Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Barefootwoman

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

Recommended Posts

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 !!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Edited by littlebrownbook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

 

http://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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 7a59ab8ba96056775fc67735c8b48a5f.jpg07724d442d27a76bb71d0ab93992c071.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. 7a59ab8ba96056775fc67735c8b48a5f.jpg07724d442d27a76bb71d0ab93992c071.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you GC that did the trick. I had hoped the Aranui site had it hidden somewhere.

I was right, if the site doesn't tell you the price, I can't afford it. Too bad, it looked like fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you GC that did the trick. I had hoped the Aranui site had it hidden somewhere.

I was right, if the site doesn't tell you the price, I can't afford it. Too bad, it looked like fun.

 

We were surprised there wasn't more of a spread in the prices.

 

We were also surprised with the high prices of Hurtigruten for the Coastal Cruise, especially for the smaller cabins (and almost all of them were "smaller" ;)).

(For the more exotic locales, we can understand higher prices, but yikes... the NWP and the Antarctic cruise prices were a bit of a stunner!)

 

GC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might want to look at Royal Caribbean's repositioning cruise from Seattle to Sydney, Australia on the Explorer of the Seas. Once in Australia, you can explorer or as many of our shipmates did, take off the next day for a cruise to New Zealand on a Celebrity cruise. On the way to Sydney we stopped in Hawaii, Fiji and New Caledonia. It was a very relaxing cruise with lots of cruise days. It is not that expensive either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We were surprised there wasn't more of a spread in the prices.

 

We were also surprised with the high prices of Hurtigruten for the Coastal Cruise, especially for the smaller cabins (and almost all of them were "smaller" ;)).

(For the more exotic locales, we can understand higher prices, but yikes... the NWP and the Antarctic cruise prices were a bit of a stunner!)

 

GC

 

There is a spread of prices from Class C 8 bed and 4 bed dormitories.

 

Once you cruise with Hurtigruten, you get a discount on future cruises. On my current cruise, which is an expensive explorer cruise, I got a no single supplement cabin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have fallen in love with Windstar cruise lines. This past September we put together 3 cruises for a total of 25 days of cruising; it was wonderful! They cruise the Caribbean, the Med, Alaska, Tahiti and Northern Europe. Their largest yacht is Wind Surf that has 296 passengers. They have sailing yachts and motor yachts too. Delightful crew, delicious food, port intensive itineraries which we love. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second the person who mentioned Smithsonian. They have quite the array of global travel with and without cruising.  Google Smithsonian Journeys. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our travel habits have changed since retirement.   We are doing longer, independent trips.  Usually two months at a time.  Sometimes we have an open jaw ticket, other times we start with one way air tickets and figure it out as we go along.

 

We still do cruises but most are last minute that we pick up while doing land travel.  We pack light and are spontaneous travelers and we are both very flexible.  As an example, we spent a few weeks on Sicily and were going back to the mainland.  A very attractive last minute offer came on a Med cruise.   We flew from Palermo to Rome several days later and picked up the cruise.  The only exception was booking a South American cruise.  Then, we wrapped a land trip around, then came home via Panama and Costa Rica.  Traveling can be hard work so a cruise provides us with a very relaxing interlude.  We have also found that prices can sometimes vary depending  on where you book, ie in what country.  So we shop around a little on various in country sites.

 

You will not be alone.  Several years ago while having a beer on the MacDonald's patio in Toledo, Spain we struck up a conversation with a USAF widow who was doing exactly what you are considering.  Boy, did she know the ropes.  We exchanged travel trips.  She told me her children could not believe how (carry on ) and where she travels.  She gave up her home but goes back to her daughters home a few times a year for a month or so at a time.  We have met more and more travelers like this-singles and couples.

Edited by iancal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...