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swansea_lad
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Welcome to Cruise Critic, swansea-lad! 

You might  benefit from also posting on the "UK cruisers" section of CC.

Also, if you are familiar with any of the cruise lines sailing out of Southampton, read through some posts of those forums, too  (P&O, Fred.Olsen, and others), and ask questions there.  

I hope we will help you find the perfect cruise!

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Total or per person?  How long?  Go to www.cruisetimetables.com and choose Southampton as departure port.  Then choose when you want to travel.  It will tell you who sails and their itineraries.  Might also give you and idea of fares.  EM

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We have just booked this today. Quite good value and should be a 'non-controversial' introduction to cruising for you.

 

Bear in mind that things are not normal at the moment (masks, covid tests etc..) £100 pppd for a balcony including drinks and gratuities is a good price.

 

https://www.princess.com/cruise-search/details?voyageCode=G128R

 

Edited by SteveH2508
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Value-for-money your best bet is Marella, a cruise line which is part of the TUI/Thomson group.

https://www.tui.co.uk/cruise/?im_id=PPC&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7rTowuOQ8wIVVO3tCh2NPQ2xEAAYASAAEgK5PvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

A good introduction to cruising, hand-me-down ships (but not rusty old tubs) which makes them good value.

Geared for Brits, charter flights from regional airports & transfers included in the cruise fare.

Like all cruise ships it's full board with your choice of waiter-service main dining room or buffet (you can switch between as you fancy) plus snacks.

Drinks packages included on some cruises, available on me others - but bar prices are about the same as your local boozer, so unless you drink like a fish you can buy drinks as you go.

Note the Flyer's mention of "nickel-and-diming"on some cruise ships - none of that nonsense with Marella, and no "tips" added to your bill for cabin & dining service or for drinks.

Entertainment in the main theatre every evening, plus live music in bars, usually a disco venue, plus quizzes, classes, & such.

The only major cost not included is excursions ashore. Marella excursion prices tend to be a bit lower than other cruise lines even though they're the same excursions operated  by the same local tour operators. But in most ports you'll get better value by doing your own thing.

 

You'll get a seven-day Mediterranean or Canary Islands or Norwegian fjords cruise from about £700 per person (two of you sharing a cabin). That's for an inside cabin, but you can get an ocean-view cabin - mebbe a balcony cabin - for £1,000 pp.

 

JB 🙂 

 

 

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Just now, John Bull said:

Value-for-money your best bet is Marella, a cruise line which is part of the TUI/Thomson group.

https://www.tui.co.uk/cruise/?im_id=PPC&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7rTowuOQ8wIVVO3tCh2NPQ2xEAAYASAAEgK5PvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

A good introduction to cruising, hand-me-down ships (but not rusty old tubs) which makes them good value.

Geared for Brits, charter flights from regional airports & transfers included in the cruise fare.

Like all cruise ships it's full board with your choice of waiter-service main dining room or buffet (you can switch between as you fancy) plus snacks.

Drinks packages included on some cruises, available on me others - but bar prices are about the same as your local boozer, so unless you drink like a fish you can buy drinks as you go.

Note the Flyer's mention of "nickel-and-diming"on some cruise ships - none of that nonsense with Marella, and no "tips" added to your bill for cabin & dining service or for drinks.

Entertainment in the main theatre every evening, plus live music in bars, usually a disco venue, plus quizzes, classes, & such.

The only major cost not included is excursions ashore. Marella excursion prices tend to be a bit lower than other cruise lines even though they're the same excursions operated  by the same local tour operators. But in most ports you'll get better value by doing your own thing.

 

You'll get a seven-day Mediterranean or Canary Islands or Norwegian fjords cruise from about £700 per person (two of you sharing a cabin). That's for an inside cabin, but you can get an ocean-view cabin - mebbe a balcony cabin - for £1,000 pp.

 

JB 🙂 

 

 

“Value for price” is only part of the equation. “Value for quality & price” is a whole other ball game.

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14 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

“Value for price” is only part of the equation. “Value for quality & price” is a whole other ball game.

OP is a 'virgin' cruiser so the debate about mainstream/premium/luxury price per day versus service levels is probably a bit moot. OP's budget of £1000 limits things to a short, taster type cruise.

