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Best ship for first timers?


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I joked with my wife last night, that I hoped we loved our first cruise, because the thought of losing 7 months of my life planning for something that we wound up hating would just be too much to acce

The first one you find that meets the following criteria. 1) Is in your budget 2) Is in the time range that you can travel 3) Has a voyage that lasts for as many nights as you want to travel.

There's definitely nothing wrong with the small ships and Royal has done a great job revitalizing them. As long as you realize that they don't offering everything that is advertised on the bigger ship

That's a loaded question.....

 

There are many factors...

 

Are there any kids?  Ages?

 

Are you looking for activities or are just looking to relax?

 

There are those that like the bigger ships with all the bells & whistles and others who love the smaller ships because they have more of a "warm & fuzzy" feeling when it comes to getting to know everyone on board.

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Personally, I am very new to cruising, and am extremely happy with our selection of Enchantment of the Seas on a 4 night Bahamas itinerary a few years ago. The overall cost was low, the ship is wonderful, and I went in knowing that I was on a steep learning curve as to how to approach it. Many will say longer itineraries on much larger ships are better. For us, this did not apply. Approaching it the way we did gave us a thirst for more, and our focus now is not to break the bank booking as much as we can.  I guess, if you are asking on behalf of a first timer, find out what the expectation is... Ours was sitting by the pool and enjoying a couple ports...but I knew I would enjoy cruising, so I positioned it so my wife would get hooked too...and, she did...even though she still wants to book a land vacation every now and then.

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Other factors:

  • Are you a "the ship is the destination" kind of person, or do the ports it goes to matter more?
  • Are you OK with itineraries that never go over 5-7 nights, or do you want the option of longer trips in the 10-14+ night range?

The bigger ships cater more to the "A" side of those questions, while the mid-size and smaller ones are geared toward folks who lean more to the "or B" side.

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That's a loaded question.....

 

There are many factors...

 

Are there any kids?  Ages?

 

Are you looking for activities or are just looking to relax?

 

There are those that like the bigger ships with all the bells & whistles and others who love the smaller ships because they have more of a "warm & fuzzy" feeling when it comes to getting to know everyone on board.

Ok, you're right. So how about just telling us what you feel is the best ship based on what ever criteria you want. What's the best for first timers with kids? Best for first timers as an older couple wanting a quieter cruise? First timers who want an all cruise party? Tell us based on what ever experience you've had. Let's just open up the question and see what happens.

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As a first time cruiser this Oct, I know that I didn't choose a ship. I chose a destination and time of year and the ship came along with that choice. I think there are probably a lot of other first timers that fall into that category.

Maybe a secondary question should be, why did you choose a specific ship or category on your cruises that followed?

Have you chosen specific ships when cruising with your family and another one if it was just a couples cruise, and why?

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Ok, you're right. So how about just telling us what you feel is the best ship based on what ever criteria you want. What's the best for first timers with kids? Best for first timers as an older couple wanting a quieter cruise? First timers who want an all cruise party? Tell us based on what ever experience you've had. Let's just open up the question and see what happens.

 

Ok, I've been on 3 cruises ..... July '07 -- Sovereign of the Seas (sister ship to Majesty) with my kids (4-nighter to Bahamas).... loved it, my daughter, who was 7 at the time had an amazing time at Adventure Ocean .... we had to drag her out of there each night)

 

April '09 -- Navigator OTS (western Caribbean)-- my mother, sisters and myself --- no kids, although we were on during Spring Break ... crazy thing though, it didn't seem overrun by the kids on board.  Lot's to do, casino was very good to me.  Would like to get my wife of today on Navigator .... the only real issue is the added expense of getting from Maryland to Miami.

 

Sept. '16 -- Grandeur OTS -- 5-nighter to Bermuda (my wife's first cruise) out of Baltimore...... By far my favorite, not very many kids, not overwhelming at all ..... Was able to decompress like never before....to the point we have the exact same cruise booked this coming September, AND a 7-nighter BACK to Bermuda on Grandeur next October.  At our age, relaxation is much more important than activities..... We loved how we really got to know the crew and our fellow passengers.....Vision Class is by far my favorite.

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Ok, you're right. So how about just telling us what you feel is the best ship based on what ever criteria you want.

 

Enchantment of the Seas -- this is a small ship that feels like a big ship in many respects. The pool deck is HUGE for a ship that size, and the Oasis bar is my favorite among all bars I have tried on a cruise ship because who can beat looking out to sea when ordering your lava flow? I enjoy the center of it all aspect of the Centrum on that class ship.

 

What's the best for first timers with kids? 

 

Just thoughts....

First Choice: Liberty of the Seas -- who doesn't love a waterslide? The cost is low

Second Choice: Harmony of the Seas -- who doesn't love a waterslide? And, everything else...

 

Best for first timers as an older couple wanting a quieter cruise?

 

Radiance Class in January or September is my best guess

 

First timers who want an all cruise party? 

