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Anniversary Cruise: Where Should We Go?


KellyCz
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In August 2023, we'll be celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary. We are experienced U.S. and (to a lesser extent) European travelers, but not experienced cruisers (only one cruise for me, zero for my husband, although we're booked for a summer 2022 Bahamas/Mexico cruise).

Ideal trip would include several of these: walking, exploring, meeting new people, trivia or other group/team games, live music/theater, relaxing by the pool, massage, yoga, sunsets, excellent food, craft beer, cocktails, specialty coffees

Ideal trip would avoid: loud party music (unless part of a show), crowded pools, kids, high-pressure sales (onboard or off)

We're early 50s, reasonably fit.

We live in the U.S. midwest, so every cruise port will require a flight. No particular destination or cruise line in mind. All-in budget is $10K.

What are your recommendations?

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13 minutes ago, KellyCz said:

In August 2023, we'll be celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary. We are experienced U.S. and (to a lesser extent) European travelers, but not experienced cruisers (only one cruise for me, zero for my husband, although we're booked for a summer 2022 Bahamas/Mexico cruise).

Ideal trip would include several of these: walking, exploring, meeting new people, trivia or other group/team games, live music/theater, relaxing by the pool, massage, yoga, sunsets, excellent food, craft beer, cocktails, specialty coffees

Ideal trip would avoid: loud party music (unless part of a show), crowded pools, kids, high-pressure sales (onboard or off)

We're early 50s, reasonably fit.

We live in the U.S. midwest, so every cruise port will require a flight. No particular destination or cruise line in mind. All-in budget is $10K.

What are your recommendations?

How about Caribbean Princess 10 days Quebec to New York?
 

You could give yourselves a couple of days to explore beautiful old walled city, then cruise down coast to New York - possibly a couple days in the city before flying home. Combine a couple of very different land visits with typical active cruise - touching many of your bases.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, KellyCz said:

In August 2023, we'll be celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary. We are experienced U.S. and (to a lesser extent) European travelers, but not experienced cruisers (only one cruise for me, zero for my husband, although we're booked for a summer 2022 Bahamas/Mexico cruise).

Ideal trip would include several of these: walking, exploring, meeting new people, trivia or other group/team games, live music/theater, relaxing by the pool, massage, yoga, sunsets, excellent food, craft beer, cocktails, specialty coffees

Ideal trip would avoid: loud party music (unless part of a show), crowded pools, kids, high-pressure sales (onboard or off)

We're early 50s, reasonably fit.

We live in the U.S. midwest, so every cruise port will require a flight. No particular destination or cruise line in mind. All-in budget is $10K.

What are your recommendations?

French Polynesia on Oceania (but not in August). Small ships with excellent cuisine. Airfare include plus a choice of perks (tours, booze or SBC)

Edited by Flatbush Flyer
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A repositioning cruise might be one you would want to consider.  Maybe at the end of the Alaska cruise season when the ships return to Florida for the Fall/Winter/Spring season.  This would give you the experience of a transit of the Panama Canal.  

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You know there are many ship choices out there........are you interested in a "floating city".....those vessels that hold 1,000;s and 1000,s of guests? Or something something smaller and more intimate with a higher level of service?  My suggestion is to find a TA who specializes in cruising and give them your priorities/preferences and see what they come up with..........oh Happy Anniversary🙂 and is there a certain area you interested in visiting? That would be my question to you🙂

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I would echo Lois.  My recommendation would be to supply an experienced cruise TA with your list of requirements.  They would be the one to suggest both the cruise line and itineraries most likely to satisfy you and stay within your budget.

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My first question is, what ship were you on for your cruise?  How long ago was it?  Was there anything you did not like about it?  
As far as what kind of cruise, I see you live in an area that is nice in the summer.  Not so much in winter.  So I would not consider going to the Caribbean or Mexico in August, when you have more comfortable weather at home.  Rather, consider Alaska or a New England cruise, or maybe Bermuda, though it can get quite warm there in late summer.  EM

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5 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

How about Caribbean Princess 10 days Quebec to New York?
 

You could give yourselves a couple of days to explore beautiful old walled city, then cruise down coast to New York - possibly a couple days in the city before flying home. Combine a couple of very different land visits with typical active cruise - touching many of your bases.

 

 

Interesting idea, and not one we had considered. It would be a well-rounded trip. Thanks for the suggestion.

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4 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

A repositioning cruise might be one you would want to consider.  Maybe at the end of the Alaska cruise season when the ships return to Florida for the Fall/Winter/Spring season.  This would give you the experience of a transit of the Panama Canal.  

We were thinking about Alaska, but hadn't considered a repositioning cruise. Definitely something to look into, thanks.

