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Old 03-12-2011, 03:32 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,877 posts, read 20,174,085 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
Let me also add a comment on excursions.

Depending on the port, I rarely do organized excursions but prefer to do my own thing. This is particularly the case in the Mediterranean where there are very few unsafe ports (Naples is unsafe incidentally). Also in the Caribbean, I have found most ports to be quite safe. Again, ask for port specific advice on cruise critic and make your arrangements accordingly. There are a number of guides available from Amazon or your local book store which will give you more information on ports. I quite like the Fodors ones.
Thanks for the suggestions. My rationale for doing the cruise sponsored excursions is that in the event of a delay, the cruise ship is notified and will wait for passengers. If you are on your own and don't get back in time, you may miss the ship. For a first-time cruiser such as myself, that is a risk I am uncomfortable taking.
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:28 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,339,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chatteress View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. My rationale for doing the cruise sponsored excursions is that in the event of a delay, the cruise ship is notified and will wait for passengers. If you are on your own and don't get back in time, you may miss the ship. For a first-time cruiser such as myself, that is a risk I am uncomfortable taking.
It is a good point and really depends on the port and how far afield you want to venture. So, for example, Grand Turk is small enough and the taxis plentiful enough that doing it on your own is pretty safe. On the other hand, if you dock at St. Johns, Antigua and you want to cross the island to go to Nelson's dockyard then maybe a tour is safer.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:47 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,225 posts, read 14,940,197 times
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First, I was asked why we will never again cruise RC.

1. The size of the staterooms - 25 sq ft smaller than on Carnival. For those of you who don't believe it is a lot smaller, pace of 5' x 5'. It does make a big difference.

2. The food was mediocre at best. Often I felt no choice but to resort to salad and cookies - again. On a 2 week cruise, I lost 10 lbs. Most people gain weight.

3. Food again - on Carnival, there is food 24/7. Not on Royal Caribbean. The snack bar is open after dinner around 10 pm but only for 3 hours. The menu is INCREDIBLY limited ... but the bread is good so a sandwich is fine.

4. Room service - you pay extra on Royal Caribbean for the food and for the service. I got spoiled by having breakfast fruit and coffee delivered at 6 am on all of our Carnival cruises.

5. I fell and injured myself in the dining room. It was RC's fault - water on the floor. It was the 3rd day of a 12 day cruise and I spent the remainder of the cruise on painkillers - luckily I always bring extra meds. I was offered: to see the nurse at a cost of $200; and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries - which were imaginary - they never showed up.

NOT a complaint, so no number: The entertainment on Royal Caribbean was really good. Professionals brought in who get on at one port, off at the next. We are quite jaded as we see first rate performances both in NYC and Atlantic City several times a year and yet we found the acts fresh and quite talented. I will give RC kudos on that score.

Service on both ships was excellent. I would give a slight edge to RC, but we have found service on Carnival to be excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chatteress View Post
^^ Thanks Jaggy for responding to my question. Your input helps!

I have a question for the seasonal cruise travelers, what would you recommend for someone who would be traveling solo? The key reason why I have yet to take a cruise is due to the fact that I would have to pay double because I am traveling alone. What cruise company that isn't pricey that would be affordable for a single cruiser like myself?

Carnival hands down for affordability. We have been very happy with Carnival ships, food, and service. Itinerary and excursions have been great. Avoid NYC as origination port for southern ports of call.

I would like activities geared towards adults on the ship as well as excursions that would allow me to explore the local region. Although my cheapest bet would be the Mexican cruises as I would not have to pay for airfare (I reside in LA area), I simply do NOT want to travel to Mexico with the current unrest in that country regardless of what some folks say about "safety" in the touristy spots. Unlike the OP, I would stick with the cruise excursions for safety reasons and not really interested in beach-oriented ports. Any tips would be useful. Thanks.

I have a friend who cruised solo - and she loved it. She took our recommendation and went Carnival to the Bahamas (3 days for a first time trial). She will be cruising again and possibly will join us for one of our next cruises.

I recommend any of the Caribbean cruises. Our favorite port is Miami but we are trying out Ft. Lauderdale this time. The cruises we are looking at now will be either eastern or southern Caribbean - no Mexican ports although we absolutely love Mexico - and we are looking at one that stops in Panama.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:57 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,339,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
First, I was asked why we will never again cruise RC.

1. The size of the staterooms - 25 sq ft smaller than on Carnival. For those of you who don't believe it is a lot smaller, pace of 5' x 5'. It does make a big difference.

2. The food was mediocre at best. Often I felt no choice but to resort to salad and cookies - again. On a 2 week cruise, I lost 10 lbs. Most people gain weight.

3. Food again - on Carnival, there is food 24/7. Not on Royal Caribbean. The snack bar is open after dinner around 10 pm but only for 3 hours. The menu is INCREDIBLY limited ... but the bread is good so a sandwich is fine.

4. Room service - you pay extra on Royal Caribbean for the food and for the service. I got spoiled by having breakfast fruit and coffee delivered at 6 am on all of our Carnival cruises.

5. I fell and injured myself in the dining room. It was RC's fault - water on the floor. It was the 3rd day of a 12 day cruise and I spent the remainder of the cruise on painkillers - luckily I always bring extra meds. I was offered: to see the nurse at a cost of $200; and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries - which were imaginary - they never showed up.

