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gtomlon

Experienced Cruisers wanting to Branch out

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To say that we are first time cruisers is a misnomer.  We are a couple (not currently married - yet) with a blended family.  I have an 18 YO son and 13 yo daughter; She has a 21 yo daughter and a 19 yo daughter.  Of the six of us, I am the least experienced.  I have been on two cruises, both with Carnival, with the last one being 20 years ago.  Both my kids have been on four cruises with the last being this year.  All of theirs have been on Carnival.  Her and her daughters have been on around 5-7 cruises each, with the last being two years ago.  All of theirs have been on Carnival as well.  Well, we are taking our blended family on a cruise this year.  A 7 day Carnival cruise out of Miami to the Caribbean.  Thank you for reading so far, but this is just background. 

 

My question is going to be for us two, what is next?  I would like to up our game next year to a more exclusive cruise.  While we both love the kids, we want some 'OUR TIME.'.    We would like to see what there is other than Carnival (again, a great line, but I know that there is more).  This cruise here is about $6,000 for all of us.  We would like for this next cruise to be in the Mediterranean next year (probably in the 12-14 days, or there abouts).    A little more luxury for the two o us, but at the same time we are still very active.  Whether it is excursions, or ship board activities.   We are in our mid to late 40's.   I had looked at other lines such as Regency.  While there were certainly luxurious accommodations,   some of the reviews had me concerned.  Apparently in the last few years (from the reviews), there have been an influx of new workers in the various departments and areas of the cruise line.   With the appearances that the company was replacing the more experienced individuals with cheaper, less experienced individuals.   This is from multiple reviewers with the majority being repeat cruisers with Regency who stated that this has really affected their opinion of the cruise line.  What I dont know is if these are verified reviewers, or individuals with less than stellar motives.    So I came here.   What cruise line should we be looking at that can give additional luxury and pamperedness (is that a word?), but at the same time provide for an active couple that likes the relaxation mixed with adventurous excursions, shipboard nightlife, and the options to just veg when we want to.

 

While budget has not been set, it would probably start at what we are paying for this current cruise I mentioned ($6k), and could possibly go to $10k to $20k.  Would love to hear your cruise lines that that fit this descriptions and specifically your favorite ship with your cruiseline.  

Edited by gtomlon

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24 minutes ago, gtomlon said:

To say that we are first time cruisers is a misnomer.  We are a couple (not currently married - yet) with a blended family.  I have an 18 YO son and 13 yo daughter; She has a 21 yo daughter and a 19 yo daughter.  Of the six of us, I am the least experienced.  I have been on two cruises, both with Carnival, with the last one being 20 years ago.  Both my kids have been on four cruises with the last being this year.  All of theirs have been on Carnival.  Her and her daughters have been on around 5-7 cruises each, with the last being two years ago.  All of theirs have been on Carnival as well.  Well, we are taking our blended family on a cruise this year.  A 7 day Carnival cruise out of Miami to the Caribbean.  Thank you for reading so far, but this is just background. 

 

My question is going to be for us two, what is next?  I would like to up our game next year to a more exclusive cruise.  While we both love the kids, we want some 'OUR TIME.'.    We would like to see what there is other than Carnival (again, a great line, but I know that there is more).  This cruise here is about $6,000 for all of us.  We would like for this next cruise to be in the Mediterranean next year (probably in the 12-14 days, or there abouts).    A little more luxury for the two o us, but at the same time we are still very active.  Whether it is excursions, or ship board activities.   We are in our mid to late 40's.   I had looked at other lines such as Regency.  While there were certainly luxurious accommodations,   some of the reviews had me concerned.  Apparently in the last few years (from the reviews), there have been an influx of new workers in the various departments and areas of the cruise line.   With the appearances that the company was replacing the more experienced individuals with cheaper, less experienced individuals.   This is from multiple reviewers with the majority being repeat cruisers with Regency who stated that this has really affected their opinion of the cruise line.  What I dont know is if these are verified reviewers, or individuals with less than stellar motives.    So I came here.   What cruise line should we be looking at that can give additional luxury and pamperedness (is that a word?), but at the same time provide for an active couple that likes the relaxation mixed with adventurous excursions, shipboard nightlife, and the options to just veg when we want to.

 

While budget has not been set, it would probably start at what we are paying for this current cruise I mentioned ($6k), and could possibly go to $10k to $20k.  Would love to hear your cruise lines that that fit this descriptions and specifically your favorite ship with your cruiseline.  

Perhaps you mean Regent? 

If so, that's an excellent cruise line and you may find that any crew "inexperience" refers to no prior service specifically on a luxury line.

 

That said: you may want to consider other premium/luxury lines as well, all of which will give you a more quality laden experience than what you have had before.

