Never cruised, would love to, but scared to book ahead....

(55 Posts)
triplets Sun 18-Aug-13 00:13:23

We have spent weeks trying to get a last minute cruise as we truly need a holiday, no luck! We have 15yr old triplets so need two cabins, it seems that the three berth cabins are snapped up a year up front! We cannot get insurance to cover my dh, he has cancer though is currently in remission. We haven`t been on a proper holiday since 2007, only w/end breaks, and were really looking forward to getting away somewhere exciting............no luck. We are tempted to book 2 cabins for next year, but I get so scared the cancer will return and we will have to cancel and lose our money. What would you do?

TheFunStopsHere Sun 18-Aug-13 00:15:34

To be honest I think I would book another kind of holiday. Something else less complicated but still great. And save the cruise idea until it's just you and DH.

Tabby1963 Sun 18-Aug-13 00:30:01

Wow, triplets, it sounds like you have had a tough few years.

Before you book anything, check out travel insurance for your husband, ring around and find out what companies will actually be prepared to cover him even if he is in remission, and what this will cost. There may be specialist insurance companies who will consider your situation.

Some ships have cabins that hold five people, so you won't need two cabins. I recommend you have a look at cruisecritic.co.uk or cruise.co.uk. They both have loads of information for would be cruisers.

I do hope you can sort something out because cruises are fab for families, and the modern ships offer so much to do, or peace and quiet if you prefer that.

triplets Sun 18-Aug-13 08:32:51

Thanks Tabby. We have rang dozens of insurance companies, all claim to cover any kind of cancer. You spend 10 mins giving them all the details then they turn you down. Its not fair, its almost 6 years since he was diagnosed, the only time he is ill is when he is on chemo, and he hasn`t been on that since Aug 2010! It would be such a good holiday for us, we both get a complete break, kids have everything to entertain them etc. He said last night we should book it for next year and if he was unable to go me and the kids should still go sad

Cerisier Sun 18-Aug-13 08:42:03

I am another one who thinks a cruise doesn't sound ideal. My PIL recently did a luxury cruise and there were lots of illnesses on board and the food was poor. They have done many cruises in the last few years but are saying never again.

How about finding an all-inclusive resort with things for the DTs to do and where they are more likely to find friends their own age. My FIL reckoned the average age on their cruise was 80.

triplets Sun 18-Aug-13 09:01:47

Sorry but we know lots of families who cruise, there are literally 100`s to choose from obv you find the right one! My brother cruises regularly and he for instance only goes on adults only! Another friend has done 2 with Royal Caribbean who are really geared up for families, average age was up to 50. The other reason wold be all the diff ports of call, I know you only get a taster bit its an opportunity to experience places I won`t otherwise get to.

We recently travelled with Royal Caribbean Intl, there were people on board with all sorts of disabilities, a lot of broken bones and there was a fully equipped sick bay with a doctor, it seems to me to be a good holiday for all sorts of people. They can provide all sorts of medical equipment. If however your DH has lowered immunity due to chemo I would worry about norovirus. We insured with Explorer Travel - DH is diabetic and sometimes has been quoted outrageous premiums but theirs was reasonable. There were lots of teenagers and younger children on board and catered for very well with clubs and sports facilities, as well as the ports of call being interesting. The deposit was about £600 for 4 of us, that is all that would have been lost if cancelling before the full amount paid 6 weeks before sailing, still a lot to lose, but nothing like the full amount.

Yes to researching your cruise though, some lines/ships are much more family oriented than others.

Have you got a Kindle? I downloaded the free sample of Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports, you don't get the sections about the ports but do get the first couple of chapters with a wealth of useful info.

triplets Sun 18-Aug-13 18:09:24

Thank you for the info, very useful smile

Fluffy1234 Wed 21-Aug-13 10:53:58

I'd say go for it, there is a risk you may cancel and lose your deposit but it could work out really well and you get to pick the perfect cabins for your family and the iteanary you really want. You may only have a couple of years left with the DC wanting to go away with you. We've just got back from a fab Baltic cruise and DS2 has announced he's not sure if he wants to do any more family holidays. dS1 stopped joining us when he was 17. I'd say go for it.

triplets Wed 21-Aug-13 14:37:47

Thank you Fluffy...........we are smile

SmallFarAway Wed 21-Aug-13 14:44:20

I booked a cruise last week, leaving in 8 weeks time and had a choice of several 3 berth cabins (3 of which were adjacent).

