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Cruise Novice - want to go August. Help and advice please.

(5 Posts)
ShreddedFeet Mon 02-Jul-18 16:14:51

After a horrendous year we have decided we need a family holiday this year. Not been away for 2 years so have saved around £5k so that's our budget.
We want to try a cruise. Not fussed where really. Only looked so far at Marella European cruises (TUI group). Want to look at other "proper" cruise companies too but getting a bit confused with extras/costs. What's included/Not included?
Are excursions extra? Etc etc.
There will be 4 of us including 2 of our teens 19 and 17. Our other 2 DC are off backpacking Europe all summer.
Am a complete cruise novice. We know it's late to book but wondering if any cruise experts could share their wisdom and help point us in the right direction and advise what's worth paying extra for and what's not etc.

OP’s posts: |
Stickerrocks Tue 03-Jul-18 18:15:37

Your best bet is to go to a travel agent (Poppy Outram at Bolsover Cruise Club has a great reputation) who will be able to tell you what's available. Your 17 year old is technically still a child and each ship is only allowed a certain number of children in each age group on board at any time. A lot of cruises may already be fully booked.

You can usually get 2 different types of fare - Select where you choose your cabin, dining time and a few other perks (e.g.. free parking or on board spending money) or Saver fares where your cabin grade is guaranteed, but everything else is pot luck. All cruise lines include your food in the price, but some include drinks packages and free WiFi. Each ship will have lots of speciality restaurants at an extra change as well. Ask about the cost of tips when you book so you Don't get a nasty surprise at the end of your holiday.

NCL and RCI both have a lot of family activities on board. Google their ships for an idea of the pools, trampolines, zip wires etc they have. P&O is also good for families but the pools, theatres etc are less exciting. Celebrity and Princess are also worth a look. Don't bother with Cunard (too expensive) or Fred Olsen (too old).

You will get list of excursions and their prices when you book. Lots of people book independently or just get of the ship and potter around to save money.

BlueKittens Tue 03-Jul-18 19:27:42

Norwegian Epic from Barcelona should be doable at that budget for August if you book through Vacations to Go. Call them up toll free. They are excellent. You will need to organise your own (Ryanair?) flights to come in budget. Taxi from airport is approximately €40 and takes about 20 minutes

Tips will be extra unless you pay upfront. Drinks also extra unless you get an unlimited package.

I’ve done this trip and it’s fab. Do all DIY trips using trains /taxis - if you do a bit of research before it’s easy. You take in Rome (take a train there in under 50 mins), Livorno (near Pisa or Florence) , Naples (docks in town), Cannes (docks at sea and you get dropped in town), Parma (take a short bus ride to town or beach), Barcelona (a short taxi ride to Las Ramblas). 1 sea day. Don’t book excursions- waste of money usually. Unless you have mobility issues or struggle with basics like buying train tickets, you don’t need to book excursions. With good plannng and leaving early, you will make it back to ship. If all fails, you can take a taxi.

Best price will be getting a four berth cabin (balcony should be doable) but you might find some sailings are sold out already.

Avoid Marella cruises unless you like the Brits aboard scene

And don’t go into a high street travel agent!

ShreddedFeet Wed 04-Jul-18 23:26:06

Some brilliant info there.
Thanks very
much.

OP’s posts: |
Nat6999 Thu 05-Jul-18 00:06:51

I've cruised P & O, we went on a 10 night cruise to Madeira, Tenerife, Lanzarote, La Palma, & Vigo. We booked 3 excursions, but if I want again I don't think I would bother with them again, they were very expensive & what we saw, except for the volcano fields in Lanzarote wasn't memorable, I would have preferred to have shopped & explored the ports, maybe spent some time on the beach. I loved being at sea & time on the ship, we got up each morning, had breakfast in the restaurant, mid morning if we weren't on excursions we went to the self service for coffee, fruit & snacks, lunchtime we ate most days in the restaurant, they did the most amazing curries, if we were on the ship we sunbathed & swam on deck or went to the entertainment in one of the lounges, had a snack late afternoon, then had a sleep until it was time for Dinner & then either went to the theatre, cinema or casino, there was a disco on every night & six bars to choose from. Most things on the cruise were paid by cruise card & you settled your bill at the end of the cruise, I spent about £450 in 10 nights, that included all drinks, photographs, jewellery & watches I bought on promotions, there was a shopping mall where you could buy perfume, cosmetics, clothes, gifts, toiletries, books & magazines. If I could afford it again I would definitely go on another cruise, I always felt safe on ship, i went to the cinema & casino on my own & nobody bothered me, it is a true luxury holiday seeing different places but it doesn't feel like you are travelling, no airport queues, delayed flights.

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