Cruise ship mixed feelings. Your thoughts for a good experience?

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    Dec 17, 2012 2:49 PM GMT
    Yesterday (Sun) we were on the Independence of the Seas at Port Everglades, sized around 155,000 tons. We also drove past the Allure of the Seas, at 225,000 tons, one of the largest on Earth. We didn't leave the dock, the occasion was a reception & luncheon to benefit the Pride Center, but which also allowed me to personally visit some of the rooms I'm considering for our February Cozumel cruise aboard a sister ship. I gotta confirm the tickets before Christmas as a present for my husband.

    Well, very impressive being aboard one of the largest passenger ships in the world. But I also see drawbacks. It's like being inside a theme park on the ocean, but where's the ocean? Most of the time you seem separated from any sense of being at sea. I'll be getting a stateroom with an outside balcony to see the ocean, I think called an extended suite or owners something, gotta check online again, but on the rest of the ship I might as well be in a shopping mall. Or a big hotel.

    But he seems to like the idea, so I'll surprise him with the reservations on Christmas. What are your impressions of these things, and experiences? I've never done a megacruise ship before. What suggestions do you have for a good experience?
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:01 PM GMT
    Once a rogue wave hits, you'll know you're out at sea whether you can see it or not. icon_lol.gif
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:12 PM GMT
    When I went on a cruise the most fun I had was off the ship. The pool is salt water, everything is overcrowded, you feel like you are at a summer camp almost. Drinks are sky high and it gets quite hot on the deck.

    Biggest plus is the unlimited food. Lots and lots of food

    Cruises can be fun but when I am out on the ocean I want to be in the water and not surrounded by a bunch of people. I loved the ports of call because you get to do the white sandy beaches and crystal clear water.

    So I'd suggest just flying down to a Central American country but that's just my two sense.
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:13 PM GMT
    Is this where the term "you cruise you lose" came from?
  • fmrhugger

    Posts: 199

    Dec 17, 2012 3:15 PM GMT
    I've been on the Independence B4, and I'll be sailing on her in 3 weeks. Its a great way to relax. A bigger boat may have more passengers but there are also more quiet places. icon_biggrin.gif
  • fmrhugger

    Posts: 199

    Dec 17, 2012 3:18 PM GMT
    The Independence pools are fresh water, and more passengers also means more cruising opportunities, pun intended.
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:26 PM GMT
    ART_DECO said....It's like being inside a theme park on the ocean, but where's the ocean? ..... I might as well be in a shopping mall. Or a big hotel.

    I've often thought of a cruise as something akin to a floating retirement home with alcohol and commodity style keep-em-busy entertainment. "Bingo on the Lido Deck at noon! Yay, bingo!"

    cruising-stevedores-demotivational-poste
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:38 PM GMT
    ArtDeco...I've been on the Allure of the Seas and I had a blast! I'd do it again but we decided to go with the Celebrity Reflection in the near future. There are a couple of new experiences the Reflection offers that I'm interested in.

    Regarding the Allure; it is VERY big. I was quite impressed from the moment I set foot in the promenade and it took us 1.5 days to tour the entire ship. I do agree with you to some extent that it is a floating theme park. But here's the difference...in a theme park, you are almost obligated to see the attractions. On the Allure, that's not the case. We had balcony staterooms overlooking the ocean and I spent some of my private time on the balcony, reading a book while glancing at the ocean every once and a while. And in all honesty, when you said "Most of the time you seem separated from any sense of being at sea", I think this holds true ONLY if you allow it and this applies to all Royal Caribbean fleets whether it's the Allure, Independence, Monarch or Jewel.

    Here are my suggestions in order to make the best out of your Allure experience:

    1. Pick and choose the activities you want to do from the daily Cruise Compass. It's overwhelming to look at 'cuz there's ALOT to do. My partner loves to cook so I signed us up for a cupcake decorating class which he enjoyed.
    2. Relax at the Solarium. This is an adult only pool area which I found to be relaxing....and you get to see the ocean. icon_smile.gif
    3. Take advantage of some of the specialty restaurants (with a fee of course). My favorite: 150 Central Park. It's a tasting menu and fabulous! The cucumber martini was to die for.
    4. Meet some people on board and before you board. There is a forum called cruisecritic.com. Here, I met several gay couples including some wonderful straight couples whom we are now friends with. Also, cruise critic has a forum that has tons of opinions about the Allure, both positive and negative.

    I hope this helps you out! Either way, you and your partner will have a good time regardless of what cruise line you choose!
  • Kwokpot

    Posts: 329

    Dec 17, 2012 3:38 PM GMT
    With close to 40 cruises under my belt (5 this yr alone) I can tell you that for my partner and I , the SHIP is the MAIN part of the cruising experience.