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3 minutes ago, KellyCz said:

We were thinking about Alaska, but hadn't considered a repositioning cruise. Definitely something to look into, thanks.

Keep in mind that many “Alaska” ships head the other way  - across the Pacific - at the end of the season.

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3 hours ago, Lois R said:

You know there are many ship choices out there........are you interested in a "floating city".....those vessels that hold 1,000;s and 1000,s of guests? Or something something smaller and more intimate with a higher level of service?  My suggestion is to find a TA who specializes in cruising and give them your priorities/preferences and see what they come up with..........oh Happy Anniversary🙂 and is there a certain area you interested in visiting? That would be my question to you🙂

Thanks. 🙂 Definitely will consult a TA. Just trying to get suggestions from experienced cruisers as we start our planning. I think we'd prefer a small to mid-size ship (<2,000 passengers, perhaps). No particular destination in mind.

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9 minutes ago, KellyCz said:

Thanks. 🙂 Definitely will consult a TA. Just trying to get suggestions from experienced cruisers as we start our planning. I think we'd prefer a small to mid-size ship (<2,000 passengers, perhaps). No particular destination in mind.

Small would be significantly under 1000. If you want great space ratio and crew ratio, you should consider ships <1500 passengers.

 

Travel Agent is a good idea.

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49 minutes ago, Essiesmom said:

My first question is, what ship were you on for your cruise?  How long ago was it?  Was there anything you did not like about it?  
As far as what kind of cruise, I see you live in an area that is nice in the summer.  Not so much in winter.  So I would not consider going to the Caribbean or Mexico in August, when you have more comfortable weather at home.  Rather, consider Alaska or a New England cruise, or maybe Bermuda, though it can get quite warm there in late summer.  EM

My first cruise was on Oceania Nautica in 2018 in the Mediterranean. (I traveled as the guest of an older relative.) Loved the itinerary. The ship was beautiful. Food and service were excellent. I would estimate that 90% of the guests were 20 to 30 years older than me, so while I met some lovely people, I didn't "click" with many of them. Another downside for me was a lack of onboard activities. I think I might enjoy Oceania more when I'm retired. 🙂 

You're right about the weather in summer where we live. Alaska is a destination we're considering.

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We also have annivsersaries in August. Our first cruise was a milestone anniversary, 25, and we did a Western Mediterranean. I would recommend that with the caveat that it will be very hot and crowded in some ports.

 

We did another milestone anniversay, 30, with a Baltic cruise. I consider this our best cruise. The problem in today's world however is will some of the ports such as St. Petersburg (generally an overnight and sometime a 3rd day) be open to cruise ships.

 

And I will add my agreement to talk to an experienced TA and give a more detailed desription of what you want and what you might want to avoid.

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What a nice dilemma this is, trying to decide on a special vacation that fits a special occasion. From a cruising standpoint you are fortunate to be able to solicit suggestions from seasoned cruisers on this CC forum. No doubt, there will be many excellent recommendations.

 

Norway is a very special place. It is difficult to match the spectacular vistas of its rugged, pristine landscape. The peaceful quietness when cruising its fjords is the perfect lead-in to the quaintness of its remote towns and the genuine friendliness of Norway’s inhabitants. Grandeur at its best, I say.

 

There is a 9 night Norwegian Fjords cruise on Celebrity Apex which sails on July 31, 2023 from Amsterdam, a lovely and fun city where arriving a couple of days early or staying a couple of days post-cruise is a must. When leaving the port of Amsterdam you will experience sea-locks, soon to be the largest in the world. Your Panama Canal fix, satisfied. And, should you want to go beyond your budget just a bit, a twelve night B2B Iceland / Ireland cruise follows on August 9, perhaps in the same cabin. I mention this because Iceland is also a must-see. Two great cruises and one flight across the pond.

 

Give Norway some consideration. Celebrity will fit your cruising needs and desires just fine.

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18 hours ago, KellyCz said:

We were thinking about Alaska, but hadn't considered a repositioning cruise. Definitely something to look into, thanks.

 

You could combine the final (or the first) cruise of the Alaska season with a repositioning.  Depending on the category of accommodations you select, the cost might be within your stated budget amount.  

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39 minutes ago, Spif Barwunkel said:

What a nice dilemma this is, trying to decide on a special vacation that fits a special occasion. From a cruising standpoint you are fortunate to be able to solicit suggestions from seasoned cruisers on this CC forum. No doubt, there will be many excellent recommendations.

 

Norway is a very special place. It is difficult to match the spectacular vistas of its rugged, pristine landscape. The peaceful quietness when cruising its fjords is the perfect lead-in to the quaintness of its remote towns and the genuine friendliness of Norway’s inhabitants. Grandeur at its best, I say.

