t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Cruising

 

If you have not been on a cruise, then you are missing what may be the best value for you money when it comes to traveling.  This page will lead you to our cruises as we enjoy them.

Alaska 2007 Southern Caribbean Western Caribbean (2001) Western Caribbean (2002) Western Caribbean (2003) Mexican Sea of Cortez Mediterranean (2004) Panama Canal 2005 Mexican Riviera Western Europe Europe & British Isles Eastern Caribbean Southern Caribbean Greek Isles Califano Wedding Southern Caribbean 2013 Hawaii Alaska 2014 South America Caribbean 2015 Caribbean 2016 Canada & New England

 

 

Our Cruising History:

# Date Days Destination Cruise Line Ship
1 7/16/1997 7 Alaska Holland America Nordam
2 2/25/2000 10 Southern Caribbean Celebrity Horizon
3 3/12/2001 11 Western Caribbean Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
4 2/10/2002 7 Western Caribbean Grand Princess
5 2/16/2003 7 Western Caribbean Grand Princess
6 10/6/2003 7 Mexican Sea of Cortez Holland America Ryndam
7 6/21/2004 12 Mediterranean Star Princess
8 4/23/2005 15 Panama Canal Regal Princess
9 12/24/2005 7 Mexican Riviera Sapphire Princess
10 6/27/2006 14 Western Europe Golden Princess
11 8/9/2007 12 Europe & British Isles Grand Princess
12 12/15/2007 7 Eastern Caribbean Holland America Zuiderdam
13 12/30/2009 10 Southern Caribbean Ruby Princess
14 5/14/2010 12 Eastern Mediterranean Celebrity Equinox
15 7/30/2011 7 Caribbean and Mexico Oasis of the Seas
16 2/25/2013 10 Southern Caribbean Emerald Princess
17 3/5/2014 15 Hawaii Star Princess
18 9/6/2014 7 Alaska Golden Princess
19 2/14/2015 14 South America Golden Princess
20 3/26/2015 4 Caribbean Caribbean Princess
21 3/30/2015 5 Caribbean Caribbean Princess
22 8/21/2015 8 Blue Danube Viking Tor / Var
23 1/4/2016 10 Caribbean Emerald Princess
24 10/12/2016 10 Canada & New England Caribbean Princess
         
         

 

Our Cruising Stats:

# Description
  Total cruises and days at sea.
24 Cruises
228 Days at sea.
   
  Total cruises per cruise line.
16 Princess cruises.
3 Holland America cruises.
2 Celebrity
2 Royal Caribbean
1 Viking
   
  Days at sea per cruise line.
159 Princess
21 Holland America
22 Celebrity.
18 Royal Caribbean
8 Viking
   
  Destination cruises.
2 Alaska
11 Caribbean
4 Europe
2 Mexico
1 Panama Canal
1 Hawaii
1 South America
1 Canada & New England
1 River

 

 

 

Thinking about cruising?  Here some notes we hope you find useful.

 

We have been on many cruises.  We have been on 4 cruise lines; Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Princess.

Carnival is a fine cruise line, but they have a reputation of catering to the younger 20 something crowd. Hence you are more apt to experience while and crazy partiers on Carnival. I've heard many stories about Carnival cruisers experiencing the after affects of partiers who are too young and drank way too much. My wife met a woman who was thrown up on twice during a three day cruise. I WON'T CRUISE ON CARNIVAL. I'm 42, not 22.

We've been on 2 Holland America cruises. HA offers somewhat unique itineraries.  However, the problem with HA is that they are the opposite of Carnival. HA caters to the older crowd. It is quite common to see MANY people in their 60s, 70s, and older.

Our first cruise was on a HA cruise to Alaska. The cruise was spectacular.  However, we were definitely among the youngest people on the ship. Oddly enough, Carnival owns Holland America. What we found on both of our 2 HA cruises is that the evening entertainment is quite boring for us. It is meant for an older crowd.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are both quite good. Food is good, service is good, itineraries are good, and the average age of the passengers are more in line with my ours.  Royal Caribbean offers the largest ship called "Voyager of the Seas" coming in at a whopping 132,000 tons.

I've mentioned a couple of times the age of the passengers. I mention this only because I think people naturally have more in common with people of similar age. One of the nice things about cruising is meeting people on the ship and hanging out with them from time to time or just a dinner. We still stay in touch with people we've met on cruise ships. They make for very fond and lasting memories.

We LOVE Princess Cruises. We've been on 2 cruises with Princess as well as  our next 2. One cool thing that Princess offers is Personal Choice Dining. On other cruise lines, and Princess if you choose, you are assigned a dinner time. So you go to dinner at the same time every day. Your choice is either 6 or 8:30. The benefit of this is you get to meet your dinner table guests and form a bond over the duration of the cruise.  Tables range in size from 4 to 10 people. You sit at the same table for dinner every night with the same people. You can always skip dinner and go eat at the buffet restaurant located by the main pool. Personal Choice dining means you do not have a set table or time for dinner. You go to one of several other restaurants on the ship. the benefit here is you eat when you want to eat and you can choose from several restaurants or the buffet restaurant. We like this because we are not tied to a set dinner time. However, you do miss out on the potential for forming friendships with your dinner table guests.

