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Old 02-03-2008, 08:20 AM   #41
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How are those interior rooms? Too claustrophobic? I'm trying to put together a cruise vacation for my family next year. I think we will need 2 cabins, one for the parents and one for the teenagers.
We didn't have any trouble with the inside cabin at all. Like Rich said, you aren't in your room all that much.

Our friends had a balcony and although it was great, I wouldn't say spending the extra money on that would have been worth it for us. We figured we'd use that extra money towards excursions, etc.

I agree, though, that 2 rooms are a must if you have 4 people.
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:22 AM   #42
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Has anyone done any Mediterranean or Nordic cruises? Civilian that is They look amazing from the literature. Of course that is what the literature is supposed to do
Last year we did an Italy/Greece cruise on Princess with two other couples we have been friends with for many years. We flew to Rome and spent two days there before boarding the ship. Stops were in Monte Carlo, Livorno, Naples, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Kusadasi (Turkey), Corfu, and Venice. Then we spent two days in Venice before flying home. We saw Pompeii, the Colosseum, the Parthenon, Ephesus, and some of the most beautiful scenery we have ever encountered (Santorini). Venice was the highlight of the trip. DW wants to go back there soon for a longer stay.

The cruise was wonderful. We raved about it here in our 55 or better community. A few couples here signed up for the same cruise this May on the same ship. Then a few more signed up, then a few more ... now there are 60 couples going! We almost regret that we already did this particular itinerary because it would be fun to go with that group.

The hotels in Rome and Venice were VERY expensive and with the recent fall of the dollar against the Euro, they are even worse. Other than that I would highly recommend this cruise.

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Old 02-03-2008, 09:48 AM   #43
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How are those interior rooms? Too claustrophobic? I'm trying to put together a cruise vacation for my family next year. I think we will need 2 cabins, one for the parents and one for the teenagers.
You're rarely inside the cabin since there are so many better places to lounge around (and to receive drink service). The only times you're in the cabin, well, you're not concerned about its volume or the decor or even the lighting. Unless you upgrade to a suite or apt, they're all about the same degree of compactness but they usually have seven-foot overheads ceilings with plenty of room to move about.

Most of the ship's plans are online with photos and square footages. You can get a feel for the space when you know what size bed is in the room.

With consumers threatening to slam shut their wallets, you might inquire about prices for a family suite (two bedrooms around a common area). The cruise line could cut you a deal. However during negotiations it's best to give the impression that (at least) one adult (18 or older) will be sleeping in each room. NCL didn't check up on our sleeping arrangements and they handed out plenty of extra keycards but they wouldn't book a room for someone under that age without an adult.
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:11 PM   #44
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Yes, you can LBYM and still cruise by choosing your cabin, destination and timing carefully. Four in a cabin can still cruise for as little as $50 pp per day in Mexico and the Caribbean in the off-season. Our last cruise on Celebrity allowed two bottles pp brought onboard. We also saved on excursions by booking our own, hiring a taxi to tour an island, and walking around the city. I'm convinced we still absorbed 90% of the cruise experience enjoyed by those in the penthouse suites...

Regarding a Nordic cruise, we are looking at that this summer on the Hurtigurten line, though not exactly LBYM at $300 pp per day. Plus air. Pretty steep, though a fjordable vacation...
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:57 PM   #45
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After decades of professing to hate cruises (we've taken maybe 6), they have grown on me.
Can you elaborate on that? How many does it take before you stop hating them? What didn't you like that you now like?

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Has anyone done any Mediterranean or Nordic cruises?
We did a one or two day run from Stockholm to Helsinki. Tons of food, nice trip through the archipelago. We were in the center cube of a Rubik's cube, but that was OK.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:44 PM   #46
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Can you elaborate on that? How many does it take before you stop hating them? What didn't you like that you now like?
First one turned out to be a spring break party 24/7. Naive choice on our part. Another was 90% octogenarians, too sedate. Then they got better - we chose the late seating, became a little more outgoing so we met people. After a few visits to the usual Caribbean ports we got bored with tourist traps so started either remaining on the ship and relaxing or scheduling excursions on our own (better, cheaper, more interesting).

Now we are in a nice routine where we relax a lot, spend much of the day doing our own separate things but checking in with each other periodically. We always meet interesting people. In fact, we have actually cruised twice by arrangement with a couple from Virginia whom we met on an earlier cruise.

Overall it's a matter of 1) being more savvy about what to ask for and decline, and 2) adjusting expectations and just chilling out.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:59 AM   #47
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I agree wholeheartedly with Rich. Some cruise lines are more "sedate"; others are "all party all the time". Talking with the cruise agent or checking out sites like Cruisecritic.com can help you avoid a bad experience.

As for the inside vs. outside cabin debate, it is nice to have a balcony when you're going thru the Panama Canal for example so you see what's happening even before you go on deck and the outside view does make the cabin seem larger, but I only book those cabins when I can get them at a really significant discount and am only paying 5% - 10% more than an inside cabin. Once you get used to the size -- think small -- of the cabins and the fact that you really do not spend much time in it except to sleep, shower and whatever else you do to relax....it's more important IMHO to be satisfied with the public rooms, itinerary, etc.