NOT a complaint, so no number: The entertainment on Royal Caribbean was really good. Professionals brought in who get on at one port, off at the next. We are quite jaded as we see first rate performances both in NYC and Atlantic City several times a year and yet we found the acts fresh and quite talented. I will give RC kudos on that score.

Service on both ships was excellent. I would give a slight edge to RC, but we have found service on Carnival to be excellent.




I have a friend who cruised solo - and she loved it. She took our recommendation and went Carnival to the Bahamas (3 days for a first time trial). She will be cruising again and possibly will join us for one of our next cruises.

I recommend any of the Caribbean cruises. Our favorite port is Miami but we are trying out Ft. Lauderdale this time. The cruises we are looking at now will be either eastern or southern Caribbean - no Mexican ports although we absolutely love Mexico - and we are looking at one that stops in Panama.
I have cruised the eastern Caribbean twice and loved each cruise. If you can, try the smaller ships because they often go to smaller ports which can be more interesting. On the subject of Mexico, our last cruise was with Regent and went from Ft. Lauderdale down through the Panama canal and back up to San Francisco. We had 4 stops in Mexico; Puerto Chiapas/Tapachula, Huatelco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas. The only one that was a bit "iffy' was Acapulco because it is a big city. The others were fine and we did not feel at all unsafe in them.

Ft. Lauderdale is a pretty easy port and the airport is close to it which can help. If you are staying overnight before your cruise, check out which hotels offer a free shuttle (e.g. Hampton Inn) before you book as that will save some money. If disembarking at Ft. Lauderdale, you can easily catch a 10.30am or 11.00am flight as the airport is less than 30 mins from the port.
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Now in SP, hopefully for a very long time
249 posts, read 396,758 times
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Coming back for more advice. Some of you seem very cruise-pro .

I will probably go to FLL by bus, but that's another matter. I too, am alone and payed double, but I don't do a RT cruise .

I would like to do an exploration of Florence alone, not a tour. What could you recommend in a few hours? Then we arrive in Rome, the transfer is not included. What kind of transportation can I find to go downtown (hotel not chosen yet). are there different options with different rates?

Thanks
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:30 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,339,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allwyna View Post
Coming back for more advice. Some of you seem very cruise-pro .

I will probably go to FLL by bus, but that's another matter. I too, am alone and payed double, but I don't do a RT cruise .

I would like to do an exploration of Florence alone, not a tour. What could you recommend in a few hours? Then we arrive in Rome, the transfer is not included. What kind of transportation can I find to go downtown (hotel not chosen yet). are there different options with different rates?

Thanks
Best way into Rome from Civitevecchia (where you will dock) is by train. Just check with the cruise line to make sure there are taxis or maybe a shuttle from the dock to the station. Alternatively, go on Cruise Critic for the cruise line you are on and see if anyone wants to share a car into Rome.

The center of Florence is very walkable and all the main sites are close by. The main problem when we were there was the sheer number of tourists and the lines to get into various sites. Your ship will dock in Livorno and you may want to buy the transfer to and from Florence from the cruise line (if you are going by cruise ship of course).

Last edited by Jaggy001; 03-13-2011 at 04:39 PM..
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:37 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,225 posts, read 14,940,197 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
Best way into Rome from Civitevecchia (where you will dock) is by train. Just check with the cruise line to make sure there are taxis or maybe a shuttle from the dock to the station. Alternatively, go on Cruise Critic for the cruise line you are on and see if anyone wants to share a car into Rome.

The center of Florence is very walkable and all the main sites are close by. The main problem when we were there was the sheer number of tourists and the lines to get into various sites. Your ship will dock in Livorno and you may want to buy the transfer to and from Florence from the cruise line (if you are going by cruise ship of course).

I agree with all of the above, mostly read what others have experienced re: Florence and Rome. We chose the excursion to Pisa rather than Florence (I'm not big on shopping) and we were not disappointed - but definitely be prepared to walk. Same with Rome. And the lines - everywhere for everything lines. I would love to go again to Italy and Spain - and Greece - and Turkey, but there's so many other places we haven't seen yet.

Definitely check out cruisecritic. There are some people whose travels make me feel like we are stay-at-homes!
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:59 PM
 
Location: South FL
9,444 posts, read 15,414,782 times
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Not to hijack your thread OP, but has anyone been on Oasis of The Sea?
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Now in SP, hopefully for a very long time
249 posts, read 396,758 times
Reputation: 103
No time to go to Cruise Critic yet, but it is a good site, and I will.

However, I just called the cruise line. my cruise is going to cost me (AGAIN) the double... because of extra fees (tips, are they really mandatory... $12/day ?), tours if I do any, internet ... and the transfer from the port to Rome downtown is $91!! NINETY ONE DOLLARS???? . I hope it is at least by private limousine!

I have to sort that out. Plus the rest... Rome-Paris, then Paris-Tampa, one way or another. I hope I don't have to give-up on my stay in Rome, I was so eager. I am French, have lived all over the world and I don't know Italy... always money issues. I have seen on C-D Europe how to stay for cheap in Rome.

But since maybe in a few weeks the planet earth won't exist anymore, it is better to do it now .
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:17 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,225 posts, read 14,940,197 times
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I don't believe the troubles in Japan are going to be the end of the world - however, you may want to be prepared for fuel surcharges per day being added to your trip - both the cruise and airfare.

As for $91 for travel from the port to Rome, is that USD or Euros?
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