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Cruising {Vacation Talk}


One fun thing I've been up to lately is planning three vacations!

A little while ago, Nick and I started casually talking about spending NYE on the beach.  Well, I can't have 'casual' conversations about vacations - I get too excited and then they must happen (or I'm ridiculously disappointed, hah) so I started really looking into options on different places we could go.  I was leaning towards a cruise, but Nick wasn't totally sold on that idea.  He's pretty much the opposite of me when it comes to traveling: he enjoys vacations once we're on them, but the planning (and paying) aspect... not so much.  He just doesn't get that excited over it.

Soooo, I thought I would spice things up a little bit.  I thought I'd completely plan three different NYE trips, present them to him and he could pick his favorite.  It just seems like a fun way to get him involved in planning and choosing what to do, but I still get to do all of the work.  Which, I must say, I like doing!  I think half of the fun in going on a vacation is the planning/anticipation of it.

Right now, I'm still currently in the basic planning phase.  I want to wrap that up this week so that I can give him the options, we can choose one and book the heck out of it !!!!  Anyway, what I'm really here for:  I'm going to need you guys to give me allll the details on cruising.

I've only been on one cruise back when I was in high school: we went on a Disney Christmas cruise to the Bahamas with my entire family.. grandparents, uncles, cousins, everyone.  It was SO much fun and I can only imagine now how much that cost my grandparents (totally worth it).  A couple #throwbackthursday pictures just for laughs...


Those are from 2005 :) Good times.  But obviously, I had no part in the planning or booking of that trip so I'm a first-timer when it comes to cruise planning.  And I have a few very important questions like...

What part of the ship do I want to be on?  Front, middle, rear?  Does this differ between cruise lines?

Same with floors - it seems scarier to be on a lower floor, but will the higher up floors be noiser?

Is a balcony worth the extra price?  We didn't have one on our Disney cruise (had a window) and I didn't care, but it seems nice, right?

Will be bored on a ship if we have more than one 'at sea' day?

Are there a lot of extra fee's once your on board?  I know food is included, but drinks aren't... will there be other surprise costs that I can't think of?

And finally... the biggest one of all... is Carnival REALLY that bad??  I know it doesn't have the best reputation, but honestly as of right now, their cruises are fitting in best with what dates we can go/what islands we want to visit.  So, if your only option was a Carnival cruise or go on another vacation, would you not choose the cruise only because it's a Carnival one?

So many serious questions, haha!  I'd totally appreciate any feedback you guys can give me.  I'm sure I could Google all of these answers, but I like hearing from my friends more - I trust you all and so many of you are little cruise experts!

Next Thursday I'll continue my 'travel Thursdays' (just making that a thing) and let you all know what our other two vacation choices are... and then let you know which one we choose!  Just indulge my travel planner heart please ;)  Happy Friday eve!

37 comments

  1. I love cruises! So much fun! Carnival really isn't that bad. It's not as nice as some of the other lines and is definitely more of the "party" ship but the food is still good, I went to bed without being kept up by party goers and still had a blast when I was on our ship. It was a little outdated but still clean! Can't wait to hear what you choose! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  2. I haven't been on a cruise in a long while so I probably don't have the most helpful advice, but Ive been told that the balcony is just an added bonus. I don't think you really need it--its like other vacations. How much time are you actually spending in your room? Not a ton other than to sleep and get ready. I'd save the money on the room with the balcony and put it towards a fun activity on an excursion at one of your ports! Cant wait to hear what you end up doing!!

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  3. I recently took a short 3 day cruise to the Bahamas and had an inside cabin. If I did it all again, i would change the cabin-I'm not closterphobic, but in this trip-I was. The cabin was tiny. Also, I was on a small boat and although there was a lot of people, there wasn't space to spread out or go. And we were never able to get into the pool or hot tub simply because everyone wanted to do that. So, my next cruise is like it to be a bigger boat with more choices. There is a cruise line(the name escapes me now) that has a spa level with your own pool and relax/spa area just for the rooms on that level-I think it is Norwegian cruise lines-that sounds interesting. I mean, I'd like to relax on a cruise and enjoy the off ship adventures, but while on board, if like to explore and have fun as well!