    I have been on both the Freedom Class (Of which Independence is part of) and Oasis class of RCL ships (Allure is part of) and I would have to say that the Oasis really is an incredible ship and should be experienced at least once. You stand on the deck and it's CRAZY how WIDE the ship is and with regard to it's length you CANNOT see from one end of the ship to the other.

    I do feel that the cruising experience on a megaship is truly a floating resort hotel and in fact on our last cruise, on the NCL Epic (Nice interiors HORRIBLE layout) which we finished the beginning of this month, we NEVER stepped off the ship the whole 7 days in the Caribbean.

    Our current favorite cruise line is Celebrity, and their Solstice Class ships are probably the most beautiful ships for a mass market cruiseline. The ships have an elegant, modern feel to them, and many a night I will just walk up and down the ship decks admiring the Interior design and architecture of it all.

    Many old timer cruisers poo-poo the recent cruiseship trends, and of course there are cruiselines that are more in line with what those cruisers are looking to experience.
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:40 PM GMT
    One other thing...about crowds! The Allure has about 6,000 people, both passengers and crew. With the exception of embarkation and the Dreamworks parade, I did not think it was crowded at all. There were times we were roaming the ship in the middle of the day and wondered where the rest of the passengers were.
  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Dec 17, 2012 3:42 PM GMT
    I've never been on a cruise ship of any kind, but I know there are variations in the type and size of cruise ships available. Personally I like the idea of a windjammer cruise or one of the smaller more bare bones ships that can actually visit smaller ports and get off of the beaten path (I believe the Aussies tend to run these). Of course if the point is to go on a gay mega-cruise (which is, I imagine, the equivalent of taking the Castro and putting it on a boat) then you're pretty much stuck with a mega-ship and giant crowds.
  • Kwokpot

    Posts: 329

    Dec 17, 2012 3:48 PM GMT
    Erik101 saidArtDeco...I've been on the Allure of the Seas and I had a blast! I'd do it again but we decided to go with the Celebrity Reflection in the near future. There are a couple of new experiences the Reflection offers that I'm interested in.

    Regarding the Allure; it is VERY big. I was quite impressed from the moment I set foot in the promenade and it took us 1.5 days to tour the entire ship. I do agree with you to some extent that it is a floating theme park. But here's the difference...in a theme park, you are almost obligated to see the attractions. On the Allure, that's not the case. We had balcony staterooms overlooking the ocean and I spent some of my private time on the balcony, reading a book while glancing at the ocean every once and a while. And in all honesty, when you said "Most of the time you seem separated from any sense of being at sea", I think this holds true ONLY if you allow it and this applies to all Royal Caribbean fleets whether it's the Allure, Independence, Monarch or Jewel.

    Here are my suggestions in order to make the best out of your Allure experience:

    1. Pick and choose the activities you want to do from the daily Cruise Compass. It's overwhelming to look at 'cuz there's lots to do. My partner loves to cook so I signed us up for a cupcake decorating class which he enjoyed.
    2. Relax at the Solarium. This is an adult only pool area which I found to be relaxing....and you get to see the ocean. icon_smile.gif
    3. Take advantage of some of the specialty restaurants (with a fee of course). My favorite: 150 Central Park. It's a tasting menu and fabulous! The cucumber martini was to die for.
    4. Meet some people on board and before you board. There is a forum called cruisecritic.com. Here, I met several gay couples including some wonderful straight couples whom we are now friends with. Also, cruise critic has a forum that has tons of opinions about the Allure, both positive and negative.

    I hope this helps you out! Either way, you and your partner will have a good time regardless of what cruise line you choose!

    Erik's suggestions are right on point. The cruisecritic forum is an INVALUABLE resource with it's own LGBT section and role call. (And you think RJ is a brutal online forum - Pfft!)

    I love the Central Park Space (The Park Cafe has GREAT Roast Beef sandwiches!) and my only critique of the ship is the lack of complementary steam & sauna facilities in the Spa (There is a fee based Persian Garden type space but it's TERRIBLE and more like a hallway with a steamroom than a relaxing sanctuary - plus it's COED)
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:59 PM GMT
    Any cruise company that you decide to go with will be great. The only exception is Holland America. If you are looking for the crowd that is dying and already half way to the grave then that is the perfect cruise line (I used to work for them as well other cruise companies). Royal Caribbean is one of the better budget friendly cruise lines as the staff on the ship is encouraged to interact with the guests, and they have better itineraries.
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    Dec 17, 2012 4:16 PM GMT
    I cruised Norway last year. It was AWESOME.

    My impression with cruising is that unless you are on a long transatlantic cruise, you really do not spend that much extended time on board the ship. Your days are spent onshore; either exploring the port of call, or taking part in one of the many shore excursions that are available. Your evenings are spent on the ship as it makes it way to the next port of call.

