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Anticipation


JNS123
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Our first cruise is this November, and as the date started getting closer, we began thinking of maybe doing more cruises. However we are on edge with the idea since we don’t know if we will enjoy the cruise enough to want to do multiple cruises per year.

I think I will want to do more cruises, but my wife is more hesitant. When you went on your first cruise, was the experience more awesome than you imagined, that it encouraged you to book more cruises? Or did you just make cruising a once in every 2 years type thing? Thanks.

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Price for a family of 6 held us back for more frequent cruising.  1 of my kids had seen Titanic and was petrified….now lives to cruise.   I get motion sickness but have been fine for the majority of my sailings and now grab the green apples from Windjammer, ginger chews and of course my Bonine and Dramamine-just in case, as well as no cabin all the way forward… I say all this because everyone has different reasons why they may not sail a lot or sail more than others.  You’ll need to figure out what works best for you.  Perhaps your spouse might agree to an annual cruise after your first, or loves it so much she’ll want to cruise more.   Pick your ship, itinerary and time of year carefully for that first experience.  Peak times with kids will be a whole different experience  than a sailing with less kids.  Or maybe you want to avoid a cruise with a bunch of older folks-than don’t  do New England/Canada.  I think if you go in knowing a few things it makes the expectations more realistic 

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I think your first cruise experience will be a little overwhelming - even though I tried to prepare by watching videos and looking at past Cruise Compasses, it was definitely difficult to be able to know what the experience will be like the first time; there is a lot to take in!

For instance, it will take you a few days to feel completely comfortable navigating the ship. Luckily, this gets easier over time as ships share a lot of the same design elements. Every day you'll get a better feel for how things operate and you'll learn what does/doesn't work through trial and error. 

By the end of the week you'll have a pretty good idea if cruising is the type of vacation you want - for me, I felt like I was just getting the hang of things and definitely wanted to do it again now that I had my first experience under my belt!

Doing your first cruise will also give you an idea of what you did/didn't like about your ship and itinerary, so that will better inform you if you choose to book another one.

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When my son was 2, nearing 3 we decided it was time for a family vacation. We looked at all inclusive resorts, but thought we'd give cruising a try since it was all inclusive, but you also went somewhere.

TL;DR version, it was just the onboard relaxation and "do what you want when you want" that sold us.  Our son could have his time in AO, we could have our time at a show.

The crew really helped, too. As stressful and weary as that job can be, all the crew always put on their best face and went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed.  After sampling other cruise lines in the same market as RC, we found this to be unique to RC.

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We went on our first cruise blind….meaning we did no research ahead of time.  We woke up early one morning before work and started talking about where to go on our first vacation without kids in 20 years.  My wife asked if I’d ever consider a cruise, and when I said yes, we started looking at Royal Caribbean’s website.  We chose Royal because her brother and family had sailed with them and were happy.  Before we went to work we had a cruise booked for January 2019.
 
It was a 5-night on Mariner and we had such a great time that we booked another for Jan 2020 at Next Cruise…then we booked another short one after we got home for Oct 2019 because we wanted to go on a ship again. 
 

Fast Forward to yesterday, and our Crown and Anchor points for our last cruise were awarded and we are now Diamond.  To say we enjoy cruising is an understatement. 
 

I say go on your first cruise and see how you like it.  Have no preconceived notions and go with the flow….just be aware that you will not have time to experience everything the ship has to offer without running yourselves ragged. 
 

Frequent cruisers seem to be very outgoing and love to talk to fellow guests.  We’ve learned an incredible amount by talking to other guests while on the ships and have made some very good friends in the process. 

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My first cruise was much better than I expected it to be, but part of the reason was because I went on an Oasis-class ship - there's nothing like it.  My cruise was awesome because I was spoiled for choice in an amazing resort on the water.  There was always something fun to do, but I could also relax and do nothing if I decided to.  Almost everything went right, and it was the best vacation ever.

It's important to understand that every cruise is different.  The ships, the itineraries, the service, the other guests onboard, the vibe, the weather, etc.  The combination of all these factors can dramatically affect your experience.  For example, I'll take short, cheap, spur-of-the-moment Carnival cruises.  They're a fun long weekend getaway, usually high-energy, with ok service, and meh to ok food.  My Carnival cruises are good and fun, but they're nothing like taking a week long trip on an Oasis-class ship.  That's a different sport entirely.

For a first-timer, I recommend sailing on an Oasis-class ship - there's something for everyone on those ships.  Then, when you discover what you enjoy the most on that cruise, try a different class of ship that focuses more on the things you enjoyed.  Or, just sail again on another Oasis-class ship if you were very happy on the first cruise 🙂 

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Don't book any more until you know if cruising works for you. 

Too much research ahead of time can lead to unrealistic expectations that can be hard to achieve in real life.  Just go and see if it's your thing without spending endless time over analyzing and researching endlessly.    Too many you-tubers and bloggers over hype the experience and often they don't cover the mundane stuff like packed elevators or waiting in queues to board and for entertainment or dining. 

