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SC2020

Advice for future cruise

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Hello! I am looking at taking a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2021. It'll be my third cruise (Disney and Norwegian previously) but first on RC. I am torn between a 4 night Bahamas on Mariner of the Seas, 4 night Bahamas (2 stops at Coco Cay) on Mariner of the Seas and 6 night Eastern Caribbean/Perfect Day on Allure of the Seas. I'm new to Royal Caribbean so I have a few questions. 

1. How do Coco Cay compare to Castaway Cay on Disney? 

2. Is it worth giving up a sea day for an extra day there? 

3. Would I feel overwhelmed by the Allure if this is my first RC cruise? 

4. What are your favorite/least favorite things about those ships and itineraries? 

In the early planning stages, but would appreciate some feedback from those with experience! 

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Welcome to the blog, SC202 !!!!

I cannot answer #1 as I have never been to Castaway Cay...or even been on a Disney cruise, for that matter. 

2.  I love sea days but I think a 2-day visit to CC might be perfect.  1 day to do the water park stuff and another day to just lounge on the beach.  We've only been to Perfect Day once but I was very impressed.  I think it is a game-changer for private island destinations.  Even though I am NOT a water park person, I loved going there.  We are trying Coco Beach in 2 weeks and cannot wait to go back !!

3.  I do not think that you would be overwhelmed by going on an Oasis class ship the first time.  I think you would be starting at the top and it might be tough going DOWN from there, but it is such an incredible ship !  I say, "go for it".

4.  There is no negative to Allure, IMO.  It's a longer cruise, so that speaks for itself.  It has more to do than you would ever be able to do and see in 6 days.  I have never sailed on Mariner so I cannot really comment on it but I have certainly sailed on that class ship many times.  I know that the amplification on Mariner has provided many enhancements.  I am an Oasis class gal, so I would vote for Allure.

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19 minutes ago, SC2020 said:

How do Coco Cay compare to Castaway Cay on Disney? 

Coco Cay is far and away superior, IMO, especially with the Perfect Day at CocoCay makeover. There's a giant freshwater pool, impressive beaches and an awesome water park

20 minutes ago, SC2020 said:

Is it worth giving up a sea day for an extra day there? 

Oh yes

20 minutes ago, SC2020 said:

Would I feel overwhelmed by the Allure if this is my first RC cruise? 

Not at all. I think Allure is great for a first time cruise with RC.

 

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Been on both (and we have the 2 stop Mariner cruise booked in August - and cannot comment on CoCo Cay as haven't seen the changes yet).  You can't go wrong with either, but ship for ship, I prefer Allure.  The shows in themselves are worth it....plus more food options, the different neighborhoods are unique and just wow overall.  I don't think I'd find Allure overwhelming, but I like the big ships.  Having said that....DH favorite ship is Mariner as he prefers the medium size ships so it's a matter of preference.

As for giving up a sea day, there is nothing that says that you can't stay on-board.  There are a few less organized activities running compared to a sea day, but you can still enjoy the facilities.

PS - Last year we were debating on a 4 night on Brilliance and 6 night on Adventure....similar pricing.  We ended up booking Adventure just for the extra 2 days so that as well is a bonus.

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If you want to be wowed go with Allure. There’s nothing else like an Oasis class ship out there right now. 

I’ve done Oasis 3 times and doing Symphony in May. I love this class of ship. 

Hubby and I did a quick 3 night Mariner in October and it was fine for a quick getaway but honestly it doesn’t compare. Entertainment is far superior on the big ships. Food was better too. 
 

But as @WAAAYTOOO said, when you start at the top, it’s hard to go down! Lol 

Eastern Caribbean also is better itinerary than Mariner Bahamas 

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If you are taking the cruise just for CocoCay, I would go with the 2-day stop. 

But if you are taking the cruise to take a cruise and it just happens to include a CocoCay stop, then certainly take the Allure option.  The ship is the main destination plus you are looking at a longer cruise.  

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One aspect that I feel has to be addressed is - where are you coming from and how long will it take you to get to port?  

