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cruising virgin...

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Hello all. We have never cruised before. But we are ready to take the plunge -- if we can get a good price! We'd like to take a 7-day Caribbean cruise this December, leaving after Xmas and returning sometime before Jan. 6. I realize that's an expensive time to go, but I'm hoping for a last-minute deal. Am I totally out to lunch on this?

We are a family of 4 -- 2 daughters aged 10 & 13. So we want a large cabin with a balcony. I figure that would be cheaper than 2 rooms (one having a balcony). I'm hoping for suggestions on what I should be looking for re the ship and cruise line. And suggestions for getting the best price. Re the star rating system: Is a 3-star rating OK? Or will it disappoint? What's the minimum # of stars you would go with? What would be a fair price for our cruise?

Should I use a travel agent or no?

And anything else you think I should know. Thanks very much!


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Hi Mo,

Dont worry a bit , we were all "virgins" at one time or another..... First Welcome to CruiseCrazies .. Glad you stopped by...

Cruising is a personal thing... as far as what you want and how you want to expierence it.. some cruiselines advertise themself as "fun" others offer "service" and others claim to be "family" oriented.. so it all depends on the type of expierence you are looking for..

A Travel Agent isnt a bad way to go, But be aware just because a person is a travel Adgent doesn't mean they know what they are doing .. just like anything else there are good ones and bad ones..

My best advice to you is ASK ALOT of questions.. and even sometimes ask the same question to different people to see if you get the same answer..

You may want to browse the different cruise line web sites to see for your self what each line offers and try to eleminate the ones that arent right for your family as of now..(often there might be a cruise line that would be great for you and your mate but not for the whole family..

But no doubt once you take your first cruise you will be hooked....

Good luck on your planning and have fun!


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As Joey said - Cruising is a personal thing.

To get a match - look at what you think you would like best out of a cruise.

Action - Adventure is more in the Royal Caribbean line.

Food - Service - Celebrity.

Party time atmosphere - Carnival.

Come and go as you please - NCL.

An agent - online type may be the best way to go.

And do ask questions - here and to the agent.

Booking directly with the line the first time may be a bit of a tough go for you. Let the agent do the work the first time.

If you need a recommend - and I don't know the board policy here - I can give you one.

As I am sure others here could also.

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Hey Mo,

You can't go wrong with Joey's advice.

I'd like to add: Having cruised most of the cruise lines - Royal Caribbean certainly has positioned themselves well as a family cruise line. Lots for the children to do, especiqally if they like sporty events. All cruise lines cater to children, just some have made it their major thrust. You know when the kids are happy the whole family is happy :grin: Another thing about RCCL and also Carnival, both have good prices - although there are always special offers made by ALL the cruise lines, Princess often has amazing offers. Many people have started their cruising careers with Carnival because their prices are always pretty good. So as Joey has already said each cruiseline offers a different slant - all are good. Also check on the individual websites for the size of the cabin, this will be very important for you having 4 people in it. Disney (more expensive) has a great cabin for the family and their toilet and bath are 2 seperate rooms!

We are blessed in that we live in Florida where cruising seems to be everyone's favorite pasttime, therefore all our Cruise Travel Agents (Travel Agents that ONLY do cruises) are good and know how to find you the best deals. Also the service is superb!

Yes the week between Christmas and New Year books up really fast and is way more expensive. We have cruised many times the first week of January when the prices dip again!

No cruise is a bad cruise and there are so many options out there. You know what we like to do, go to a travel agent and ask for each cruiselines book for the Caribbean and then sit and devour all your options, lots of fun for the family!!!

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:cool: Welcome. :smiley: FYI I took a quck look at availibility and found that if you can leave mid Dec. and return B4 Xmas the prices are much lower , that is if this is a possibility for you. As for ratings there are reviews from past passengers here and at: ######. Look into these and I think you will find it useful. A fair price is the best you can get so compare by all means. Would I use a TA? Personally no but we are fairly well experienced travelers. That being said I have found my best deals from Costco, a club like Sams. If you are a member you can check them out . Joining is about $40.00 per yr. This yr. alone we saved around $275.00 on our upcoming cruise from the next lowest price. Have fun! I'll bet e rum punch this first cruise will not be your last. :grin: :cool: Any other questions? Larry

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im a "soon to be cruiser" and if it wasn't for the help here, i'd be totally lost.

i used a TA, if you have AAA they do all the work.....without paying anything extra, also they give you free passport pictures. and like the other members said, ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS! don't be afraid..... the more questions you ask, the better informed, the more informed, the more comortable.

i first checked out what the internet offers were, and compare... i saved 200 total booking with an agent..... which was a suprise because i thought all the good deals were online.

welcome to the addiction, willisonboard.

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Welcome to our little community!

It's been 46 cruises since we were "virgins" to cruising, but sure remember that first one!

Think you have gotten pretty good advice from other board members. I'll address the cabin size thing. We did a mini suite wit balcony with our twin grandsons aged 13 and it worked out fine. A little tight, but you have a lot more control this way compared to a separate room for them.

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