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Old 05-02-2012, 02:58 PM
 
Location: USA
187 posts, read 265,247 times
Reputation: 278

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Hi City-Data Family,

I am new to this thread but not CD. I am hoping to get help with booking my very first cruise. My sister and I would like to take a trip to celebrate my birthday but I don't even know where to begin.I saw a commercial for Carnival for a starting price of $299 but when I found one that fit our travel time (July/Aug) the price went up to $1010. I don't know anything about mid or upper decks, taxes and all the other fees that the sales rep began telling me about. My question is can someone recommend a cruise line with a port out of Tampa or Orlando (pref Tampa)? I would like to visit the Caribbean but am open to anywhere. I would like to not spend more than $750 (not sure if this is a cheap price but it is what I can afford). Do I need to get a passport for this cruise and any other information that you can provide. Thank you a million for all of your help in advance
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,964 posts, read 83,640,243 times
Reputation: 41769
Quote:
Originally Posted by girlsunshine View Post
Hi City-Data Family,

I am new to this thread but not CD. I am hoping to get help with booking my very first cruise. My sister and I would like to take a trip to celebrate my birthday but I don't even know where to begin.I saw a commercial for Carnival for a starting price of $299 but when I found one that fit our travel time (July/Aug) the price went up to $1010. I don't know anything about mid or upper decks, taxes and all the other fees that the sales rep began telling me about. My question is can someone recommend a cruise line with a port out of Tampa or Orlando (pref Tampa)? I would like to visit the Caribbean but am open to anywhere. I would like to not spend more than $750 (not sure if this is a cheap price but it is what I can afford). Do I need to get a passport for this cruise and any other information that you can provide. Thank you a million for all of your help in advance
Let me suggest you contact a good travel agent and let them do the work for you. You can see, from the ad and what you found how missleading ads can be. The $299 was probably for a 3 night cruise and off season plus it doesn't include all the taxes. It did, I am guessing, the price did include port charges. You do not have to have a passport, but it is highly recommended. I will tell you, cruising in July and Aug is the most expensive time of year, only higher prices would be around Christmas.

Nita
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
5,188 posts, read 13,360,362 times
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Definitely go to a travel agency....they can give you brochures with the deck plans...and explain everything to you.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:20 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,899 times
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You can go to a travel agency and get information but for me I've always done things on my own when traveling. I prefer Carnival Cruiselines because it's cheaper than others but that's me. From my own experience you're either a Royal Caribbean or a Carnival person (just mentioning the two for now-not to say there are other lines). I like cheap, fun and still nice. I've been on one Royal and eight Carnival. As mentioned above the summer months are quite expensive (basically when the kids are out). I've found September, October and January and Febraury to be cheaper. The only thing about fall is it's hurricane season. I only had trouble once when there was a tropical storm 750 miles away (from what I was told) and did we ever feel it. Generally it's nice and you may or may not have to change ports. Cruise ships won't put their ships or their guests in harms way so they may change ports and there's nothing you can do about it. You have to go with the flow.

I went in January a few times and the water is colder and it gets chilly at night but overall it's still really nice (especially if you're from a northern state like me LOL).

Here's some information about Carnival I can tell you:

Interior Versus Oceanview Versus Balcony-to be honest I've always had Interior because it's cheaper. For me I can get in an elevator and look at the ocean from the deck. I do understand that others like to wake up looking at the view or even having a balcony. It's personal preference and it's something you need to ask yourself before you talk to someone. You will be asked at some point. Sometimes price can dictate this too.

Different decks-Usually the bottom deck is the Riveria on a Carnival ship. I've been on this deck a few times and not had the problems that I had heard about noise. I was picturing the very bottom floor above a boiler room when I first started and it's not that way at all. You may have two, three or more floors underneath you. If you go on Carnival's website you can look at the deck plans. It depends on the ship and how it's laid out. They have what's called sister ships and what that means is they are built primarily the same in layout but have a different name, size, different decor, ports, etc.

Remember there are different discounts too. There could be a military discount (if you or anyone in your cabin has served in the military (you have to have proof soon after you book), what state you live in (could have a special), past guest discount, early saver discount (means you pay the whole thing up front instead of just putting the deposit down). You can look for yourself or call a Carnival Rep. This goes for other cruiselines as well.

