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Posted: 3/7/2010 5:26:30 PM EDT
I am trying to book a cruise for my fiance and I's honeymoon and have become a bit overwhelmed and dont want to make any mistakes that I will regret later.  Ive seen some threads in here before about cruises so if you have any info or advice I would appreciate it.

What is the best way to go about booking a cruise?  Should I just go straight through the cruise line (Carnival, Princess, Royal Carribean, Etc) or should I use one of the vacation planning companys?  I have found some "discount" websites that sell cruises to all of the big names.  Should I stay away from them or are they GTG?   Ive been on a couple of cruises in the past but have never been involved in the planning process nor have I known how it was planned.  Ive been on a Carnival cruise and a Princess cruise and was 100% happy with them.  What other cruise lines should I look at?  What port is the best to leave out of?  What cruise line should I stay away from?

My requirements are:

I live in NC and would like to drive to wherever I am leaving and returning to.

I would like to do the caribean islands.

I would like a balcony, but it isnt neccesary.

I would like it to cost less than $1500 for my wife and I.

Length needs to be atleast 6 days.

Anytime after August 8th.  (Getting married on the 7th).

How new of a ship should we get?  At what point is a ship too old to be nice?

Any help would be appreciated.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 5:29:14 PM EDT
We use a travel agent.  She finds a better rate than we can get on the Carnival website, and usually gets us an upgrade or other perk.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 5:43:48 PM EDT
Shop around for best price.  Look into insurance because August is PRIME hurricane season in the Carribean.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 5:46:04 PM EDT
book through a Travel Agent and buy insurance, there are no ships in current service that are too old to be nice.

I've cruised 6 times, and 5 on carnival I can't wait to get to 10.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 5:46:22 PM EDT
Use a travel agent. We went with Princess lines. Good food, good service, nice ships.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 6:10:01 PM EDT
Is AAA GTG for a travel agent?  Do you have to be a member?
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:28:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:34:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TGrant:
Is AAA GTG for a travel agent?  Do you have to be a member?

dunno, I have allways used my mother, since she is a travel agent, but before that we used local agents.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:44:31 PM EDT
the closer to the depart date the cheaper.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:54:45 PM EDT
Go to this place http://boards.cruisecritic.com/. Lots of good info.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 5:06:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 5:13:21 PM EDT by SUPERSPORT]
We cruise every year.

We started on Carnival but after trying Royal Caribbean we haven't looked back. Go on at least the Voyager class. If you have the money step up to the Freedom or the new Oasis class.

Travel agents and those booking sites are a waste of money. We go straight to Royal Caribbeans site and book. The price is the same but your not paying someone else to book it for you. Takes a matter of minutes online. Thing is, book as early as possible. As the ship fills up, the price goes up also.

And get a balcony if you can swing it. We love to get breakfast delivered and go sit out there and watch the sea or look over our port as we eat. I can stand out there for hours at night looking at the sky.

Contact me if you want. I love to cruise and would be more than happy to help you if you need it.

ETA: We already have our next one booked and paid for. Balcony on a Freedom class for $1,700 total. Taxes and everything. Also RC will let you do kind of a layaway type thing. You can book it now and make payments.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 5:11:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/8/2010 5:13:53 PM EDT by Wash-Ar15]

For the price,the RC Voyager class ships are a great deal. Can you drive down to FL?

Great ship at a great price.

Link Posted: 3/8/2010 6:43:42 PM EDT
Thanks for all of the info, I will definately look into Royal Caribean.  I can drive to Florida no problem, but if I can I'd like to stay away from the Southern ports as this would add another day of driving.  Flying isnt out of the question, it is just usually cheaper to drive and I dont mind driving.
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 6:51:29 PM EDT
IMhO, this is how the ships are marketed

Carnival for the young and drunk
Holland/norweigian for the budget minded family and couples
Celebrity for the older folks
RC and Princess for the  middle class willing to spend a little more for quality.

I like food,and the food on the RC and princess cruises I went on were excellent.
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