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Ten Things I Absolutely, Almost Think I’ve Learned About Cruising!

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I have to be honest. My family and I have been cruising for quite a long while. We’ve cruised with family, we’ve cruised with friends, and we’ve cruised by ourselves. I decided to compile the ten most important things I’ve learned about cruising.

 

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1. All cruise lines are NOT the same, nor do they cost the same for the identical trip. Carnival owns a good many of the lines, but they still all maintain their own personality. My caveats in this post are that these are things that I have found to be true for myself, they may have changed in the meantime, and these are all my own personal opinions anyhooo.

2. If you want major elegance and beverages to be all-inclusive, you will pay more. We have traveled on the Crystal Line, as well as Seabourn, and these are immaculate lines. Crystal is a larger line, while Seabourn is smaller and more intimate. Consider if it’s all-inclusive, you may drink more than you normally would. Once, on Seabourn, they delivered a margarita to me at the beauty salon when I didn’t even ask for one–that suggested to me maybe I was imbibing a little too much!

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3. Carnival, NCL, and MSC are lines you will frequently find the most cheaply priced. I’ve never traveled on MSC, but my daughter has, and while they are cheaper, they charge for everything, including water at dinner. MSC also tends to cater more to Europeans. One of the up-sides of MSC is that children travel free, and I think Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) often has children sailing free as well.

4. When you travel on ships, you must consider that there are fully-booked ships and FULLY-booked ships. This means that at the holiday seasons and summertime, the ships will be much more crowded with young people. There’s a big difference between cabins being filled with two people and four to five people per cabin.

5. Talking about the personality of ships, Carnival and Royal Caribbean tend to have a younger crowd on board, whereas Holland and Celebrity tend to attract an older crowd. The Princess line tends to be somewhere in the middle. So you have to think if you want a super relaxing cruise or a more party atmosphere.

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6. The Oceania and Cunard lines tend to be somewhere in the upper/mid price range. Cunard has big ocean liners that are great for Trans-Atlantic crossings, and Oceania has smaller, intimate ships. Oceania usually includes flights in the price, sometimes including gratuities on longer trips, bottled water is free, they have no formal evenings, and they do not take professional photos. When you see how many photos we have, you can see that well may be a blessing. The children don’t always appreciate the fact that your cruise pictures are going to be their inheritance. LOL! I always tell them there are plenty more where that came from. Oddly, they’re not excited over this fact.

7. Evening dress has changed enormously since we first started cruising. All cruise ships are much more casual than they once were, although all have some formal evenings, except for Oceania. The amount of formal evenings depend on how long the cruises are, but Cunard will give you more formal evenings than other lines. Even with formal evenings, the dress code has changed, and women don’t have to wear long gowns or men don’t have to wear tuxes. Other than formal evenings, they often call the other evenings ‘smart’ casual. I often wonder what the difference between that and ‘stupid’ casual is but I’ve never figured it out.

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8. With internet, people can book their cruises online, but many years ago, a fellow-traveler hooked us up with Rosemarie from Bon Voyage Cruise Specialists Inc , in Clearwater, Fl., and she has been our travel agent ever since. She gets us perks on the ships, books our trips, often gets a better deal for us than we could do for ourselves, and fights for us if we have any issues with the cruise line.

9. Royal Caribbean has the mega-ships: Allure, Oasis, and the Quantum. These are ships with over 6,000 passengers. Now some people might think these ships are too large, but we find them amazing. They are like traveling hotels. They have musical plays, ice shows, comedy clubs, diving shows, production shows, parades down the mall, a boardwalk, Central Park… We find there are so many activities, the ships frequently seem to be less crowded than other ships. The trick to these mega-ships is to book all your activities on-line before you go on your trip. Actually booking all tours on any cruise ship is probably your best bet to avoid disappointment.

10. What we have found mostly with cruising is that it’s a fun, relaxing way to see the world. All things told, it’s one of the best ways to travel where you get the most bang for your buck and you can do as much or as little as you’d like. People often ask what is my favorite cruise line and I would have to say I like them all for different reasons. Being retired, I tend to look for the best deal and the most interesting itinerary.

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Thanks for stopping by and letting me share some of the things I think I know about cruising. Again, I know everybody has their own opinion and others may have had a completely different experience than I have had. There are other cruise lines I didn’t mention because I’ve never been on them.  Number one thing; enjoy your life and never make someday a lifetime away!

Bren

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Ten Things I Absolutely, Almost Think I’ve Learned About Cruising!”

  1. Tiff says:

    MSC also sells house wine by the carafe at dinner which is much cheaper than their bottles of wine.

  2. Rosemarie Kelly-Cunningham says:

    Great, Great article Brenda! Enjoyed all your wonderful pictures and stories regarding the Cruise LInes, different ships including your thoughts and experiences. We are honored to include you both among our happy and endeared clients. Best wishes to your both with all your future travels including cruises, both river and others. Look forward to getting your pictures and experiences on all your future travels. Thanks for the memories!!!
    Fondly,
    Rosemarie Kelly-Cunningham, CTC
    Bon Voyage Cruise Specialists Inc.
    727-447-7447

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