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Cruise help...

Were thinking of taking a cruise however neither of us have ever been on one.... Was looking for tips, advice etc....

What cruise line?

Is everything includ once your on the boat?


Re: Cruise help...

  • We're going on our first cruise in April & went with Royal Caribbean because of recommendations from friends & the TA. I've also read that Princess & Celebrity are good, as they tend to cater to an older crowd rather than families with small children.  I guess that's a matter of preference for you & DH!

    I've researched a lot here & on cruisecritic, which I highly recommend you check out.  Most people say you should choose a cruise based on the itinerary rather than the ship itself.  We are departing out of San Juan & doing St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbados.  It's considered a Southern Caribbean cruise- we've done Mexico & don't want to do Bahamas so this was a good fit for us. 

    Once on the boat, your meals & entertainment are included, though many lines have specialty restaurants that you can book for a small fee/person ($20-30).  Alcoholic drinks are additional & I'm pretty sure you need to buy a "soda card" if you want to be able to drink pop on the ship.

    Excursions are extra as well.  We've booked two through independent companies rather than go with the cruise line. 

    Good luck & have fun! 

  • (1) Check out the forums on  You can search by cruiseline or by itinerary.  Very, very helpful!

    (2) In general, I care more about the itinerary and the age of the ship than the cruiseline.  However, I do have lines I like and ones I don't.  I've been on Carnival, NCL, Royal Carribbean, and HAL (Holland America).  DH and I decided the next cruise we take will be Celebrity.  If you have the money, I've never heard a negative review of Celebrity.  I think NCL or Royal Carribbean would be good for a first time cruiser.  NCL is a little less traditional (no set dining time,etc.) so if you want a traditional experience, you can get that on RC.  Again -- really look into the age of the ship.  Ships get hard use.  They age quickly.  The newer the better.

    (3) Everything is not included.  Your room (obviously) and all food (with the exception of if the ship you go on has specialty restaurants -- those you usually pay extra for, but you'll be told ahead of time).  Room service, all buffets, meals in the dining room -- all are included. 

    Alcohol is not included.  Some people think it's overpriced, but I really don't find it any more expensive than a bar at home.  Some cruiselines you can bring wine, etc. on board.  Many people sneak alcohol on board, but you can get in trouble if you're discovered doing this. 

    Excursions are also not included.  Your cruiseline will take you to a port.  But you'll just be at the dock unless you plan what to do.  Especially for a first time cruiser, I'd recommend planning to take ship sponsored excursions rather than planning your own (less stress -- if you're late coming back on a ship excursion, the ship waits for you.  If you're late coming back on an excursion you booked on your own, the ship will leave you and you'll have to pay on your own to get to the next port.)  Some ports you won't need to book excursions because you can just walk or catch a cab to a beach and hang out there.  Some, there's nothing to do unless you plan an excursion -- you'll just have to do your research on the ports you'll be going to.

    Enjoy your planning!

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  • Which cruise line is very subjective b/c they all have pros & cons.  It depends on you & what you like to do.  There are no "wrong" choices. Where do you want to go?  What will be convenient for you to leave?  We figure that out, then usually pick one by price. 

    Out favorite is NCL b/c we prefer fresstyle to traditional cruising.  On most ships you have a set dinner time & an assigned table.  They will seat you with other people.  You can't be late for dinner b/c they won't start serving your table until everyone arrives.  If you don't get along with your table mates it can make meal time very stressful. 

    As another poster said you get a cabin & most food but not alcohol or excursions.  Also you should realize tips are not included.  They suggest $10 pp per day extra so on a 7 day cruise for 2 people you need an extra $140.  Also an 18% tip is added to your drinks. 

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