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  #1  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 12:22 AM
elbodans elbodans is offline
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Default best summer itinerary?

i'm currently researching summer sailings for my husband and myself. we can only travel during the summer months, as he is a teacher (and no, he can't take time off during the year--he only has 2 personal days per year. people always seem to suggest that first, but it's just not an option. i love him--but i hate that aspect of his job.) by summer months i mean 'june 20th through august 15th'. so we're talking hardcore high season.

additionally, we don't have an unlimited budget. we'd like to keep the entire trip under $2500-ish (airfare and cruise fare only--excursions and on board costs separate, as those are things we can control) this seems to rule out europe (as airfare alone would be close to $2000 for the two of us) and alaska (plus we've already done an alaska cruise). i recently cruised from NYC to bermuda and loved it--but i don't know that i want to spend quadruple the price to go back to the same place (as sailings in the summer are double--and there's two of us. thus the quadruple.)

i've looked at caribbean sailings, and it seems as though carnival is our only option...? i have no desire to sail with carnival--it's a personal preference. is this correct? can it be possible that carnival is the only cruise line sailing the caribbean in summer? i found maybe two royal caribbean cruises--but they were expensive with uninteresting itineraries. i'd much rather do a sourthern caribbean or an exotic western--and i don't see either of those as available for this coming summer. what's up with that?

we looked at canada/new england cruises last summer and ended up doing a road trip to those ports instead (we live 80 minutes outside of NYC) so we've been to every port city north of here for several days at a time. for the record, that was a great trip.

so...can we go on a cruise? and if so--to where? i realize this is a very limiting set of circumstances, but i'm hoping that someone out there knows something that i don't. we've not done a true 'relaxing' vacation since our honeymoon--the alaska cruise. that was almost six years ago. and i feel as though cruising is the most relaxing way to travel. road trips and backpacking/train trips are stressful. we just want to spend some time together in a new place--exploring and eating and taking pictures and meeting new people.

so--given all that--any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 01:08 AM
Essiesmom Essiesmom is offline
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You are correct that in the summer, Carnival and Royal Caribbean are the only game in the Caribbean. The other lines follow the money to Europe and Alaska. NCL Sky does short cruises from Miami to the Bahamas, but they are so short it is not very satisfactory for a vacation. There is more variety from NYC/Bayonne to Bermuda and New England, and the air savings could make those cruises affordable.
Use this site to see what is available.
http://www.cruisetimetables.com/
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  #3  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 02:38 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is offline
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As mentioned in addition to Carnival you could consider RCI.

I would take a look at cruises between selected East coast USA cities and Bermuda.

Another option is Alaska but the airline fare might be too costly for that, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

Bermuda makes for a very nice cruise. You have time in both directions at sea and in many ways use the ship as a Hotel while docked in Bermuda.

Keith
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  #4  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 03:47 AM
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dmwnc1959 dmwnc1959 is offline
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I truly enjoyed looking over your travel blog. It really is quite amazing!

One thing you said in your post that caught my attention was this:

"...we've not done a true 'relaxing' vacation since our honeymoon--the alaska cruise. that was almost six years ago."

I did a fair bit of research off all the cruises leaving out of Boston, NYC, Bayonne, and Baltimore. The one cruise I kept coming back to was a ship you have already done: Norwegian Gem.

Now hear me out. Since you've already been on her you won't be hard pressed to do everything since you have been there, done that. You can truly relax. She does a 7-nt cruise to Port Canaveral, Nassau, and their private island Great Stirrip Cay. These ports may offer something for you to do, or you can just make it a 'beach day' or stay on the ship truly relaxing. You can hang out poolside while everyone is off ship, sleep in and order room service, and relax.

To put it into perspective my cruise coming up this next week was chosen for the ship, not the itinerary, so I could truly relax for 10-nights. I don't care if I get off the ship, or see the ports, and if I do then great. If I don't then no problem.

I've repeated ships and itineraries before because it was so relaxing the third and fourth time.