 

We started on NCL (in the Kevin Sheehan days) and felt we got value for money. We tried other mainstream lines as well and the differences were generally minor (except RCL who just f**ked up everything they touched).

We have now done Azamara, Regent and Silversea amongst others, and we can see the value there (we both like a drink which is a big factor in our costings).

 

Individual circumstances and preferences are fundamental to this whole debate.

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22 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

“Value for price” is only part of the equation. “Value for quality & price” is a whole other ball game.

 

 

"Value for money" is a turn of phrase which has bedevilled me all my life.😄 

I say what I mean, I don't equivocate.  

When I say "value-for-money" I mean value-for-money.

But people seem to think I mean "cheap".🙄

 

I'll pay top dollar for top quality, but I won't pay ott for crap.

Yes, Marella is cheap.

But it's also value-for-money.

I cut my teeth on Marella back when it was called Thomson, so I know what I'm talking about.

And Marella still figure in our cruises, for their unusual itineraries (eg Cuba) or simply for some cheap relaxing winter sun.

 

JB 🙂

 

22 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, John Bull said:

 

 

"Value for money" is a turn of phrase which has bedevilled me all my life.😄 

I say what I mean, I don't equivocate.  

When I say "value-for-money" I mean value-for-money.

But people seem to think I mean "cheap".🙄

 

I'll pay top dollar for top quality, but I won't pay ott for crap.

Yes, Marella is cheap.

But it's also value-for-money.

I cut my teeth on Marella back when it was called Thomson, so I know what I'm talking about.

And Marella still figure in our cruises, for their unusual itineraries (eg Cuba) or simply for some cheap relaxing winter sun.

 

JB 🙂

 

 

 

FWIW re: “value for money”

Many years ago, the University of Oklahoma home ec. Folks did a comparison of Champion branded socks sold at Walmart and at Macy’s (where the price was higher). The Macy’s Champion branded socks (exact look-alikes to Walmart) lasted through twice as many washings before falling apart like the cheaper Walmart ones.

You cannot divorce price from quality when measuring value.

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11 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

FWIW re: “value for money”

Many years ago, the University of Oklahoma home ec. Folks did a comparison of Champion branded socks sold at Walmart and at Macy’s (where the price was higher). The Macy’s Champion branded socks (exact look-alikes to Walmart) lasted through twice as many washings before falling apart like the cheaper Walmart ones.

You cannot divorce price from quality when measuring value.

Quality is down to the consumer's perception and circumstances.

 

Quality has been defined as 'conformance with requirements'. 

 

A car which gets you from A to B without breaking down meets a certain quality standard. It may be a Lada, it may be a Rolls Royce, but it meets the quality requirement of transport from A to B. If that quality requirement also included luxury, ride quality. external perception etc. then the two are not comparable. There is obviously a price trade off between the two.

 

OP has not defined their baseline 'quality' threshold.

 

I would suggest that, for a first 'tryout' cruise, a mainstream line should tick most people's boxes regarding comfort, environment, food, service etc..

 

If someone discovers that cruising is not for them (for whatever reason), then dumping £1K is less pain than dumping £3-4K. They can look at the more nuanced aspects of cruising/lines/itineraries once they decide it really is the holiday for them.

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22 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

FWIW re: “value for money”

Many years ago, the University of Oklahoma home ec. Folks did a comparison of Champion branded socks sold at Walmart and at Macy’s (where the price was higher). The Macy’s Champion branded socks (exact look-alikes to Walmart) lasted through twice as many washings before falling apart like the cheaper Walmart ones.

You cannot divorce price from quality when measuring value.

I totally get what you say about value for money (and agree with you), but, in the OP's case, I think that they should be limiting their financial exposure in what is, essentially an experiment. For a first-timer, Princess, Celebrity et al will provide a suitable experience to make an informed decision going forward.

 

Also, if they start up-market then they are perhaps limiting their options (or setting themselves up for a disappointment) further down the line.

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16 minutes ago, SteveH2508 said:

....If that quality requirement also included luxury, ride quality. external perception etc. then the two are not comparable. There is obviously a price trade off between the two.