We also loved the night time entertainment on Princess. They had comedians on multiple nights. They also had spectacular singers, pianist, guitarist, magicians, and ventriloquist.  They also offered a second theatre where either first run movies are played or an alternative to the main theatre entertainment.

Breakfast and lunch you eat where ever you want. There is also food somewhere on the ship including room service 24 hours a day. Eat as much as you want. It's free!

The amount of activities for kids depends on the size of the ship. The larger ships tend to have more activities for kids. The Grand Princess (109,000 tons, BIG ship) has an area on deck 16 dedicated for kids. Adults are NOT allowed in this area.  From what I know, kids play games, arts and crafts, play, etc all day long. They are NOT bored. I believe you get a walkie talkie or a pager in case your kids need you.  Of course you can drop in anytime to check up on your children.

There are multiple pools on the ship. Depending on the size of the ship. Smaller ships may have 2. Bigger ships may have 4 or 5. Same goes for hot tubs. The Grand Princess I believe has 4 pools and about 12 hot tubs. One of those pools is adults only. One of the pools is under a retractable glass ceiling. Very cool.

So you can have your kids with you at the pool as much as you want. You can take them to the kids zone as much as you want. There are arcades on the bigger ships.  Grand Princess has an enormous arcade with virtual reality games. The games are not free. They do take tokens.

All services, food, and entertainment are included in the cost of your cruise. YOU PAY FOR ALCOHOL!  If you are like me, you'll go through a few drinks per day.  Average price of a fruity drink is about 4 to 5 dollars.

Before you board the cruise ship, you get a card that serves are your identification card, room card, and payment card. So you only need to carry one card around (some older ships you may have to carry 2 cards). So if you buy a drink, you simply show them your card and sign. At the end of the cruise you get your lovely bill for stuff you bought on the ship. They have MANY shops on the ship. Some things are worth buying because they don't have duty tax.

Investigate the ports your ship will stop at. The cruise line will offer you several

excursions for each port. What the excursion is depends on the port. The Caribbean

offers a lot of water sports - snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, etc. Alaska offered a lot of

out door activities like canoeing, white water rafting, exploring glaciers, fishing, etc.

We like to take advantage of the stuff to do at the ports. Some people just like to hang

out on the ship and relax. It is your choice.

We've been to Alaska, Mexico Sea of Cortez, and 4 times to the Caribbean. WE LOVE

THE CARIBBEAN. Nothing like snorkeling clear blue waters, beautiful white sand

beaches, and Margarita. Some islands, in particular the eastern Caribbean do have

people that beg. If this is a problem for you, then avoid St. Martin, St. Lucia, and

Barbados. However, St. Lucia and Barbados are absolutely gorgeous. Western

Caribbean islands like Aruba and Grand Cayman have lots of money so no begging and

they are gorgeous as well. We in particular loved Curacao. It was like being in an old

Dutch village. Beautiful village with some of the nicest people I've ever met.

Pay the extra cost for a window. Inside cabin sucks. You never know what time of day it

is. If you have any claustrophobia, then DO NOT get an inside cabin. It is nice to be

able to look out and see the water and distant islands. Just seeing the sun makes it a

happy day.

Mini-suite or not? That is your choice. A mini-suite will increase the size of your room

by about 50%. A standard ocean view (or inside ) cabin is between 170 to 190 square

feet. A mini suite is about 320. But you do pay for it. A mini suite will run you about

50%. So if you have the money do it!

I like have a balcony. It is really nice in the morning and late evening. The larger ships

have lots more balconies so they are more affordable. So if you go on something like

the Grand Princess, an ocean view cabin with balcony won't cost very much more then

an ocean view with no balcony. Smaller ships however will cost more. I use the

balcony for coffee in the morning, a night cap in the late evening, and maybe once in a

while if I just want to be alone.

People think that larger ships carry so many people that they are crowded. They are

wrong. There is so much to do on these ships that it never seems crowded to me. The

only exception is the pool. People like to bake by the pool. I don't! I like to be by the

pool, but in the shade so we can usually find empty tables and chairs. If you want to lay

on a lounge chair by the pool, then go early and crab one because they do fill up.

Ship sizes do make a difference. I classify them like this;

small - 45,000 - 60,000 tons. medium - 60,000 - 90,000 tons. large - 90,000 - 120,000 tons. Ridiculous > 120,000 tons.

The bigger the ship, the more there is to do on the ship. The draw back to a large ship

is that they are more restricted on what ports they can visit because of the depth of the

water. So you may have to tender more often. A small ship has less amenities, but can

go to more ports. For example, the Grand Princess, 109,000 tons cannot go into the

Panama Canal. It is too wide. A Panama Canal cruise is usually on a ship around

70,000 tons. Good size ship nonetheless.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

A good web site for booking cruises is CruisesOnly.com. They buy cabins in bulk and

them resell them at a reduced rate.

 

Back Home Next

We invite you to sign our guest book.