Any cruise experts?

We have been recently thinking about taking a cruise between sits rather than flying but have no cruise experience at all.

Does anyone else cruise? would you recommend it? can it be done without breaking the bank?

Any top cruise tips?

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@Colin feel free to ask any questions-repositioning and transatlantic/transpacific cruises are some of the least expensive-happy to help!

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@Colin let me start by staying I don’t particularly like cruise ship travel, and am certainly no expert. I’ll share a few points of what I learned while on them:

  • 1st one - a 3-day from LA down the Mexican coast with one port-of-call, to confirm that we didn’t like cruising. :slightly_smiling_face: Took one where the company selects your cabin, which makes it a lot cheaper. We learned then, and a lot more later, that where the cabin is located makes a huge difference. Lesson learned - factoring cost vs selection, and decide which is more important to you. That may vary for you, depending on each cruise.

  • Next, a 7-day with various ports. We learned that the ship’s capacity and ratio of staff to cruisers can make a big difference. Learn what’s important to you and what you’re willing to pay for.

  • Same cruise - some people like fine dining with reservations, others want impromptu casual self-serve. Make sure you’re on the same page on that or can find a healthy compromise. :wink:

  • Next cruise - 7-day cruise around Hawaiian islands. NCL has the monopoly on that route, or at least did in 2016. I disliked this cruise for so many reasons. However, I learned that Australians are so warm and friendly and it improved my overall impression. Many Australians use this as a half-way point to gather with family from North America. We also followed the cruise with a 3-week housesit, so had an overall good experience.

  • All cruises - in our case, I wanted to take part in some activities regularly and my spouse wasn’t interested at all. Not a good balance. Something to consider. :slightly_smiling_face:

  • All cruises - excursions and mandatory daily tips can significantly increase your overall cost. Check and compare these carefully.

  • Lastly - my greatest vacation ever - and I mean that, not just greatest cruise - was a 10-day European riverboat cruise with Vantage travel (US company) in 2019 - my early days of travelling as a single person - I could rave on forever. I booked what they call a last-minute sell-off (but I think still had a month’s notice) - flight from Canada, best cabin with full balcony, high-end everything, FULLY inclusive for food, drinks, and excursions, nothing I could fault - and about 1/5th of the list price. Amazing. I made friendships that continue today.

That’s my short version of the story. :blush:

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My husband and I have done four cruises and I initially had to talk him into going on one. Our first cruise was a long one from Singapore to Dubai so a total of 16 nights. We really enjoyed it because we are very sociable people so compared to other vacations you’re more inclined to meet and mingle with people on a cruise. The food was terrific as well. We’ve only been on one cruise line which is Azamara and it’s only 700 passengers. In September we are going to Alaska on a larger cruise line for the first time. I personally enjoy the days at sea just as much as the days in port. I can’t think of anything negative about cruising apart from suffering seasickness on our very first cruise.

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I have been thinking about this as well. One major problem, I travel very light. One sun dress is all my (almost) formal wear. Has all cruises got a dress code for the dinning rooms?

@ElsieDownie it really depends on the cruise line. Things onboard have certainly changed over the years. We don’t pack formal clothes and I only wear sundresses. We love the windjammer (Buffet) although sundresses are entirely appropriate in the Main Dining room, if that’s what you have.

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I’ve been on several cruises and I’ve noticed the formal night is not so formal these days. Maybe when cruising was new to me, I was excited about dressing for dinner, but now…I wear what feels comfortable to me.
Dressing up only matters if you stop by one of the photo booths to take pictures. You want to look your best if you are interested in making special memories, otherwise be yourself and enjoy!

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Does that mean shorts, t shirts, no bra and bare feet?

Only kidding. It’s good to know that it’s gone more informal now. I may have another look.

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@ElsieDownie Here’s a link to NCL’s current guidelines. :thinking: No mention of a requirement for a bra apparently :thinking: :see_no_evil:

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Hi @colin, we have done numerous cruises with Princess and P&O and loved them all. I could write lots to answer your question but its hard to know where to start as a lot depends on your likes and dislikes, age group, budget, departure point. You are probably best to head over to Cruise Critic, a forum similiar to THS that has so much information to help you

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We have done 2 river cruises with Viking and enjoyed the Douro River cruise immensely, not so much the Rhine River cruise.

We have also done 4 cruises with Azamara and absolutely loved all of them. Smaller ships (650ish passengers), everything included (excursions extra if you choose), dine any time you like with a number of different options as to where, included room service, DIY laundry on board, fantastic service, great itineraries, lovely ships.

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Our four cruises were also with Azamara and really enjoyed!

I believe cruises are a very economical way to see a lot of different places. We have been on about 13 so far. We did a 12 day around the UK in conjunction with three house sits in England one year. Worked out great. The last cruise was just a couple of weeks ago on Holland America to Alaska out of Seattle. Things have changed since Covid. It is a bit more of a hassle to board with 48 hour prior to boarding covid tests required and an Arrive Canada account required. We were a group of six and it was a nail biter prior to boarding hoping none of us had Covid! There were a lot of new extra charges and the food selections on the buffet and dining room were reduced. Yes, it is very informal now. Our favorite cruise so far was a Med cruise out of Rome to Greece and Turkey.

Yes yes yes
Really brief cause really jet lagged more later