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    1. And sorry for the grammar and spelling errors-my phone loves to recorrect me:(

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  4. I'm a huge cruiser! I've been on Disney, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival. Carnival wasn't bad at all. If your main objective is to lay out and drink some amazing fruity drinks Carnival is a great vacation for the value. I went on one last February with them and loved it. If shows and different dinner experiences are super important to you Carnival might be disappointing but otherwise I think you'd enjoy yourself.

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  5. Cruising is SO much fun! The balcony is totally worth it. I wouldn't cruise any other way now that have had a balcony a few times. I love sitting out there in the mornings/evenings and opening the door and hearing the ocean. It's so peaceful! I've never been on Carnival, I just hear that it's more of a party ship and its noisy. The days at sea aren't borning - they amp up the things to do on he boat so you're fully entertained. I must say, I enjoy cruising the best with a group of friends and it makes the days at sea that more fun :)

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  6. I have never been on a cruise, but Chris has and his parents have many times. His parents did Holland America to the caribbean and they loved it. Your old pictures are so cute too. :-)

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  7. October is Cruise Month and there are some great deals right now. We just came back from an Alaskan cruise with Norwegian. Contact Casey at http://www.wetooktheroadlesstraveled.com/p/road-less-traveled-vacations.html or casey@destinationstoexplore.com. She's an avid cruiser and travel agent who we worked with and will help you out! And the balcony is worth it!

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  8. I swear. You just described my husband to a T. THESE BOYS. And obvi - I'm just like you... down to the disappointment phase! I've never cruised, but I do feel like a NYE cruise would be overrun with families and kids.... which would probably stress me out - but, that's just my 2 cents. ;)

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  9. What a fun idea! Jacob and I have been toying with a babymoon but idk when we will be able to squeeze it in with a house under construction. Lol. I have never been on a cruise; however, I probably would pay for a balcony if it were me...seems so romantic sitting out there late at night!

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  10. You know how I feel about Carnival... Their newer ships are nicer (stay away from shorter itineraries with them as all their really old/small/outdated ships go on them) and stick to their 7+ night itineraries if you really feel you need to settle on them. H and I kept saying we were done with Carnival, and then we booked them again this past year and after us skipping Grand Turk (the whole reason we booked the cruise) for B.S. reasons and the most horrendous customer service ever we are finally done for good. I truly believe you get what you pay for - and you will have a MUCH better experience on lines like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, Princess, Norwegian, etc... trust me. Between my husband and I, we have been on over 20 cruises and we both believe it's worth to pay the extra $100 or $200 to stay away from Carnival and you'll notice the differences as soon as you step on board in terms of the ship, service, food, etc...

    Green Fashionista

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  11. I've never been on a cruise, I'm not sure I could convince Matt to do it... my parents are going to cruise around France very soon, if you want, I can get the info they have, have so much fun planning!

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  12. I've never been on a cruise before but definitely want to plan one next year (hopefully as a pre-wedding trip). I've heard terrible things about Carnival, but agree that they have better locations and availability. Can't wait to see what you guys choose.

    P.s I'm totally like you when it comes to talking about something and just trying to plan the heck out of it because of all the excitement!

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  13. Hi Katie! I just went on my second cruise this summer on Royal Caribbean and I did a whole blog series on it where I talk about a lot of the questions you have while planning a cruise. You should check it out! Also, my family just went on a Carnival 7 day cruise and they had a great time, and actually turned around and booked another cruise with Carnival for next year. I'm 27 and a huge fan of cruising, so I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have while planning :)

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  14. My husband and I LOVE cruising! Our first cruise was a Carnival one to the Bahamas and we had a blast! It was affordable, fun and we'd go again. Our second cruise was on Celebrity to Key West and Cozumel - we loved it, too! The main differences were Carnival seemed to have a younger crowd of people, the drinks were flowing more freely and it was perfect for a couple without any kids bc there was stuff going on at all hours. Our Celebrity Cruise was really nice, quiet, older crowd of people, our ship was fancier and the food was better. We always opted for interior rooms lower on the ship to avoid any sea sick sleeping and spent the extra money on excursions. We loved days at sea and always brought books to read and did things on the ship - casinos, bingo, watched football, and ate lots of delicious food. I don't think it's possible to have a bad time on a cruise assuming all travel plans go as planned :) Now you've got me in the mood to plan a cruise!!

