Deciding on the next cruise... Need advice

So If you read my other posts, I just got off the Allure last week and have been feverishly looking for another one. (Yes I have the cruise addict bug!) I have one more week of vacation before the new year, so I think, why not book another cruise?! I'm looking at generally September through December given work demands. Oh and of course, Caribbean!

I'm stalking cruises and waiting for some drops (because of course it needs to be affordable). I'm lost on a few options. 1) Length of time. The 5 days are a bit more inexpensive than a 7 day... to the point where I could even do a balcony if need be. But I know a 7 day I can enjoy and relax more than the fast paced, rowdier crowd of a 5 day. 2) Cruise lines. I'm exploring branching out of my comfort zone and loyalty to Royal right now, although my bf is a bit skeptical. I'm on the cusp of moving from gold to platinum with Royal, and the way I am, I just want to get it and breath... but some Carnival cruises are going down, and its hard to ignore. 

 

I know the choice is always mine, but I'm always open to feedback of veteran cruisers. What are your thoughts about length of time and trying a new line? I have thought of every combo.. 7 day royal, 5 day royal with a balcony, 5 day Carnival (just to see if I like it... or do I wait for a different time to branch out). Same ports I've visited, different itineraries... How does everyone keep their thoughts straight with the excitement of planning?!?

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5 Answers

Well my preference is a minimum 7 and enjoyed 14 but if you only have limited vacation time then I would say go for the 7. One thing to consider is embarkation point. I am not ultra close to one but I can still drive to Boston, New York or Cape Liberty and avoid the added cost of a flight but even that involves parking and a hotel before embarkation so point of embarkation to me is important. 

As for destination my preference is eastern and or southern Caribbean. The islands are all so beautiful.

Our recent cruises have been extended ones or a string of B2Bs (semi-retirement has its perks).  Be that as it may, we remember having to schedule our trips around work so here it goes...
- As a rule our minimum cruise length is 10 days. If your schedule allows, go for a cruise that is longer than 7 days because anything shorter than 7 just seems too short on the day of disembarkation.

- Voyages departing on Saturday may give you a couple extra days to enjoy without chewing up limited vacations days.  Also, if you can pick a week that includes a holiday where you get a free day off anyway, you can extend without using up a vacation day.

- Look at ports closer to where you live so you can save a few $$ in flight costs.  That may not be possible if you don't live close to a coast with a cruise port, but worth consideration.
- Don't bank on better discounts due to last minute discounts. RC stopped the practice a year or so ago and their bottom line improved significantly which means other cruise lines will (or already have) followed suit. Some lines still offer last minute deals but you have to be ready to cruise at a moments notice. 

- If you wait too long to book, you have to be satisfied with whatever cabin is left over. There is usually a reason why certain cabins are not booked (e.g., poor placement relative to food and activities being elsewhere, lots of noise).

- You might consider the strategy of picking your travel time first and then looking at voyages only during that time period. This helps narrow options down considerably and may not be as overwhelming to track. We set up a spreadsheet of our favored voyages and compared pricing over a period of time to see if anything budged... then we pounced on it.

No matter what you decide on, you are going on a cruise so you will have a GREAT time! Happy sails!

You know my stance in this. Lol i dont know you or your boyfriend but him and i have,a point. Stay with RCCL. But on the other  hand this other criuse is a sqeeze in so to speak. You could venture away from RCCL just as a test. a test forgeting about points  etc. Just do it for the fun of it? 

I always prefer 7 day cruises. The 5 day never seen to be long enough, and it makes everything seemed not as rushed. As for the cruise lines, have you looked at any itinerary for either cruise line that may sou,d of interest? If you have a favorite stop, you could always plan around that island as well.

Either way, you'll be relaxing and enjoying yourself!

We did do a 5 (that was his first) and he agrees, it was too short. I have looked into the itineraries, and right now, I'm exploring some options of new spots we have not been. I think only 1 itinerary has 2 ports we both have been before. This is a mix of fun of it and vacation...

 

If it was up to my mom, I would go home to Buffalo for the week to visit family! HA! I love them, but... I love cruising too lol

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