I ask that because if I'm driving 6 hours from Charleston, I would definitely want the longer itinerary.  Of course, I've only

done 7-day cruises so that is my only point of reference.  I think 7 days is perfect (although I'd be happy with a month!); 

long enough to get your bearings on the ship and get a feel to the flow, as it were.  

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Floski said:

One aspect that I feel has to be addressed is - where are you coming from and how long will it take you to get to port?  

I ask that because if I'm driving 6 hours from Charleston, I would definitely want the longer itinerary.  Of course, I've only

done 7-day cruises so that is my only point of reference.  I think 7 days is perfect (although I'd be happy with a month!); 

long enough to get your bearings on the ship and get a feel to the flow, as it were.  

 

 

We're from South Carolina too! So it would probably be about the same time as from Charleston. I considered looking at a cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, but that's a very long drive and a flight is out of the budget. 

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:35_thinking: I might be the opposite. I think I would want to work my way up. A bigger ship has so much do, not even including the ports. That I would want to start at the bottom ..like Drake. My first RC ship was the Mariner, I just booked her again for a Jan 2021 sailing. I also have Liberty and Navigator of the seas bookings this year. I want to get a feel for the city ships before I start living it up on floating continents.

Like other have said it comes down to time, money and interest. Do you think 6 days will do you justice on an Oasis class ship? Also I am on the belief if I have to take more than a two hour flight to get there, I need at least a week to get my moneys worth.

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12 minutes ago, Ampurp85 said:

:35_thinking: I might be the opposite. I think I would want to work my way up. A bigger ship has so much do, not even including the ports. That I would want to start at the bottom ..like Drake. My first RC ship was the Mariner, I just booked her again for a Jan 2021 sailing. I also have Liberty and Navigator of the seas bookings this year. I want to get a feel for the city ships before I start living it up on floating continents.

Like other have said it comes down to time, money and interest. Do you think 6 days will do you justice on an Oasis class ship? Also I am on the belief if I have to take more than a two hour flight to get there, I need at least a week to get my moneys worth.

Mariner is much cheaper but the Allure + going to Labadee, Falmouth and CoCo Cay over just Nassau and CoCo Cay is tempting. I went to Nassau on the Disney Wonder a few years back and not in any hurry to go back. And I will be driving about 6 or so hours to Port Canaveral. 

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@SC2020 Well since you are driving instead of flying maybe you could factor that time into the cost of the ship. I always assign time a money value as it is the only truly finite thing. I can make more money, buy more garbage but I cannot add time. If the Allure cost a bit more but maximizes what you want to do with your time on vacation. I say go for it.

I chose the 4 day Mariner because each year we get an extra workweek off where we just work the Sat of an entire week. That means I can leave a Friday after work and come home the Friday before work without using any vacation time. Happy I Like It GIF by swerk

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15 minutes ago, SC2020 said:

Mariner is much cheaper but the Allure + going to Labadee, Falmouth and CoCo Cay over just Nassau and CoCo Cay is tempting. I went to Nassau on the Disney Wonder a few years back and not in any hurry to go back. And I will be driving about 6 or so hours to Port Canaveral. 

Oh shoot Labadee AND CocoCay?  In that case do that one...you get both of Royal's private destinations in one trip!  

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6 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

Oh shoot Labadee AND CocoCay?  In that case do that one...you get both of Royal's private destinations in one trip!  

This alone would be my decision  maker.  I wish I could find of of these that fit into my schedule.

Whatever you choose, you'll have a great time!

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4 hours ago, WannaCruise said:

As for giving up a sea day, there is nothing that says that you can't stay on-board.  There are a few less organized activities running compared to a sea day, but you can still enjoy the facilities.

100% this.  Every day is a sea day if you want it to be.  😎

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I actually enjoy the drive.  95 is ugly and treacherous, but an easy peasy drive from SC.  We'll stop on the way down on Saturday, and on the way back hit up this cool spot in Jax that we loved last time.  We talk a bit, and she'll doze (because she's been up til 5 getting everything done), and the 6 hours go by pretty quickly.  

And since we're driving, I can bring home more Caribbean spirits!!!   

Coco Cay and Labadee would be wonderful on one cruise.  I still would so much rather go for a longer duration.

