Maybe its the influence of life on the island???
I grew up on the water. My dad had the boat out back. so given a choice I prefer to be either on or in the water.
RCC is the equivalent of a CY, and like the CY have made changes I am not thrilled about. Like them much better years ago. Celebrity is more like the FS-Ren-JW or even the Ritz, and they are owned by the same company. They use the same tour companies in ports, and it use to be you could earn your points on RCC and use them on Celebrity, but I think this has been discontinued.
When RCC started making changes I did not like, I switched over to NCL which has a great price point, and am now platinum with them. Its also very convenient that they sail out of NYC year round. Celebrity only sales out of Bayonne from May through Oct, and only goes to Bermuda.
Another favorite of mine is HAL, and I have used them alot in Europe. I am Gold level with them. With Celebrity I am only Silver as they cost alot more, so I have mainly sailed with them when they are on sale.
You girls are making me reconsider my lack of desire to every ride around on a boat in the ocean and be confined to that vessel. I have always looked at a cruise as being held hostage until they decide to let us ride a tiny little shuttle boat to a location for a few hours and then shuttle us back to the vessel el grande'. I wonder if there are one/two day cruises for us lovers of seeing the world just not on a boat, and to think I grew up on boats and still have a boat?
Every new cruiser that is going to cruise with me, I take on the 1n out of NYC, the cruise to No Where to see how they do on the open water. Nothing worse than being on a ship with someone who gets seasick.
Course with all the large ships, many with more people than small cities, and all the stabilizers the ships have, you feel less movement which is a good thing for some that want to think they are on dry land, but not for some of us who actually like the movement of the water and ship.
They also have 1 & 2 nite cruises out of the west coast ports. These are not regularly scheduled, but a couple of times of year. In NYC, its when NCL goes to the 9n & 10n format, they use the 1 niters inbetween to align their schedules. They are very popular in NYC, as you can gamble in international waters, and shop duty free in the onboard shops. Usually they sell out of cigarettes and alcohol early in the evening. Besides, where else can you spend the nighte in NYC, have lunch and dinner the day you board, and breakfast before diembarkation, see a broadway caliber show, have several music venues, comedians, etc, for anywheres from $99-199/pp per nite?
Another thing for sea sickness, which I always carry, not for me, but anyone that ends up at my dinner table who is sea sick, is ginger tea. Ginger is a natural remedy for sea sickness, and ginger tea, ginger candy, etc will help.
As for the river cruising, I have not done this yet, and would like to try. My cousins do alot of river cruising and really like it.
Unfortunately its more expensive than most of the cruising I normally do, but its probably the best way to see a place, especially Europe. They tell me that the company they cruise with, stops daily a towns, the chef buys all local ingredients and wines, and that is what you have for dinner.
I also have had 2 other friends do the river cruise from St. Pete to Moscow, and heard its phenomenal, one with Viking, and the other with a local Russian comapny that costs significantly less.
Would be hard to do this on land.
Have a friend who took a cruise down the Rhine last summer and loved it. I think they started from a town in Germany that began with an "F" (lot of help I am huh). I think we'd love that type of cruise better than being on the ocean for days except for a few hour stop at different ports and taking the shuttle boats back and forth to the ship.
My cousins like the river cruising also because they do not like being on a ship and not being able to see land. With river cruising, land is nearby.
Mine was a tour for U of Arkansas Alumni. We started in Amsterdam with a 2 1/2 day pre-tour and then boarded the (then) Amadeus Princess and stopped in Germany - Koblenz, Rudesheim, Cologne and Heidleberg. Then we went on to Strasbourg France and deboarded in Basil Switzerland. We then traveled by motor coach to Gruyere which is the most idyllic little town I have ever seen. We stayed two nights in Zermatt, Switzerland and had a beautiful day at the Matterhorn and then traveled and spent two nights in Lucerne before heading home.
Now that's my kind of boat and mountain. Great pictures trippin' and thank you for sharing them.
IAH, you might explore bike and boat trips as another option. The company we use has trips in Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, and Turkey. The boats aren't luxurious, but they are fine to get a good night's sleep and wonderful meals. The boats travel through the canals while the passengers ride their bikes. Some of the river boat cruises actually have excursions that are done on bicycles, too.
We are also taking our 2nd cruise on a real cruise ship. Two years ago we went on an Alaskan cruise and this year we are going to Norway. Norway is very expensive and taking a cruise seems to be a reasonably priced option.