Enjoy the cuise ship this time. Don't worry so much about where it's going.
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  #5  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 08:43 AM
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FlaGrl4Evr FlaGrl4Evr is offline
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OP, I realize that you said you didn't want to sail Carnival, but can tell you that my husband and I have sailed Carnival twice and had a fantastic time and wonderful service. You may enjoy the CCL Legend that sails out of Tampa. It is a Spirit class ship and has great flow and did not seem crowded. The Legend seems to always get better reviews than some of the other CCL ships. The ship has a new Adults only, serenity area with hot tubs, a bar and comfy loungers. This ship also offers some obstructed view balcony cabins for a really great price. (This is a way to get a balcony cabin but still save some $$) Some cabins are considerbly less obstructed than others with the lifeboats only coming up even with the balcony floor. Booking one of these is a great value and gives you your own private balcony to read, watch the sunset or just unwind. This ship offers 4 ports of call: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Belize and Isla Roatan-Honduras with 2 sea days. It is a great itinerary and a great ship. Most folks seem to agree that they love the Spirit class ships.

Tampa also offers lower airfares than some of the Fla East coast cruise ports along with really great hotel cruise packages. We got a direct flt from Indy to Tampa for $94 pp each way on SW. Our bags were free which was a nice savings as well. We booked early and did lots of price shopping. As far as the hotel, we have stayed twice now at the Holiday Inn Rocky Point in Tampa for our pre-cruise day. The pkg includes airport shuttle, your room, free hot breakfast, and a shuttle to and from the port after the cruise. The hotel will also shuttle you anywhere within a 4 mile radius free of charge. Rocky Point is an upscale area of Tampa that sits on the Bay. The Holiday Inn along with the Hampton Rocky Point and Chase Suites Rocky Point, have a nice view of the water. All of these hotels offer the same cruise pkg that includes all of your transportation needs (not all cruise pkg hotels do) and their rates are very good.


I do not know what type of cabin you may be interested in but here is a link to the Carnival pricing for Legend cruises from June 2012 - August 2012. The August 5 and Aug 12 cruises are within your time frame and seem to offer the best rates.
http://www.carnival.com/BookingEngin...=PA&PGEnable=Y

Wishing you good luck and and a great summer cruise.





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Last edited by FlaGrl4Evr; November 23rd, 2011 at 08:56 AM.
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  #6  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 09:20 AM
euro cruiser euro cruiser is offline
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This might be a budget buster, given the cost of flights from PA to HI, but have you considered one of the NCL Hawaii cruises?
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  #7  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 11:01 AM
elbodans elbodans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essiesmom View Post
You are correct that in the summer, Carnival and Royal Caribbean are the only game in the Caribbean. The other lines follow the money to Europe and Alaska. NCL Sky does short cruises from Miami to the Bahamas, but they are so short it is not very satisfactory for a vacation. There is more variety from NYC/Bayonne to Bermuda and New England, and the air savings could make those cruises affordable.
Use this site to see what is available.
http://www.cruisetimetables.com/
thanks for the link! i will check that out right now!

i did have my eye on a bermuda/new england sailing on royal that i pitched to my husband. he was like 'we can always drive to boston and newport'. i think i may need to push a bit harder on that one (because that's exactly how we ended up doing a fun-but-not-relaxing road trip last summer!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith1010 View Post
As mentioned in addition to Carnival you could consider RCI.

I would take a look at cruises between selected East coast USA cities and Bermuda.

Another option is Alaska but the airline fare might be too costly for that, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

Bermuda makes for a very nice cruise. You have time in both directions at sea and in many ways use the ship as a Hotel while docked in Bermuda.

Keith
i just returned from a bermuda cruise and i loved it--i guess i'm hesitant to do the exact same thing again. though it seems like bermuda may be one of our only options. either way, i have to give on one of my 'issues'. (i have issues with cost, location, cruise line--something has to give!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmwnc1959 View Post
I truly enjoyed looking over your travel blog. It really is quite amazing!

One thing you said in your post that caught my attention was this:

"...we've not done a true 'relaxing' vacation since our honeymoon--the alaska cruise. that was almost six years ago."

I did a fair bit of research off all the cruises leaving out of Boston, NYC, Bayonne, and Baltimore. The one cruise I kept coming back to was a ship you have already done: Norwegian Gem.

