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question about Caribbean cruises

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I know that some people on the Regent board are not interested in cruising to the Caribbean in the January/February time period — something about the "different kind of passengers/ambience."   I'm not overly much concerned about that.   What I am wondering is whether any of you have been on a Caribbean cruise after a strong hurricane season that has seriously damaged one or more of the islands on your itinerary.   I wonder whether the cruise line adds another sea day ( there are so many already) or somehow finds another port to visit.    I know that a certain number of people cruise mainly to enjoy the ship, but we prefer to be out and about.

 

I'm asking because we have a Caribbean cruise tentatively booked for January.    Final payment is due in a few days.    Thinking about hurricane season, and especially what Dorian did to the poor Bahamas (its people and those wonderful islands), I've been thinking about cancelling the cruise — just seems too iffy.

 

Would appreciate hearing any experiences.   Thanks.     

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Poss, we did our first Regent Caribbean cruise last January and they were still feeling the effects of the previous hurricane over a year prior.  You could still see some storm damage and several excursions were still shuttered - but there were still a LOT of businesses open and running.

 

I think we’re booked on the same cruise and we still plan on going.  I think it’s possible that we’ll have more impromptu sea days if a major storm rolls through, but I also think Regent would either reroute or give one the option to reschedule.

 

It might not hurt to call them with a “what if” question.

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3 hours ago, poss said:

I know that some people on the Regent board are not interested in cruising to the Caribbean in the January/February time period — something about the "different kind of passengers/ambience."   I'm not overly much concerned about that.   What I am wondering is whether any of you have been on a Caribbean cruise after a strong hurricane season that has seriously damaged one or more of the islands on your itinerary.   I wonder whether the cruise line adds another sea day ( there are so many already) or somehow finds another port to visit.    I know that a certain number of people cruise mainly to enjoy the ship, but we prefer to be out and about.

 

I'm asking because we have a Caribbean cruise tentatively booked for January.    Final payment is due in a few days.    Thinking about hurricane season, and especially what Dorian did to the poor Bahamas (its people and those wonderful islands), I've been thinking about cancelling the cruise — just seems too iffy.

 

Would appreciate hearing any experiences.   Thanks.     

Just curious about the "different kind of passengers/ambiance?"  We are booked for 3/2 on the Explorer.  Is there something we should know about the passengers?

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22 minutes ago, traveling6pack said:

Just curious about the "different kind of passengers/ambiance?"  We are booked for 3/2 on the Explorer.  Is there something we should know about the passengers?

 

Yeah, I was kind of curious about what Poss meant too.  I've never heard that.  Yes, sometimes Caribbean trips are a bit more casual, with perhaps more family groups at times, but not especially in January/February I would think.  That's the time frame when we did our Caribbean cruises, because that's when the weather was worst at home, quite frankly.  We always enjoyed them.

 

But poss, as to your question, I hope someone answers.  I believe one of our Western Carribean trips had a port changed because the dock where we were going to be going on the Yucatan had been blown away by a hurricane, but I'm sorry, I don't remember the details.

 

I too love the Bahamas (except for the town of Nassau as a cruise stop), and feel terrible for those people in the Out Islands where we have been a couple of times.  But a return of tourism is going to be a boost for them, I would think.

 

 

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Bill:  Yes, it's the same cruise.   I did telephone Regent (also my TA), but neither had anything substantial to say.   No doubt each circumstance is different.   We would not be happy campers with yet more days on the ship, even though Explorer is very comfortable and handsome.    

 

traveling6pack and Wendy:  I don't clearly remember what the bit about being "different" was all about.    Something to do, I think, with the idea that many people who book Caribbean cruises are not "real cruisers," i.e. experienced ones.   And that there's more of a "party" kind of feeling on Caribbean cruises, less refinement or whatever.   I don't know and don't much care.   (Though it's true that we don't enjoy noise or "busyness" — one of the reasons I'd not book a holiday cruise, despite the fact that I can readily understand its special appeal for many folks.  Anyway, we tend to be reading in our cabin most of the time when we're not off ship.)

Wendy:  I'm afraid it's going to be a long, long time before tourism begins again on some of those lovely Out Islands.   Alas.

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Two years ago, cruising from NYC in late October ,  we had to totally skip going to Bermuda due to weather.  We didn't find out about it until we boarded, and actually ended up staying in port an extra night.

