Opinions on Cruises?

For some time Mrs. Mancer and I have been thinking about a vacation, but I have been feeling that I need a pretty laid-back one. I don’t need anything hectic. I don’t want to get in a car and drive all over creation. I don’t want a big schedule that I have to maintain to enjoy myself. I just want to relax. So I was thinking that maybe a cruise might be just the thing. You can sit around and read books or play cards or do all kinds of things. It seems to me a cruise is like staying in a nice hotel except the hotel goes to neat places. Am I wrong?

This idea has just popped into my head, so I know nothing about it. I don’t know the costs involved, the hassle, or the time (ie how long most cruises last).

So I’d like to hear your cruise experiences. Where did you go? What did you do? Was it worth it?

I love cruises. They can be whatever you want them to be. If you want relaxing, you just sit by the pool all day. If you want lots of activites, there’s tons to do on the ship and in the ports of call.

The cost of a cruise isn’t that bad relatively. IIRC, the last cruise we took averaged about $100 per person per day, which if you compare it to a vacation involving hotels, rental cars, food, etc, it’s pretty close (as long as you don’t go nuts on alcohol).

I love them because you visit a new place almost every day, but without all the packing/unpacking. And the food is just superb.

Most cruise lines offer packages of 3 days and 7 days. If you’re not sure, a 3-day getaway is nice, but I would recommend the 7-day trip. 3 is just too short.

We’ve been on 3 of them, all with Royal Caribbean (highly recommended). All left out of Miami. Two of them (3-day) did the Nassau/Key West route, while the other (7-day) did Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rio (Jamaica) and Key West.

Our next one (next year) will probably leave out of San Juan and do the Southern Caribbean.

A year or so ago I went on a Carnival cruise from Miami to Key West to Cozumel and had a fabulous time. It was a 4 day cruise and cost $800 a person, flight included.

We had a blast. Food was fantastic 4 stars and served somewhere literally around the clock. There was a casino, 5 or 6 bars, clubs, sushi bars, entertainment. And when we got back to our room the cabin steward always had our towels folded like a dragon, or elephant or giraffe. One time my mom found her sheer robe fashioned into a butterfly across her bed. It was absolutely ingenius – the buttons were the eyes and it was a shame to undo it. Of course chocolates were on the pillows.

Throughout the day, the staff was extremely attentive and never far away. If you needed a coke or a beer or Bahama Mama it was only seconds away. Just show your card. No fooling with money or anything.

Anyone who has ever had to lug 3 suitcases over 4 concourses will appreciate this, once you get it to the airport, you didn’t have to handle your luggage anymore. When you got to your room it was all there waiting for you and on the last night it was all picked up after 10 pm.

On word of advice, if you happen to go to a place that offers the “party catamaran” take it by all means. It is usually a day outing 4-6 hours, and they will take you snorkeling or diving and drinks & snacks are free. And pack a waterproof camera. If you buy them on the ship they are about double what one would cost at a Wal Mart.

Do it. I have yet to talk to someone that did not like their cruise. Do research though. If you want a “party” atmosphere, most people tend to go to Carnival cruises. If you want something a little more laid-back there is Royal Carribean or Holland America. Princess is kind of a cross… although there is definetly elements of each in all of them. A semi-decent travel agent should be able to help you chose.

OH! And something else. Before you book take a look at the times that the ships go into/out of port. Very important. For some cruises the ships are only there for a few hours, which is no time at all. Its best to be in port before you even wake up and leave around 6 or so. That way you have the entire day to go to the beach, shop, whatever.

I went on one with my family about 10 years ago. Five days from Vancouver to Anchorage. The on-board entertainment was a little hokey, but the food was absolutely great. Best of all, though, were the tours that were set up at each port along the way.

All in all, it was a very good time.

I went on a 12-day cruise of the eastern Mediterranean with my mom and sister almost 4 years ago. This was definitely not a ‘relax’ type of cruise for us, as we went on every shore excursion we could. We started in Civitavecchia (main port an hour or so outside of Rome), and went to Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, several Greek Islands, and ended up in Athens. We had a great time. This was definitely not a “party” atmosphere - I think I was the youngest adult on the cruise at 33, but that was just fine with us. The food was excellent. It was a great way to see lots of things in a short period of time, and to find places to go back to see later in more depth. Given the pace and structure (self-imposed to a large degree), along with time contraints, there was little opportunity to absorb any local culture, but that’s the nature of the beast.

I’m sure you can easily just do a “sit-on-your-ass-and-relax” cruise - we only did that on the days we were at sea.

Not to sound dense, but when you say $800/person, does that just get you on the ship? I assume that doesn’t include meals or entertainment (of the show variety).

This is all very interesting to me. Sounds like I would want the non-party cruise - we’re not really partiers.

I was on a boat once …
That’s it. However, we are in desperate need of a vacation and one day, many years from now when we can afford it, my wife and I would live to go on one of these cruises.

Nope. Apart from alcohol, shore excursions, photographs, gift shop stuff, and tips, everything is included.

You also have to pay for cokes (snivel, gripe, snivel…)

All in all they’re a great deal. I hate the idea of a package anything, but I enjoyed the cruise we went on.

Went on a cruise about 10 years ago. It was from NYC to Bermuda and back. I hated it. I get motion sick and was reticent about booking a cruise. But everyone assured me that I couldn’t possibly get seasick on the Norway because it was the biggest cruiseship at the time. They lied. Yes, yes, I tried Dramamine, I tried the patch, I tried praying to Neptune. Nothing worked. I spent half the trip in my cabin trying to coax my stomach into submission.

