Cruise Advice Please!

posted 3 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
30284 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

@DaniLyn:  I’ve gone on Royal Carribbean and the Princess cruises before, and those haven’t disappointed – they’ve had good service, and the food was good.  I can’t remember what we took for our Alaska cruise (it was at least 15 years ago), but it was a pretty great time!  As for excursions, we’ve been on cruises before where we didn’t do any excursions at all, and others where we chose to go on a couple excursions.  I personally prefer not doing the excursions, but I think my husband kind of enjoyed them, so we are split on it!

Post # 4
1441 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

My fave cruise lines are NCL and Princess – good activities, good food, good age range of guests (some like Celebrity skew toward older couples).  I’ve heard great things about Royal Caribbean too (nice ships, lots of fun stuff to do) but I haven’t sailed on them.

For excursions, it really depends on the port – some you can just wander off or grab a cab if you know what you want to do/see there – others are more involved and a tour is the better option.

Post # 5
3280 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’ve been on Carnival and Royal Carribbean several times. I enjoyed both, Carnival is a younger, fun crowd and Royal Carribbean is on the older side. I liked the food better on Carnival. We always do excursions through the cruise line because we like paying them beforehand and if the ship doesn’t make it to a port for some reason (has happened twice) we are refunded the money. We don’t always do excursions though and sometime just venture off and explore the destination which is nice. Pack at least two formal outfits each for formal nights at dinner. Pack extra medication of all sorts (cold, flu, prescriptions, etc) because it’s super expensive onboard. Arrive at the port several hours before the boarding time and you will get right on without wait. Have fun!

Post # 6
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@DaniLyn:  Hi! I’ve been been on NCL and Holland America (HAL), twice each cruise line. I love them both equally. Food was great and staff was awesome. I used HAL for my Alaska cruise and had a blast. 

With exclusions, I’ve done both, booked thru ship and on our own. The on our own was more like we didnt have any plans in mind at that port and just randomly picked one. Depending on how long you are each port I would use that as a deciding factor to whom you book your excursions with. If you book thru the ship and the excursions run late, the ship will wait for you to return before setting sail. However, this will not happen if you book outside the cruise. Have a great trip!

For Alaska, I don’t remember being at one specific port for a long time, you can try to look into the “Northern Light” coupon book and they usually have buy one get one half off deals, but not sure. The one I used was specifically for Anchorage when I stayed there for 6 weeks. It saved us a lot of money. AAA discounts works sometimes too

Oh also, HAL is generally known for its older crowd though. 🙂




Post # 7
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

We cruised in Alaska on Princess. It was our first cruise so we were a little unprepared. ( We’ve since been on 4 other cruises ) The food was great and ports were beautiful. If we did it again though we would take their cruisetour.

Post # 8
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Cruising is organized pretty much by demographics…

So, Carnival attracts a younger crowd… a lot of College Students and Young Couples.  It can be a rowdy time.

Royal Caribbean & Norwegian… both compete for Young Marrieds and Families.

Celebrity… caters mostly to the 40 to 70 market… and those who a eye to a more pampered experience at a mid-range price (what the line calls “modern luxury”).  There are fewer kids onboard, and a lot of attention is paid to Good Food, Wine, Cocktails, Spa, Workshops & Activities.  This line is popular with many Cruisers UNDER 40 who are on their Honeymoons

Princess… caters most to the 50 to 80 market.  They are somewhat similar to Celebrity.

Holland America… caters mostly to the 50 to 80+ market.  They tend to be a lot more “reserved” than either Celebrity or Princess.  And a lot less late night activity.

Mr TTR & I are semi retired (over 50) and our faves are Celebrity & Princess… altho I would also cruise on Royal Caribbean if they had an Itinerary I was interested in.  RC would come in last solely because there tends to be more kids onboard… if I was to take an RC Cruise I’d time it so there wasn’t a school holiday / break.

Excursions on the majority of the Cruise Lines are virtually the same… they subcontract them out to “Brokers” in each port of call.  They tend to be a bit pricier than DIY… but they are generally well organized and leave you worry free… AND THE SHIP WILL WAIT FOR YOU if there is a problem ashore on a Ship Sponsored Excursion… NOT SO on something you arrange yourself.

That isn’t to say not to go out on your own.  Mr TTR & I have certainly done that on occasion.  But we figure it out based on the Port of Call… and what we have in mind to do there.  If we want to do something fairly active or complicated… then we book thru the ship generally.

