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kaseyj79

Favorite Cruise Ports

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Since my husband I took our first cruise in Sept we can't wait to get on another ship. We are planning to take our next cruise in Sept 2019, and we have a cruise picked out, but we aren't sure if we should keep looking? What is everyone's favorite port and/or cruise itinerary? We are looking at an 8 day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Carnival Magic going to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Curacao. I'd like to know what you guys think of the Southern Caribbean or if there are better places we should be looking at? We are open to just about anywhere. Our cruise this past Sept was on the Horizon to Ocho Rios, Grand Caymen, and Cozumel so we would like to not repeat those again especially Ocho Rios. Any ideas for other ports? We want to stick w/ 7-9 days. 

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HMC for Caribbean cruises (even though it is not in the Caribbean). But there are so many wonderful ports in Europe, Asia, etc.

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42 minutes ago, kaseyj79 said:

Since my husband I took our first cruise in Sept we can't wait to get on another ship. We are planning to take our next cruise in Sept 2019, and we have a cruise picked out, but we aren't sure if we should keep looking? What is everyone's favorite port and/or cruise itinerary? We are looking at an 8 day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Carnival Magic going to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Curacao. I'd like to know what you guys think of the Southern Caribbean or if there are better places we should be looking at? We are open to just about anywhere. Our cruise this past Sept was on the Horizon to Ocho Rios, Grand Caymen, and Cozumel so we would like to not repeat those again especially Ocho Rios. Any ideas for other ports? We want to stick w/ 7-9 days. 

If you like the tropics, skip the overrun/overrated Caribbean and head to Polynesia where you can find some short 10 day+\- cruises - usually round trip Tahiti. Consider Paul Gaugain or Oceania. In that "neck of the woods," make sure you do Bora Bora and book a private tour with Patrick of Maohi Nui (usually need to make that arrangement at least 6 months in advance.  United has just started flying there and prices are quite reasonable. I'd also suggest you consider a longer cruise of at least two weeks and do a partial transpacific from Valpo to Papeete (or even Sydney to Papeete). BTW, a Pacific must is Easter Island.

IMG_3989.JPG

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Of the Caribbean routes, we prefer the Southern, and then the Eastern ones over the Western one that you previously sailed. If you are restricted as to the length of your cruise, perhaps consider a cruise departing from San Juan rather than the Florida ports.  You'll get to the good stuff faster, and may have a better choice of islands.

 

All that being said, September is not a time I would select for a Caribbean cruise, since that's the height of Hurricane season. As noted by others, the South Pacific and Polynesia would be less prone to severe storms that time of year. However it can be quite expensive just to fly there and back.

 

September would be an ideal time for a Med cruise. 7 day cruises are very easy to find and offer a great variety of ports. 

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We did that itinerary a couple of years ago on Glory and are doing it again in 2020 on Magic.  The ABC islands are very different from the rest of the Caribbean, more desert than lush tropical.  But that is part of their charm.  I especially like Curacao.  But don't try to find someone else's favorite.  Do your own exploration.  Read about the islands and see what their history is, what their features are.  EM

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Consider some of these European ports:

 

Paros, Delos. Lesvos and Sifnos in Greece. Kotor, Dubrovnik, Sebniek, and a Cornith Canal transit. Nothing in the Caribbean compares to any of those stops.

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For Caribbean st Thomas and st marten, also A! b C islands  , Europe Kotor , Naples Venice and Livorno , also loved leaving from Barcelona 

Edited by George C

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You couldn't pay us to take a Caribbean cruise. Favourite destinations are:

 - Baltic - St Petersburg

 - Meddy - Dubrovnik/Venice

 - South Pacific - Sydney/Apia/Easter Island/Pitcairn Island

 - SE Asia - Hong Kong

 - Africa - Cape Town

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OP: 

 

The good news is that the ports in the itinerary that you took on your first cruise aboard the Horizon (specially Ocho Rios and Cozumel) are probably some of the most commercialized, Americanized, and overrun ports anywhere, so most ports that you choose for your next cruise will hopefully be an upgrade. 

 

Although someone above mentioned that they would never cruise the Caribbean, don’t let that comment deter you. The Caribbean is a vast region, with a wonderful contrast of cultures, cuisine, languages, history, and natural attractions. It’s so much more than sitting at a Senor Frog’s doing shots while the bartender blows a whistle. From the centuries old colonial architecture in Old San Juan, the rainforests of Dominica, the powder white sand beaches of Aruba, the chic shopping in St. Bart’s, to Cuba’s unexploited and unaltered travel in time, you’re bound to find something that you will find appealing. 

 

But here are some of my recommendations:

 

Caribbean: San Juan, Havana, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Dominica, Curacao, Aruba, Barbados

Alaska: Glacier Bay, Sitka, Victoria. 

Pacific Coastal: Monterrey, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island

Mediterranean: Valletta, Dubrovnik, Barcelona

Canada and New England: Quebec City, Saguenay, Portland

 

HAVE A GREAT TIME! 

Edited by Tapi

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I am looking at two itineraries for the Southern Caribbean, both round trip from San Juan, both go to 5 ports each. 

The common ports are St Lucia and St Kitts. 