Cruising isn't for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that.   You've booked one, now see for yourself if it floats your boat (ship).

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Our first cruise was in the form of a gift from a family member. They gave us the $$ and said to do something fun. We booked a cruise because we had very busy work lives and not a lot of time to plan destinations.  It was that or an all inclusive resort and we liked the idea of seeing multiple nw places but unpacking once.  
 

We tried to do everything on that first cruise!  Carried the compass around with us, studied and planned each day the night before.  Even with all that, we loved cruising and booked our next one while onboard.  That was in 2004. We do it a lot different these days, but that’s the joy of cruising for us. Every sailing is different and we get to choose what kind of vacation it will be each time. 
 

There are some perks for booking onboard so relax, enjoy this one, and if you love it- book another, and another, and another!

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Our first cruise was on Majesty of the Seas (RIP) and we even got to see Coco Cay before it became "Perfect Day at Coco Cay" and we have been hooked ever since. Our highlights are-

  1. Disconnecting from the outside world and stress.
  2. Never bored- always something to do, and the option to just chill and relax if you want.
  3. So many entertainment options, literally something for everyone! 
  4. And we partake in the Deluxe Beverage Package and we love doing a little bar hop all over the ships and having "date nights" on the ship and eating at different places.
  5. There is nothing I can do on land/theme park that I can't do on a cruise vacation. If you want fun on land, book an excursion at any of the ports to snorkel, ride roller coasters/zipline, charter fish, etc. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.

We actually jumped from Majesty straight into Harmony of the Seas and now we're all about the Cruise life. We tried to do at least two a year until Covid. This December we are getting back into it with Odyssey and plan on at least 2-3 bookings in 2023. 

*Also in March this year we did a 5-day beach vacay at St Augustine and spent way more money and energy doing that than we would have if we done a cruise instead. And we had a lot of issues/hurdles during that trip that I never would have dealt with on a cruise. That trip solidified that for our family, it's cruise or bust. 🙂 

 

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Just to set some expectations (not trying to scare anyone), here are some examples of typical mundane and/or annoying things that you may experience on just about any cruise:

- Billing errors onboard 

- Long lines at embarkation, customer service, shows, etc.

- Unable to find deck chairs around the pool; chair hogs

- One of, or a combination of, loud/annoying/unpleasant/drunk/rude passengers

- Passengers smoking outside of designated smoking areas

- Below average service from some crewmember(s)

- Changes/cancellations to shows/itineraries

- Maintenance/repairs on the ship, requiring an area/attraction to be closed

- Maintenance/repairs needed in your cabin, or a neighbor's cabin (noise)

- Various unpleasant odors on occasion

- Kids running in the hallways outside staterooms

I expect at least one of the above to happen on every cruise, but no big deal.  The crew can handle some of the above.  Don't sweat the small stuff on vacation, and enjoy!

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As others have stated temper your expectations and don't book another until you do 1st one. I had a pretty horrible time on my first royal cruise but it was my companion. Fast forward to me cruising solo and I love it. I am currently on a S2S and plan to book another which will be my first cruise as D+. I like to read, gamble and people watch so most meet my criteria.  If I needed pool deck seats or water activity I might be less inclined. Find out what you love.

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7 hours ago, JNS123 said:

Our first cruise is this November, and as the date started getting closer, we began thinking of maybe doing more cruises. However we are on edge with the idea since we don’t know if we will enjoy the cruise enough to want to do multiple cruises per year.

I think I will want to do more cruises, but my wife is more hesitant. When you went on your first cruise, was the experience more awesome than you imagined, that it encouraged you to book more cruises? Or did you just make cruising a once in every 2 years type thing? Thanks.

Our first family cruise experience was a horrible first day but lots of pleasant moments after that.  Now retired and son grown, we just finished our 17th cruise in 18 years.  I am still learning how to enjoy cruising.  I still get confused by weird things, like not being able to get Value Added Tax paperwork properly filled out.  But heck, as stated, don't sweat the small stuff.  I am also still learning how to enjoy port visits -- I am just too impatient for all of those walking tours in which the guide tries to download a zillion bits of data while I am still marveling at the local vistas.  Many guides don't know that "less is more" because we can ask questions when we want more info.  Your experiences could be very different, but for us, the value proposition of cruising and the overall quality of Royal Caribbean makes it a good option for us.  Wish the embarkation ports were closer, though.....

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7 hours ago, JNS123 said:

However we are on edge with the idea since we don’t know if we will enjoy the cruise enough to want to do multiple cruises per year.

I suggest you stop by the NextCruise desk when you board and make an appointment there for closer to the end of the cruise. If you end up enjoying your experience, you can book your next one onboard and it usually comes with some onboard credit and a reduced deposit. If you can't commit to a date you can buy an open certificate that gives you the same benefits of reduced deposit and OBC but buys you some time to book once you get back home.  If you decide cruising isn't for you or you don't think you're ready for giving it another try again soon, you can just cancel your appointment with NextCruise.

