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Old 04-11-2012, 12:19 AM
 
7 posts, read 1,117 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitram View Post
Crusies are a good way to travel, especially if you have limited time. We've been on 10 crusies, 2 to Alaska. The seas are generally calm and the ships are so big that most of the time you don't even realize you're on one, and seasickness is quite rare. Many people take seasick pills before departing to prevent it.
Most everyone takes the daily tours to get an overview of the areas. You never see 100% of an area so you pick and choose your tours. Generally you can do 2 tours in one day. Festivities are mostly at night and the food is abundant 24 hours a day. You can go dining either formal or informal depending which dining area you decide to go to. The entertainment and shows are fantastic on the big ships. There is enough variety all over the ship to keep you entertained until the wee hours of the am.
Alaska cruises are worth the time and money. They are a good value.
We have not been to the Baltic Sea so cannot comment on it.
Wow! that's great and wonderful post. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this information. I really appreciate your work, keep it up.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
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Last night I watched a production by Nova: Why Ships Sink.
It is repeated tonight and probably a few more times.

It mentioned that the Costa captain had only been the captain of a cruise ship for four years and suggested that the maritime industry make time spent on simulators mandatory for captain and crew so that there is a memory of how to respond in an emergency. There is a mental freeze that often sets in when the 'unheard of' happens sometimes and if there was experience on a simulator for such things, a mental auto pilot often takes over.

The rocks that the Carnival/Costa hit were displayed on the navigation charts that the Costa was using.

The article mentioned that a full double hull probably would have saved the Costa from sinking, as the rock hit was at sea level. To save money some ships have only a half double hull.

The other think I got from the production is that the ships have a high center of gravity which make them unstable. They are built too high. over water level.

How would a person find out if their cruise ship has a FULL double hull, I wonder?

Last edited by goldengrain; 04-19-2012 at 05:48 AM..
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,411 posts, read 8,667,920 times
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This article is advocating for a central place that records consumerist news regarding cruise ships and to settle disputes.

The implication is that the lack of regulation creates short cuts by the industry. If it were not for the freedom of the press, giving publicity to these things, what would they fear?

That full double hull is a real concern to me. How would a person find that out?

Probably, the safest bet is to book through a travel agent whom they would be more concerned with pleasing.

Federal government can do little for dissatisfied cruise passengers | Dave Lieber | News...

There's no movement in Congress to create a "passenger bill of rights" similar to one passed for airline passengers.

Cruise tickets contain language that favors company owners.

The public has a right, he said, to learn about ships with a history of engine and mechanical problems, about fires and explosions, about virus outbreaks, about crimes committed, about passengers falling overboard and even about billing disputes.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
6,522 posts, read 6,518,571 times
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Cruisecritic.com and CruiseMates.com - you can find out just about anything you want about a specific ship or itinerary.

We have been on 10 cruises, so far, and are planning our next 2. We find them a wonderful way to find out where we like to return and spend more time getting to know. We would definitely return to St. Thomas and Puerto Rico - been there twice, but I have more than had my fill of the Bahamas, thank you (twice). I have no need to return to the islands of the southern Caribbean but would love to return to the Caymans and Jamaica.

We took a 2 week cruise in the Mediterranean and had culture and history imploded in our brains. I can't wait to revisit many of those places for longer stays. We didn't have near enough time in Turkey or Spain and we want to see the southern Mediterranean. We are looking now at a 2 week vacation to Spain, and most likely we'll make a stop over in Portugal. There just isn't enough time in our lives left to re-see what we have seen nevermind to see some of the places we haven't been to yet.

We have been on both Carnival's largest ship and one of its smallest and on Royal's largest ship at the time. We have had the roughest rides on the largest ships and the 2-week trip of the Med was on the Royal cruise. It was the roughest ride we've ever experienced. It was so rough the main elevators were shut down one night and the water tight doors to the outside deck were chained shut, the pools were emptied and stairwells had "barf bags" on all the landings. If I recall hearing correctly, the gift shop sold out of bonine. 3 nights of the roughest weather - I loved it - but most do not.

So to answer whether the "quick-view" is enough. It's enough to make a decision whether to return for more or whether to never return. I would not go to most of the Greek Islands - we didn't get off the ship in Santorini. While it is beautiful to look at, I don't deal well with mountain tops and it's better viewed from the ship. I did, however, get to see a "cup of cloud" after we left that island and it is a vision I can't ever forget. The side of a volcanic island had slipped and the early morning cloud hadn't quite dissipated. It looked like a cup just tipped a little with a cloud frothing out of it.

That cruise was our first introduction to Europe (and Asia). I spent 90% of my time just looking at the coastline. It was incredible to see the villages and then nothing but mountains, to see where some of the scenes from movies had been filmed - (think James Bond), the type of buildings of the cities varied from east to west, and it was easy to spot the touristy towns from the working fishing villages.

