I cruise every year, sometimes twice a year from each coast (West & East). I'll be a repeater at CSA in 40 days! So here's my take...
Cruises are great for SOME things:
Cruises are great for FAMILY vacations! The programs that they have are wonderful to keep the kids (youth to teenagers) entertained.
Cruises are great for a quick inexpensive getaways with your girlfriends or impromptu trips with your spouse when you are need of a break.
We live in CA, so it's less expensive to cruise then book a hotel for a week in LA, Vegas, S.F, etc...
Cruises are also great for family or class reunions! They do cater to groups and provide great service for that.
However, when it's vacation time for my Husband and I... Couples is #1!
It's a no brainer really. We would never choose a cruise for a romantic vacation.
Too many uncontrolled children and screaming parents.
Too many Single adults (and staff) hitting on you when your spouse isn't looking.
Too many extras that are not included in the price of the cruise. (Drinks, Excursions, Supper Clubs, & Tips)
Too many time schedules and limited activities.
Too many announcements all day long over the PA system!
NO Rum Cream!
So it depends on the occasion whether or not cruising is justified!
Cruise ships have just gotten too big, too crowded and too impersonal for us. You pay more for so many things that used to be free, like a decent cup of coffee or a yoga class. Gone are the days of reasonably priced drinks and heaven forbid you want to bring on a bottle of wine - it's confiscated on most lines these days so you are required to overpay for their wines even in your room.
There are lines to get on the ship, off the ship, to get food or a drink. You have to stand in line to get tender tickets to stand in line again to get off the ship in some ports. Then you arrive to experience what is generally the least appealing part of any island and it is swamped with passengers from a dozen other ships. No thanks.
The deck chairs are so close together you can touch the person next to you without leaning over.
There are kids running rampant everywhere with no regard for anyone else.
Quality continues to decline and ships are more like ala carte hotels these days with surcharges for the better restaurants, a freshly brewed cup of cappucino and much more.
Deck space is being taken over by climbing walls and water parks.
The staff is so stretched that they barely have time to speak as they have so many people to take care.
I used to enjoy both cruising and all inclusive vacations for different reasons. Now we just don't cruise unless we can snag an incredible price on a small luxury ship.
I haven't been to Couples yet...but I have been on a cruise. I can say "been there, done that". We had a good time, but I felt like a sardine in a can by the pool; that, and it was like a 7-day stay at the mall, eating at the food court; the excursions were expensive and not long enough; I constantly worried about how much $$ I was spending; and the "pressure" to contribute to the envelope the last night was really sad. I called our cruise ship the "floating double-wide of the seas". <just kidding of course!> Like I said, we had a good time, but don't see us doing it again. The only thing I really LOVED about the cruise was the Chocolate Melting Cake. It was heaven! Please tell me Couples has something similar to it!
Will be at CN in 31 days, married in 33!! :D
A sterile, floating hotel or an all natural, ocean side paradise? Hmmmm? Which to choose.. which to choose.
jamaicamecrazy - Thanks for the cruising tips - I did happen to be aware enough to book 2 state rooms with balconies as being denied sex while on vaca with the kids for a week was more than I could handle. ;)
After reading all the comments I am convinced more than ever that I need to shorten my family cruise because of the crowds, lines, extra charges, kids, waiting, expensive booze etc.
We are still planning our "romantic" getaway and will return to CSS sometime in October or November - Oh how I wish it was tomorrow.
The absolute best part about Couples is once you book and pay for the trip the only other cost is parking at the airport and a few tips for van transport of boat cruise!!!
bluemoon -- I don't know what the Chocolate Melting Cake is but I can tell you that Couples' food is to die for!!! I guarandamntee you there will be something equally as good, probably better, at Couples! Be sure to corner Chef Mikel and talk to him -- he's a doll.
Chocolate Melting Cake is a Carnival specialty that Carnival folk rave on about. I tried it. It's basically chocolate cake with this chocolate pudding in/over it. It is VERY rich. Not for me.
We didn't have complaints about the food on the cruise (other than the lamb, which was so fatty we couldn't eat it). However, I found cruise food to be dull and boring and so North American (notice I didn't say American ;) I am including Canada). I mean, it was steak and pasta and all the usual sort of stuff. I love the earlier food court comment. So true! I have to remember that one. There was nothing remotely Caribbean whatsoever on the menu. Sitting in the dining room with the blacked out windows and AC cranked, we could just as well have been eating dinner back at home.
I don't think anyone would appreciate me floating naked in the pool of a cruise ship.
I don't appreciate motion sickness
I like my vacation children free
I like drinking what I want, when I want, and not throw up at the end of the week when I see the bill
I don't appreciate motion sickness
Someone else said it here that the ports they take you to really don't always do the country justice. Our first time to Jamaica was on a cruise that stopped in Ocho Rios. We went to margaritaville and some shops but just weren't impressed. I'm so glad we decided to go back to Jamaica as we have now been 6 times (5 to Couples). I doubt we will cruise again, just not our thing.
I think the bartenders name was 'Give me your drink card so I can stamp it', or maybe it was 'What do you want?' I just can't remember.
At Couples, I can tell you the names of at least a half dozen bartenders, the bellmen, a few managers, the GM, the owner, the woman who gave me a massage, the guys who took us over to the island on the little boat, etc.
We just got back from 10 days at CTI and are already planning 2011.
Maybe I missed it, but you don't get "MOTION SICKNESS" on land!!!!
And frankly, I don't like other people's kids. And I'm a teacher... hahaha! But, ya know what I mean. When I go on vacation, I don't want to be around kids cuz I spend every day with everyone else's kids....
Couples.....it's great.... No more cruises for me....EVER..
The large terrace at CSA
drinks of all kinds included
less restrictive/not stuck on a boat
After my last cruise...
....I think I'm done! We hit the remants of a hurricane on our way back from Bermuda. In bed from Wednesday night to Friday morning, miserable!
I can't wait to enjoy my week sitting on the beach with a drink in my hand! With my wedding in between :)
OK... I know I said I wouldn't comment. But from what I've read here, and from what I've heard from friends and family about cruising, I think I've been able to justify my attitude toward cruising... or in our case, not cruising.
OUR number one reason why Couples is better than a cruise is....
IT'S NOT A CRUISE!