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First time cruise

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First time cruise

Postby Lady W » 01 Aug 2017 19:15

Thinking about a cruise next April, western/eastern Mediterranean.
I live in Northern Ireland, so could fly from the UK or Dublin.
Some people say try one of the larger boats and other people have advised me to try the likes of Thomson.
As it will be a special occasion don't want to make any mistakes.
Any advice please?
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Re: First time cruise

Postby divingbrit » 01 Aug 2017 20:14

I was in the very same position, not been cruising for many years, and going with my partner, who has never cruises, but she has decided to try it. She is sixty this winter, so we are pushing out the boat!
We made a list of what we wanted in a cruise ship, then went onto youtube to see 'real' films of what the ships are like, we quite quickly decided that we could not stand a large ship (six deep the sun beds around the pool, and still no room to swing a cat)
We wanted an old fashioned cruise, where people made the effort to dress for dinner, we decided we could do without the climbing wall and 3 different discos.

There are plenty to choose from, and its a significant amount of money, research will narrow the field down greatly.
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Re: First time cruise

Postby Carwalsick » 01 Aug 2017 20:27

divingbrit wrote:I was in the very same position, not been cruising for many years, and going with my partner, who has never cruises, but she has decided to try it. She is sixty this winter, so we are pushing out the boat!
We made a list of what we wanted in a cruise ship, then went onto youtube to see 'real' films of what the ships are like, we quite quickly decided that we could not stand a large ship (six deep the sun beds around the pool, and still no room to swing a cat)
We wanted an old fashioned cruise, where people made the effort to dress for dinner, we decided we could do without the climbing wall and 3 different discos.

There are plenty to choose from, and its a significant amount of money, research will narrow the field down greatly.
I'm biased, but do have a look at Saga. Smaller ships, excellent service and standards are maintained. A fairly mature age profile. Not the cheapest but many things included in the price. Definitely not for massive on board entertainment.

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First time cruise

Postby Trace » 01 Aug 2017 22:00

Hi, I personally love the big ships, such as the Ventura and the Azura... However... The TUI Discovery was fabulous. Food, entertainment, ship... All wonderful. Small casino tho which may not bother most.
We had our 35th wedding anniversary dinner at Kora-La... Truly wonderful
Tracey :-)
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First time cruise

Postby Borneo » 01 Aug 2017 22:19

I to like Saga small ships, I prefer the quiet relaxing cruise ship, there is still plenty going on, and people I feel are more friendly as you get to see them more than a brief and then never see them again amongst the crowd .
Some friends that have had their first cruise on Saga said they liked the attention but it wasn't in your face.
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First time cruise

Postby Dave » 02 Aug 2017 00:14

Lady W wrote:Thinking about a cruise next April, western/eastern Mediterranean.
I live in Northern Ireland, so could fly from the UK or Dublin.
Some people say try one of the larger boats and other people have advised me to try the likes of Thomson.
As it will be a special occasion don't want to make any mistakes.
Any advice please?


Hi Lady W, and welcome to the forum. :wave:

We've cruised with quite a few cruise lines on ships large and small and in between, and we've had various favourite ships over the years as our preferences have changed. At the moment we really like TUI (Thomson) Discovery, which is a medium-size ship that's both smart and friendly.

My advice would be to go for (at least) a cabin with a balcony because I believe that will give you a more luxurious first experience of cruising. You've said when you want to cruise and where, so use the search facility on a website such as Iglu Cruise or Cruise Select to see what's available. You'll probably have a budget in mind so you might actually find that the choice isn't as wide as you expect.

Another consideration might be whether you'd be comfortable with cruise lines where English-speaking passengers are in the minority. Lines such as Costa and MSC operate big, modern ships and their prices are often relatively low. The two cruise lines I've mentioned will have many Mediterranean cruises to choose from and, although they're Italian lines, their staff will all speak English.
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First time cruise

Postby Lady W » 02 Aug 2017 08:12

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome and great advice.
:thumbup:
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First time cruise

Postby Lady W » 02 Aug 2017 08:16

Another thing I meant to ask - do you all book your cruises online or do you use a travel agent?
I have booked our holidays myself online for years but must admit after looking at cruises online seems all a bit confusing/difficult to do yourself.
Also is it cheaper booking well in advance or take a chance and wait until nearer the time?
Thanks for all the advice.
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First time cruise

Postby Dave » 02 Aug 2017 09:08

Lady W wrote:Another thing I meant to ask - do you all book your cruises online or do you use a travel agent?
I have booked our holidays myself online for years but must admit after looking at cruises online seems all a bit confusing/difficult to do yourself.
Also is it cheaper booking well in advance or take a chance and wait until nearer the time?
Thanks for all the advice.

Hi Lady W.

Last question first... The cheapest cruises are often those booked at the last minute (or in the last few weeks!), but of course the longer you leave it the more likely it is that the grade of cabin you want, or even the cruise itself might not be available. And a few cruise lines operate the opposite strategy by increasing prices as time goes on, making it cheaper to book early. We prefer to book early (usually a year in advance) because we don't have much flexibility with dates and we like to choose a particular cabin number after studying deck plans - so we're prepared to pay full price to get exactly what we want.

Over the years we've used every method of booking: high street agent, on board a ship, and over the phone and 100% online with agents and cruise lines. The method has sometimes depended on the particular cruise line, but we usually like to go through the booking process online (stopping at the final payment!) then phone our preferred cruise agent Cruise Select and make the booking over the phone. The advantages are that they can answer questions which involve contacting the cruise line, and I much prefer to deal with a real person. (However, booking with a real TUI / Thomson person usually involves an additional charge, while booking with other cruise agents might get you an additional discount - complicated isn't it?! ;) )
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Booked cruise: Tui Discovery 2 - Cuban Fusion, Christmas 2017
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First time cruise

Postby Lady W » 02 Aug 2017 09:47

Thanks Dave for the advice.
Looks like I'm going to be busy!
Would definitely be after a balcony cabin.
Do you go for the drinks packages too? :lol:
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