents send you their best price for that cruise.


I use cruise critic and have taken a number of cruises. For around $400 per person for a 7/day cruise you should be able to get a decent inside cabin and give your parents a good time. Definitely read cruise critic.

Generally most fares are cancelable with no penalties until final payment. But Carnival in particular has some "early saver" rates that are harder to cancel for cash.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby stan1 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:25 pm

Rather than making this a surprise, I would put together 2 or 3 sample itineraries within your budget and ask them which they want to go on.

Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney operate out of Cape Canaveral. I suspect that leaves Carnival and Royal Caribbean unless they love other people's kids. Check the recent Cruise Critic reviews for the specific ships based in Cape Canaveral. The age of the ship, when/if its been refurbished, and itinerary can make a big difference in the cost (as well as the experience).

You might get more choices if they are able to drive to Fort Lauderdale.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby telemark » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:28 pm

On the cruise lines I've tried (Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean) alcohol is invariably cash bar*, and you're not supposed to bring your own. If you buy something in port you have to check it with them, and they generally search your carry-on as you come aboard. I don't know if it's possible to pre-pay. lf your parents have cruised before they'll be familiar with that.

The quality of the shows depends mainly on the ship. I've seen some that were pretty bad and others that were as good as anything I've seen on shore.

* Not cash strictly speaking -- they bill it to your cabin and you settle up at the end. Food and other drinks are all free.
Last edited by telemark on Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby tibbitts » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:39 pm

mephistophles wrote:Suggest another type of vacation. Based on the severity of recent problems on several lines, a trip could turn into a disaster.

I believe that might be "recency bias." I'd guess that it's no more likely that a cruise vacation would end badly than any other vacation type, although hopefully someone else will come along with statistics.

Paul
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby Iorek » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:08 pm

On our cruise you could pay for things in advance for someone-- you could order a bottle of alcohol for their room if they wanted, or just give them a credit for shipboard purchases.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby Dougroseville » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:30 pm

livesoft wrote:Does anybody use cruisecritic.com?

My wife and I became involved with the CruiseCritic group on our last cruise from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal.

In the CruiseCritic “Roll Calls” (which you may need to register to participate in) you communicate with people who will be with you on upcoming cruises.

When there is critical mass, they schedule a “Meet and Greet”. Ours had free food and drinks, and it was attended by Captain and virtually all of his direct reports. They made it very clear, if there were any problems let them know and they would be resolved.

During the cruise we got together frequently with people we met through CruiseCritic, on Tours, for tea, at the late night buffet, and it stateroom parties.

Without a doubt, when we go on cruises in the future, we will use CruiseCritic to get information about the ship, itinerary, ports of call, and then participate in “Roll Calls” and “Meet and Greets”.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby mike143 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:02 am

livesoft wrote:Does anybody use cruisecritic.com?

Yes. Great site. We went on a cruise for our honeymoon. Their port of call forums are immensely useful.
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Re: Cruise recommendations

Postby mephistophles » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:36 am

tibbitts wrote:
mephistophles wrote:Suggest another type of vacation. Based on the severity of recent problems on several lines, a trip could turn into a disaster.

I believe that might be "recency bias." I'd guess that it's no more likely that a cruise vacation would end badly than any other vacation type, although hopefully someone else will come along with statistics.

Paul


I don't know anything about "recency bias" but I guess cruises were not much fun ages ago, especially if you were doing the rowing.
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