ALASKA… An Alaskan Cruise generally tends higher in age, no matter what Cruise Line, Ship, or Sailing.  A lot of people seem to put off getting to explore SEE Alaska until they are much older.

The downside to that theory is Alaska is rugged, and very much an outdoorsy YOUNG PERSONS Destination in the name of adventure… the younger & fitter you are the more you’ll be able to do / enjoy there.

So I wouldn’t let the age of your fellow Pax worry you too much.  You probably won’t be spending oodles of time in the long run with them anyhow.  (Besides more adventurous Daytime Activities… your Dining Arrangements can be suited to your Age Group / Interests as well)

I can answer many other Questions for you…

BUT I highly recommend that you start your research this way:

1- Check out the various Cruise Ship Websites.  If you are not Cruising until July… order some Brochures / Catalogues.  The Websites are good… but the books have even more info in them (especially in the small print sections in the back)

2- Check out Cruise the # 1 resource on the Web for Cruisers… it is the sister Website to TripAdvisor which is for Trip Planning.

TONS of great info on CC… and lots of wonderful people too. 

CC also has Reviews you can read… specific to each Ship, Itinerary, or Cabin.

You can find specific info out about each Cruise Line, Ship… even Sailing & Cabins. 

Even go so far as to connect with fellow Passengers for a Sail Away Party – Officers Meet & Greet – or share a taxi or excursion expense that you wish to do on your own (check out / ask about the Roll Call for your Ship & Sailing)

And they have Forums / Boards where you can post Questions and get info from other avid Cruisers.  Be it about your chosen Cruise Line – Ship – Itinerary – or just general Questions for First Time Cruisers.

As I say… a TON of great info to be found on CC

Hope this helps get you started…  if you have any more Questions… just ask.


Post # 9
309 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I have only cruised Royal Carribbean and based on what I’ve heard about the others, RC is definitely worth the extra $. Buy the soda packages and take advantage of the shows and entertainment! Pack dressy-ish clothes for dinner- they’ll have at least one formal night.

As far as excursions, I would guess in Alaska you’d want to do some exploring. Excursions can be fun, but so is staying on the boat and relaxing while everyone else is off the ship 🙂 Depends on what you’re looking to get out of the trip! 🙂

Post # 10
4513 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I love Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We went on one Norwegian cruise and I will never cruise with them again – just AWFUL! On one of the excurisions the entire bus load of people were just complaining – none of us were happy.

Alaska is BEAUTIFUL! We cruised there with Celebrity in 2009. I recommend the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway excursion. Its a train ride from one of the ports in Alaska (can’t remember which specifically) and it goes up to Canada. The ride has AMAZING views and it only costs like $20-30 round trip.

Post # 11
11604 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

DH and I cruise on Carnival all the time.  I very much disagree when people say it attracts a younger party crowd more so than the other lines — while the demographic is typically younger on Carnival, I found it to be no more of a party situation than I did when I cruised on Celebrity.  We have always had a wonderful time, and we are fairly laid back, non-clubbing type of people.

My advice: take dramamine, every day, even if you don’t feel sick.  Take advantage of all the ship has to offer, and make sure you look into the features before you go!  Book excursions early, because some of them do book up incredibly fast.  And finally… bring a sweatshirt.  Some nights get very, very chilly up on the deck!

Post # 12
1353 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@DaniLyn:  We have only gone on one cruise but took a LOT of advice from my hubby’s aunty & uncle who cruise every year or two.

As for the cruise line we had p&o they were great but a lot of the onboard activities were aimed at the older crowd apparently royal caribian is better.

With the excursions, it is best to organize them through the cruise line itself, that way if there is an issue and your tour is late back the ship will wait for you, if you have organized it yourself and your late the ship does not wait!

Biggest tip I can give you is to have a plan for sea sickness, and take varied types of tablets that would cover you for the trip. I took around 5 different types of medications for it and in the end I was just generically ick feeling and dizzy for the whole trip. But didnt stop me loving it!

Oh and also dont pack clothing thats too tight, you will eat a lot and you will probably gain a few kgs. Just run with it because the foods are SOOOOOOOO worth it!

Post # 13
229 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@DaniLyn:  I’ve sailed twice on Carnival. I haven’t tried any of the other lines out, but I would like to. I’ve never had any problems with Carnival, it’s always a lot of fun. If it’s offered, buy the faster to the fun ticket after you book. Usually you have to wait a couple hours after you board to actually get to your room. With a faster to the fun ticket, your room is guaranteed to be ready so that eliminates you having to carry all your luggage around. Also, mention that it is your honeymoon when you book, and they’ll probably sing to you in the main dining room!