Obviously that doesn't help with your insurance problem but getting a 3 berth cabin shouldn't be impossible at short notice.

SmallFarAway Wed 21-Aug-13 14:51:10

I should add that I initially contacted the cruise line directly who told me that they had no 3 berth canins left on that cruise. But I then made a general enquiry with a travel agent saying that I was looking for a cruise leaving between x date and y date (was flexible on departure points and ports of call) and they came back to me with plenty of availability on the cruise that had apparently no 3 berth cabins left confused

Fluffy1234 Wed 21-Aug-13 15:15:09

It's always a bit more tricky when you need 2 cabins next door or opposite each other during the school summer holidays but I think you would be fine for a couple of more months.

We booked our two interconnecting cabins on RCI (direct with them) in Feb this year for a school summer holiday cruise.

triplets Wed 21-Aug-13 17:42:29

Hi my husband is on the phone now to an ins comp..........fingers x`d! The problem is of course we can only go in school holidays, he is answering lots of questions!

AnneElliott Wed 21-Aug-13 18:04:05

I would agree a cruise USA great holiday.MIL got travel insurance last year after cancer and she had only been clear for one year. It was through age concern and you don't need to be old!

Try Thomas cook for cruises. We've always found them to have a great selection and with P&O all cabins had 4 berths, 2 of which dropped down from the ceiling. It wasn't a problem for us to be just 3 people in a cabin that technically slept 4.

triplets Wed 21-Aug-13 23:36:29

Thanks Anne...............well after a very long grilling o the phone the ins comp will cover dh for the cancer...........................but.......will not offer an annual policy, not offer worldwide. So basically they will offer cover for a one trip holiday, not longer than 14 nights and must be in Europe. She quoted £253.21p for a 14 night holiday in Europe next Aug. If we had to make a claim we would have to pay the first £75 excess...........but if the claim was cancer related then we would have to pay the first £600. That is the only offer out of 31 ins companies we have tried. She is holding the quote for 14 days, so we need to get looking!

That's great, just one more thing to check about the insurance, Spain is classified differently to the rest of Europe with some of them (we had to ask for it to be specifically included on ours).

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 00:29:35

Yes she explained that to me, so it covers Europe and Spain. Not sure why though?

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 07:56:43

Can you give me any tips for my first booking please, who do you go through, travel agent/website/ phone direct? Which decks are best to be on etc............thank you.

We went on a cruise in August 2010 ( to celebrate my 50th birthday )
I studied the brochures thoroughly ( I like planning ) then went to a local travel agent who helped us a lot .
We booked in February , to make sure we had the cabins we wanted

They gave us a good deal ( I did a phantom online booking , and they beat the price )

Cruise critic is a brilliant website , loads of tips , jokes , a roll call where you can " meet up " with others booked on the same cruise .

We did a Celebrity Cruise , leaving from Southampton sailing around France , Spain and Portugal .

It was a fantastic holiday , we had interconnecting balcony cabins , food was lovely and plentiful and no one was ill !

The DC ( 15 & 13 at the time ) had the best holiday of their lives , we hardly saw them as they had so much to do

Tabby1963 Thu 22-Aug-13 08:18:26

Wow, so pleased to hear your news about the insurance. Pop in to your travel agents, Thomas Cook usually have very good knowledge about cruising for example, and have a chat about what is available.

You can get quotes from them and look online for comparisons.

Where to stay on the decks? Some people like being low down and in the middle for stability during rough weather, but then again, some like being high up at the back or front. Some like to be by the lift or the dining room or the kids club.

P&O and Thomson ships have a British feel, Princess, RCCI and Celebrity have more of an American feel. RCCI has fab activities for families to enjoy. Celebrity (just been on Eclipse) has a wonderful Spa pool and café - I spent a lot of time there in summer. Thomson have small ships but a lovely friendly atmosphere. I feel most comfortable and relaxed on P&O ships (Aurora my fave). Princess (been on Ruby) has Movies under the Stars which is a great way to watch films or concerts (or sporting events). Going out from Southampton or another British port means no flights.

Generally, you will be spoiled rotten on your cruise. Most people who have done one, can't wait to do another!

Yes to the Cruise Critic Forum. Loads of helpful people on there.

RCI have a 14 night European cruise on 26th July from Southampton on Independence of the Seas which could be exactly what you are looking for.

