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bebe08

what other cruise line should we try?

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As a UK cruiser -   Tried most of the mass market cruise lines. Carnival and P&O are definitely bottom of our list, whilst MSC Yacht Club and Celebrity are at near the top.   Oceania, Azamara, Viking are all too expensive per day and offer little more benefit.   The ease of getting to the cruise ship with the least sea days is what appeals to us after many years cruising the Caribbean.  The Eastern and Southern are definitely our preference and would avoid any cruise to the western areas of the Caribbean Sea. 

P&O, Marella and MSC all offer Barbados as a starting point, the advantage of dropping luggage off at the airport and the next time you see it is in your cabin is a major plus point.  MSC Yacht club is the best cruise experience that satisfies these issues. Celebrity is still a great choice only wish it would depart from Barbados not San Juan and offer the ease of transfer of the others.

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1 hour ago, mickey89 said:

   Oceania, Azamara, Viking are all too expensive per day and offer little more benefit.   

 

Hmmmm....Not sure this is a completely accurate statement (?)  I suspect some might say it's like comparing apples and oranges. I can't speak for Oceania or Azamara, but Viking offers a somewhat different type of product than X or RC. Having just been on a Celebrity cruise (and don't get me wrong..we like them alot), when you throw in extra costs like the beverage and internet packages, specialty restaurant dining, etc., Viking winds up being not quite as expensive, in comparison, as one might think - since all of those items are included along with at least one shore excursion in every port. Then, of course, one might draw some sort of conclusions as to whether or not a higher priced line offers better overall food quality. 

Edited by OnTheJourney

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Wow thanks everyone for the recommendations!  Definitely some I hadn't thought of!  MSC wasn't on my radar but will now check them out.  Didn't realize they did a status match, or that they would be in similar league to X.  RCI I had dismissed thinking it was more for families, but I see now there are ways that I might enjoy it.  Would also be a good opportunity to stake it for future family trips when the grandkids are a bit older.  Would also love to try some of the smaller lines if price permits.  Will have to remember to compare apples to apples re Pricing....sounds like some of the smaller lines have more inclusions so may not be as expensive as it looks on first glance.  Pricing is so complex lol.

 

Sailing from Miami works too, we would still fly into FLL and take a shuttle.  We did that once and it worked fine.  

 

I will be happily researching based on your suggestions...that is almost as much fun as the cruise itself 🙂

 

Thanks again!

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

I don't remember how I discovered it, I usually don't look at Oceania.  But it was a 7 day western Caribbean with $899 for inside cabin.  Those were all waitlisted but I got the next level up inside for $949.  I consider that a bargain for O.  It came with free internet for one, and $400 OBC for the cabin.  My TA threw in free gratuities.  EM

Yes, those sailings were also originally Cuba and mostly sold out.  When they axed all sailings to Cuba O had to fill the ships and voila, reasonable pricing.

Not likely to happen again though unless the economy goes south.

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I second Oceania - we loved Marina.  Also, look into Silversea, they are marketing very aggressively this year and you may get a bargain (we did).  When comparing prices remember the inclusions differ.... I was pricing Edge and decided I needed to add about $1500-2000 for the 2 of us per 7 days to adjust for the inclusions on Silversea (gratuities, coffees, drinks, room service, some excursions, free access to classes and spa facilities - not treatments - etc).  Once you make the adjustment you may find that a "good deal" on a Luxury line will be less expensive than a routine price on mass-market once you see your final bill.  Oceania is in-between and a particularly good value for those who consume little alcohol (all the non-alcoholic drinks including specialty coffees are included but you need an "add-on" package if you want alcohol).

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Can anyone who has sailed both Celebrity Suite class with Luminae dining and Viking Ocean compare the food quality?

 

I've read mixed things about the food on Viking but agree that other aspects of Viking sound very nice. We prefer doing private excursions so the included excursions would be a waste for us. Also, how is the wine quality on Viking? We don't drink much but I prefer a bit higher grade wine than most house wines.

 

The included wine on Crystal cruises is quite good. A few years ago Crystal was offering some 7 night cruises with balcony cabins that were less expensive than suites on Celebrity, however, Crystal's balcony ("verandah") cabins aren't as nice as Celebrity's I don't think.

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Essiesmom.....Thanks for reply. That does sound like a good price for Oceania. I will check to see if something like that comes up or is still available. I thought you might have been sent a special code, but looks like just good research on your part.

 

Enjoy your cruise. 

 

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4 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

 

Hmmmm....Not sure this is a completely accurate statement (?)  I suspect some might say it's like comparing apples and oranges. I can't speak for Oceania or Azamara, but Viking offers a somewhat different type of product than X or RC. Having just been on a Celebrity cruise (and don't get me wrong..we like them alot), when you throw in extra costs like the beverage and internet packages, specialty restaurant dining, etc., Viking winds up being not quite as expensive, in comparison, as one might think - since all of those items are included along with at least one shore excursion in every port. Then, of course, one might draw some sort of conclusions as to whether or not a higher priced line offers better overall food quality. 