I know I would like to return to Cozumel, but not Tortola; to St. Thomas but not some other islands; that Cannes is an interesting stop but the 1 hour tour was too long; that Turkey is fascinating and I want to go back; that a day in Rome was enough, but 2 days in Barcelona was too short.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
To get an overall view of several places cruising is perfect, but to get a true deep feeling about an area or port you need to spend more time there. I have always thought cruising is the ideal way to get a feeling for a port, then you can always plan a trip back if you want to spend more time.
Nita
I agree completely. One aspect of taking a cruise that hasn't been mentioned is that it is great for just transportation itself. I love taking transatlantic cruises just as a mode of transportation to get from the US to Europe or vice versa. I took three transatlantic cruises last year alone and just returned from Spain last week. In April, I took a transatlantic voyage from Miami to Malaga and then spent 10 days in Spain before flying home from Madrid. It was a nice, relaxing way to get to Spain without having to deal with jet lag and the general uncomfort of international air travel. (Although I did have to deal with that on my return home unfortunately.)

Another nice aspect of transatlantic cruises (or most repositioning cruises for that matter) is that they can be incredibly cheap when compared to regular closed-loop cruises in the Caribbean or Alaska. For example, I took a 14-day cruise last October from Barcelona to New Orleans for only $499! I'm not sure I could live at home that cheaply, lol.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
I agree completely. One aspect of taking a cruise that hasn't been mentioned is that it is great for just transportation itself. I love taking transatlantic cruises just as a mode of transportation to get from the US to Europe or vice versa. I took three transatlantic cruises last year alone and just returned from Spain last week. In April, I took a transatlantic voyage from Miami to Malaga and then spent 10 days in Spain before flying home from Madrid. It was a nice, relaxing way to get to Spain without having to deal with jet lag and the general uncomfort of international air travel. (Although I did have to deal with that on my return home unfortunately.)

Another nice aspect of transatlantic cruises (or most repositioning cruises for that matter) is that they can be incredibly cheap when compared to regular closed-loop cruises in the Caribbean or Alaska. For example, I took a 14-day cruise last October from Barcelona to New Orleans for only $499! I'm not sure I could live at home that cheaply, lol.
That sounds great. Would you mind naming the cruise line? You booked last minute, I suspect?

I often thought the Atlantic crossings might be also good for the excess luggage that you might have coming back to the states.

Also, a silly consideration - but it seems as though terrorists are more prone to target planes headed for the US.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
For example, I took a 14-day cruise last October from Barcelona to New Orleans for only $499! I'm not sure I could live at home that cheaply, lol.
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
That sounds great. Would you mind naming the cruise line? You booked last minute, I suspect?
It was Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas.

I guess you could consider it "last minute" as far as the cruise industry is concerned. We booked it in August for an end of October cruise.

Interestingly, we already had a westbound transatlantic cruise booked on Celebrity for December when we saw the incredibly low price on RCL. So we ended up taking the RCL cruise from Barcelona to New Orleans, and then 10 days after we got home to Las Vegas, we flew to Rome to take the Celebrity cruise to Ft. Lauderdale.

And since we had to book airfare to Barcelona for the RCL cruise, we purchased a r/t ticket with the return out of Madrid for last week. We then booked our most recent transatlantic cruise from Miami to Malaga for this past April. We always book r/t airfare and then use 1/2 of each ticket for a transatlantic cruise. Much cheaper than booking one-way air travel.

BTW, the RCL 14-day cruise we were just on (Grandeur of the Seas) had last minute prices as low as $449 for inside cabins. However, although we originally booked an OV cabin for $699, we chose to upgrade to a grand suite at the last minute for a greatly discounted price of $1,299. As I said, these repositioning cruises have great prices.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:44 PM
 
Location: kind of North of the middle of nowhere, FL
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I love Cruising. The wife andI try to go at least once a year, and sometimes we even take the kids. the kids love Carnival and RCCL kids camp, both are similar in activites and events
Carnival ships seem to be more drinking/party oriented thant he RRCCL ships we have sailed, but we always have fun.
As for the OP question, yes, cruises are a great way to get a taste of each country. If you want to really get to know a country, you have to opt off the beaten tourist path and spend some time there, and on a cruise, you spend a few hours. Still, tours are often arranged by interest, histric, adventure, beach, scenic even golf!
A few places I have been are still safe to wander around on your own, but Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Belize are definatly places that it is safest to go with a group tour and stay with the group, and I would recommend going with a tour set up BY the cruiseline. May be pricier, but it is safe. St Thomas, San Juan, St Maartin, Cozumel, Honduras Grand Caymens are all safe to go with a tour being organized on the port or hire a local cab/tour guide to take you around. Nassau has become this place where the downtown area near the port is generally ok, and the rest of the town is generally not, I go in , buy the Nassau Royale Chocolate rum cakes (Usually as many as I can afford and make the kids carry) and leave.
Many cruiselines have private islands, such as CocoCay in the bahamas which is owned by RCCL Lines (and is appearantly right next to Norwegians private island) These small islands are open ONLY to cruise line passangers, serve food , drinks, have miles of beach and a few overpriced souveniers. Only employees of the line, or passengers will be there, so safety is not so much of an issue. (Sunburn risk is)
I still felt safer though in Cozumel last time than in places like, say, New Mexico.
I also tend to opt out of shopping tours but know many who make that the entire vcation. I prefer historic sites, but if I do not have the kids in tow, then anyplace serving booze will suffice.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Houston, texas
9,891 posts, read 3,466,425 times
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A historical and contemporary look at cruise ships.
MATSON LINES |
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