    My cruise did have a gay meet-up most nights. I strongly suggest attending one of these events to meet other gays (unless you're going on a gay cruise).
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    Dec 17, 2012 4:24 PM GMT
    Kwokpot said
    Erik101 said

    Erik's suggestions are right on point. The cruisecritic forum is an INVALUABLE resource with it's own LGBT section and role call. (And you think RJ is a brutal online forum - Pfft!)

    I love the Central Park Space (The Park Cafe has GREAT Roast Beef sandwiches!) and my only critique of the ship is the lack of complementary steam & sauna facilities in the Spa (There is a fee based Persian Garden type space but it's TERRIBLE and more like a hallway with a steamroom than a relaxing sanctuary - plus it's COED)


    Hey Kwokpot! When you mentioned the brutality comparison of RJ to cruisecritic, I laughed my ass off because it's so true! These bitches on the cruise forums are vicious due to their loyalty to a certain line. Oh and don't ever question the dress code policy during formal nights. The responses are enough to cause a nervous breakdown.

    I agree with you about the steam/sauna facilities on the Oasis class. And I couldn't justify the cost to use them. Still, the gym is very nice and spacious.

    Since your fav line is Celebrity, have you been on the Reflection? If so, what are your thoughts? This will be our first Celebrity cruise and we're looking forward to it.
  • jay86

    Posts: 4

    Dec 17, 2012 4:47 PM GMT
    Well I work for Carnival Cruide Line and we rock!!! That's all I have to say!
  • Kwokpot

    Posts: 329

    Dec 17, 2012 4:48 PM GMT
    Erik101 said
    Kwokpot said
    Erik101 said

    Erik's suggestions are right on point. The cruisecritic forum is an INVALUABLE resource with it's own LGBT section and role call. (And you think RJ is a brutal online forum - Pfft!)

    I love the Central Park Space (The Park Cafe has GREAT Roast Beef sandwiches!) and my only critique of the ship is the lack of complementary steam & sauna facilities in the Spa (There is a fee based Persian Garden type space but it's TERRIBLE and more like a hallway with a steamroom than a relaxing sanctuary - plus it's COED)


    Hey Kwokpot! When you mentioned the brutality comparison of RJ to cruisecritic, I laughed my ass off because it's so true! These bitches on the cruise forums are vicious due to their loyalty to a certain line. Oh and don't ever question the dress code policy during formal nights. The responses are enough to cause a nervous breakdown.

    I agree with you about the steam/sauna facilities on the Oasis class. And I couldn't justify the cost to use them. Still, the gym is very nice and spacious.

    Since your fav line is Celebrity, have you been on the Reflection? If so, what are your thoughts? This will be our first Celebrity cruise and we're looking forward to it.

    The Reflection was docked In Miami for it's first round of Caribbean cruises when we got off the Epic this month. We have been on 2 separate Solstice class ships, and from what I've read on CruiseCritic about the initial cruises on the Reflection, there are mixed feelings about the changes to this class of ship. But I wouldn't worry about it and I am excited about the expanded Persian Garden facilities (BTW there is a comp sauna in the mens locker room) and the gym facilities are nice on those ships.

    I think the food is a bit better on Celebrity than RCL and I really like the buffet setup on the Solstice class ships. The Martini Bar and the adjacent Crush Bar is generally where all the homos hang out.

    One thing they have done on the Reflection is remove the dedicated Disco and turned it into a multi-function meeting and events space. While the Quasar Disco was a cool looking space, on both Solstice class cruises I took it was ALWAYS underutilized,so I suspect that is why it was done away with. Without a dedicated Disco like on RCL ships, club-like dancing at night is less prevalent on Celebrity than RCL, so that is something that I prefer on RCL than Celebrity.
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    Dec 17, 2012 6:18 PM GMT
    Well, I hope you enjoy it. My parents certainly did.

    I just can't understand the attraction though. For about the same price, 4 - 6 people could charter a small yacht, with or without crew, and go where they want, when they want. Fish, dive, snorkel, sail, surf. Have sex on deck, if you want to. No shuffleboard court however, unless there is one at the next port.
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    Dec 17, 2012 6:29 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidWell, I hope you enjoy it. My parents certainly did.

    I just can't understand the attraction though. For about the same price, 4 - 6 people could charter a small yacht, with or without crew, and go where they want, when they want. Fish, dive, snorkel, sail, surf. Have sex on deck, if you want to. No shuffleboard court however, unless there is one at the next port.


    Not quite the same. Factor in the cost to have a crew staff the boat and service you and your friends and charter yachts become astronomical.

    I like cruise ships because I like to eat and I enjoy having nothing to worry about for days upon end. From the moment you step aboard nearly everything is planned ahead. Line operators like Carnival are starting to offer all inclusive cruises with even unlimited alcohol.
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    Dec 17, 2012 7:12 PM GMT
    ATC84 said
    mindgarden saidWell, I hope you enjoy it. My parents certainly did.