When it comes to deposit it depends mostly on how many days your cruise is and the cruiseline. If you're going to Europe, Alaska and some other special places it's more. But for the Caribbean and the Bahama's it's pretty decent deposit. Not bad. For instance, I think a four night cruise is $150/person.

Next you have to decide where you want to go (besides the time of year) and the port/s you can go out of. If you're in Florida there are many to pick from (Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale and maybe one of two more). You can fly into Orlando and there's a shuttle to Port Canaveral. Also, there's newer ships and older ships. I love them all but I think I prefer the bigger one's (especially in the fall if there's a possibly of it becoming rocky).

My advice-if you want to go to a travel agent and would feel better go that route. If you are like me you can look at the cruiselines website, fish around or you can call a cruiseline rep.

I will say that I would go on a Royal Caribbean cruise but it's just to much for ME. I do like that they offer more amenities (as in rock climbing walls, some have a flow rider, movie theaters and ice skating rinks) but that's not to say Carnival doesn't have their own amenities either. I like the ships with the outdoor theater (not offered on all the ships but it's nice). It's out by the pool and they play movies at night and you can sit out there and enjoy.

As for food, it's all in what you like. I like Carnival food but there are many people who don't. The best thing to do is try for yourself.

If you need any more help, just ask. There are also forums on the website (top right hand corner of the Carnival website if you choose that one) where you can ask questions about certain ships.

Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Chandler
1,518 posts, read 1,353,673 times
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I'm not sure if I can suggest this or not, but you should check out cruise critic dot com. There is so much information on the message boards there!
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,964 posts, read 83,640,243 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZPam View Post
I'm not sure if I can suggest this or not, but you should check out cruise critic dot com. There is so much information on the message boards there!
I don't know why you couldn't suggest it, yes, cruisecritic isn't the place to think about booking but it is a great place to get cruising information and meet people who will be cruising with you. I love CC.

Nita
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:53 PM
 
Location: USA
187 posts, read 265,247 times
Reputation: 278
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your help
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Old 05-12-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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Personally I would skip carnival and go to either princess, royal carribean or a different line.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 10,390,618 times
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You'll need a passport if you are leaving the U.S. So the answer is probably yes, but it depends on the cruise route.

Prices of cruises will vary depending on the time of year. If you go in high season, you'll have to pay more. Their "deals" are going to be on less popular dates. Flexibility in your schedule can save you money.

I say, go for the cheapest room available. Be sure to have it marked with an "upgrade request" and you might get bumped up to a higher priced room for the lower price. You can always go sit out on the deck and watch the scenery ... you don't need to pay for a window or balcony in your room.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:30 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,225 posts, read 14,934,660 times
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Absolutely go to cruisecritic. Also cruisemates.com for info.

We have been on 10 cruises, so far, and on 3 different cruiselines. I will never go back to Norwegian and I will avoid Royal. Give me Carnival (btw, I am in my 60s and my husband is in his 50s.) We did book one cruise through a TA and we will not be doing that again. It is so much easier and better organized when we do it ourselves. 8 of our cruises have been on Carnival ships.

I use cruise411.com as my source of comparison, but I find that the cheapest rates are through the cruiseline itself. When you see the deals for a cruise, of course they are going to give you the lowest price. The price goes up depending on the time of year. September is my favorite time of year to cruise. Why? The prices are rock bottom - you will not find anything lower - because people are most afraid of hurricanes. And the one time we caught the end of a hurricane was our BEST cruise - as well as our first.

So, decks - and cabin selection. Higher decks get more motion than lower; forward and midship get more motion than aft. Not all ships are equal. Remember that. Also, consider that Carnival has the largest regular staterooms.

We took our one and only cruise on Norwegian in February. I walked in the room and asked where the REST of it was. It was a closet. The bathroom was so tiny, not even the skinny one in our group was able to sit without her knees bumping the wall. There were other issues, most notably that children sailed free - and no one, not parents or staff, tries to keep them under control - screaming and screaming and running everywhere (We have 6 children, 18 grandchildren and 2 greatgrandkids so we have nothing against children).

You sacrifice a very small bit in service with Carnival but you get the most for your money. The staterooms are comfortable, the food is equal over the 3 lines we've been on, and you get to the same places mostly (with the exception of the Bahamas private islands - big deal though, they are all similar).

We have gotten inside lowest deck, balcony high deck, forward, aft, midships. We spend so little time in the cabin, it really only matters at night and then you're mostly sleeping.
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