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Old 04-20-2012, 11:51 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,901 posts, read 20,212,658 times
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I've never been on a cruise before and was considering a Caribbean cruise. I've never traveled to the Caribbean before (nor cruised) and need some guidance. I'm the type of traveler that enjoys touristy things and not into water activities as I don't swim. The major cruise lines have Western and Eastern Caribbean - which would be recommended for a woman in her late 30's to travel solo in terms of safety, food, culture? Not into the party scene. Thanks.
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Old 04-21-2012, 02:14 AM
 
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There are plenty of things to do that don't require swimming.

First let's talk about the ship. Choose your line carefully, I'd look at cruisecritic.com for comprehensive info. Read the forums for each line you are considering to get a taste of the demographic.

Keep in mind that as a solo cruiser you will pay for two people in the cabin, and that jacks up the cost in a big way.

The larger the ship, the less likely you are to meet solo travelers or people traveling together who would welcome a single into their group. An exception is the NCL Epic which has solo studio cabins for solo travelers that are less costly then paying for double occupancy in a regular cabin, and also have a private lounge area for the solo passengers in those cabins to meet and mingle. I don't think Epic is back in the Caribbean until fall though.

I'd suggest finding a cruise based on an interest you have--scrapbooking, wine, cooking, photography, bridge, motorcycles. It gives you something automatically in common with other cruisers. You'll be able to be as social or solitary as you choose. Some shore excursions are often based around the theme, but you can choose something else if you prefer as well.

Eastern Caribbean in my opinion generally offers safer (but less) ports of call--St. Thomas, St. Martaan, and the cruise line's private island. Western itineraries vary but usually have three ports plus a private island. They can include Cancun, Jamaica, the Caymans, Key West, and others.

What you are looking for (good food, culture, and cordial but somewhat reserved) is readily found on the more upscale lines. Some are very formal (Seaborne, Crystal) while others are all about casual elegance (Regent, Windstar). If they are in your price range I'd look closely at the latter as an option.

If you don't want a party scene I'd stay away from Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Costa, and MSC.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:06 AM
 
Location: SW MO
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Maybe this will help a bit.

Best Cruise Lines for Solo Travelers - Cruises - Cruise Critic
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
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The "party scene"....not a problem on ANY line...really! Any short cruise will have more partyers than a longer cruise, but all of the mass market cruiselines are quite similar. Even Carnival, RCI etc....are no more of a "party" ship than any other. You can have good time on any.
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
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As for Eastern versus Western Caribbean, if you're interested in history and culture, the western ports like Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan give you access to tours of Mayan sites that are very memorable. I've never found safety to be a problem as long as you're on a group tour.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:09 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
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Thank you everyone for your helpful tips and advice. I finally booked my cruise vacation for July with an itinerary that I am pleased with for my first ever cruise. I'll be doing the Royal Caribbean NE/Bermuda in Late July.
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:08 AM
 
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You'll LOVE Bermuda!
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:42 AM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,901 posts, read 20,212,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
You'll LOVE Bermuda!
I sure hope so ... I was attracted mostly to the NE ports (Boston and Maine) as I've never been to those locations but I though (for me at least) Bermuda would be different. I'll have to research and book ahead of time my excursions as I want to get a feel for the place.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:09 AM
 
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Boston and Portland are two of my favorite places--I visit both regularly for business. In Boston I'd suggest walking the Freedom Trail. You don't need to take a shore excursion or tour, I'd pick up the official Freedom Trail Guidebook in advance, you can order from Amazon. There's a great restaurant half a block from the Old Meeting House called Four Green Fields that offers amazing food with Irish flare, but it's fare from typical pub grub. It's reasonably priced as well.

Portland is even more compact, there are great places to eat--most are causal--and lots of shopping. It's a super walkable city, you can walk from the pier to the heart of the old Portland area. You don't need a shore excursion there either, just explore on your own.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:15 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,713,149 times
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A little more about Boston--you can take the MBTA bus from Black Falcon terminal to South Street Station, it's about a 20 minute ride, I think it's the SL2, but double check that. You can also walk, but between all the walking you'll do on the Trail you might want to save your energy.
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