Once we got on land I was fine. And the way back was okay because the seas weren’t as rough. But spending 3 out of 7 days of your vacation within 5 feet of the loo isn’t my idea of fun.

Also, on this particular trip there were about 14 people under the age of 60. So ask the travel agent what type of crowd your ship attracts. I think if you go to the carribbean you have a good chance of having a lot more young people.

I’ve been on Royal Caribbean and Disney cruises. We took our five year old on the Disney cruise, and it was AWESOME for him. However, we found that since they did so much for the kids, the adults were slightly neglected.

The RCCL was great for just us adults. The food was amazing and there was tons of entertainment. There was an on-board casino and a great piano man. (Why A Duck, did you see Al Escobar the piano man on your cruise?)

As it has been mentioned, one of the greatest things about a cruise vacation is that you really can set your own pace. If you want to do stuff, there is always something going on. If you’d rather just hang out and read a book, that is fine too.

I would like to suggest that if you do take a cruise, be sure to pack a carry-on bag with your swimsuit, a book, and toiletries. You board the ship around noon, and your luggage won’t get delivered to your room until as late as 6 PM. So you want to have some stuff with you to allow you to start your vacation as soon as you get onboard.

was lucky enough to have my folks drag me on 3 cruises in my teens. mega-fun! the food was awsome, and all you could eat.

planing on taking the wife on one as soon as we get around to it. between the two of us, we can eat enough to make it well worthwhile!

lets see, i’ll have the escargot and cavier as an appitizer, then lets get some prime rib and lobstertail with asparagas, maybe a baked potato, them some cheesecake…

I went on one cruise (Royal Caribbean) and I hated it.

I want to laze around and eat and drink and sleep and sunbathe and read but I felt COMPELLED to get off at every port because they were places I had never been before. I ended up seeing multiple variations of every damn schlocky tourist store in the Caribbean. We did go up to the rainforest in Barbados but I got carsick on the way. (no motion sickness on the ship though)

I hated having to eat every meal with the same couple (four person table the whole time) and having to get dressed up for every dinner. I hated having to be on time for dinner. I hated having to leave on the ship just as the towns were getting interesting. I hated having my picture taken by roving photographers/stalkers. I hated having to shave my legs with a foot on the sink (and the rest of me in the shower) because the shower was so small. I hated the stupid shows. I HATED ALL THE DAMN SCHEDULING!!!

The best two days of the thing were the one day spent at sea and the day we spent in St Maartin where we finally gave up on seeing the town, grabbed a taxi to the other (French) side of the island and sat on a beach all day within 25 yards of a beach bar. THAT was heaven.

God did I hate it.

So, Sue, stop beating around the bush! Did you like it or not? :stuck_out_tongue:

Eh, it was okay. :wink:

I should amend myself. And add some more things I hate.

I hated the pools. Saltwater (refilled daily) and so crowded it was pointless to try to hop in. Granted, it was the week before X-mas, so that could have contributed to the overall level of hellishness.

I hated the STUPID theme nights. Dress in 50’s clothing. Dress in Western Clothing. Dress as your favorite Drag Queen. I hope they’ve stopped that.

All that said, I would still take another cruise if it visited historically interesting sights because then you’d actually be able to SEE COOL STUFF rather than the same crap day after day.

I read of one that was 12 days long and visited Istanbul, couple of places in Greece and a few in Italy (I think). So I think I’d do a Mediterranian one, but you’d have to kill me to get me on another Caribbean one. The Caribbean is lovely (going there in July, in fact) but I FLY there.


Sue, you should try taking a cruise on Norwegian cruise lines. They’ve switched to an “open cruising” concept where there are no structured mealtimes or places. Instead of serving all the same things in all the restaurants (remember how each night used to have a different theme?) they’ve gone with making each restaurant a different type. So if you’re in the mood for Italian, you go to the Italian restaurant, etc. They also had a couple places set up snack-bar style in case you just wanted to grab a hot dog or a snack. It’s more like being on a floating city.

As for the pools, the trick is to go when everyone else goes ashore! You have the whole boat to yourself and everyone else is traipsing around the schlocky tourist traps.

I will say that there are too many kids on cruises now* (hey, take those kids on a Disney cruise!) An all over-60 cruise would be a DREAM for me.

*I’m a grouch though, and think there are too many kids everywhere.

I have to read more carefully…I thought the post read:
Onions on Cruises

…I was wondering why anyone would care if there were onions on cruises.

Carry on sailors!

We did a Disney cruise.

It was the best vacation of my life. The kids loved it, the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Shodan loved it, I loved it.

Something to do every minute of every day - if you want to. Pure laziness - if you want to. Lots of stuff for the kids to do so the adults can go do something else - if you want to. Lots of stuff for the kids and adults to do together - if you want to. My son and I learned how to draw Mickey Mouse. A health club to try to work off the seventeen gourmet meals a day. The staff hovering around trying to help. Yes, some of the stuff is cutesy and hokey, but it was a Disney cruise after all. A day on the Disney island Castaway Cay - dazzlingly white beaches, crystal water, sea turtles, snorkel equipment.

I sound like that ghastly woman on the cruise commercials (if I were the friend she is talking to I would have beaten her senseless by then) but it really was fun.

Bring your own booze if you are a drinker - it is extra pricey. The rooms will look smaller than the brochure - don’t worry about it, no space is wasted. We hit some rough seas, but that was part of the adventure.

Did I mention that we enjoyed it?