I'm ready for a different type of cruise experience, does it exist?

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#22
13,396 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We are doing far les cruising over the last six years of retirement. We got tired of it and felt we were missing too much. Now we do mostly independent land trips with the occasional last minute cruise for a change. Longest trip has been six/seven months but most are anywhere from six weeks to ten weeks (winter trips).

We have a general idea of where we plan to go. Air is usually one way or open jaw. Lots of spontaneous travel. Often we will only book a few days in advance.

We also switched to carry on only since this complements our style of travel. Not to mention that we only will travel with what we can each easily handle.

We have started to loook at alternative cruise lines. There appear to be lots of interesting ones out there. Looking for those that are not NA customer centric.
#24
Gold Coast
11,006 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by ElaineKeagy
Cruise and Maritime, Fred Olsen, P&O, Azamara (spelling) .....
Not NA customer centric but English speaking centric.
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Agree. Also Alaskan Marine Highway and Hurtigruten.
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Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Halifax, Canada (Booked)
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Halifax, Canada to Miami, Florida (Booked)
Azamara - Journey - 2017 - Singapore to Hong Kong
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
Princess - Ocean Princess - 2013 - Dover to Iceland and Norway, via Shetland and Faroe Islands.

Princess - Ocean Princess - 2012 - Singapore to Sydney
Fred Olsen Black Watch - 2012 - The Baltic, with Norway. Dover to St. Petersburg, via Kiel Canal.
Celebrity Century - 2011 - Auckland to Sydney

CTMA Vacancier - 2011 - Montreal to Magdalen Islands. Amtrak - Toronto to New York
MSC - Poesia - 2010 - Kiel, Germany to NY. Amtrak NY to Niagara Falls, VIA Rail Toronto to Vancouver
MSC - Lirica - 2008 - Genoa, Italy to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas - 2007 - Honolulu to Sydney
Rivers of Holland Cruise - 2003 - to Amsterdam
Alaskan Marine Highway - 2003 - to most Alaskan ports of call
Star Cruises - Superstar Leo - 2003 - Sydney to Darwin
Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Naruik - 2002 - Bergen to Kirkenes
Angelina Lauro - 1971 - Sydney to Perth. Indian Pacific - Perth to Sydney (Put me off cruising for 30 years!)

P & O - Chusan - 1970 - London to Brisbane, via Africa, India and Sri Lanka (Suez closed).
Chandris Lines - Queen Frederica - 1969 - Sydney to London, via Panama, New York and Rotterdam
#25
USA
3,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by MMDown Under
Agree. Also Alaskan Marine Highway and Hurtigruten.
We mentioned Hurtigruten above, but that was just before we departed for that cruise, and now we've had the experience.

It was WONDERFUL.
We weren't quite sure what to expect, and we were prepared to be underwhelmed; we were, after all, going for the beautiful landscapes and chance of seeing some Northern Lights. And we DID

But the biggest surprise was the ship itself and also the great service. If one didn't already know it was a "ferry", and one didn't actually see an occasional car get off/on at various stops, well... we never would have known.

The comfort level of the ship was excellent; plenty of seating near windows in public areas. And the Trollfjord (and sister ship Midnatsol) have a two-level forward observatory lounge with *huge* forward windows, really allowing a terrific view of the Norwegian landscape.

We went in March, and thus there was plenty of "dark" for Northern Lights (or other astronomy), and also plenty of daylight to *see* the beauty of the area. Some of the scenery was breathtaking.

We flew to Oslo, spent a few days there, and then took the train to Bergen. That train ride was memorable in it's own right. There is one section where it seems almost otherworldly, like one could be on the moon (except for all the snow, of course). It would have been a shame to take that train during darkness.

Most of the cabins were *small*, no question about it. And very few had balconies, only a handful of suites.
We had an Owners Suite, and just loved it. (It was the only suite left when we booked.)

We are seriously considering another Hurtigruten cruise, or perhaps an Antarctic excursion with them!

GC
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#26
Sierra Vista Arizona
6 Posts
Joined Jul 2018
Originally posted by Barefootwoman
I'm looking to retire next year and starting to make plans to become a mostly perpetual traveller - land and sea.

My husband passed, so it's just me, seeking the adventures I could never have while in my career and raising a child.