We booked direct last time as we knew exactly what cruise we were after, felt it would be easier. We were given $400 of onboard credit as an incentive, which we used instead of buying drinks packages. RCI have a drink package offer on at the moment. There was a thread on CC recently asking whether to book direct or with RCI and most people said direct is easier. I have only cruised with RCI btw.

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 08:57:20

smile Thank you both..........feel quite excited smile

Cabins - ours were low down midship promenade cabins, with a view over the central atrium of the ship. Interconnecting limits your choices a bit. I didn't want balconies as I have a fear of heights, but a window would have been good to see the weather in the mornings and the views. We were quite near the lifts which was very handy.

Tabby - do you cruise with DCs? We are looking at Aurora next year and have DCs (9 and7), wondering if it will live up to RCI for them.

Room tips , ( from our experience )

We had mid ship cabins on the 8 th floor .
The middle of the ship is meant to be more steady , but we did feel quite a lot of movement in the Channel and the Bay of Biscay .
and the scary storm in the south of France

The front doors were adapted to go into both cabins ( can't quite remember how , ) and the balconies connected too .
I loooooved the balcony , but DD refused to go on it !

Nice having a big glass of wine looking at the sea ...

We kept the curtains open one night as we were sailing along the coast of Spain , and we could see the lights and big landmarks .

We were on Celebrity Eclipse too , we booked early seating dining and were allocated a table by the window which was wonderful ( saw whales and dolphins as we were eating ! )

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 09:43:35

Generally what time is early/late dining..........does it mean you are only allowed to eat in those times I the evening? Do you have to nominate each day where you want to eat confused

On RCI you can opt for either fixed time dining (which I think was 6 or 8.30) or My Time dining, when you can book daily at 15 min intervals from 5.45 to 7.15 or 8 til 9 (or thereabouts). Or just turn up in those times and maybe wait. We did My Time and booked in the mornings, our cabin was close to the dining room so easy to pop in. There is also a massive buffet restaurant you can use any time, and one or two specialty restaurants which you may need to book. You aren't committed to the main dining room, if you decide to use the buffet you don't have to cancel the main one. The main dining rooms have different dress codes on different evenings, formal, casual and smart casual, if you want to avoid formal for instance, just go to the buffet instead. They send a newsletter to your cabin every night with everything that is happening the next day, including dress codes. The theatre shows in the evening are usually on twice to fit round the two seating times.

SmallFarAway Thu 22-Aug-13 10:03:09

I was on Celebrity Eclipse last year....fabulous ship, isn't it?

Sailing P&O Ventura this time as now have a 14 month old and P&O seemed the most baby friendly.

Fluffy1234 Thu 22-Aug-13 10:33:03

Just to add a point but you are hardly in the cabin as there is so much to do on board and in the ports. We've done 5 cruises as a family with 4 different cruise lines each time with different cabin combinations and have come to the conclusion booking a balcony isn't worth it for us as it just doesn't get used enough. I wouldn't book a cabin without a window again so would probably stick to ones with a window. Interconnecting are good as during the day you can have the door open and they feel nice and spacious and you can nip next door and use the other bathroom etc. I've booked the later dining and also my time/any time dining and prefer the flexibility of any time/my time. I've not done the early dinner sitting as I think it would be too much of a rush after a long excursion. Although for a family with younger children or if you enjoy pottering around the ports as opposed to longer trips it's a good option. So pleased for you Triplets xxx

Yes, agree you don't spend much time in the cabin, but we found we were popping in and out frequently for changes of clothes, getting swimming gear after breakfast, fetching a book etc so handy being near the lifts. Two interconnecting bathrooms is handy as well, DH used the DCs one in the mornings to shave in while I used ours to do my contact lenses etc, plus having the door open made the whole thing feel more spacious.

Fluffy1234 Thu 22-Aug-13 11:25:08

Plus being near the lifts is super convenient for popping up to get a few sneaky snacks!

Someone told me to pack bigger clothes for the second week and they were right, I put on half a stone in a fortnight.

We actually liked the early dining ( I think it was 6-30 )
But then we didn't book any excursions ( as they are pricey )
We would eat together , the children wouldn't have dessert with us , but the teenagers all got together in the buffet restaurant on the top deck and had ice creams / cake up there .
After dinner , DH and I would go to the theatre and watch the show .
We don't do late nights ! So it suited us .

Celebrity Eclipse has a brilliant teenage club , from treasure hunts and midnight pool parties to a tour of the bridge and staff members giving talks about a career at sea .

