What makes a best first cruise?

I am in the process a planning the 3rd. annual Rennie cruise for 2018 (January/February time frame).  We have decide to make it a good intro to cruising for some newbies.  Our initial thoughts are to include a history port (San Juan), a shopping port (St. Thomas) and a beach port (Grand Cayman).  What would you recommend and why? I could use some ideas, please!

13 Answers

Sea days. If you are bring newbies into this culture, then plan some quiet time to relax between ports. Also. and this is important.... Meet with everyone before the cruise to discuss dining times, meeting times, excursions ...everything. that way there are no bad surprises.

We went to Bermuda as a family, We all met before the cruise and went down a list it worked out perfect. In fact we are planning on getting everyone to go the Cruiseline.com cruise in January 2018.--as a group. with this group.....Wink

I would make up a ballot NOW with options and give to the group to write their answers and opinions and wish list on. Maybe something like:

How many days do you want to cruise, how many sea days and how many port days? The Caribbean has ports that have shopping, history and beach activites. Which activities do you prefer most? What island / port is on your wish list of places to visit? To the newbies, what is your secret fear about cruising and how can we help eliminate that?

Additionally, I might use a website like EVITE.com to communicate with your group where everybody can read and write comments. (I use it for a monthly Bunco group and it makes communicating with a large group extremely easy. Use the free invitations.)

One that doesn't include Jamaica, or Mexico. Jamaica is not, IMHO , safe at the present time for a new cruiser. Mexico shows abject poverty at many ports. It can become very depressing for a first timer.

Stick with an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, leaving one port to just go to a beach for the day.

just my opinion

Thank you! Good input so far. We will be getting additional ideas from those sailing on the 2nd annual Rennie cruise this January... some have been on both and will most likely have preferences. Please keep the ideas coming!

I would also stay away from Nassau..... lets not scare them with the ship making an announcement 'not to wander off or go far off the main street and to go in couples or a group"

I have started friends and family on a 4 night cruise so if they were not happy with it it was not to long. I would also think of getting them a balcony or ocean view cabin for the first cruise.

I would highly recommend Tortola and take the ferry over to Virgin Gorda and go to the Baths for a beautiful beach day. The baths are unique, beautiful and the beach is great. I would also consider including St Maarten as it has many features from great shopping to nice beaches. Mind you most of the Caribbean islands would be good as each has its own unique charm and beauty.

Eastern or Southern Caribbean, 7 days with a good balance of Sea / Port days.

Not too long if someone really hates it, not too short if someone is loving it. A sea day in the middle to give the n00b time to catch up and recuperate.

Thank you, again. We will also take into account the desires of those who will be repeat companions. We also want to enjoy the cruise so it isn't just for the newbies. We try to keep it on a "holiday" (Martin Luther King's Day or President's Day) so the vacation time is shorter. Your ideas are very helpful and I agree that Easter and Southern Caribbean sailings sound best.

My first cruise I loved the beach experience in Grand Cayman....


It really depends on the people going. Do people just want recommendations of things to do or are they wanting to do things together? Is everyone of similar physical ability or are some older and/or less mobile? What are peoples' interests?

For what it's worth, we learned that spending every waking moment with our "group" did not add to the cruise experience. We took a different approach to our second voyage. We did our own thing during the day, especially on port days, and regroup in the evening at dinner. Some lounged by the pool, a few went to the spa together, one just wanted to relax by herself for a day.... etc.

We enjoyed something about all previously mentioned destinations. Bottomline, it is really hard to go wrong.


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