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  15. Cruises are the WAY TO GO!!!!! Do it!!! I think that Carnival is NOT worth the money you save. The ships are fine, but they don't have a great vacation experience, they are pretty run of the mill and really aren't special. You don't need to go Princess prices, but I suggest doing a Norwegian or Royal Caribbean cruise. Their ships are nicer and a lil more elegant.

    In my personal opinion you don't need a balcony unless you go on an Alaskan cruise. Then, it's a must so you can see all the gorgeous scenery without having to go up on the top of the ship. You've seen pretty beaches before so I don't think you really need a balcony. Look into buying a drink package, if you plan to drink a lot, it will totally be worth it. We didn't really drink much on our cruise so it wasn't worth it, but I would also suggest looking into how many wine bottles you can bring aboard. Most liners require a $15 cork fee, but you can bring a really nice bottle of wine on for just he cork fee and boom, there you go. Sea days are some of the best days, in my opinion. You can just relax on the top deck, or get a massage or explore or play games depending on the ship. Most have daily itineraries and you can try ballroom dancing, go to art shows, shop, play fun games, wine taste, you won't be bored if you are cool trying new things.

    I am so excited for you.

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  16. im coming back later to read all the comments! i've been thinking about taking a cruise -- mostly bc some leave from charleston! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  17. I have many friends who cruise and they recommend royal Caribbean and get great deals just like carnival. We considered cruising to go to the Bahamas as the all inclusive resorts, besides sandals, parent top notch but ended up not doing it.

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  18. I love the anticipation of planning a trip! We're in the process right now too to decide if we're going to go away for New Year's or not - it falls at such a great time to getaway this year! We liked our Royal Caribbean cruises and loved having a balcony - it's nice to just be able to step out your own door and hear the water as well as watch it pass by.

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  19. What a memory maker your grandparents did for everyone.
    Ricky refuses to book a cruise for us because he said he's not going to pay thousands of dollars for me to be barfing the whole time. He's got a point. I cant even drive down the road without getting queasy

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  20. That is such a good idea, presenting him with 3 to choose from!! My husband is the same way. I'm totally going to do this next round of vacay planning. I'm excited about your cruise questions because we've never been on one but I would love to go!

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  21. It's a great idea to have 3 vacation options and then get his input on the final decision- I think (some) guys get bogged down by details, but I'm with you, I LOVE planning vacations! I did the Disney cruise when I was younger too- it was my first cruise and so much fun! Carnival is NOT that bad, and you will certainly not get bored with more than one day at sea because these cruise ships have sooooo many activities planned and so many options on things to do, ya know, if laying poolside all day isn't your thing ;) I agree with PolkadottyPlace in that Carnival does seem to have a younger crowd; I ddi a Norwegian cruise to the Bahamas as well and it was a more mixed age group. I think balcony vs. not depends on how you are on water- I was fine in an interior room, but I had a friend who would get super nauseous, so she opted for the balcony.

    Also, I think there are drinking packages? Or you can sneak in some booze like I did (shhh!), or buy it when you get to the destinations.

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  22. our husbands are exactly the same! seriously.

    okay for reals, i have all the exact same questions if we do a cruise next year, so thank you for asking them! please send me everyones answers hahaha.

    i think, personally, if and when we go on a cruise, i will skip the balcony. main reason being price but also a huge reason is i don't think i could handle it, i'm quite scared of open water and i think i'd feel safer with a window rather than a balcony. so i'd upgrade so we could at least see outside, but i wouldn't want a balcony. that's just me and my crazy fear talking though.

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  23. I've never been on a cruise and they just don't seem appealing to me, but I know I want to go on one at SOME point in my life. I do love variety thought and seeing so many islands on one trip will be awesome! Can't wait to see where y'all decide to go!