    I just can't understand the attraction though. For about the same price, 4 - 6 people could charter a small yacht, with or without crew, and go where they want, when they want. Fish, dive, snorkel, sail, surf. Have sex on deck, if you want to. No shuffleboard court however, unless there is one at the next port.


    Not quite the same. Factor in the cost to have a crew staff the boat and service you and your friends and charter yachts become astronomical.

    I like cruise ships because I like to eat and I enjoy having nothing to worry about for days upon end. From the moment you step aboard nearly everything is planned ahead. Line operators like Carnival are starting to offer all inclusive cruises with even unlimited alcohol.


    Agreed! Also on a cruise, my laziness is exploited! No cooking, no making the bed, no dishes to wash and no others chores to do. The only thing I worry about is making sure I have a good time!
  • Kwokpot

    Posts: 329

    Dec 17, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidWell, I hope you enjoy it. My parents certainly did.

    I just can't understand the attraction though. For about the same price, 4 - 6 people could charter a small yacht, with or without crew, and go where they want, when they want. Fish, dive, snorkel, sail, surf. Have sex on deck, if you want to. No shuffleboard court however, unless there is one at the next port.

    Hmm, not sure wheere you getting your figures from, but I just finished a 14 night transatlantic cruise that went from Barcelona to Miami, stopping in very interesting places such as Provence, Mallorca, and Tenerefe and the total cost was $1200 total for TWO people.

    Currently with the economy still in the dumps, Caribbean cruises are DIRT CHEAP. You can book a cruise right now (Jan 12- on the Caribbean Princess cruiseship) that would cost a total of $967 for TWO people, so less than $500 for the week pp.
  • GraphicGuy

    Posts: 115

    Dec 17, 2012 7:46 PM GMT
    Going with 3 buddies on Ruby Princess in Feb. First Cruise for all of us and looking forward to it. Picked the Ship based on line, size and itinerary (eastern caribbean). There is a LGBT gathering each of the first 4 nights I believe.
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    Dec 17, 2012 9:23 PM GMT
    Kwokpot said
    mindgarden saidWell, I hope you enjoy it. My parents certainly did.

    I just can't understand the attraction though. For about the same price, 4 - 6 people could charter a small yacht, with or without crew, and go where they want, when they want. Fish, dive, snorkel, sail, surf. Have sex on deck, if you want to. No shuffleboard court however, unless there is one at the next port.

    Hmm, not sure wheere you getting your figures from, but I just finished a 14 night transatlantic cruise that went from Barcelona to Miami, stopping in very interesting places such as Provence, Mallorca, and Tenerefe and the total cost was $1200 total for TWO people.

    Currently with the economy still in the dumps, Caribbean cruises are DIRT CHEAP. You can book a cruise right now (Jan 12- on the Caribbean Princess cruiseship) that would cost a total of $967 for TWO people, so less than $500 for the week pp.


    Kwokpot, you have extensive cruising experience and insider tips to get it done on a budget. I will turn to your expertise if I need to take vacation on a ship!
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    Dec 17, 2012 9:44 PM GMT
    mindgarden said.

    I just can't understand the attraction though. For about the same price, 4 - 6 people could charter a small yacht, with or without crew, and go where they want, when they want. Have sex on deck, if you want to.


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    Dec 17, 2012 10:04 PM GMT
    First, many thanks for all the great replies! Just the info I wanted to know! Thanks, guys! Nice to have a serious thread without the snarky comments some disrupters insert to draw attention to themselves, and derail a topic.

    Second, I may have failed to make myself clear. Our February cruise is on the Freedom of the Seas, a sister to the 155,000-ton Independence of the Seas we toured Sunday.

    I only mentioned the larger 225,000-ton Allure as something we happened to see in port that day, being astonished by its massive size. It's over 4 times larger than the Titanic, remembering the awe of its passengers in the movie of the same name. I wondered what those real people 100 years ago would think of the Allure today.

    We're on the Freedom because a package tour is being arranged by our Pride Center with a discount, and some of our gay & lesbian friends will be sailing. It's not a "gay" cruise, we'll just be a tiny percentage of the passengers, but I like the idea we'll know at least some of our shipmates, perhaps 50 or so. And if I know my husband, and not being too immodest myself, we'll make the acquaintance of many more people of all "persuasions" during our short cruise.

    It's only 4 days, our only port call Cozumel. But I wanted my first megacruise-ship experience to be brief, in case I don't like it. And if I do like it, and my partner does, we can do more in the future.

    Although I still have an interest in a small Windjammer-type sailing ship. Despite someone telling me today you have to work the rigging yourself and do other ship duties. I asked him if I refuse will I be flogged? icon_wink.gif