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lindyf

Planning the next cruise!!!!!!

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We went to St. Thomas and St. Maarten on our first cruise. I am trying to do research for our next one. Are any ports and/or cruise lines more affordable, also what time of year is the most affordable? My husband has his own business so we can plan his schedule around the cruise. We got an inside cabin the last time, but have decide that we would like a balcony much more the next time. Does anyone have experience with both ? Any help is greatly appreciated! Thankx, Lindy

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Hi Lindy Welcome

I'm not much help only going on 2nd Cruise...But this board is full of some VERY experienced Cruisers so they will all be able to help you

Have fun planning and add it to our Meeting Hall once you do decide..you might be lucky to meet another Crazie :smiley:

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Hi lindyf,

Great to see you posting again.

I've only had an oceanview stateroom, sometimes with a porthole. Unfortunately I started out with the oceanview and I'm afraid now that I'll feel a little claustrophobic in the inside stateroom, but I'm willing to test it on a short cruise. I guess it will get me out of the cabin even more.

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Hi again lindyf,

I think in order to help we would really need some more information.. like do you want just short under 5 nights or would you guys like something longer?

whats your home port?( which port do you live closest to..ie easiest access)

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Most affordable time..........................you guessed it Sept Oct Nov and the first 3 weeks of December. The most least expensive week.......the week befor Xmas. We did a sept 25th carnival valor, eastern then a nov5th RCI legend western sailing, did not stop in Cozumel due to the hurricane that hit us in Florida. From what a few have told me Cozumel has a lot of work to do. No porting there just tenders. On the 2 above sailing we did inside cabins to save cash. On the cruise we take in May (our anniversary) we step it up a notch and do balconies. This year a repo cruise miami to Barcelona on the brilliance. Do your home work and get insurance!

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Lindy...

As JDIDDY mentioned, some of the best prices are in the fall at the same time as hurricane season. I wouldn't go then, not just because of the hurricanes, but also because the kids are out of school then. I like a quieter cruise. But, that's just me. You may be looking for a family cruise. We did find some great prices the last couple of cruises in the first part of January, but the prices do seem to be up now.

You'll probably find your best bargins on Carnival, RCI, and NCL, if you like those lines. I would just keep watching and checking out everything. We had a balcony on our last couple of cruises, and we just loved it. We are spoiled now. Don't know if I could go back to an inside or even an outside. I think I would rather not cruise as often and then be able to book a balcony when we can go. Good luck with your search!

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Hi Lindyf

OK about the cabin. Here is my humble opinion.

An inside cabin is an inside cabin. Fully functional. If you have been in one you have been in all of them. These are great for the budget conscious. If you are on the ship to socialize then these are great rooms for you. Because you will be spending most of your time out of the cabin. Great for the folks who are going to spend the entire night drinking and dancing and then sleep during the day.

Outside cabin. These come in three different flavors.

1. Large rectangular window.

2. Small port hole.

3. Obstructed view.

Obviously, the best one is the large rectangular window. The small port hole at least allows you to look out side but that is about all. It is a one person at a time event.. The obstructed view can work out sometimes but it usually means a life boat or some other mechanical thing is blocking your view of the ocean. You can not look straight down in any of these rooms. Just out at the horizon. These rooms are great for people who have to have actual light in there rooms. You can not open the windows but you at least know if it is day or night. Rainy or sunny.

Balcony cabin. These generally come in four types.

1. Standard balcony. This provides just enough room for two plastic chairs and a small table for drinks. Warning if you are the lucky person to get the corner, the other person will have to get up to let you out. In other words very tight.

2. Extended Balcony. This room give you about an extra couple of feet in depth. This makes it much more comfortable to more around on the balcony. If you have children traveling with you they can fit out side with you. You will still have two plastic chairs and a small table. I have seen a couple of rooms with deck chairs but they are very tight and you have to turn it at an angle.

3. Oversize balcony. This room will be laid out differently than any of the other rooms on board the ship. They make up for the unusual room layout and sometimes smaller room by adding more room to the balcony. I had one once that was 14 feet long by about 5 feet wide. We had two lounge chairs, two plastic chairs and two tables. We even slept out here one night.

4. Aft Balcony. This room will be pretty much the same as the regular rooms except the room is in the aft end of the ship. The balcony will be exposed to more sunlight than must balconies. You are afforded a view from the rear of the ship. Or in other words where you have been. At night this can be very romantic to watch the ships wake. Disadvantage to this room are:

. A. Other people from the lido deck can look down and see part of your balcony. No Nude sun bathing here.

. B. Some ships have a problem with diesel exhaust blowing little black spec's onto these balconies.

Balconies serve many purposes. My wife and I are some what anti social. Don't get me wrong but we don't enjoy going up to the lido deck and find that every chair has a towel on it to reserve it. The ship rules will tell you that you CAN NOT DO THIS. But I have found that most people conveniently forget how to read when it suits their needs. The chairs will go unused for over an hour while the guest is having a late brunch or is in the spa for their treatment. So rather than let this bother me, I try to get a balcony room. Really the Lido deck becomes so crowded that you can not move on it. We can sun bathe and sit and enjoy the view as long as we want. No one is there to bother us. Either side of the ship is fine. I have never found much of an advantage of either side of the ship. If there is something special you wanted to see you can find out which way the ship docks but other than a sea day you are usually going to be out and exploring each day while you are in port. When you get back to your room at night the ship will be moving but it will be dark. So it really does not matter which side you are on.

Is it worth 100.00 per person for a balcony upgrade? I would say yes. Is it worth 300.00 per person for a balcony upgrade? I would have to vote no.

Hope this helps. :cool:

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Hi lindy. Have you considered the Mexican Riviera? We went during high season earlier this year, and the price was very reasonable compared to the Caribbean. We enjoyed the itinerary, too, particularly Mazatlan.

We've been in inside, outside, and balcony cabins and all have their advantages and disadvantages. We went from a balcony cabin (our first) in February to an obstructed view outside cabin in August and really didn't miss the balcony as our cabin was in a super location. Yet when we had the balcony, we used it extensively. I had tea out there every morning, read out there, and napped out there. The interior cabin space was no larger than the other cabins we'd had, and in fact, was a bit smaller than some.

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If you check online pricing for the 3 above mentioned lines:

They are at full retail and not discounted.

RCI is not discountable

NCL and CCL can be discounted by an travel agent if they want to.

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I'd suggest a Western Caribbean itinerary, that includes Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Oho Rios. You get a flavor of three very different cultures. Cozumel is steeped in Mayan, and Mexican history. Grand Cayman is a very British, prosperous (banking and insurance) island and Ocho Rios is REAL Caribbean; reggae, local foods, customs...

For a little more detail, chck out:

http://www.cruisecrazies.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7136

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