Every time that I check a cruise with Oceania, Azamara or Viking, the fare tends to run significantly higher than cruise lines like Celebrity, NCL, Princess or HAL.  We never purchase a beverage package or book a cruise where the promos run up the price.

 

We are moderate drinkers and the Elite happy hour, or Diamond (on Royal) usually take are of all or most of our drinking needs.

Also, even with the promos included in the price I see Viking run about double the cost.

 

Some people cruise for the ship or the cruise lines, we cruise for the PORTS and look for value.   Cruisers focused on the ship and cruise line, willing to pay a premium are more like folks willing to pay for business class air fares.

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Have you considered Crystal?  All-inclusive except shore excursions.  Excellent food, stellar service, great enrichment and entertainment.  Intimate ships that never feel crowded (even when full).  Often less expensive than Celebrity.

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3 hours ago, 4774Papa said:

Every time that I check a cruise with Oceania, Azamara or Viking, the fare tends to run significantly higher than cruise lines like Celebrity, NCL, Princess or HAL.  We never purchase a beverage package or book a cruise where the promos run up the price.

 

We are moderate drinkers and the Elite happy hour, or Diamond (on Royal) usually take are of all or most of our drinking needs.

Also, even with the promos included in the price I see Viking run about double the cost.

 

Some people cruise for the ship or the cruise lines, we cruise for the PORTS and look for value.   Cruisers focused on the ship and cruise line, willing to pay a premium are more like folks willing to pay for business class air fares.

 

I agree with you on the importance of the ports / itinerary moreso than the line. I really don't feel loyal to anyone although people often seem to become comfortable with one line and then tend to stay with it, probably due in great part to the points / tiered system. I think Viking has a good thing going with having patterned their ocean ships after the river plan - wherein the layout is basically the same. All their ocean ships are pretty much identical compared to, say, RC or X where there are so many different ship designs and sizes. 

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On 10/30/2019 at 12:02 PM, oceansandseas said:

 

Essiesmom.....Thanks for reply. That does sound like a good price for Oceania. I will check to see if something like that comes up or is still available. I thought you might have been sent a special code, but looks like just good research on your part.

 

Enjoy your cruise. 

 

I just got their latest brochure in the mail yesterday and they do have one similar, almost the same western Caribbean 7 day.  Least expensive inside is $999.  That's on Feb. 18, 2020.  We didn't care about the ports, it was the opportunity to experience a line a little above what we have been sailing.  EM

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On 10/30/2019 at 1:01 PM, 4774Papa said:

Every time that I check a cruise with Oceania, Azamara or Viking, the fare tends to run significantly higher than cruise lines like Celebrity, NCL, Princess or HAL.  We never purchase a beverage package or book a cruise where the promos run up the price.

 

We are moderate drinkers and the Elite happy hour, or Diamond (on Royal) usually take are of all or most of our drinking needs.

Also, even with the promos included in the price I see Viking run about double the cost.

 

Some people cruise for the ship or the cruise lines, we cruise for the PORTS and look for value.   Cruisers focused on the ship and cruise line, willing to pay a premium are more like folks willing to pay for business class air fares.

 

If you keep your eyes open deals emerge, even on the premium lines.  We did 15 night repo from NY to MIA on Viking last fall.  Cost for our 338sf penthouse Veranda (largest cabin we've ever had) was under $250/night.  Plus they threw in free round trip air and $400 pp obc.  This year, close to sailing, NY to San Juan was going for under $200/night.

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Richard Branson, Virgin America and Virgin Australia, now has Virgin Cruises. They’re only doing the Caribbean. A brand new ship, adults only. Lots of cool restaurant options. Might consider looking at that. Availability might be limited if you’re looking at last minute cruises. 

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On 10/29/2019 at 9:55 AM, bebe08 said:

We are thinking of doing a last minute Caribbean cruise this winter.  It needs to be last minute due to other obligations.  We are Elite on X and have done several Caribbean cruises with them....sadly don't see anything new that would inspire us to do another one.    If the price was right for the Edge we would try that, but I am guessing we can get a better deal on another line.  We have done a few cruises on HAL and enjoyed them so that would be an option.  Looking to try something new and hoping to get some recommendations on what would suit us.  I'd like to start researching some of the other lines so we are ready to book if a good deal comes up.  However, I don't want to research them all lol.

 

We typically sale in a balcony cabin.  The key things we would be looking for are:

- adults only pool area (we LOVE the solarium - that is our go to place)

-coffee shop similar to Al Baccio (love to sit and have a coffee and pastry and chat)

-some new dining opportunities ( a little tired of X specialty restaurants, we are not "foodies" but do like variety, and would like some more casual type dining experiences)

- decent entertainment (music around the ship, some good shows, not head banger stuff tho lol)

- a somewhat subdued but fun ship (ie not interested in hairy chest contests, being bombarded with announcements etc)

- prefer to sail out of Fort Lauderdale as we can get a direct flight (Miami would also work)

- we typically get a classic drink package and like that we don't have to worry about a big bill at the end of the cruise

 

TIA!!!