We also had to miss Puerto Rico because of hurricane damage,  but we were notified prior that we would be visiting Antigua instead.

While we were disappointed in the changes, we understood the decisions made.  Stuff happens.

I'd also like to add my thoughts and prayers to those poor souls in the Bahamas.   We were in the Abacos several times back in our scuba diving days.

 

 

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Btw, the cruise mentioned in my post above was on the Navigator.   Its the only Regent ship we have been on, and we have our fifth cruise on the Nav coming up.  We love the ship, the ambiance,  the crew.  Two of our cruises were to the Caribbean,  as is our upcoming one.  Didn't notice any "difference" in the passenger demographics comparing that itinerary to our Canadian Maritimes cruise.

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4 hours ago, traveling6pack said:

Just curious about the "different kind of passengers/ambiance?"  We are booked for 3/2 on the Explorer.  Is there something we should know about the passengers?

Every so often, over the years, there has been some vague inferences on this subject. We find the cruises to be outstanding and crew members have mentioned how much they like working on the beach cruises.

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The clients on the winter Caribbean 7-11 day cruise tend to be a "younger" age group; 50ish.

 

As far as hurricane damage for the previous season affecting the shoreEx, that is not a problem. Most of the major excursion stops are repaired right away. The operators will make adjustments if needed but I cannot remember anything significant.

 

I say: Go for it.

 

J

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I feel kind of bad as we are those unusual people who go to the Caribbean in January, February and March which is the peak season.  We love it there.  We also cruise all year and to other places so we are not newbies.  I would like to know what the difference is?  LOL.

 

I don't believe the entire Caribbean has recovered from the other storms.  I think, depending on the damage that the ships will stay another day at sea or try to find another port where there is room.  

 

We are tentatively going in May, and I am hoping against hope that it is all right.  It is an extended family trip that can only be accomplished then.  It is the very end of the season, and I am worried about how hot it might be and how much more torn up it is.  I sincerely feel bad for these people.

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Count us in with the somewhat younger and more laid back Caribbean cruisers going this January. Bringing our friends from the left coast who aren’t quite as young as us but definitely as laid back.

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21 hours ago, poss said:

I'm asking because we have a Caribbean cruise tentatively booked for January.    Final payment is due in a few days.    Thinking about hurricane season, and especially what Dorian did to the poor Bahamas (its people and those wonderful islands), I've been thinking about cancelling the cruise — just seems too iffy.

 

Would appreciate hearing any experiences.   Thanks.     

I can't speak from experience on Regent, but have been on a number of cruises in that time frame after a strong hurricane season.  In my experience, the islands do all they can to get the ports open for cruises as cruise passenger tourism is often their "life blood."  The economy in St. Marten really suffered a few years ago when they were shut down for a long period after a hurricane.  Same with St. Thomas.  We were in Puerto Rico in March and they're still trying to recover from the last hurricane.  The businesses were mostly open and the facades had been as repaired as possible but you could see that some of the buildings were not occupied. But in my opinion, don't hesitate.   If the ships can get in, they'll go.  And the islands are desperate for the tourist dollars to recover economically.  

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I think you should go for it!

 

Two years ago, on our first Regent cruise (a late October Caribbean trip), we were scheduled to make our first stop at Great Stirrup Cay, but were informed after boarding that we would be rerouted to Nassau on account of all the debris still left on the beach from hurricane season. We were able to call from our room and immediately book our first choice in shore excursions. Everything went beautifully and we were happy because we got to swim with dolphins (I know this elicited an eye roll from some of you but I don't care 😤). 

 

This October we were supposed to be headed to Cuba, but since that's no longer possible, Regent offered us a 50% discount on a revised itinerary to the Caribbean. While we're admittedly sad to miss Cuba, that discount does lessen the blow! Bottom line is Regent is a class act and they've made a couple of lifelong customers. 

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I appreciate the responses.    We're going ahead, with fingers crossed, especially for the next several months.

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I think the issue that poss is referring to is sailing to the Caribbean during Christmas rather than in January.  Just like Alaska cruises, holiday cruises tend to have more children and families as well as mostly newbies (we are on the Crystal Symphony now in Alaska and there are 720 “newbies” out of about 900 passengers).  The atmosphere, according to those that know, is very different.  Lots of lost people (including ourselves) and dressing in ways that I’ve not seen on a luxury cruise line before.