One goes to the 3 ports of Barbados, St Maarten and St Thomas and the other goes to the 3 ports of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.  The ship is the same, only the destination is different. 

 

Which of these two itineraries would be the best?  Is there something of more interest on one of the islands that would make it a better choice.  Not really interested in just hanging on the beach, would rather see things native to the area, history, natural areas, birdwatching, sealife, tours, etc.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, BarnCat1 said:

I am looking at two itineraries for the Southern Caribbean, both round trip from San Juan, both go to 5 ports each. 

The common ports are St Lucia and St Kitts. 

One goes to the 3 ports of Barbados, St Maarten and St Thomas and the other goes to the 3 ports of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.  The ship is the same, only the destination is different. 

 

Which of these two itineraries would be the best?  Is there something of more interest on one of the islands that would make it a better choice.  Not really interested in just hanging on the beach, would rather see things native to the area, history, natural areas, birdwatching, sealife, tours, etc.

 

 

I would choose the cruise going to the ABC islands. I absolutely loved Bonaire.

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2 hours ago, BarnCat1 said:

I am looking at two itineraries for the Southern Caribbean, both round trip from San Juan, both go to 5 ports each. 

The common ports are St Lucia and St Kitts. 

One goes to the 3 ports of Barbados, St Maarten and St Thomas and the other goes to the 3 ports of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.  The ship is the same, only the destination is different. 

 

Which of these two itineraries would be the best?  

I agree that the 2nd option,  with the ABC islands, is the better choice. While I LOVE Barbados, St. Maarten is still struggling (on the French side) to recover from hurricane destruction; and St Thomas is IMO totally commercialized and overcrowded. Bonaire is a real ecological gem, with some of the best scuba/snorkeling in the Caribbean. 

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kaseyj 

Suggestions for elsewhere in the world (S.Pacific, Europe, etc) are great, but totally pie-in-the-sky if you're limited to 7 - 9 days. And they're in a totally different cost ball-park.

So I suggest you stick to the Caribbean this time around. 

 

Half Moon and Grand Turk, the ships berth in their own private part of these tiny islands. They're very much "beach days", - fine if that's what you want but totally pointless if you want to experience "the Caribbean".

 

Re-read Tapi's post -there are some very insightful observations and suggestions in there.

The eastern Caribbean has a much broader range of histories, cultures and topographies than the western cruise that you've taken.

But be mindful that September is hurricane season, which may mean last-minute changes to itineraries.

 

Southern Caribbean is very unlikely to be affected by hurricanes  and is almost as varied as eastern.  Curacao is great - one of my Caribbean favourites - but Aruba is so over-run by American tourists and culture that you might think you were in Florida. We find Bonaire rather bland and boring, but great if you want to spend that day snorkelling. 

 

BarnCat

Sorry, just to confuse you I'll disagree with fyree and mom, and advocate the first option.

See my thoughts above re the ABC islands.

Barbados has easily a far broader range of sights and activities than any of the others mentioned. It's one of the few islands where I've been happy to stay for a number of days and you'll be hard-pressed to choose for your one day in port.

Sint Maarten gives you two cultures for the price of one - altho the Dutch influence is difficult to spot, the French side is very French.

St Thomas? Well, there are few itineraries which don't include at least one duff destination.

Good that St Lucia are on both itineraries, St Kitts is a little limited but fine for a one-day port of call.

All that said, I'd be very happy with either itinerary. :classic_smile:

 

Just MHO as always

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

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In the Carribean;

I absolutely love Bonaire.  The snorkeling is truly world class.

Barbados.  I spent a happy 5 days on the island, and could easily have stayed longer.

 

In the world;

Illulisat is really hard to beat for sheer beauty.  I fully intend to return for a longer stay at some point.

Amsterdam -- I just love the city.  Come via ship, stay for at least a few days.  The Rijksmuseum takes an entire day all by itself.

 

Via river cruise;

Czesky Krumlov.  A 1.5 hour drive from the Danube, but oh, so worth it!  The city is straight out of a story book.  This is another place I need to go back and spend significant time in.

 

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On ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 5:00 PM, paul929207 said:

Cape Town and Naples

Yes on Naples so many great places to go .

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OP, since you are in Kentucky, have you considered sailing out of Baltimore?  You could cruise to Bermuda, or for something even more different from the Caribbean, New England and Canada.

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On 11/11/2018 at 12:20 PM, kaseyj79 said:

 We are looking at an 8 day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Carnival Magic going to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Curacao.

 

HMC is the only port I love on that itinerary.  

 

Otherwise, Bonaire is my favorite Caribbean port.  I also love Dominica and Tortola.

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Maybe think about expedition cruising to the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica. Both are wildly unique and special for what they don't have such as beach vendors, loud music, kitschy quaintness, etc.

 

Pricey trips but worth every penny.

Edited by Bookish Angel

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On 11/11/2018 at 1:46 PM, CruiserBruce said:

HMC for Caribbean cruises (even though it is not in the Caribbean). But there are so many wonderful ports in Europe, Asia, etc.

 

The beauty of this place is it's hard to go to a vacation destination these days, and it not be almost completely developed. 

 

I have not been to the ABCs yet unfortunately. Really liked Barbados.

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I loved Barcelona most and Venice second Amsterdam third.

 

Edited by JMorris271

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