And since all of the modern ships have very sophisticated stabilizers the amount of roll inside vs. outside cabins is negligable. However, the cabins at the very, very back of the ship and the very front of the ship do give you much more of the feeling of the sea!
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Old 02-04-2008, 03:01 PM   #48
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Been twice. First was a Carribbean cruise. Inside stateroom. 2nd one was an Alaska inside passage cruise. I took my 8 yr old daughter on the Alaska cruise, and got an outside stateroom since I figured we wouldn't be up so late and with the long hours of daylight I'd be able to see the sights. A balcony might have even been worth the price. It was on NCL, and I agree with Nords that they have great kids programs.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:07 PM   #49
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We did Bermuda, Western and then the Eastern Caribbean when our kids were teenagers and became hooked. Once the youngest went off to college we started to do the longer ones. We did the 12 day Panama Canal transit from west to east and it was amazing. Last year was Alaksa, with a 5 day land also. This year it is 2 weeks and Hawaii. I still have Scandanavia and South America on my list. DH just packs his bag when it is time and says "Where are we going this year?"

I agree, maybe I won't enjoy them as much when I retire (yeah....right), but they are the most relaxing thing while working. I can't and don't worry about anything for 2 whole weeks. Something about being out on the ocean does that for me.

We're also of the mind, "find the cheapest cabin we can", because other than to sleep - we are never in it. And they all look the same with your eyes closed.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:23 PM   #50
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Real interesting observations. Thanks for sharing. Im a cruise virgin and plan to go real soon. Anyone have any links they find valuable?
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:28 PM   #51
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Real interesting observations. Thanks for sharing. Im a cruise virgin and plan to go real soon. Anyone have any links they find valuable?

I highly recommend the boards at Cruise Critic - Cruises, Cruise Ship Reviews, Ratings, Cruise Deals, Cruise Forums. Tons of great advice there from seasoned cruisers.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:49 PM   #52
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I highly recommend the boards at Cruise Critic - Cruises, Cruise Ship Reviews, Ratings, Cruise Deals, Cruise Forums. Tons of great advice there from seasoned cruisers.
Cool thanks thats a lot of information!
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:18 AM   #53
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Early 1990's - cruised Long Beach to Baja and back
2001 Hawaiian cruise
2005 Alaska
2006 Mexican Riviera
2007 Baja again
Next cruise not yet scheduled - Panama Canal

My routine on a port day is:

Breakfast
Leave ship
Go on excursion
Return to ship
Go to the gym
Late seating for dinner
Show
Other entertainment
Sleep

I'm tellin' you - the best thing you can do is to discover the fitness center right away and use it every day! Even if you gain weight, you will lose it much faster when you come home. Usually I gain 1 lb. a day I'm on the cruise (and the Alaskan cruise was 12 days!). I lost it all in about 3 days. I didn't do this on the most recent cruise, and I still have the weight on me, even though it's "only" a few lbs.!
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:53 PM   #54
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Bodacious cruise advice, people. I was thinking of leaving from New York and sailing to either Burmuda or the Bahamas. My son is in school in NY so this eliminates one airfare. Norwegian cruises out of NY, right? I presume that Christmas through April is the high season.

Or, since we are on the West Coast, we could cruise Mexico from SF or San Diego or LA. This might be most economical for us--anyone have a favorite family cruise on this route?
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:30 PM   #55
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LRS --

Of all the cruises we've been on, the Norwegian NYC - Bermuda - NYC cruise is the one we still talk about as our favorite. It was really enjoyable having the several days at sea before/after visiting Bermuda and being able to use the ship as a hotel while there was great. As I mentioned before, the ship docked for three days on one side of the island, then repositioned to the other side for three days, giving you lots of time to explore, play golf, shop, etc. without having to rush back for a 5 pm sailing time.

We went in the summertime; don't know when their high season is.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:09 AM   #56
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Middle of the boat, mid level is the best for not feeling any rolling (if any)
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:35 AM   #57
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some people might even use handy little devices like these....
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:35 AM   #58
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I highly recommend the boards at Cruise Critic - Cruises, Cruise Ship Reviews, Ratings, Cruise Deals, Cruise Forums. Tons of great advice there from seasoned cruisers.
Also consider Cruise Addicts - Cruise reviews, message boards, photo galleries, news and deals and Cruisemates Cruise Guide; Cruise Reviews, Message Boards and Bargains.. Both of which have a blog that is worth visiting frequently.

And dont forget Reviews of vacations, hotels, resorts, vacation and travel packages - TripAdvisor (which uses Cruise Critic for reviews) to hear what other travelers have to say about travel suppliers-- in addition to cruise lines. This site is particularly valuable for information on hotels.
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:07 AM   #59
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Over the years we've done a few on Royal Caribbean. I've noticed the cruises have gotten more affordable, but the ammenities have definitely decreased. The disadvantage of going out of Galveston is that you are pretty limited as to which ports can be reached in a week. I keep looking for new places to go, if anyone has been somewhere that they would strongly recommend, please post it.
So far, my favorite places have probably been Grand Cayman and Antigua.
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:48 PM   #60
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I've enjoyed the two that my daughter and I took. Those might be the last ones for awhile tho. I don't want to go by myself and I'm too shy to sign up as a single, asking for a roommate nor do I want to pay the singles supplement.

The European river cruises sound very interesting to me. Maybe someday.
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