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 A bunch of questions....

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mytee4ever
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A bunch of questions.... Empty
PostSubject: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeSun Aug 26, 2007 9:55 pm

As this isn't about any particular line, I thought I would ask here.

My mom has given me the assignment of putting together a family cruise...multi-generational & various cruise experiences.

We all live in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, so looking for a Caribbean outing. Age range would be 5-75. I have checked a few cruise line websites & have probably looked at most of the ports up & down the east coast. Everything from NY to VA is within driving distance for us all.

My parents have been on 14 cruises & have left from NY once. My mom really loved the view of the Verrazzano when leaving & would like to do that again. Born & raised Long Islander & I I love you that bridge myself! Best part of the road trip back home! However, we can go out of another port for a better itenerary or price even. Like the thought of driving to save a lot on the airfares. But, again, not a requirement. My brother has never cruised & is a lot leary affraid ...hard to imagine I know, but he says it is too far away to swim back to shore if he should feel the need to escape! Insane I know, but he isn't a cruise freek yet! Laughing

Question Question Question ...now that you have some background....

Which line has the best kid/teen programs?
If we get enough cabins for a group, who gives the best incentives?
Best city to stay in overnight if we fly somewhere (FL or PR)?
What questions should I be asking?!
Is it better to deal directly with the cruise lines or through an agent? If I go with an agent, how do we handle booking from various cities?

With the abundance of experience on this list, I'm sure someone can help me. Thanks so much for any advice you can give me.

Towanda
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Wildewoman
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeMon Aug 27, 2007 8:14 am

Welcome Towanda!!

Welcome

RCCL has a GREAT teen/children program & adult too!! They have the rock wall, flow rider (a surfing wave) PLUS the programs for the toddlers.

A great cruise & a fabulous ship is the Western Caribbean on their Freedom of the Seas!!

With such a large group - if you think you will have at least 8 cabins you could make it a group cruise!! This would get you some ammenities - if you go through an agent. PLUS the Freedom of the Seas has a family suite - with separate bedrooms, living area, etc. WooHoo

This cruise sails from Miami - which would mean a flight down the day before. I recommend to my clients to arrange their own transportation (air). You can get really good cruise rates in Oct/Dec. - inside cabins for less then $ 700.00 & balconies for less then $ 1000.00 per person.

Have fun!! GoodLuck

Linda
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeTue Aug 28, 2007 12:17 pm

mytee4ever - Why not give Explorer of the Seas some thought? It's a Royal Caribbean Voyager Class ship and since it's in Bayonne, NJ year round now, it would be within driving distance for everyone in your group.

And, if you book through one of the agents here on Cruise Freek Forums, we could offer up the group to our members to join to insure you have enough cabins booked to get a group.
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeTue Aug 28, 2007 7:24 pm

We just did a multi-generational family cruise in June/July to Alaska with RCCL. And it was great!!!

Which line has the best kid/teen programs?
Best? Disney. but they ain't cheap Wink But Princess, RCCL, NCL, and Carnival have all improved their kid/teen areas & activities immensely!!

If we get enough cabins for a group, who gives the best incentives?
All of the cruise lines offer some pretty good incentives (casino vouchers, bottles of wine, fruit baskets, logo towels or robes, etc.). The trick is when you block the group space. As it gets closer to cruising time there's less available in group inventory, and fewer amenity points offered. If you work with a TA we can check the various cruise lines, look at different sailing dates, and find out which ones offer the best deals in pricing and amenities (sometimes it's better to go with a sail date that's got great pricing, but not a lot of amenity points).

Best city to stay in overnight if we fly somewhere (FL or PR)?
Okay. That's pretty subjective. Not sure I can give you an objective answer to that one. Wink

What questions should I be asking?!
questions to family members? or to us? Cool

Is it better to deal directly with the cruise lines or through an agent? If I go with an agent, how do we handle booking from various cities?
If you're dealing with blocked group space, it's probably best (and less stressful) for you to go through a TA. If you work with a TA you can have each family member call or email ... or if you want to be the single point of contact, TAs can usually provide you with some kind of form for family members to fill out and you can return to the TA. I have family groups do both ways.
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newmexiconita
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeThu Aug 30, 2007 3:47 pm

Towanda,

Welcome to our board,

As a TA, like Ivanova mentioned there is probably not one best line. All the lines offer pretty good kids programs. Of course Disney without saying is geared to families. The drawback, many kids over the age of about 8 or 9 are not impressed with the kids program.

