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Old 07-15-2011, 08:11 AM
Location: the sticks
813 posts, read 1,302,334 times
Reputation: 577


OK, I gotta 'free'* cruise from a deal and now I gotta consider a cruise. I have never been on one and I really have never seriously considered one; now I have one dumped in my lap. So, how much is this gonna cost me (and my wife) ? Conservative, no gambler, light drink, no shopping (???), etc. We are mid-50s, finally grown up a little and if I go, I would rather upgrade to a single room with a deck. more time ponderin (and just enjoyin the air and views and foods) than partyin, I guess... its a Carnival, 5/4, from Fla.

* - free, meaning I still have to arrive at a 8 hour drive (each way) point of departure, parking, passports, taxes, etc. and tips and off boat stuff, etc.

course, I may get there and go crazy with the rest of 'em.

What do yall think about cruises ?
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:36 AM
Location: Long Island, NY
1,756 posts, read 3,162,004 times
Reputation: 1776
I just went on my first cruise this year on Royal Caribbean and had a blast. I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The ship offers unlimited food, constant entertainment and easy access to multiple excursions at port destinations. We booked through a travel agent and had a smooth process from the plane to the ship and all excursions planned, etc. I can't wait to go on my next one!

My only concern is the conditions attached to your "free" prize. As my husband always says, nothing in life is really "free". We "won" a Bahamas cruise when we filled out some Survey at a local Chinese restaurant and I ALMOST booked the cruise and paid a $ 100 deposit to guarantee a spot until I read the fine print. The cruise would only last 3 days, the flight would require a stop-over at another city before arriving in Florida, and you could only take the cruise at certain times of the year.

I did some more research about the company and read reviews on Trip Advisor from other "winners" and was shocked to discover many negative comments about it, such as being unaware that 3 hours of their cruise would be wasted on a time-share lecture , and that their activities had to be done all in a group setting. . The ship was really old (one of the older models) with very bad upkeep. One review said there was only maybe 4 hours of the entire trip where they could actually relax on a beach since the cruise people were monitoring them all the time and bombarding them with constant offers to do try this, try that, buy this, buy that...

After seeing all that, I was like, NO WAY.

So just be aware of those things!!

PS If you want more information about Carnival cruises specifically, check out CruiseCritic.com. Also, I am not sure if you're aware of the cruise lines but Carnival tends to have a bit of a reputation as being a "party ship" depending on the time of year. My friend went on a Carnival cruise to Cancun during spring break and she said half her ship had a bunch of party going college students that made sleeping in her room almost impossible. Another couple I know did Carnival to the Caribbean but chose to go in January, and they had a great time...So be sure to read the reviews!!
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:58 AM
Location: Cottonwood CA
334 posts, read 947,761 times
Reputation: 304
Default Free Cruise

I took my first cruise with my wife about 2 years ago. It too was to the Bahamas, but ours wasn't "free"-and it was on another cruise line (Norwegian). Our cruise was short, 3 days. We had a good time. The food was wonderful and our room, with tiny deck was just fine.

Personally, I would never agree to a "free" cruise. A disadvantage about being on a ship is you're really a captive audience. Add "free" onto that and you've probably surrendered even more independence. Is there a sales presentation you're required to attend where they'll offer a time share purchase? Be prepared for high sales pressure if there is. I attended one of these at a commercial campground about 20 years ago. One was enough for me.

I've also heard some "not so good" comments about the cruise line you're sailing. Not that I'm any kind of expert-I've only cruised once.

My suggestion for you is to be very skeptical. There's really no such thing as a "free lunch". Ask plenty of questions-as early as you can-long before your departure. If you feel an uneasiness about the responses you receive-see if you can get out of the trip.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:31 AM
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,589,388 times
Reputation: 2334
Parking is $20/d on the average. Daily tip: $12/pp. Bucket of beer: $25. Other alcoholic drink: same or a bit higher than you would pay in bars. Tip (15%) is added to all drinks.

You can bring a bottle of wine/champagne and/or 12 cans of soft drink pp on embarkation day. Bring your own opener if you want to open the wine in your cabin. Corkage is $12. After the first day, anything purchased from ports of call will be held until debarkation.

Cost of cabin upgrade: depends on locations and availability.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:11 PM
Location: the sticks
813 posts, read 1,302,334 times
Reputation: 577
I should clarify or actually re-state this - I didn't win it or time share it and I guess it isnt free; the salesman just included it when he gave me the keys to the new car that I bought. So he made an me an offer I couldnt refuse. It is arranged by a prominant on-line travel agency and I've got 24 months to use it (although I register within 90 days).

Like I said, it just kinda landed in my lap. Too bad we couldnt dicker the final $$ any more, but I feel pretty good about the deal.

My real questions were of the unknown expenses or 'tricks of the trade' type cruise knowledge that Ive got no clue on. So, if weve covered it here and they can upgrade to a outside single with deck, maybe by changing from 5/4 to a 3/2 or something, then it would be only a matter of picking the right time to do it.

Thanks for the tips...
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