 

Majesty of the Seas during Spring Break

 

 

Why did you choose a specific ship or category on your cruises that followed?

 

I was dying to get on a ship again, and I saw Freedom of the Seas docked at Port Canaveral as we disembarked from our first cruise. That sold me on the next ship I wanted to sail. The next was the Navigator Group Cruise when my geekdom metastasized. I will now get on a ship any time, any place...as long as it is RC until I hit Diamond, then I will try Celebrity and maybe Princess one day. NCL would be a distant third...but I want the free drinks in the diamond lounge.

 

 

Have you chosen specific ships when cruising with your family and another one if it was just a couples cruise, and why?

 

Yes...

 

Family: Freedom fit all the criteria I was looking for because it is a huge ship, and my oldest daughter was paralyzed by fear of sea sickness. The larger the ship, the easier it was to quell her nerves. It didn't work, because she psyched herself (she used bonine and a wrist band) out and now doesn't want to cruise, but her brother and sister are converts. I think it was because she was in an upper berth...I will continue to work on our oldest. She will come around eventually.

 

Couples: There isn't a ship in the RC fleet I will not try

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I haven't done any cruises yet but have two booked.

 

Freedom of the Seas in March, 2018 to the eastern Caribbean. Reason here was ( a ) it's a family cruise with our two older teens, ( b ) it's a celebration cruise (20th wedding anniversary, high school graduation), ( c ) we were time-locked to our kids' spring break week, since summer needs to be left free for our daughter to work and save up money before going to college, and ( d ) we all wanted a cruise that went to at least four ports while still fitting in that 10-day window we have off. While we were flexible about the destination, in the end the only two ships that were an option for us were Freedom and Navigator. At the time, we were unaware that Navigator was no longer primarily operating out of Galveston and had lost its heavy country-western theming, or we would have chosen that for being the better itinerary.

 

Anthem of the Seas in October, 2018 to Bermuda. Here, it was a lot simpler -- I wanted a short "off season" (after school started) getaway cruise with my wife out of Cape Liberty, which is only a 45-minute drive from my house and would save me the airfare / let me get a balcony cabin without breaking the bank. Only ships operating out of that port in my time window were Anthem and (at the time) Vision. Bermuda was a good option for this since neither of us has been, my wife specifically mentioned wanting to go there when we were first looking at options for the prior cruise, and the 5-night trip gave us two days there instead of a hurried one day. I figured it would also let us try out a Quantum class ship to see how we liked it compared to Freedom class; Anthem has what looks like a good 12-night southern Caribbean itinerary that would be nice to take maybe in 2019 or 2020 (if we don't do an Alaska cruise first), but I'd rather do a quick cruise on her first and see if the "floating city" that she is appeals to us.

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Anthem of the Seas in October, 2018 to Bermuda. Here, it was a lot simpler -- I wanted a short "off season" (after school started) getaway cruise with my wife out of Cape Liberty, which is only a 45-minute drive from my house and would save me the airfare / let me get a balcony cabin without breaking the bank.

That's a great reason, saving on airfare for a cabin upgrade. Now if only RC would home port in Chicago, I could save on airfare, and cruise more often! :D

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I'm speaking as a family of 6 with various ages of kids from 17 to 6.

 

Our first cruise 3 years ago we did Spring Break on Brilliance.  Basically, I booked late (past final payment), it was cheap, we could drive and I thought that a nice 5 day out of Tampa would be good.  My TA suggested Oasis but it was quite a bit more and I didn't want to pay that much.  It was nice starter cruise but small.  I really like that class if my DH and I would ever cruise by ourselves.  I really liked eating outside on that ship.

 

Second spring break cruise on Liberty.  It had just come out of dry dock a few months before and I really liked the idea of slides and splash away bay...not to mention we could do a long drive there and save on air fare.  Loved that ship so much we booked Liberty again the following spring break with the different ports and in Jr suites (loved the size). 

 

Now after 3 spring break cruises, I had booked our 2018 on Oasis but while on Liberty my kids complained about no water slides so I went to Next Cruise and booked Harmony.  Both Harmony and Oasis are significantly more expensive that Liberty (even in Jr Suites) but I felt we'd be bored on Liberty for a 3rd time. My DH is wondering if Harmony will be too big and the Freedom class is the right size for us.  We'll see as I have Symphony booked for 2019 and if we don't like Harmony I'll change it.  