I want to take long cruises, but ones that are not prohibitively expensive, I don't need luxury, I just need to explore the parts of world I have never travelled to, particularly places that are not easy to reach by land.

I'm not interested in manufactured fun cruises. I like to exercise and dine well, but I don't need to be entertained on ship...I do well enough enjoying chats with others, reading, exercise, etc. I enjoy learning, so educational lectures are also of great interest to me.

I would prefer my fellow shipmates to be 40+ to share similar conversations, not necessarily focused on current school & kid topics, for example.

Should I look for a repositioning cruise, a world cruise, is there anything that fits what I am looking for? Would appreciate all suggestions. I can afford long cruises, just don't need to pay for the zing lol.
I am getting ready to book a Carnival cruise form Long Beach CA and ends in Singapore. It leaves October 4, 2019 and lasts 24 days. It will stop in Hawaii, Guam, Vietnam and finally Singapore. It is a Journeys Cruise. That means there will be Special Chefs brought on board to cook the cuisines of the cultures we will visit! It sounds amazing. I am 63 and a widow also. I am retired chef, due to an accident. I use a walker, but I can walk short distances without it. I also do not need to be entertained. I am self sufficient, well read, and very personable. I hope you find what you are looking for. I am so excited that Carnival is offering this opportunity. I want to eat Pho in Vietnam where Anthony Bourdain R.I.P. filmed with the famous Soup Lady. This is a bucket list trip for me.
My countdown clock is for my birthday cruise this year to Belize. It leaves 11/17 from New Orleans. I am so excited!
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#27
Gold Coast
11,006 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by GeezerCouple
We mentioned Hurtigruten above, but that was just before we departed for that cruise, and now we've had the experience.

It was WONDERFUL.
We weren't quite sure what to expect, and we were prepared to be underwhelmed; we were, after all, going for the beautiful landscapes and chance of seeing some Northern Lights. And we DID
But the biggest surprise was the ship itself and also the great service. If one didn't already know it was a "ferry", and one didn't actually see an occasional car get off/on at various stops, well... we never would have known.
The comfort level of the ship was excellent; plenty of seating near windows in public areas. And the Trollfjord (and sister ship Midnatsol) have a two-level forward observatory lounge with *huge* forward windows, really allowing a terrific view of the Norwegian landscape.
We went in March, and thus there was plenty of "dark" for Northern Lights (or other astronomy), and also plenty of daylight to *see* the beauty of the area. Some of the scenery was breathtaking.
We flew to Oslo, spent a few days there, and then took the train to Bergen. That train ride was memorable in it's own right. There is one section where it seems almost otherworldly, like one could be on the moon (except for all the snow, of course). It would have been a shame to take that train during darkness.
Most of the cabins were *small*, no question about it. And very few had balconies, only a handful of suites.
We had an Owners Suite, and just loved it. (It was the only suite left when we booked.)
We are seriously considering another Hurtigruten cruise, or perhaps an Antarctic excursion with them!
GC
I agree with your comments on Hurtigruten's explorer ships. I enjoyed my cruise to Antarctica etc. on Hurtigruten's Fram so much, next month I will be cruising on her again on B2B cruises from Greenland to Miami.
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Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Halifax, Canada (Booked)
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Halifax, Canada to Miami, Florida (Booked)
Azamara - Journey - 2017 - Singapore to Hong Kong
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
Princess - Ocean Princess - 2013 - Dover to Iceland and Norway, via Shetland and Faroe Islands.

Princess - Ocean Princess - 2012 - Singapore to Sydney
Fred Olsen Black Watch - 2012 - The Baltic, with Norway. Dover to St. Petersburg, via Kiel Canal.
Celebrity Century - 2011 - Auckland to Sydney

CTMA Vacancier - 2011 - Montreal to Magdalen Islands. Amtrak - Toronto to New York
MSC - Poesia - 2010 - Kiel, Germany to NY. Amtrak NY to Niagara Falls, VIA Rail Toronto to Vancouver
MSC - Lirica - 2008 - Genoa, Italy to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas - 2007 - Honolulu to Sydney
Rivers of Holland Cruise - 2003 - to Amsterdam
Alaskan Marine Highway - 2003 - to most Alaskan ports of call
Star Cruises - Superstar Leo - 2003 - Sydney to Darwin
Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Naruik - 2002 - Bergen to Kirkenes
Angelina Lauro - 1971 - Sydney to Perth. Indian Pacific - Perth to Sydney (Put me off cruising for 30 years!)