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 14:05:15

Can you specifically ask to be near a lift?

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 14:23:40

P&O add £350 each for a fly/cruise is it worth trying to book that yourself?

Although we were on My Time dining we ate early most nights because we started doing a quiz evening at 8, also the DCs were keen to get into kids club as soon as the evening session started. I liked the flexibility of My Time though.

As for cabin positions near lifts, yes you can ask, on the RCI website there are detailed deck plans for the ships so you can see where you are.

Not sure about fly/cruise as we boarded directly in Southampton.

Tabby1963 Thu 22-Aug-13 19:34:47

whoknowswherethetimegoes re: your question. We've always cruised with the kids since they were babies and their favourite cruises were always on Aurora, the kids club (according to them) is the best, the clubs are all at the back on deck 8, right by the family pool area.

Now they are adults and have their own lives. We hope that one day they will cruise with us again.

Thanks Tabby - it's on our shortlist for next year. Hope your DCs do decide to go with you again one day, it seems like the perfect hoiiday for extended families. We holiday with my parents for one week a year, in a cottage, only started once we had our own DCs, it's quite different frrom holidaying by ourselves but works well.

We asked not to be near a lift , and resolved to never use a lift , always the stairs .
Our cabins were 8th floor , sun deck 12th floor , restaurant and theatre 3rd and 4th floor .
Lots of stairs . No weight gain !
I know that wouldn't suit everybody though ,

Still better to be near the lifts though as that's where the stairs are (or were on our ship). We resolved to use the stairs too, and did where it was only up or down 3 or 4 decks, but mostly we were going at least 5 and it took ages. I don't think that minor amount of added exercise would have made any difference to my weight gain TBH, it was all down to eating and drinking far more than usual!

Triplets - are you still around, was wondering if you got anything booked?

triplets Sat 07-Dec-13 23:12:23

Hello yes I`m still around! No we didn`t book but really really want to now as y/day my dh got an all clear ct scan and won`t be scanned again until next May smile So oncologist is saying "GO". Was wondering about a cruise in Easter hols but would the Med be warm enough? Don`t want to spend a fortune if I can`t sit out on the deck in the sunshine!

JanetAndRoy Sat 07-Dec-13 23:27:00

Oh I really want to go on a cruise now!!

triplets Thu 15-May-14 17:41:31

Here I am again! Feel like I can finally try to book a cruise as dh got an all clear ct again today and oncologist is very happy with him and is talking about scanning once a year smile So we have a free summer coming up, can anyone help me find a cruise for 5 that won`t break the bank, is it possible? Thank you smile

triplets Thu 15-May-14 17:51:59

Here I am again! We never did get a holiday, but are looking very hopeful now. Just had another all clear ct result today, and oncologist is now saying she will not scan for a year! So we are def going to book a proper holiday this summer and a cruise if we can get one is a possibility. Also my two boys may well be leaving home this Sept, one has applied to go to Harrogate Army College and the other to the Royal Marines Band Service, fingers x`d for them. So a lovely holiday together would be so nice as we haven`t had more than a short break since 2008. Time to start looking! smile

triplets Thu 15-May-14 17:53:19

whoops thought the first one didn`t post blush

Sushiqueen Sun 18-May-14 07:35:50

Have a look at cruisedeals.co.uk We found a good cruise through them and got money off the price quoted by the cruise line plus OBC. They were really helpful when I spoke to them (they phoned me back so didn't have to okay for the call)

triplets Sun 18-May-14 17:35:52

Thank you Sushi, will give them a call smile

uggmum Sun 18-May-14 17:44:02

Hi. Royal Caribbean are launching a new ship for 2015. It's the Anthem of the Seas. We are looking at the Italian cruise for August 2015.which is 14 days.

The ship is loaded with activities and looks amazing. It's our 20th wedding anniversary and we wanted a really special holiday.

You might find a suite the same price as separate cabins. For the 4 of us it's coming up at about £10,500. My dc are 11 & 14 but are classed as adults!

ihatethecold Sun 18-May-14 18:17:44

Oh my giddy aunt..... £10,500 for 4 people

Is that all inclusive. shock

uggmum Sun 18-May-14 19:53:08

Yes. That's all food, you have a choice of various restaurants. Includes snacks as well.

You have to add on a drinks package too. That's a certain amount per day, per person.

It's not cheap!

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