The challenge is to find the best match for your preferences, needs and means.

We're big fans of Regent's sister premium line, Oceania. Small ships, excellent food and service and, IMO, better value than Regent if you prefer the flexibility of choosing what amenities you would prefer to be complimentary (thus lowering your overall expenses).

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A number of the mainstream lines are pushing their suites or ship within a ship concept, but you are still on a mega ship with up to 6,000 other passengers. If looking for some pampering and luxury, I would also suggest forgetting the big ships and look at some of the smaller ships of luxury/premium lines.

 

We recently went through this exercise when searching for a new cruise line. We considered Crystal, Regent, Silversea, Seabourn, Viking, Oceania & Azamara. We reviewed each of their websites, especially the ship particulars and FAQ pages, then reviewed a number of independent reviews, shortlisting to Viking & Oceania. For these 2 we extensively read posts on the respective CC Boards. Oceania scored very highly for food quality, with almost all reviews rating them # 1. Viking, although they are new to ocean cruising, excelled in more categories that are important to us, some of which were no casinos, zero kids, no formal nights and size of ship (about 750-1,000 pax.)

 

Each of the luxury/premium lines offer fairly similar standards, but each of them have some specifics, so best to research and find the one that best meets your needs.

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On 5/20/2019 at 1:12 PM, Heidi13 said:

We considered Crystal, Regent, Silversea, Seabourn, Viking, Oceania & Azamara.

These are all good lines to look at.  They all have pluses and minuses that will fit different people.  Crystal suits me perfectly and I'm not curious enough about others to try something else, but if I were going to branch out, those (especially the first 4) would be where I'd look. 

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Consider Celebrity as a first step up - we have sailed Carnival, RCI, Princess,  HAL [Holland America] and Viking. We tend to opt for Celebrity when looking for a little more oomph in our cruise.  

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Take a look at Royal Caribbean and book a suite with them;  there are a lot of perks that come with being in a suite;  like priority seats in the theater for shows, lounge for suite guests, a concierge who will make sure everything goes well, being escorted on the ship on embarkation day, your own restaurant, reserved seats at the pool.  The list goes on.  Our fav ship on RCI is Allure;  it carries a lot of passengers, but you don't see the crowds; because the ship is broken into five separate areas.  We stayed in both Grand and Owners Suites with RCI.  We have stayed in Penthouse Suites with NCL; we did a 14 night cruise in the Med on NCL Jade.  We had penthouse suite all the way in the aft; but we had access to the Haven; which is a reserved for only certain suite guests.  You have your own pool, lounge, and dining.  The past few cruises we have sailed in suites with Princess.  We love the ships, the crews are excellent, and food is good.  Princess has less suite perks than Royal or Norwegian; but the crews make up for it by the service they provide.  I have not sailed with upscale Regent, or Oceania.  We don't drink, do not like fancy food;  so we pay for what we like.  Hope this helps

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On 5/20/2019 at 10:03 AM, Flatbush Flyer said:

That said: you may want to consider other premium/luxury lines as well, all of which will give you a more quality laden experience than what you have had before.

The challenge is to find the best match for your preferences, needs and means.

We're big fans of Regent's sister premium line, Oceania. Small ships, excellent food and service and, IMO, better value than Regent if you prefer the flexibility of choosing what amenities you would prefer to be complimentary (thus lowering your overall expenses).

We also love Oceania. 

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I wonder if the “ship within a ship” concept will spread to other commercial enterprises.  Walmart could have a Bergdorf Goodman section - with an entry fee.  Supermarkets might start limiting inventory to generics - but have limited access gourmet food aisles.  Hospitals could have minimum care wards - no intervention, surgery or fancy medications - just basic food and aspirin, with nursing home attendants ——. but also specialized care wings with finest doctors providing the ultimate in care. They might even have a bit of nickle and diming - with the sale of effective pain medications on an as really needed basis.

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23 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

with the sale of effective pain medications on an as really needed basis.

That they all ready do. 

When  you really need it, they sell it to you.  Of course, they don't clear the price with you first or give you the option to decline, but they're definitely not giving it to you free and they don't have an "all inclusive" pay up front package. 

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1 hour ago, calliopecruiser said:

That they all ready do. 

When  you really need it, they sell it to you.  Of course, they don't clear the price with you first or give you the option to decline, but they're definitely not giving it to you free and they don't have an "all inclusive" pay up front package. 

In Canada?? I thought there was a rather thorough single payer (government coverage) system in effect.

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3 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

In Canada?? I thought there was a rather thorough single payer (government coverage) system in effect.

The theory is the same -- it's sold and charged for.  It might be sold to the patient (if someone is uninsured - even in Canada) or to the insurance company (regardless of whether it's a government or private insurance company). 

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