 

Royal Caribbean has an awesome indoor pool on many of their ships Freedom Class and higher.  I remember the coffee was pretty good, though Cafe Al Bacio was not good on our last Equinox sail, first time that happened.  Royal tends to have some really good shows onboard and it's a fun, relaxed ship.  The Bamboo Room tiki bar was one of our favorite stops each night, great craft cocktails along the lines of World Class Bar but more cheeky.

 

NCL has the best entertainment, but no indoor pools. In fact they don't even have an adult pool on most ships, just in that Haven area.  We were told the Epic is one of the few that has an actual adult pool in the back of the ship.

 

Princess Royal Class ships are quite nice, especially if you go Club Level. You get some really nice dining perks in the main dining room with that level. We had a fresh dinner prepared nightly near our table when we sailed Crown Princess a few months ago.  Royal Class ships are much nicer than the Crown. 

 

New Carnival Vista and Horizon are a major step up for that line in terms of the ships themselves and dining options.

 

MSC Seaside and Meriviglia both look outstanding and I know from friends who have sailed both the food and especially coffee are top notch.  

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On 10/30/2019 at 6:20 AM, OnTheJourney said:

 

Hmmmm....Not sure this is a completely accurate statement (?)  I suspect some might say it's like comparing apples and oranges. I can't speak for Oceania or Azamara, but Viking offers a somewhat different type of product than X or RC. Having just been on a Celebrity cruise (and don't get me wrong..we like them alot), when you throw in extra costs like the beverage and internet packages, specialty restaurant dining, etc., Viking winds up being not quite as expensive, in comparison, as one might think - since all of those items are included along with at least one shore excursion in every port. Then, of course, one might draw some sort of conclusions as to whether or not a higher priced line offers better overall food quality. 

Agreed.  We normally do specialty dining and shore excursions every port.  When pricing in the total cost of a cruise the luxury lines could end up being less expensive.

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19 minutes ago, Pamster said:

Richard Branson, Virgin America and Virgin Australia, now has Virgin Cruises. They’re only doing the Caribbean. A brand new ship, adults only. Lots of cool restaurant options. Might consider looking at that. Availability might be limited if you’re looking at last minute cruises. 

 

They're not sailing till April but I'm thinking the loss of Cuba has hurt their pre-bookings.  We were originally booked on a Cuba 5 night sail, but when that went away, we had the option to cancel or book something else. The itineraries are not that exciting, but we booked the Mayan Sol in August just because we really want to see this ship.  They're advertising 50% off deposits for the past few weeks so it may not be that hard to get a good deal on sailings early on.  

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Just returned from a cruise on the Crystal Symphony - best cruise ever. Food, entertainment and service were all excellent. Crystal is all inclusive except for tours. Great coffee bar - with serve yourself snacks (cookies, pastries, cheese and lox in the morning). Entertainment had the usual musical shows. Magician was close-up with only 20 people per show. Lectures were excellent. Only saw 2 children onboard. Included wines and liquors were very good. The 2 specialty restaurants were free for two visits each (2 week cruise).

 

We do not usually cruise on the lux lines but I found a great deal on a Panama Canal cruise. We had an outside not a balcony and we were fine with that. I hope you can find a great deal (remember drinks, tips and internet are all included).

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On 10/30/2019 at 11:02 AM, mickey89 said:

As a UK cruiser -   Tried most of the mass market cruise lines. Carnival and P&O are definitely bottom of our list, whilst MSC Yacht Club and Celebrity are at near the top.   Oceania, Azamara, Viking are all too expensive per day and offer little more benefit.   

 

This is an ill thought out and misleading statement. It's a schoolboy error to make sweeping statements about cruise lines vs cruise lines. People need to compare dates, itineraries and geographical locations to make meaningful comparisons. And of course the actual class of cabin needs taking into effect let alone the included perks. 

Oceania can offer similar pricing to X with their inside rooms and E class ship pricing can make X balconies look expensive when compared to a similar cruise on Azamara and Oceania. And then all three lines you mention have nothing to compare to IS or EV cabins.... 

 

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5 minutes ago, Mynki said:

 

This is an ill thought out and misleading statement. It's a schoolboy error to make sweeping statements about cruise lines vs cruise lines. People need to compare dates, itineraries and geographical locations to make meaningful comparisons. And of course the actual class of cabin needs taking into effect let alone the included perks. 

Oceania can offer similar pricing to X with their inside rooms and E class ship pricing can make X balconies look expensive when compared to a similar cruise on Azamara and Oceania. And then all three lines you mention have nothing to compare to IS or EV cabins.... 
 

This whole thread is nothing but personal opinions and preferences. This is why we would never book a cruise line, ship or itinerary based on someones positive or negative opinions or experiences.  

Edited by davekathy

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I just returned from my first cruise on MSC Meraviglia (fantastica balcony) earlier this week. It made me miss Celebrity. The ship was beautiful, but too big for me. The food was disappointing, and only a few house wines were available on the easy beverage package. I also missed sitting in Cafe al Bacio with a delicious coffee drink and pastries. I'll stick with Celebrity in the future!

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