 

There is a 9 night Norwegian Fjords cruise on Celebrity Apex which sails on July 31, 2023 from Amsterdam, a lovely and fun city where arriving a couple of days early or staying a couple of days post-cruise is a must. When leaving the port of Amsterdam you will experience sea-locks, soon to be the largest in the world. Your Panama Canal fix, satisfied. And, should you want to go beyond your budget just a bit, a twelve night B2B Iceland / Ireland cruise follows on August 9, perhaps in the same cabin. I mention this because Iceland is also a must-see. Two great cruises and one flight across the pond.

 

Give Norway some consideration. Celebrity will fit your cruising needs and desires just fine.

Thank you for this detailed and thoughtful response. You make a convincing case for Norway and Celebrity. Looking that one up right now!

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16 hours ago, KellyCz said:

Thank you for this detailed and thoughtful response. You make a convincing case for Norway and Celebrity. Looking that one up right now!

We were supposed to do a Norwegian Fjords cruise in 2020 which of course was cancelled. There are Norwegian fjords ports on the cruise we have booked for 2023 from London (Southampton) to Reykjavik. But I would be wary for 2022 as Norway is still in Covid hell and not really welcoming tourists. Of course we all can hope things will be much better by next summer.

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On 11/18/2021 at 12:15 PM, navybankerteacher said:

How about Caribbean Princess 10 days Quebec to New York?
 

You could give yourselves a couple of days to explore beautiful old walled city, then cruise down coast to New York - possibly a couple days in the city before flying home. Combine a couple of very different land visits with typical active cruise - touching many of your bases.

 

 

 

I was going to suggest Alaska when I first saw the original post but I like this idea.  

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I would start with potential cruises to areas you would like to see.  I would add to that the type of cruise accommodation that you want.  Anything from insides through to large suites

 

This alone may narrow down your choice.  Then add in a budget for air, pre or post cruise, etc. and see where the number is.  You could do a very nice Med cruise with that money. Or a suite to Alaska. 

 

Are your dates cast in stone.   Winter will get you to South America.  Fall will get you to Med, Canaries, Summer to Scandinavia or NA.  Winter to Asia.   Caribbean all year round.

 

We travel frequently.  You can do a great deal with $10K. if you shop carefully and do timely buys.  Perhaps even inside the final payment window depending on how flexible your schedule is.  We have purchased many late booking cruises.  We typically stay in anything from no star to six star hotels.   It is not unusual for us to have a better experience in  a three star hotel experience or family run boutique hotel  than a six star price much higher.

 

So many choices.  Narrowing the parameters may make your decision process a little easier.

Edited by iancal
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On 11/18/2021 at 6:03 PM, KellyCz said:

We were thinking about Alaska...

 

Alaska was what first came to my mind when I saw August.  Alaska cruises are amazing.  Looking at your list of wants, along with your budget, I recommend an Alaska cruise on Celebrity.  

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On 11/18/2021 at 1:57 PM, KellyCz said:

In August 2023, we'll be celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary. We are experienced U.S. and (to a lesser extent) European travelers, but not experienced cruisers (only one cruise for me, zero for my husband, although we're booked for a summer 2022 Bahamas/Mexico cruise).

Ideal trip would include several of these: walking, exploring, meeting new people, trivia or other group/team games, live music/theater, relaxing by the pool, massage, yoga, sunsets, excellent food, craft beer, cocktails, specialty coffees

Ideal trip would avoid: loud party music (unless part of a show), crowded pools, kids, high-pressure sales (onboard or off)

We're early 50s, reasonably fit.

We live in the U.S. midwest, so every cruise port will require a flight. No particular destination or cruise line in mind. All-in budget is $10K.

What are your recommendations?

I would book one of the newer edge class suites on celebrity, normally very few children, great suite restaurant, private pool area which also includes a bar for suites only and also nice suite lounge , we got off the celebrity edge in July, there is a couple of other new edge class including the apex. 

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Given some of your criteria, my thoughts went first to a Celebrity cruises Greek islands cruise. Plenty of opportunity for exploring, walks (without exhausting expectations of historical sites), and of course, sunsets. Celebrity cruises does "modern cruising" well. They are not so lively that you'll find loud drunk behavior or silly games, and not so sedate that you'll walk around in the evening wondering where everyone has gone.  I'd say it has more of a happy hum.

 

They also have some of the better food among cruise lines (with exception of some luxury lines and perhaps Oceania), and they have reasonable entertainment shows and a fair amount of live music. And their Cafe al Bacio has great specialty coffees and is a pleasant place to relax.

 

The Greek isles themselves just seem to lend themselves to an anniversary celebration. That's my nickel.

 

(Unlike a previous poster, I prefer Celebrity's Solstice class ships to their newer ones, e.g., Apex, Edge.)

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