P & O - Chusan - 1970 - London to Brisbane, via Africa, India and Sri Lanka (Suez closed).
Chandris Lines - Queen Frederica - 1969 - Sydney to London, via Panama, New York and Rotterdam
#28
St Augustine Florida
9,659 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Well I am going to go in a different direction - you said land and sea so I am going to suggest you look into Gate 1 Tours. "See more of the world for less" is their slogan and they mean it !
We have done 3 tours with them but there are many many people who have done 30+ tours with them. We have done Egypt (15 days) Morocco (15 days) and France (8 day) I did France with my daughter (it was her Christmas present one year) but Egypt and Morocco with husband. Many solo travelers use Gate 1. They have 3 tiers - regular tours (no more than 40) Discovery (no more than 22) and Luxury. Check out their pricing (you won't believe what you get for the $$) and they go everywhere !!!!!
Now - some are all land tours but they do have some that are land and cruise combined. Some Greek trips do short cruises and some of the other tours also.
I will also say that if you look at the prices you are going to think it won't be a great experience. But I will assure you that our experiences have been nothing but spectacular. As a side note - we are in a position to spend a lot more - but why would we if we can get a wonderful trip for less? There is a Facebook page also that kind of mimics this website for info etc,

Whatever you do - enjoy your retirement - enjoy traveling the world - enjoy life !!!!
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NEXT UP: 3/18/19 Celebrity Constellation - 15 Night Best of India & Sri Lanka
So far: 12 cruises - 6 Royal Caribbean, 4 Celebrity, 1 Princess & 1 Holland America
"Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly and leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life and travel, leaves marks on you" Anthony Bourdain
#29
Austin, Texas USA
1,288 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Ditto on Gate 1. We've taken more than 15 trips with them.
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"The older we get, the better we were."

1) 1980 Cunard QE2 - Southhampton-TA-NYC
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5) 2004 RCI Grandeur of the Seas - New Orleans-REPO-Baltimore
6) 2006 Celebrity Galaxy - Caribbean & Panama Canal
7) 2007 Carnival Ecstasy - Caribbean
8) 2007 NCL Pride of Aloha - Hawaiian Isles
9) 2008 NCL Norwegian Star - Alaska Inside Passage
10) 2008 Victoria Empress - Yangtse River
11) 2009 RCI Mariner of the Seas - South America
12) 2010 RCI Voyager of the Seas - TA
13 & 14) 2011 RCI Mariner of the Seas - Holy Land/Mediterranean B2B TA
15) 2012 Vodohod MS Lenin - Russia River Cruise
16) 2012 Carnival Elation - Caribbean
17) 2013 Princess Crown Princess - Caribbean
18 & 19) 2013 RCI Radiance of the Seas - Australia Top End B2B-Australia Bottom End/New Zealand
20) 2013 RCI Brilliance of the Seas - Baltic
21) 2013 RCI Brilliance of the Seas - TA
22) 2014 RCI Navigator of the Seas - Caribbean
23) 2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antarctica
24, 25 & 26) 2015 RCI Rhapsody of the Seas - Asia & India B2B Suez Canal B2B Greek Isles
27) 2015 RCI Navigator of the Seas - Caribbean
28) 2016 RCI Explorer of the Seas - Transpacific
29 & 30) 2016 Celebrity Millennium - Bering Sea & Japan B2B Japan, Korea & China
31) 2016 MSC Splendida - Mediterranean

32) 2017 RCI Radiance of the Seas - Southbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier
33) 2017 Rickmers Jakarta- Houston to Antwerp Freighter Cruise
34) 2017 RCI Independence of the Seas - Caribbean TA

35) 2018 HAL MS Amsterdam - 113-Day Grand World Voyage
36) 2018 MSC Poesia - Italy, Greece, Albania & Croatia

Next Booked:

2018 RCI Liberty of the Seas - Western Caribbean

2019 RCI Liberty of the Seas - Western Caribbean
2020 HAL Volendam - 77-Day Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage

Bucket List:

Aranui 5 - 14-Day French Polynesia & Marquesas Islands
Crystal Serenity - Northwest passage

#30
25 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Originally posted by littlebrownbook
Check out Voyages to Antiquity. they have just one small (300+) passenger ship, called The Aegean Odyssey .
Voyages to Antiquity carries about 350 passengers. I was on it 10 years ago, it has since been refitted. Your cost includes wine with supper, and all excursions. The entertainment will be local singers, musicians or lecturers. There are only 2 dining areas, no waterslide, golf range, casino or rock climbing wall. It is geared to mature passengers who are interested in the history of the ports. Not a trip to take young kids on. The cabins are small but serviceable. Last winter they tried to make their first trips in the Caribbean, (I was booked) but as most of their ports were wiped out by hurricanes, the ship stayed in Europe. I believe they may also go East.
#31
25 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Originally posted by ElaineKeagy
I’m kind of in the same “boat” as you except I have 2Y 9M 28D until I’m retired. I’m looking at world cruise options and reading every world cruise blog I can find. I’ve probably found more than a dozen blogs by lurking in the world cruise and roll call forums. I’ve learned a great deal about the lines that offer these cruises, their itineraries and their pricing options from reading these blogs. It’s kinda my latest obsession.
I don’t know your circumstances but as solo traveler, there is always that nasty thing called the solo supplement that is usually 100% of the PP fare so I’m going to use a travel agent that is a world “cruise specialist” in Seattle. They are experienced working with solo cruisers in negotiating fares and they offer discounts, perks, and OBC.


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I too have used this travel agent, they do have excellent packages. I have never tried to go solo with them , but may try them for a cruise next year.
#32
13,396 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Good to hear the feedback on Gate 1. I am looking at Gate 1 and OAT for a guided trip to India as I write this.

DW is not interested so I will go on my own. It will be the first one. We have only done independent travel and cruises.

Your comments mirror those of a gentleman that we met in Vietnam. He and his wife were on a Gate 1 tour. Their fourth. He raved about them and said they had another one or two in the hopper.
#33
Gold Coast
11,006 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I have enjoyed cruising on Alaskan Marine Highway and Hurtigruten's Coastal Voyage. I would love to cruise on the ferry which visits the Tahitian islands.

We did a land cruise holiday in Alaska with Elder hostel, which was most enjoyable. I believe it has another name now.
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Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Halifax, Canada (Booked)
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Halifax, Canada to Miami, Florida (Booked)
Azamara - Journey - 2017 - Singapore to Hong Kong
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
Princess - Ocean Princess - 2013 - Dover to Iceland and Norway, via Shetland and Faroe Islands.

Princess - Ocean Princess - 2012 - Singapore to Sydney
Fred Olsen Black Watch - 2012 - The Baltic, with Norway. Dover to St. Petersburg, via Kiel Canal.
Celebrity Century - 2011 - Auckland to Sydney

CTMA Vacancier - 2011 - Montreal to Magdalen Islands. Amtrak - Toronto to New York
MSC - Poesia - 2010 - Kiel, Germany to NY. Amtrak NY to Niagara Falls, VIA Rail Toronto to Vancouver
MSC - Lirica - 2008 - Genoa, Italy to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas - 2007 - Honolulu to Sydney
Rivers of Holland Cruise - 2003 - to Amsterdam
Alaskan Marine Highway - 2003 - to most Alaskan ports of call
Star Cruises - Superstar Leo - 2003 - Sydney to Darwin
Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Naruik - 2002 - Bergen to Kirkenes
Angelina Lauro - 1971 - Sydney to Perth. Indian Pacific - Perth to Sydney (Put me off cruising for 30 years!)

P & O - Chusan - 1970 - London to Brisbane, via Africa, India and Sri Lanka (Suez closed).
Chandris Lines - Queen Frederica - 1969 - Sydney to London, via Panama, New York and Rotterdam
#34
USA
3,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by MMDown Under
I have enjoyed cruising on Alaskan Marine Highway and Hurtigruten's Coastal Voyage. I would love to cruise on the ferry which visits the Tahitian islands.

We did a land cruise holiday in Alaska with Elder hostel, which was most enjoyable. I believe it has another name now.
Hi MM...

What Tahitian Islands ferry?
Sounds fascinating!