IAH-But the ships nowadays are like floating cities! You don't even feel the motion of the ocean. Everyone I've ever talked into going on a cruise has loved it. My brother was lukewarm, however his weather was cold and icky in the Caribbean which is almost unheard of. Give it a try!! Mary
If you have a lot of MR points, consider booking through Cruises Only, a Marriott partner. You can use MR points to pay for part or all of your cruise and earn MR points for your trip. We have used them for Princess Alaska cruise, Uniworld Danube River cruise, and Tahiti with Paul Gauguin in 2014. This has worked out very well for us.
Oh if only I had known that. I had booked before with cruises only but this time I booked directly with RCCL. I think the price of the cruise will go down and I like being able to get additional OBC if that happens.
Gem, I took a NCL cruise and were were blessed to catch an upsell for $300 total from an aft jr. suite to a forward penhouse suite with a balcony that could have fit 30 people!
You can't go wrong booking directly with the cruise line, especially if you have a frequent traveler status with them. I have found that even after I final pay, if prices drop, they will upgrade me to the level of cabin that I could buy had I waited. If you purchase your cruise from anyone else, including the cruiseline website, this is not an option. You need to have booked through the cruiseline inside agent, who not only knows all the tricks, but has the connections, and wants to maintain you as a regular client.
I use to use my marriott pointgs for this because the coupon could be used directly with HAL, and it paid for the entire inside cabin. I only paid port, and a nominal amount if I wanted to upgrade to an outside.
Now, all you get is a $1000 credit, and you have to work through the Marriott cruise reseller company, which is usually not as good of a deal as I can get going direct to the vendor, or through the lartgest cruise resllers (Cruise.Com, VacationsToGo.Com).
we liked them both. Food might be slightly better on Crystal. Regent had a slightly younger following. Service on both was impeccable. The all inclusive nature of Regent is wonderful. R/T airfare, spirits and wines as well as most of the excursions are all included. Top of the line liquor (i,e Grey Goose, Johnny Walker Black, Crown Royal etc.) is all included. The only "extras" on Regent are fine wines and a few excursions that include helicopter rides, train rides etc.
you get what you pay for. Cruising is no exception. When you consider all the items included in the price, you may find that these cruise lines are not that far out of line with the others.
I have compared them on several occassions, along with the River Cruises which are also more expensive but all-inclusive as well.
We are not big drinkers, maybe a glass of wine with dinner. For European destinations I do spend ALOT on tours, and am thinking this is where it may be cost-effective to try one of these upscale cruises. I really like the idea of the River Cruises, as the ports for ocean going cruises in many instances, e.g. Italy are 1-2 hr from the cities, and the time and cost for xport is high. Being on a river cruise you disembark at the city you are going to see and don't spend hours on a bus to get there.
However in the Caribbean, where we have seen all the islands, and usually just get off, and do a self-tour/shopping/beach or visit the local Marriott, it is really not cost effective when comparing to the prices of an NCL/RCCL, even figuring in the cost of a balcony cabin,.
Hi Bill and Gem, Good morning!
Bill - I would love to try Crystal or Regent. It always comes down to money so I end up with Royal/Celebrity or NCL. I've had great cruises on all three. I'm not a drinker, but the all-inclusive would be great for my foo-foo virgin frozen drinks!
Gem, I'm with you regarding tours. We had wonderful tour guides in each city on our river cruise. But on ocean cruises, I love just walking around the town. The ship is the destination for me so if I want to get off I will, sometimes I just stay on. (San Juan...)
I agree that the ship is the destination.
For the Bahamas cruise out of NYC, the only port I even get off the ship is Nassau, and that is to shop for a couple of hours. I love the fact that its walkable from the ship. And some of the ports actually look better from the ship as it has the best view like BVI.
Here are details on a giveaway you may be interested in: Insider Announcement – City & Sea Giveaway! The City & Sea Giveaway ends July 31, 2013.
Thanks Andy for adding this. I don't know how I missed it before. Freebies are always nice if you are fortunate enough to be the lucky winner...
IAHFLYR, my dh and I took our first cruise with another couple to Alaska, 7nt. inside passage with HAL. We went over 4th of July time frame and it was the most wonderful experience. The only regret is that we didn't take the land tour with it as I would love to take the train up to Fairbanks and also visit Denali National Park. However, the reason we took this cruise was because it was only 7 days in case we didn't like cruising. If you don't really like the boat scene, I would suggest you book an ocean view/veranda room as inside rooms would be no fun at all for you I'm sure.