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  24. I've never been on a crude so I would love for you to post back later with some answers to the questions..!!! That would be fabulous! Jose and I both love the planning stages of a vacation! Oh and he never wants to come back, but who does anyway! Haha

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  25. We cruise at least once a year and LOVE it. I would definitely book the middle of the ship (especially if there is a chance of either one of you feeling seasick). If there is any rocking, you are way less likely to feel it! I prefer being on the 9th or 10th floor. They usually aren't noisy. Check out the deck plan of the ship you are booking to see what's above and below you-I wouldn't book above or below the theatre or casino for sure. I have been on a lot of different cruise lines and personally don't really like Carnival. That said, it's personal preference and y'all might love it. :) As far as extra fees, tipping isn't included (you will get an envelope at the end asking for your tips. it'll tell you how much you should be tipping everyone). As far as a balcony goes, I think they are only worth it if there are things to see. For example, on an Alaskan cruise I would say it's 100 percent worth it! For the Caribbean, we always do inside and just go out of our cabin if we want to see the water. I'm happy to help with any other questions! :)

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  26. How fun! What a good idea to plan 3 trips and let the hubby pick one. I might have to take this approach for our next trip. I've only ever gone on Royal Caribbean cruises and I would definitely recommend them. Great food, value for money, entertainment etc. I would say the balcony is worth the extra money so you can get the views and hang out there but if it's out of the budget, then it's not the end of the world. You can still get the views by walking around. You have to pay for water bottles and sodas which is one extra expense and they give you extra envelopes to tip the cleaners, your servers at dinner, and a few other staff members that you directly interact with.

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  27. How much fun and what a super idea to plan 3 trips and let him choose what he likes!! I can't help on the cruise, we've never been on one and I'm too scared to go anytime soon... my in-laws have gone and love them!

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  28. I want to go on a cruise so badly!!

    Her Heartland Soul
    http://herheartlandsoul.com

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  29. I went on a cruise for the first time with a friend in November. It was fun, but a lot of people on the boat were obnoxious. If I go on again it will be whatever cruise line caters to old people. LOL. They can be a lot of fun tho!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  30. Never been on a cruise but I am of the sort that would see all the negatives in a cruise. We bareboated in the Caribbean for 10 days and we loved it but man, I was ready to be off that damn boat by Day 7! I imagine it is way different on a huge cruiser though! And the ease of having everything there is definitely tempting! Can't wait for next week when you tell us more!

    Annie- All Things Big and Small

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  31. Only downsides here was that I’m not sure if they were expecting such a crowd as they did not have nearly enough servers and sometimes it would take a really long time for service guy to come. But at party venue rentals they tried to keep a smiles on their face.

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  32. A NYE trip would be so fun!!!!!!!! Cruises turn me off, even though I've never been on one... I just always flash to news stories about people not having anywhere to go to the bathroom and THE TITANIC. I know, I know. :P

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  33. I loooove cruising! We've only been on two: one with Carnival and one with Princess. Both were awesome. We picked both because we were looking for an affordable vacation option. Our first one ever was with Carnival and we LOVED it. We aren't the party types and it is definitely a younger crowd and more of a "party scene", but there's PLENTY to do besides party. There's even an adult's only area on Carnival that's super quiet and calm. That was one of our favorite spots because it was a nice reprieve from the pool scene. Princess was nice too, but it was a mostly older crowd. Which is okay with us, but we noticed that we enjoyed the on-ship activities more on Carnival. Plus we really loved that the Carnival staff were SO friendly and went out of their way to make our trip awesome. We are going on a cruise again in December for Christopher's birthday and we're going on Carnival again because we loved it so much. :) Whatever you guys decide to do, I hope you have the BEST time! :)

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  34. looks like you had a blast! I've never been on a cruise - yet.
    XO Ellen from Ask Away
    www.askawayblog.com

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  35. I love how you're planning different options and presenting them to Nick! That's what I need to start doing with Ryan, lol. I've never been on a cruise, so I'll be curious to hear what you come back with!

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  36. I'm actually going on a cruise the first week of November on Carnival Victory. I am so excited! I've been on a bunch of cruises both Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Carnival is not bad at all. They are more of the party cruise and a bit more outdated, but I always have a blast when I go on their cruises. If you're going on a cruise that you want more relaxing and less partying Royal is probably better. The food is great on both and my favorite part is that there is 24 hour pizza. I come out of the vacations with a big old gut because of all the food!! Regardless a cruise is still a cruise and which ever you decide to go on you'll have a great time!

    http://yesiandlife.blogspot.com

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