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We did Radiance of the Seas a few years ago in New Zealand and Australia.  30 days total.  We enjoyed it because it was small enough that by day 5 or so we recognized many staff and guests and they recognized us.  Because the ship was not huge, I was able to roam the ship without feeling lost.  (Totally directionally challenged amongst other challenges)

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12 hours ago, fmanke said:

That's a great reason, saving on airfare for a cabin upgrade. Now if only RC would home port in Chicago, I could save on airfare, and cruise more often! :D

Totally!!!  We need to work on that.  The airfare to florida at spring break time is what is killing me!  Jane

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I have been on 3 cruises (Vision, Freedom and Adventure) and loved them all for different reasons.  Kidwise, my teens (13-18) had a good time on all of them, but it was a plus to go during spring break for my youngest (more kids on board).  I absolutely loved vision because it was smaller and I could just relax without feeling I was wasting the rest of the ship (and it has the best schooner bar in my opinion).  But I was surprised how much I loved the promenade on Freedom and Adventure!  In regards to ship vs itinerary, I end up cruising mostly on checking dates and then what is out there.  My kids liked more ports with active shore excursions, while I'm ok with just walking around a bit.  Seems like most of the Caribbean ports have the same offerings of activities anyway. Anyway, I would go on any of royals ships and my guess is I will find things I love on each and things I wish each had (that another does).  In the end if I have my drink, my sun chair, and no place to drive to...I'm good!

12 hours ago, Spiegeje said:

 

I was dying to get on a ship again, and I saw Freedom of the Seas docked at Port Canaveral as we disembarked from our first cruise. That sold me on the next ship I wanted to sail. The next was the Navigator Group Cruise when my geekdom metastasized. I will now get on a ship any time, any place...as long as it is RC until I hit Diamond, then I will try Celebrity and maybe Princess one day. NCL would be a distant third...but I want the free drinks in the diamond lounge.

 

OMG--I am so wanting the free diamond drinks...hard to remember how much I have to spend on the cruises to get there!  Argh....I'm only at 21 nights lol!  Jane

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I have cruised with Royal Caribbean six times.

First time was on the Adventure - fly cruise from Malaga

Second time was on Grandeur - fly cruise from Venice

All other cruises have been from Southampton (so easy from where I live), and have been on the Independence 3 times and Explorer once.

Have loved all the ships but Indy is a bit of a favourite - it is big enough to keep me entertained and at the moment is introducing me to new places. 

I would like to try a Caribbean cruise and feel a move to Oasis class would be best to try out the wider range of activities on the ship

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6 hours ago, mom2mybugs said:

The airfare to florida at spring break time is what is killing me!  Jane

How is the airfare to Newark, NJ? Matt mentioned in his review of his Anthem cruise how it ended up being cheaper for he and his family to fly to Newark and take Anthem on a 9-night Bahamas cruise than it was to take Harmony for a 7-night Caribbean cruise out of Florida, even though he lives in Florida and wouldn't have had to pay airfare.

Maybe Newark could become your new "home port". We do offer Canada and New England cruises along with those Bermuda and Bahamas/Caribbean trips. ;)

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14 minutes ago, bcarney said:

I'd recommend anything from Voyager class on up, excluding Oasis class.  Oasis class is like a land resort, only at sea.  It's not the real "sea" experience you get from other class ships.

What's wrong with the classes below Voyager? I guess maybe wrong is not he correct term. Why wouldn't you recommend ships below voyager class?

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13 minutes ago, fmanke said:

What's wrong with the classes below Voyager? I guess maybe wrong is not he correct term. Why wouldn't you recommend ships below voyager class?

There's nothing wrong with them and I've actually have only does ships Voyager size or above twice. However, for the uninformed first time cruisers, these ships will have more of the bells and whistles seen in the ads on TV. 

Personally, I'm an itinerary person, so the itinerary is now my first consideration and the ship is second. 

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2 hours ago, DocLC said:

There's nothing wrong with them and I've actually have only does ships Voyager size or above twice. However, for the uninformed first time cruisers, these ships will have more of the bells and whistles seen in the ads on TV. 

Personally, I'm an itinerary person, so the itinerary is now my first consideration and the ship is second. 

That makes sense. The only reason we are cruising on Serenade this fall is because that's the ship that was going, where we wanted, when we wanted. Although I think it will be perfect for us as first timers as we don't need a lot of bells and whistles. Just looking forward to relaxing and spending time together.

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26 minutes ago, fmanke said:

That makes sense. The only reason we are cruising on Serenade this fall is because that's the ship that was going, where we wanted, when we wanted. Although I think it will be perfect for us as first timers as we don't need a lot of bells and whistles. Just looking forward to relaxing and spending time together.

So I was a little worried when we booked a 12 night on the Serenade with the Family.  It actually turned out the perfect size ship.  When you don't have all the bells and whistles, it allows you to spend more time with the family.  You get to do some of the traditional things people did on cruises, shuffle board, cards, talking having conversations, and playing pool on the really neat self leveling pool tables.

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6 minutes ago, RBRSKI said:

So I was a little worried when we booked a 12 night on the Serenade with the Family.  It actually turned out the perfect size ship.  When you don't have all the bells and whistles, it allows you to spend more time with the family.  You get to do some of the traditional things people did on cruises, shuffle board, cards, talking having conversations, and playing pool on the really neat self leveling pool tables.

Being that this will be our first cruise, I guess the good thing is that we won't know what we are missing. :5_smiley:

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