Recently a major website voted NCL as offering the most variety for mixed generations, followed by RCI. Carnival got the knod as offering the best overall kids program. RCI does offer more activities for the active cruiser.

Definitely choose a travel agent. Modern day technology allows us to do business just about anywhere, even in other countries.

Most lines will offer similare incentives. Normally there isn't much of a rate break, but perks will be thrown in, depending on how many cabins and what catagory cabins are booked. As mentioned, 8 cabins will get one free birth. Only port charges and government taxes will have to be paid. How you decide who will benefit is up to you. Some choose to give the birth to the person organizing the cruise, others will split the cost between everyone, dropping the price per person a few dollars.

Booking air with the cruise line in a package versus privately. this is a tough one. If you do decide to book on your own, yes, make certain you fly in one day or more prior to the cruise. Each city has something special to offer. Depending on what you like to do and see would determine your embarkation port. The biggest advantage to booking air in a package is everything including transfers arrive in a nice little package. The disadvantage, the air often isn't less expensive and the routing may not be the best in the world.

I hope this answers some of your questions. I don't think you need to decide on a particular line until you find a travel agent that can better answer your questions.

I do have one for you, your parents enjoyed sailing out of NYC, what line were they on? Did they enjoy it? How many of you have cruised before and do you have a preferance to lines?

Nita
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeThu Aug 30, 2007 4:04 pm

newmexiconita wrote:
Some choose to give the birth to the person organizing the cruise, others will split the cost between everyone, dropping the price per person a few dollars.

One note, not all cruise lines allow the TC (free berth) to be split among the rooms in the group (RCCL and Celebrity are two that do not allow this). But if this is what you want to do, and you go with a line that doesn't allow us to do it up front, another option is to apply it to one room and that person can then "share" by reimbursing the rest of the group independently (or buying OBC for each room in the group).

Also, regarding Disney, I do disagree with Nita that kids over 8 or 9 don't like the kids programs. I've taken quite a few teens on Disney cruises (ranging from 13 to 17 years old, on cruises from 4 to 14 nights in length) and they've all enjoyed in immensely. However, with Disney it does help (a lot) if the kids (and the adults) enjoy Disney in general to start with.
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mytee4ever
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeThu Aug 30, 2007 10:49 pm

Hi All,

Thanks so much for the information.

Didn't know that some cruise lines won't let you share the free cabin. Buying something for everyone is a good idea.

I have sort of ruled out Disney. Not that I wouldn't love a Disney cruise. We visited WDW 2 summers ago & would love to go again, so going on their cruise line would be great for me & my family. However, my dad is truly a gambling addict, so a ship with no casino would just about kill him! Shocked

If I can get everyone to attend that my mom wants to go, then the age range would be 3-75.

My parents have been on 14 cruises & most of them on RCI & I believe that is who they went with when they left from NY. My mom would most likely prefer RCI over the others. My hubby & I have been on 5...all with Carnival. The last few that we have been on have been with a DJ group that my hubby belongs to. He said on our last one that he is ready to try something new...either another line or a different class in Carnival. My cousin was previously married to a cruise ship singer, but I don't think they ever cruised. I don't think he & his current wife & family have cruised either. My brother is afraid of cruising, so he might be a challenge to get on board! Laughing

I think we are looking for next summer some time as a lot of us have school age children & a few of us are teachers, so going during the school year could be a problem.

I'm not overly concerned with what to ask my family. I have to do all the leg work, then I get to make some executive decisions!

Anyway, thanks again for all of the input & advice. As soon as my mom (probably the only opinion that I'm really concerned about at this stage) knows what she wants to do, then I'll be ready to book one of you guys.

Towanda
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeFri Aug 31, 2007 1:14 am

Towanda,

Feel free to ask more questions as you think of them!!

Keep in mind that summer is peak season for the very reason that you are looking at booking then ... it's when most families can cruise because the kids are out of school.

So the sooner you lock in pricing, and any triple or quad occupancy rooms that you need, the better off you'll be.
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newmexiconita
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2007 11:54 am

It is important to start planning asap as, like Susan said, summer is the most expensive and the busiest. triples and quads will go fast. That doesn't mean you need to make a decision today or tomorrow, but certainly I would suggest you decide in the next month or so.

Nita
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2007 12:24 pm

Also, try to have a few date options to work with ... that way you can compare pricing, amenity options, and see what types of rooms are still available in group space (especially if you are needing any triples or quads).
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PostSubject: Re: A bunch of questions....   A bunch of questions.... Icon_minitime

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