 

OP has not defined their baseline 'quality' threshold.

 

I would suggest that, for a first 'tryout' cruise, a mainstream line should tick most people's boxes regarding comfort, environment, food, service etc..

When it comes to “trade off” and price on cruises, the difference is not what you may suggest.

There are numerous recent/current CC threads bemoaning the price increases on “wannabe” lines like Celebrity, which are “bottom lining” at considerable higher cost than premium (and even luxury) lines - thus proving that you don’t always get what you pay for AND real quality of experience is not always expensive.

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28 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

 

You cannot divorce price from quality when measuring value.

 

 

"Value for money" DOESN'T divorce price from quality.

 

Here are a few definitions from the web

 

Value for money (VFM) is not about achieving the lowest price. It is about achieving the optimum combination of whole life costs and quality

 

used in reference to something that is well worth the money spent on it.

 

Best value for money is defined as the most advantageous combination of cost, quality and sustainability to meet customer requirements. 

 

A measure of quality that assesses the monetary cost of the product or service against the quality and/or benefits 

 

Value for money assesses the cost of a product or service against the quality of provision.

 

Hopefully you've now got the drift that you're really getting on my wick, Flyer 🙄

Value for money is a balance of cost vs quality.

End of. 

I won't get further involved in this pointless nonsense

 

JB 🙄

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

When it comes to “trade off” and price on cruises, the difference is not what you may suggest.

There are numerous recent/current CC threads bemoaning the price increases on “wannabe” lines like Celebrity, which are “bottom lining” at considerable higher cost than premium (and even luxury) lines - thus proving that you don’t always get what you pay for AND real quality of experience is not always expensive.

You are 'preaching to the converted' here. Probably our best value cruise was a Regent Seven Seas cruise round the Middle East. We snagged the opening price on Day 1 - it just went up and up from there. The other best value cruise we did (CMV) was 42 days round trip from London to the Amazon and back for £2.5K per head. Two totally different experiences but both value for money in their own way.

 

The OP needs to give us a bit more detail as to their preferences before we can give them a focused recommendation. Celebrity is probably not a good place to start as they have now included lots of stuff at a premium price - they do not represent value IMHO.

 

I would also suggest Azamara to OP - if they are destination focused rather than ship focused - we do not know enough about OP's priorities though.

Edited by SteveH2508
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You guys up thread need to take your p***ing contest elsewhere. None of that is of help to the OP.

 

Sorry about that OP. But I agree that a visit with a local TA who has experience with cruises will be of great help. They can ask the necessary questions to help find a cruise that best meets your needs and wants and is within your budget. And they will be more familiar with the British and European cruise lines sailing from the UK than many of the posters here. 

Edited by mom says
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4 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

"Value for money" DOESN'T divorce price from quality.

 

Here are a few definitions from the web

 

Value for money (VFM) is not about achieving the lowest price. It is about achieving the optimum combination of whole life costs and quality

 

used in reference to something that is well worth the money spent on it.

 

Best value for money is defined as the most advantageous combination of cost, quality and sustainability to meet customer requirements. 

 

A measure of quality that assesses the monetary cost of the product or service against the quality and/or benefits 

 

Value for money assesses the cost of a product or service against the quality of provision.

 

Hopefully you've now got the drift that you're really getting on my wick, Flyer 🙄

Value for money is a balance of cost vs quality.

End of. 

I won't get further involved in this pointless nonsense

 

JB 🙄

 

 

Yes- absolute “nonsense.” You’ve contradicted yourself and now agree with me.
Your words posted above: You suggested that to get quality, you need to pay more (as in your lux car example): If that quality requirement also included luxury, ride quality. external perception etc. then the two are not comparable. There is obviously a price trade off between the two.

I pointed out that you are incorrect (e.g., Celebrity’s high price w/o quality) and reminded you that quality cruising can be had at a value price (e.g., premium lines). THAT is true value correctly defined. 
And now you’re agreeing with me that value is a balance of quality and cost (ie, as I originally stated: in defining “value,” you can’t divorce quality and price. But, you can get quality at a low price and that is true value. 