(We'd never have asked had we not had such a wonderful trip on Hurtigruten's "ferry" )

Is it more like the Alaskan Marine Highway cruising?

Many thanks!

GC
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GeezerCouple

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#35
Gold Coast
11,006 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by GeezerCouple
Hi MM...

What Tahitian Islands ferry?
Sounds fascinating!

(We'd never have asked had we not had such a wonderful trip on Hurtigruten's "ferry" )

Is it more like the Alaskan Marine Highway cruising?

Many thanks!

GC
Aranui 5.

www.aranui.com

This is a unique 14 day ferry journey from Papeete to Marqueses Islands in Tahiti. It is a supply ferry to the islands, with entertainment. Google it - you will be pleasantly surprised. It is on my wish list for next year.
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Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Halifax, Canada (Booked)
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2018 - Halifax, Canada to Miami, Florida (Booked)
Azamara - Journey - 2017 - Singapore to Hong Kong
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
Princess - Ocean Princess - 2013 - Dover to Iceland and Norway, via Shetland and Faroe Islands.

Princess - Ocean Princess - 2012 - Singapore to Sydney
Fred Olsen Black Watch - 2012 - The Baltic, with Norway. Dover to St. Petersburg, via Kiel Canal.
Celebrity Century - 2011 - Auckland to Sydney

CTMA Vacancier - 2011 - Montreal to Magdalen Islands. Amtrak - Toronto to New York
MSC - Poesia - 2010 - Kiel, Germany to NY. Amtrak NY to Niagara Falls, VIA Rail Toronto to Vancouver
MSC - Lirica - 2008 - Genoa, Italy to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas - 2007 - Honolulu to Sydney
Rivers of Holland Cruise - 2003 - to Amsterdam
Alaskan Marine Highway - 2003 - to most Alaskan ports of call
Star Cruises - Superstar Leo - 2003 - Sydney to Darwin
Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Naruik - 2002 - Bergen to Kirkenes
Angelina Lauro - 1971 - Sydney to Perth. Indian Pacific - Perth to Sydney (Put me off cruising for 30 years!)

P & O - Chusan - 1970 - London to Brisbane, via Africa, India and Sri Lanka (Suez closed).
Chandris Lines - Queen Frederica - 1969 - Sydney to London, via Panama, New York and Rotterdam
#36
USA
3,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by MMDown Under
Aranui 5.

www.aranui.com

This is a unique 14 day ferry journey from Papeete to Marqueses Islands in Tahiti. It is a supply ferry to the islands, with entertainment. Google it - you will be pleasantly surprised. It is on my wish list for next year.
Thanks.
Looks fascinating.

I had read an occasional mention of this, but didn't realize what it was.
We are eager for "different" trips, along with some of "the regular"

GC
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GeezerCouple

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#37
Buena Park, Cal
495 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
Was on the Aranui 5 in June 2016 and am booked to go back on her January 2019 on a maiden cruise to the Pitcairn Island. If you want something a little different you should try this. She has room for 245 passengers and the crew are your entertainment.


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#38
Louisville, KY
62 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
I looked at the Aranui website and couldn't find any price range. That makes me pretty sure it is out of my price range. Could anyone give me an approximate price range or tell me where to find it?
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Windjammer Fantome 1979, Carnival Conquest 12/15, NCL Pearl 5/16, Carnival Victory 4/17, NCL Star 12/17, Carnival Triumph 1/18, Carnival Fantasy 4/18
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#39
USA
3,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by NSnJW
I looked at the Aranui website and couldn't find any price range. That makes me pretty sure it is out of my price range. Could anyone give me an approximate price range or tell me where to find it?
I Googled "Aranui price" and found the link.

GC
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GeezerCouple

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#40
USA
3,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by cruisefun27
Was on the Aranui 5 in June 2016 and am booked to go back on her January 2019 on a maiden cruise to the Pitcairn Island. If you want something a little different you should try this. She has room for 245 passengers and the crew are your entertainment.


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Thanks.

We are never "big entertainer types", so this would be fine.

Dare I ask how the food was?
Were there choices?
(On Hurtigruten, breakfast and lunch were terrific buffets. Dinner was plated, but the "choice" was posted earlier in the day, and one could request something else. Surprisingly, we never needed to, as the food was really good.)

GC
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