As for excursions, we’ve always booked through Carnival. I’m a worrier, so I’m always nervous that we would miss the ship bc we’d get tied up with something. If you book through Carnival, they won’t leave without you (this came in handy for our last cruise, one of our excursions was running late, so we were late getting back to the ship).

Also, plan for seasickness, even if you don’t think you’ll get it. I had been on boats before and had never been sick….these ships are a whole new thing. I was so sick the first night of my first cruise. I tried to take dramamine, but it was too late. For our second cruise, I started taking ginger the whole week before we left. Then, I started taking bonine the day before, and every day of the cruise. I only had one night that I felt sick, but that was because we hit some rough water and the ship was rocking pretty badly.

Post # 14
2562 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

So I get seasick. I’ve been on a couple cruises (all Norwegian) and have always been at least queasy, at worst need to lie down. Vertigo is a huge problem for me.

My first cruise I used seasickness bands, dramamine, and ginger candies. It didn’t work so well, and the dramamine had me sleeping for hours after I took it. The ginger just made me more nauseous, which is sad because I like ginger! The bands helped, but mostly when FI squeezed them for me (and they looked so stupid, I hated it)
My second cruise I used bonine, on the reccomendation of my father (though FI told me it was his coworker, as he was planning to propose and didn’t want me to know he’d seen my dad haha!) That worked MUCH better for me, and I only slept for an hour after taking it.

Many passengers use the patches – you will see a lot of people with the patches behind their ears. It seems to work well for them (haven’t tried it myself).

It’s best to start seasickness medications on land, at minimum a few hours before you board – but a day or two beforehand is better. Same deal whether you’re using pills, wrist bands or patches!

As for excursions, we’ve only done cruises to the Carribean. When we went to Bermuda, I think we booked one excursion, and we had SUCH a good time exploring the island ourselves!
The Bahamas weren’t as easy to get around (and we weren’t there for too long) so we booked more excursions.
We do it through the cruise line because I am neurotic about being back to the ship on time, and wanted the extra security of a ship-based schedule.

My MIL went on an Alaska cruise and had a great time – I think I’d reccomend booking a few more excursions on that one (but make sure you read reviews on the individual trips – some of them aren’t all they’re cracked up to be!) since they have some opportunities that are hard to get in one place!

One thing that we bought that really made things fun for us was a disposable, underwater camera. We had so much fun taking photos underwater, and then sending the film out to be developed was also fun! 🙂
We also picked up our own snorkle equipment (bought it at a stop in Florida) for the beach in Bermuda – was much cheaper than renting it!

Post # 15
871 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@DaniLyn:  I find celebrity and royal caribbean to be the nicest cruise lines. I usually do celebrity which is a tad more expensive but has a LOT to offer in the way of activities food ect. Royal carribean is just one step down and from the same compant as celebrity and boasts and younger crowd. I did NOT like carnival- food was subpar, drunks everywhere, more of a college party vibe and my FI and I are just not into that scene. As for type of room my FI and I usually do inside or ocean view because we’d rather save money for shore excursions and find even on sea days we dont use the room much. Def book all shore excursions through the cruise the first time because then they have to wait for you to get back to leave so no stress of missing the boat! My parents did an alaskan cruise with my brother and loved it so much they are going again! Have fun! Zip lining was a favorite for them! 

Post # 16
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@DaniLyn:  I can echo a couple of the PP’s as far as that I would say Carnival is a younger crowd in comparison to Royal Caribbean, however…be careful when you travel. If it’s spring break, you’re going to get a party crowd regardless of cruiseline unless you shell out the bigger bucks for Celebrity and Princess. I thought the food was better on Carnival – less restrictions, more included. Royal Caribbean had additional fees for a filet mignon, whereas on Carnival, it was all included. NCL does “free-style cruising” which means most things are a la carte, which gives the traveler more freedom if they plan on having most meals at ports or something. That also makes the actual cruise price lower. Another Bee mentioned – definitely go there. They have so much info about each ship, when is was renovated, pros and cons. It has been really helpful for me. Booking the excursions through the cruiseline is easiest as far as coordination goes. You can probably find cheaper prices elsewhere, but the ease of not having to worry about when and where to go is nice while on vacation. Good luck with your planning!

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