Now hear me out. Since you've already been on her you won't be hard pressed to do everything since you have been there, done that. You can truly relax. She does a 7-nt cruise to Port Canaveral, Nassau, and their private island Great Stirrip Cay. These ports may offer something for you to do, or you can just make it a 'beach day' or stay on the ship truly relaxing. You can hang out poolside while everyone is off ship, sleep in and order room service, and relax.

To put it into perspective my cruise coming up this next week was chosen for the ship, not the itinerary, so I could truly relax for 10-nights. I don't care if I get off the ship, or see the ports, and if I do then great. If I don't then no problem.

I've repeated ships and itineraries before because it was so relaxing the third and fourth time.

Enjoy the cuise ship this time. Don't worry so much about where it's going.
is the gem sailing to bermuda next summer? i'll have to check that link above. i don't know if we could do an entire week of relaxation--that might be too much for us--ha! the thing that i find relaxing about cruising is the evenings--you don't have to plan a whole day's worth of 'stuff'. i like getting off the ship during the day, doing something, and then getting back on to enjoy a long meal and evening entertainment. that's my version of relaxation.

oh--and i'm glad you enjoy my blog! in my opinion, it's the very best hobby!
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Read about my other travels on my (ad-free) blog:
www.suitcasescholar.com

Last edited by elbodans; November 23rd, 2011 at 11:02 AM.
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  #8  
Old November 23rd, 2011, 11:04 AM
elbodans elbodans is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosiercouple View Post
OP, I realize that you said you didn't want to sail Carnival, but can tell you that my husband and I have sailed Carnival twice and had a fantastic time and wonderful service. You may enjoy the CCL Legend that sails out of Tampa. It is a Spirit class ship and has great flow and did not seem crowded. The Legend seems to always get better reviews than some of the other CCL ships. The ship has a new Adults only, serenity area with hot tubs, a bar and comfy loungers. This ship also offers some obstructed view balcony cabins for a really great price. (This is a way to get a balcony cabin but still save some $$) Some cabins are considerbly less obstructed than others with the lifeboats only coming up even with the balcony floor. Booking one of these is a great value and gives you your own private balcony to read, watch the sunset or just unwind. This ship offers 4 ports of call: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Belize and Isla Roatan-Honduras with 2 sea days. It is a great itinerary and a great ship. Most folks seem to agree that they love the Spirit class ships.

Tampa also offers lower airfares than some of the Fla East coast cruise ports along with really great hotel cruise packages. We got a direct flt from Indy to Tampa for $94 pp each way on SW. Our bags were free which was a nice savings as well. We booked early and did lots of price shopping. As far as the hotel, we have stayed twice now at the Holiday Inn Rocky Point in Tampa for our pre-cruise day. The pkg includes airport shuttle, your room, free hot breakfast, and a shuttle to and from the port after the cruise. The hotel will also shuttle you anywhere within a 4 mile radius free of charge. Rocky Point is an upscale area of Tampa that sits on the Bay. The Holiday Inn along with the Hampton Rocky Point and Chase Suites Rocky Point, have a nice view of the water. All of these hotels offer the same cruise pkg that includes all of your transportation needs (not all cruise pkg hotels do) and their rates are very good.


I do not know what type of cabin you may be interested in but here is a link to the Carnival pricing for Legend cruises from June 2012 - August 2012. The August 5 and Aug 12 cruises are within your time frame and seem to offer the best rates.
http://www.carnival.com/BookingEngin...=PA&PGEnable=Y

Wishing you good luck and and a great summer cruise.





.
ok--so you just did more to convince me to consider carnival than i could ever have imagined! as i said above, i'm clearly going to have to give on one of my issues--if i try carnival, that fixes a lot (as i do like that itinerary and it would be reasonably priced.) hmmm. this is me seriously considering it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by euro cruiser View Post
This might be a budget buster, given the cost of flights from PA to HI, but have you considered one of the NCL Hawaii cruises?
i would LOVE to do a hawaii cruise but yes, the airfare (and the 12 hour flight) would likely be the deal breaker. though i'm going to go check on airfare right now.

-----

i'll be back with some ideas based on ALL of the suggestions above. thanks everyone!!!
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