 

What bothers me more than families/children or most other things, is that we can no longer tolerate being in ports with multiple mega ships and the Caribbean seems to have more of these ships than anywhere in the world.  Everything gets crowded - excursions, shops - everything!  We are hesitant to get off the ship in an hour or so in Juneau as there are multiple ships in port.  Will likely go out for a few minutes to stretch our legs but have no desire to amongst 10,000-15,000 other tourists.

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47 minutes ago, poss said:

I appreciate the responses.    We're going ahead, with fingers crossed, especially for the next several months.

Poss, if y’all sign up for the M&M it will take us to the 12 we need for Regent to host it (hint, hint).

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9 hours ago, kjbacon said:

Count us in with the somewhat younger and more laid back Caribbean cruisers going this January. Bringing our friends from the left coast who aren’t quite as young as us but definitely as laid back.

I’ve heard about the different passenger mix on the Caribbean itineraries, too, and although we’ve only been on one Caribbean cruise with Regent it didn’t eel much different than any of our others.  Maybe a bit more casual?  Maybe a bit younger?  Keep in mind the per diem for US passengers is about half of what a Med cruise would run so you’ll have a different mix, I think, but different isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just different.

 

I’m doing my part to keep the demographics even, though - I convinced my mom and her husband (82 and 80) to sail with us.   😂

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I've signed up, Bill.    Makes me feel a little guilty, because I doubt very much that my husband will attend (he's 89, so we're contributing something or other to the demographics game as well).    And I'm not a social butterfly either, though not quite as bad in that department as Jack is; I'll try to push myself to join the little party.

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35 minutes ago, UUNetBill said:

I’ve heard about the different passenger mix on the Caribbean itineraries, too, and although we’ve only been on one Caribbean cruise with Regent it didn’t eel much different than any of our others.  Maybe a bit more casual?  Maybe a bit younger?  Keep in mind the per diem for US passengers is about half of what a Med cruise would run so you’ll have a different mix, I think, but different isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just different.

 

I’m doing my part to keep the demographics even, though - I convinced my mom and her husband (82 and 80) to sail with us.   😂

Great job with variety on the demographic! We are all for more casual so we are hoping that’s the case. I wonder if we are on the same sailing? We are on the Super Bowl Party Cruise.

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3 minutes ago, kjbacon said:

Great job with variety on the demographic! We are all for more casual so we are hoping that’s the case. I wonder if we are on the same sailing? We are on the Super Bowl Party Cruise.

Nope, unfortunately - we’re on the January boat...

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1 minute ago, kjbacon said:

January 28?

Nope, the 8th.  I guess the 28th would cover Super Bowl weekend, huh?  Can you tell it’s getting close to the end of the workday??

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48 minutes ago, poss said:

I've signed up, Bill.    Makes me feel a little guilty, because I doubt very much that my husband will attend (he's 89, so we're contributing something or other to the demographics game as well).    And I'm not a social butterfly either, though not quite as bad in that department as Jack is; I'll try to push myself to join the little party.

Poss, I just saw that, thanks!  Truth be told I’m not overly social either, but I’ve enjoyed the M&Ms I’ve done in the past even if they’re short and informal.  You never know, you might meet some people to hang out with; we have before.  

 

I hope you both make it, even if just for a quick drink and/or hello.  

 

Counting down the days...

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Mark could only travel during January/February because of the type of business he was in, so we were on several Navigator cruises to the Caribbean in that time frame.  We also cruised on other ships in different time frames when something came up that we simply couldn't resist (he did have a partner that he kind of trusted); I don't remember different ambience during the different time frames, or on the different ships.  We did enjoy sauntering down the pier in San Juan and leisurely boarding, while watching hundreds of people standing inline to board the big ship next to us.

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Somehow my comment has not made an impression.  Caribbean cruises in and of themselves are not that different - it is during Christmas/New Year’s when it is very different (same as in Alaska during the summer).

 

I would not worry about going to the Caribbean from December - 

April (excluding the holidays). Prior to December, there is still an outside chance of a hurricane and after April, the weather gets warmer and more humid.  However, if you enjoy hot, humid weather, go for it!

 

 

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