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Aw heck coming from SC, I’d drive down the day before and spend a fun night in St Augustine! Then you’re roughly an hour and 45 minutes to port canaveral the next morning and you’re feeling rested. You can board as early as 10:30/11:00. 
 

Definitely go with Allure. Much better itinerary. 

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Mariner saves a lot of money but the more research I'm doing, the more the Allure itinerary is becoming too enticing to pass up. Plus when looking at the other options for Allure, they don't do this itinerary that often. I could always do the Mariner's 4 night Bahamas any other time. 

But I have to admit I am sometimes kind of cheap lol any tips on saving money/budgeting for a trip like that? I am thinking about going with an interior room since the ship is half the reason for going 

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8 minutes ago, SC2020 said:

Mariner saves a lot of money but the more research I'm doing, the more the Allure itinerary is becoming too enticing to pass up. Plus when looking at the other options for Allure, they don't do this itinerary that often. I could always do the Mariner's 4 night Bahamas any other time. 

But I have to admit I am sometimes kind of cheap lol any tips on saving money/budgeting for a trip like that? I am thinking about going with an interior room since the ship is half the reason for going 

But you are also getting 2 more days with Allure.

We've stayed in interior rooms. We like the promenade, which us interior category and price, but you get a window (to the promenade). It's a nice alternative. And many stay in a straight interior too 

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@SC2020~ Sailing DCL numerous times, about 14+ times at Castaway Cay, I can say hands down CoCo Cay is better. I like the various options provided on this Island, so many you have to go back again to experience it all. I have the a Double Dip to Coco Cay booked as well as the sailing on Allure in 2021 that stops at Coco Cay & Labadee.

With such a long drive why not do a B2B on the Mariner, I think it would be 4 nights/3 nights. I've said it here before we are platinum at DCL but have relocated our vacation dollars to RCCL. I had no idea how wonderful this line could be.

Take a peek at the blogs, @twangster has a nice one amazing pics on the Allure & @Jaymac Radio, just familiarized us with his sailing on the Mariner. We have been on the Harmony and while it was massive and crowded (Thanksgiving week) it was easy to navigate and the throngs of people were dispersed in a way I did not feel over whelmed. The elevators at peek times were where I saw the numbers, but seriously it was the same over at DCL.

Embarkation was jaw dropping fast no worries there. Our first Mariner sailing is this summer and while it is a bit smaller then the Harmony (for you the Allure) I watched so many videos, spoke with so many wonderful cruisers here that I know it will also be fantastic,  just a bit different. Look at 1854 & 1804 on Mariner, we jumped on that & simply can't wait. So my vote is if you are not doing the 6 night on the big ship at least do a B2B, 7 days including lots of private island time= home run! You will be hooked.

Also a shout out to MEI travel. Sharla was just wonderful answering all my newbie concerns, [email protected], always takes great care of us if you are in need. She as well as this blog Community are the warmest people ever. :150_raising_hand:

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38 minutes ago, SC2020 said:

Mariner saves a lot of money but the more research I'm doing, the more the Allure itinerary is becoming too enticing to pass up. Plus when looking at the other options for Allure, they don't do this itinerary that often. I could always do the Mariner's 4 night Bahamas any other time. 

But I have to admit I am sometimes kind of cheap lol any tips on saving money/budgeting for a trip like that? I am thinking about going with an interior room since the ship is half the reason for going 

If you are trying to budget I would say obviously book with a TA because the OBC you get, could cover something like a drink, dining, or internet package. Then write down the cost of everything you might do. My rule is 1.55, so I basically times my planned budget by that number so I have enough for when anything arises....and I am also not mad at any statements when I get home. If you can pay for as many things in advance as possible like aforementioned packages, excursions and gratuities. I plan for everything including any Lyft rides, snacks and hotel stays. By doing this early on I avoid coming off a vacation stressed about money.

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On 1/28/2020 at 12:55 PM, Jill said:

But as @WAAAYTOOO said, when you start at the top, it’s hard to go down! Lol 

Eastern Caribbean also is better itinerary than Mariner Bahamas 

That's our problem too! We started off with Oasis due to severe motion sickness (was fine with meds), now it's Harmony, and deciding on Allure or Symphony. I personally cannot book anything other than Oasis class now!

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