You can always take a quick Caribbean cruise but I prefer seeing scenery I might not see otherwise and I'm not sure I would have ever gone to Alaska in any other capacity before I saw its allure. Now I want to go back on a land tour, maybe a fishing trip or just to experience the train rides through the countryside. It is a beautiful place. The small towns you visit while in ports are very quaint and alot can be learned about the culture of the people. I think I would like the river cruising although I have not yet done that because of the same reason. I have heard that you stop at small towns that are not as touristy as the big ocean liners stop at and the guides really take you to learn about the cultures of the area. Scenery and history are my things. Even though the Caribbean is nice, one time there was enough for me. There is only so much one can do at beaches.
Nothing wrong with that. It is very relaxing. We just spent out last anniversary Dec. last year in Kauai Marriott soaking it in by the pool, a much needed "restful" vacation. I gotta have those once in a while too.
You are so right about most of the US being so young. I live in Oklahoma and it is barely 100 years old! But I loved our New England trip in 2009 because of all the rich history. We stayed in quite a few B&B's that were built and founded in 1600-1700's. That blew my mind compared to what i was used to being around.
I want my next trip to be Austrailia/New Zealand. I have been trying to get that going for the last three years but just didn't work out for numerous reasons. I was looking to cruise but most are 13-14 days and that is hard for my husband since he only gets 2 weeks vacation in a year. I may have to break down and just fly into Austrailia and hop from city to city for a shorter period. I just hate doing that because of flights in between. We'll see. Thanks for the info regarding river cruise. Do you have any suggestions as to what type of cabin or river cruise line is best after doing that?
When I took mine it was the Amadeus Princess - now AMA Waterways. I believe our ship was the Adagio. (new name)
We had french balconies although the newer ships have actual balconies. It was intimate and lovely. You really were able to get to know everyone on the ship and the crew was fabulous!!
I highly recommend it. Other well known river cruising companies are Viking River Cruises, Uniworld and Avalon.
I really hope to take my hubby someday. I think he'd love it!
PS: Always have wanted to visit Australia/New Zealand/Tahiti
I took an Island hopper trip back in the day when Marriott gave great trips for points. It cost 120,000 pts. for 4 days in Maui and 3 in Oahu. It included the most beautiful and breath-taking hotel I've ever been to, the JW Marriott, Ko Olina. For this 120,000 pts., air transfer between islands was included. I loved Maui for tourist things and of course Oahu was great seeing Pearl Harbor and staying in the Ko Olina hotel. Both islands had beauty and I loved it but I really loved Kauai better. We stayed at the hotel for a week and toured the island on our own. What I loved about this island is it is less touristy and more inhabited so culture at its best I guess you would say. It was much needed relaxation in a very nice hotel who actually upgraded us to a huge corner ocean view/pool view room (no suites available but they did say they would have put us there, one of the few hotels that have offered). Part of the island is totally uninhabited and the only way to get around there is by helicopter, catamaran or a walking trail up the side of the mountain (not for me thanks). We took the catamaran snorkel/turtle sighting cruise with lunch and it was fabulous. I highly recommend you try Hawaii again the first chance you get if that sounds good to you.
I think that HAL has a great Alaskan Tour. Also, HAL owns most of the ground transporation, like trains, buses,etc, and are known in the travel business for their Alaskan expertise.
Also, anyone that wants to go on the fishing exercusions in Alaska, you need to book way in advance. It sells out quickly.
Thanx for the suggestion!
I definately entered the contest, and have my fingers crossed!
My favorite vacations are cruises where I stay at a Marriott before and after the cruise! Staying before at a Marriott near the port makes embarkation day easier, and post cruise it makes it easier to get use to coming back on land.
On the last cruise we also used Frenchman's Reef Marriott on USVI (link to pictures below) instead of buying a beach tour package from the cruiseline.
We really enjoyed this much more, not to be jammed into a tour bus, on the beach of some lesser hotel with waterdowned rum punch drinks.
Pre & Post cruise we stayed at the Fairfield Inn on 28th btw 6th & 7th ave (link to pictures below). Its walking distance from Penn station, has great views of the Empire State building, free breakfast, and is one of the most affordable NYC properties.
It was great to be platinum with Marriott, and platinum with NCL as we had great service at great prices.
One of the most reasonable vacations as we are able to get there from the east coast by train (I use NJT, and my cruise friends use Amtrak from other east coast locations). We can arrive in NYC at different times, and walk over to the FFI.