Edited by Flatbush Flyer
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4 hours ago, SteveH2508 said:

You are 'preaching to the converted' here. Probably our best value cruise was a Regent Seven Seas cruise round the Middle East. We snagged the opening price on Day 1 - it just went up and up from there. The other best value cruise we did (CMV) was 42 days round trip from London to the Amazon and back for £2.5K per head. Two totally different experiences but both value for money in their own way.

 

The OP needs to give us a bit more detail as to their preferences before we can give them a focused recommendation. Celebrity is probably not a good place to start as they have now included lots of stuff at a premium price - they do not represent value IMHO.

 

I would also suggest Azamara to OP - if they are destination focused rather than ship focused - we do not know enough about OP's priorities though.

Pre-pandemic, I’d have recommended looking at Azamara as well as, of course, Oceania. But Azamara was purchased by Sycamore Partners, which doesn’t have the most stellar reputation for how it treats its bargain acquisitions. Only time will tell about Azamara’s fate.

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Steve has quoted a Princess cruise that he's booked. It's showing on the web at £300 pp for a balcony cabin on a 5-night cruise from Southampton. Only two ports - Rotterdam & Bruges but still ridiculously good value.

They're also offering a number of 7-night cruises from Southampton for under £700 pp in a balcony cabin.

7-nighters are more typical of cruises & regular cruisers. Short cruises from the UK are often treated as "booze cruises" by stag & hen parties etc, though that's much less likely with Princess cruises than Marella or P&O or Royal Caribbean.

 

But these are almost all sailings this October. Despite the likely poorer weather they're all good value if you're free to travel at short notice. And late bookings can give you bargains if you don't have work or family commitments. Now being retired we often book at short notice because, much like theatre seats, unsold cabins are a liability for cruise lines and late in the day they'll sell for pretty-well as much as they can get. Cruise prices in the UK are fluid - a few prices will rise close to sailing date but most will drop. In the unlikely event that are no suitable bargains for next month, there probably will be for the following month

There are downsides, including

-  you need to be able to cruise whenever you want, and at tolerably short notice - about 4 to 6 weeks out.

- if the cruise doesn't start in the UK or involve flights chartered by the cruise line, the premium for late-booked flights is likely to outweigh the cruise-fare savings

- you won't find all cabin categories available, and the cruise line allocates cabin location so it's pot-luck - yours may be poorly-located.

- you usually won't be able to choose between "traditional" dining (same table, same table-mates every night) or "freedom" dining (just roll up at the dining room whenever you choose). There are pros & cons for both types.

- bargains come & go, if the cruise or price you seek isn't available now as a short-notice bargain, you sit back & wait for the right opportunity.

- if you're keen on a particular cruise itinerary or date I suggest you book soonest rather than find it sells-out.

 

1025 and Mum Says have both suggested that you talk to an agent.

I concur - but make it a cruise specialist agent, because the average UK High Street travel agent is unlikely to know much about cruising.

But you won't find a local High Street cruise specialist. So Google something like "best cruise agents UK" and study their offerings. When you see something suitable, use the phone. And speak to a few agents, ask them things you want to know - you'll soon find out which are the most knowledgeable & helpful, and a knowledgeable & helpful agent is a Godsend for a virgin cruiser.

 

Other than the price-range this thread my be useful to you https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2801002-help-to-choose-a-first-cruise/

 

 

Flatbush Flyer - you've attributed to me a post by SteveH.

That said, I agree with Steve. He and I are on the same VFM wavelength 😉

 

JB 🙂

Edited by John Bull
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JB - the £300pp is not including drinks, Wi-Fi and crew incentives (gratuities). Princess Plus price for a balcony is £499pp for that 5 day cruise.

 

We were thinking of doing a few days of hiring a car and driving around England. After seeing the gouging that some hotels are doing, and factoring in car hire, food, drinks etc., we are many quids in on the cruise.

 

@swansea_lad   Re Travel agents - take a look at Trustpilot to get an idea of the good ones (and not so good). Some of us have had real problems with getting refunds during the pandemic from some well-known on-line TAs.

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16 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

“Value for price” is only part of the equation. “Value for quality & price” is a whole other ball game.

Of course, when you talk about "value for price" in connection with a cruise, "quality" of the experience is part of the "value" received -- 

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