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10 hours ago, twangster said:

Don't book any more until you know if cruising works for you. 

Too much research ahead of time can lead to unrealistic expectations that can be hard to achieve in real life.  Just go and see if it's your thing without spending endless time over analyzing and researching endlessly.    Too many you-tubers and bloggers over hype the experience and often they don't cover the mundane stuff like packed elevators or waiting in queues to board and for entertainment or dining. 

Cruising isn't for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that.   You've booked one, now see for yourself if it floats your boat (ship).

 

10 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

I do think you need two cruises to know if you really like cruising. After the first one you now replace googled expectations with experience. Then for the next one you can do this/don't do that from lessons learned on the first one.

Both @twangster and @smokeybandit offer sound advice.  You need to do the first cruise to see if you like/love it, are still somewhat ambivalent, or Hate it.  Either of the first 2 really require a 2nd cruise to know for sure.

No mater what the outcome, i hope you find some type of vacation that you enjoy.  One of our major ones is cruising, though its not for everyone.

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We walked away from our first cruise in 2008 saying we'd never cruise again!  Kid was 2 and does anyone recall--was Adventure Ocean not a thing back then?!  We were on Freedom of the Seas and I recall having a conference room set up with some toys for parents to take their kids and stay with them to play--no drop off that I remember or that we utilized; the trip was exhausting!!!!!  I hated not having a Diet Coke with meals b/c we refused to pay for additional drinks out of principle (Stupid, I know, we only made ourselves suffer!!).  

Flash forward to 2019 and kids were older at that point and we went on Symphony and had just the best time and went on Mariner during Summer 2022 and had an equally pleasant time.  Now, cruising is the only vacation our kids will agree to do and we have Wonder scheduled for Summer 2023.  Unfortunately, kids won't go to Teen Club, that's my only complaint.  Oh, and with age comes wisdom, and we now purchase the Deluxe Beverage package!!!    

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We love to cruise but with a few caveats now.  Mrs Fan and I both grew up in south Florida (Jupiter area) and less than 10 minutes to the beach and as kids and teens, we spent hours and hours at.  So Caribbean cruises are fun, but it feels like we have done beach things all of our lives. Also, living in Florida (we're retired now and moved to TN) allows you to do some really inexpensive cruises. But now, I could not care less about another cruise to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cancun, etc.  Might feel different about eastern Caribbean (in the winter).

We just did the Voyager OTS and have mixed feelings. The ship was packed, venues were overflowing and, at least for me it appeared that staffing was not up to par.

Still trying to figure out if RCL is right for us as we are both in our mid-sixties. Those with families, it's a no brainer. 

We have an Alaska trip with our grown kids on the Quantum in June. Then a HAL trip out of Amsterdam to Norway Fjords. So, I guess we are looking at different spectrums of cruising with each line. One thing is certain, we will continue to cruise.

 

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On 11/7/2022 at 8:59 AM, JNS123 said:

Our first cruise is this November, and as the date started getting closer, we began thinking of maybe doing more cruises. However we are on edge with the idea since we don’t know if we will enjoy the cruise enough to want to do multiple cruises per year.

I think I will want to do more cruises, but my wife is more hesitant. When you went on your first cruise, was the experience more awesome than you imagined, that it encouraged you to book more cruises? Or did you just make cruising a once in every 2 years type thing? Thanks.

Cruises are ADDICTING!!!  Once you step on that ship and look around...Eat all the fantastic food...Enjoy all the entertainment...You'll be back.

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On 11/7/2022 at 10:43 AM, twangster said:

 

Too much research ahead of time can lead to unrealistic expectations that can be hard to achieve in real life.  Just go and see if it's your thing without spending endless time over analyzing and researching endlessly.    Too many you-tubers and bloggers over hype the experience and often they don't cover the mundane stuff like packed elevators or waiting in queues to board and for entertainment or dining. 

I think you might be talking in the wrong place for people who aren't ultra planners. 

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8 hours ago, Psycho and Barb said:

Cruises are ADDICTING!!!  Once you step on that ship and look around...Eat all the fantastic food...Enjoy all the entertainment...You'll be back.

There is no way to know that. I know a lot of people that have been on one cruise in their life. And I have asked and their overwhelming reply is "it was OK."

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1 hour ago, BMW Hoosier said:

There is no way to know that. I know a lot of people that have been on one cruise in their life. And I have asked and their overwhelming reply is "it was OK."

And we have asked lots of first time cruisers and their response was yes and can’t wait to cruise again.  We have never talked to anyone who said no…No more cruises for us.  

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23 hours ago, Psycho and Barb said:

And we have asked lots of first time cruisers and their response was yes and can’t wait to cruise again.  We have never talked to anyone who said no…No more cruises for us.  

Oh, I have talked to several people that have said they will never go again. Botton line is you can't say "you'll be back" based upon your likes. 

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