With all the chat about the recent Antarctica cruise being stuck in the ice, (a current live thread in Insiders), my family at our annual Christmas dinner/poker extravaganza discussed a Christmas cruise for next year. Due to age and immobility of several family members (who have never cruised), we talked about a short cruise where most of the participants would stay on the ship (I, myself, love the excursions into all of the port cities), during next Christmas week, spending time together. We found a Caribbean cruise that met our criteria leaving out of Miami (Baltimore, a great reduction in airfare, makes it too long a cruise; Norfolk stopped cruising in 2014 and Charleston SC was too expensive) on Monday 12/22 and returning Friday the day after Christmas 12/26.
Here's my question to the Insider cruise experts, specifically trippin' and GemPrincess and californian and all others: didn't you guys list a web site or two that you joined/used to find some attractive deals on cruises? I wasn't able to dig them up snorting through the Search function, so I'd greatly appreciate it if someone would toss up the link again. Thank you and Happy New Year to all Insiders.
There are 2 cruise sites that offer great deals
I have used both and gotten fabulous deals. Because they sell so many cabins they qualify for group deals. Instead of using the 1 free cabin for every 8 booked, they split the money among their customers as On Board Credit (OBC). They also have very low prices due to their volume. VTG has been in business for over 20+ years and is the acknowledge leader.
One note of caution though: When you buy the cabin from the cruiseline (their inside agent not their website), if prices change, you may be able to make adjustments even after you fully pay 60 days before departure. The different cruiselines have different practices, and none really in writing. NCL has upgraded me significantly when prices drop, as has HAL. Princess actually refunded money to the credit card, the only cruiseline that I ever heard of doing this.
I did a family XMAS cruise out of NYC to the Bahamas and it was great. My Dad's wife's family is near Port Canaveral, so they spent the day with them when in port. I usually don't get off the ship except to shop in the Bahamas as the boat docks downtown Nassau and is easily walkable. Depending on the cruiseline the private island experience can very. In my opinion, Celebrity has the best setup on the private island. Enough chairs for everyone, plenty of shad, Many food stations and no lines. NCL has the worst, with little shade and too few chairs. I usually don't bother to even get off.
This might be of help to me too. When I shopped for Antarctica, there were only a few ships and I never found any on discount.
I have two things in mind: Iceland and Easter Island. I have decided that I want to see these by cruise , probably in 2015. I found Iceland leaving from London and return there but was told that there is one that leaves from London, stops in Ireland, 2 stops in Iceland, Greenland and continues to Canada and down the coast. Do you know how I would find this?
I have actually been looking at the HAL cruises. When I have the time, I want to take the one that leaves from Boston, goes to Iceland, Greenland, British Isles and Scandinavia and back.
I will see if I can find the itineraries for this.
They also have cruises leaving from UK and Netherlands that go around the British Isles and then Iceland. Can't remember if Greenland is included in this but will also check.
Some HAL cruises that I like and want to do. Once I find an itinerary I like I start comparing the cruise line prices with VTG and Cruise.Com. And if another cruise line put theirs on sale, like Celebrity, sometimes I end up sailing on another cruiseline. Usually after following them for awhile, its clear which ones are not selling and the prices are being dropped to fill up the ship.
1) British Isles and Iceland - what I like about this one is that you circumnavigate these islands.
2) Focus on just Iceland for 14 days
3) Voyage of the Vikings is the one I really want to do but don't have 35+ days
4) There is a shortened versions of Voyage of the Vikings which is 17 or 18 days which I may do.
Since I travel alone and am limited mostly to 7 days away from home at the most, I have only taken two cruises, booked on Louis Cruises, via mediterranean-us. They've been great. The single supplement is either waived or significantly reduced, and the ship was everything I expected (I do not expect luxury on cruise ships since I can't afford it). But both times I got to visit all the Greek islands, which was pretty amazing. Now when I go back, I just use my FF miles and stay on one island.
I would love to do a Nile cruise when and if things stabilize. I guess without my family (i.e. my cat) I could do longer cruises, but it's not worth it to me, especially since Louis Cruises are extremely affordable especially if booked in advance. I can provide pics if anyone wants them.
p.s. I think one of the Marriotts in Egypt use to have a boat cruise down the Nile, or is that a thing of the past? All I could find was an evening Nile Cruise listed for the Cairo Renaissance Hotel (link below), and some interesting website about Nile cruises. Viking River Cruises is a wonderful company, and everyone I know that has sailed with them has really enjoyed it. They are truly all-inclusive in that the price covers all tours, and wine with dinner. They are a bit pricey but often offer 2-for-1 pricing. The only hotel listing a river cruise option is Sonesta. And of course CruiseCritic.Com has great info.