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Booked my first non-Royal Caribbean Cruise


MrB
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We live quite near Port Canaveral (Orlando) and have gone on four Royal Caribbean cruises so far. Not the most experienced cruisers in the world, for sure. 

Royal  Caribbean has been a fantastic introduction to cruising. We loved leaving the house, driving less than 45 minutes total door to door, parking the car in the port garage overlooking the boat, and getting on the boat in about an hour from leaving. Shockingly good experiences all the way around. We are smaller boat fans (Majesty and Enchantment) because we look for simpler, calmer trips. Basically an hotel room that moves around on beautiful water. I can't tell you how well RC does this.

Here comes the "but...". Everything out of Port Canaveral ends up in Coco Cay and Nassau. We are getting to be not fans. As we are local to Florida, and not coming from a colder climate, we don't neccessarily need to bake in the sub-tropical sun, as we can literally do that in our backyard. We actually have to wear lots of protection against the sun on a daily basis1.This is not a knock at all on Coco Cay. It is great and fulfills its purpose very well. Nassau is, well, Nassau.

I know that RCG really needs to pay off Coca Cay and that it works unbelievably well at an Orlando adjacent port. Absolutely understand why they can't chase our particular needs. Just very sorry to see RCG go for now. It was an amazing introduction to cruising. Thank you.

We looked at a Carnival itinerary out of Canaveral, going to the Amber Cove (DR) and Grand Caicos. But then we saw a detailed ship tour video of the selected ship, the Carnival Elation. Oh my gosh, it was a horror show. Bad Vegas meets Scary Clown. So glad I caught that before booking. There is a big difference in style - not in good way for Carnival - between RCI and Carnival. Very coarse decorations, not sleek, and bars everywhere.

Ended up on  a Princess Cruise on a yet-to-be-delivered boat  (Discovery Princess) that is an out-and-back from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Caicos with a full cruising day on each side. Looking at Princess boat tours online, it's crazy to think that there is any connection whatsoever to Carnival. So now we have to drive almost 3 hours  (oh, the horror ! I know, I know) to get anything that makes sense for us now.

We always check for new itineraries out of Port Canaveral, but everything is private Island and Nassau on shorter trips, which is where we are until full retirement.

 

1 - Addage I heard from my doctor about living in Florida when looking for lesions on my nose: "If there's water, it's got alligators. If there's a bump on your nose, it's skin cancer". Right on both accounts at our house.

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I would suggest that you also consider itineraries that leave out of Tampa in the future.  I know that you can find sailings that leave from Tampa that will go Western Caribbean, which can give you a bit of a different taste.  The shorter itineraries visit Cozumel and the week-long ones will go to Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya.  There are even a couple of Panama Canal sailings and Southern Caribbean ones to choose from.  The Tampa sailings will also be on your preferred smaller ships as the big ones can't fit under the bridge.  Tampa is a quick drive from the Orlando area.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/18/2020 at 9:01 PM, AshleyDillo said:

I would suggest that you also consider itineraries that leave out of Tampa in the future.  I know that you can find sailings that leave from Tampa that will go Western Caribbean, which can give you a bit of a different taste.  The shorter itineraries visit Cozumel and the week-long ones will go to Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya.  There are even a couple of Panama Canal sailings and Southern Caribbean ones to choose from.  The Tampa sailings will also be on your preferred smaller ships as the big ones can't fit under the bridge.  Tampa is a quick drive from the Orlando area.

We enjoyed sailing from Tampa on Rhapsody earlier this year, loved it, can't wait to get back on the smaller RC ships again soon

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