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Background

In my opinion, cruising is the best thing in the entire world! As evidence to this I have been on nine cruises and have scheduled another one for this summer. Some people ask why I like it so much. I tell them that I can go to five countries or more in seven days, travel 3,000 miles, and only unpack once. A lot of people are convinced that it is impossible to have fun on a boat in the middle of the ocean. As you will read, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Cruise Line Opinions

In this section I will tell my opinion of the cruise lines I have been on.

Princess

The best I've been on! From check-in to check-out everything is perfect. Read the review of the Sun Princess!
 

Royal Caribbean

This is my second favorite. They currently posses the largest ship in the world, the Voyager of the Seas. Read the review of the Radiance of the Seas.
 

Commodore

This cruise line went out of business. I liked it and their ships were always full, but they bought another cruise line, which pulled them under.
 

Big Red Boat

This also doesn't exist any longer. This company was once owned by P & O and closed after Disney Cruise Line opened. It was fun for kids.
 

Carnival

Twenty-five and under. These are just big party boats. I didn't like it. They provided activities such as hairy chest contests.
 

Norwegian

Can't say enough bad things about this line. I'm not even going to waste my breath. If you want to know the story E-mail me.

Sun Princess - Panama Canal

Recently I took a voyage on the Sun Princess to the Panama Canal. This was from March 6th - 16th. In typical Princess fashion the cruise was wonderful. But like every cruise this cruise had it's downfalls. Most of these were not controllable by Princess. The first downfall was the average age of the passengers. If I had to guess would say that the average age was about 80 - 85, and since I am 15 that was fairly disappointing. But like I said, Princess cant control the age of their cruisers. The other downfall was Columbia. I will tell about this in the ports section. Now for the good things. The food as usual was wonderful, as was the service. We ate in the dinning room every night except one. That one night we ate in the sterling steak house. It wasn't worth the $8.00 cover charge. They also had a buffet, which we did not eat dinner at, but we heard wonderful things about. For lunch we either did the buffet or the pizza place. Both of these are good but the pizza is the best. At dinner you can also go and get pasta, soup, bread, salad, and dessert in addition to the pasta. I went for a midnight snack every night and got the lasagna. It was wonderful. As far as breakfast goes, the buffet is weak, but room service and the dining room are good. Entertainment and activities on board were also great. Every day there was a putting contest and a ping pong tournament. Another activity which they had at least twice a day was trivia. They also had bingo, pool games, music, dance lessons, food demonstrations, galley tours, and much more. The only thing that disappointed me was that since September 11th they have stopped doing bridge tours. At night there were always two shows. But you only go to one a night. Let me clarify. This ship has two theaters, so two shows run each night. But they run for two days, so you go and see one show the first night and the other show the second night. With the exception of the first and last nights there were Broadway style shows in the princess theater every night. In the vista lounge they had a juggler, comedian, pianist, and a ventriloquist. Also, one night they had London Pub Club night. This was a show that was completely audience dependent. This show also featured the infamous song, "If I Was Not Upon The Ship". If you want to find out what this is you'll have to go on the cruise. The cabins on the Sun Princess are very nice. I had an inside cabin on Caribe Deck (9), in the back of the boat. The location ended up being inconvenient, but that will be discussed in the Choosing A Cabin section. The ship itself was built in 1995 and holds 1,950 passengers. Despite its age of seven years, it has very few signs of its age. At any given time you can see people out painting, cleaning, and fixing the ship. There are a few good look out points on the Sun Princess that I would like to share with you. First is a spot on the front of the ship right above the bridge. The easiest way to get to it is to take the forward elevators all the way up to deck 14. Go through the doors leading to the outside and you should see some steps that go up only one level. Go up these steps and you should be to the side of a bar. Go past the bar and around the things that divide the deck. To the left/right (depending on which side of the ship your on) you'll see stairs leading to a deck with a pool. Go past that and you should come to an open deck with two flights of stairs. One on either side of the ship. If you go down those stairs your there. If you are facing the front of the ship, the windows behind you look in on the horizon court. This means that you are back on the deck where you started. Actually, there are doors which lead out of the horizon court to this deck, but you aren't allowed to use them. The other good spots on the ship are on decks ten and eleven. You can go to the very front of the boat and through two sets of doors and there is a small deck that is nice to stand on. Most ships have children and teen centers. The facilities for the kids 3-12 are nice. There is a ball pit, TV, Nintendo 64s, and a play house. Also they have their own splash pool with slide. The teen center on the other hand isn't as nice as others I have seen. It is small, first of all. They say it has a dance floor but the lights don't work and the only music they have is a jukebox, Which gets old by the end of the week. They have a big screen TV but they don't have many movies. The adult disco on board is pretty neat. You enter it through revolving doors. You dance on top of TV screens and their lights work. The casino is also nice. If you like music you'll love this boat. You can find it in the atrium, the wheelhouse bar, the pool deck, the atrium lounge, among other places. That's about all there is to tell about the Sun Princess. If your thinking that I have forgotten to tell about ports, I haven't. They are in the port reviews section. If you have any comments or questions about this or anything else, E-mail Me.

Radiance of the Seas - Alaska (Inside Passage)

I went on the Radiance of the Seas in the summer of 2001. It is because of this that this review will be a little less detailed than the Sun Princess, but I assure you that everything is accurate. The Radiance of the Seas is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), was built in 2001, and weighs 90,090 Gross Registered Tons (GRT). When I traveled on her the Radiance was only five weeks old and was beautiful. First off we will talk about the food. I made a mistake on this boat, which was to eat at the buffet every night. The buffet was good for the first few nights but the food started to get old after a while. In addition to the dinning room and the buffet, there was a grill in the back of the boat called the sea view café. This was very good! Unfortunately this is about all I remember about the food. One thing that I do remember is the entertainment. Entertainment on board was great. They had a rock climbing wall, a put-put golf course, a good sports court, a disco, pools, and best of all self leveling pool tables. These are the coolest things in the world. They stay level even if the ship is rocking. Another fun thing to do is go rock climbing. But I recommend getting there a few minutes before it opens so you don't have to wait as long. The put-put golf is slightly challenging on a moving boat, but its still fun. The teen center on board is the coolest. It has a real dance floor with working lights, also, it has a DJ booth, a foosball table, a bar, and computers. Just outside the teen center is a sitting area that is really cool. It is above the atrium. It has two walkways supporting it and that's it. Also, there is a window in the middle which looks down 5-7 stories. Most ships only have glass elevators in the atrium, but not this one. This one also has them on the side of the ship. RCCL is famous for their lounges which have 360 degree views around the stack. This boat doesn't break the tradition. In addition to the large disco in the lounge, there is a separate room for karaoke. Since I went of the cruise pre-September 11th, I was able to do a bridge tour. There were two things that really interested me. First was that the bridge was exactly the same as the one on RCCL's Voyager class ships. The second was that the captain was American. If you have never been on a cruise before this might not seem significant, but it is rare to see an American as captain. The pool on board was amazing. It was called the solarium. I will not even try to describe it, but you can see it on RCCL's website. Another unique thing about the Radiance is books, books, and coffee. This shop sells coffee and books. In the back of the boat is the colony club. This is a nice club in the back where you can listen to music. In addition to all of the other restaurants there are hops steakhouse and Portofino Italian. These cost $20 p.p. Also there is an internet café on board. For a reasonable price you can check your E-mail. Here are some interesting facts about the boat: it's maiden voyage was on March 10, 2001. It holds 2,501 passengers, it was 90,090 tons, it is 962' long, has 105.6' beam, a draft of 26.7', and it cruises at 25 knots (Very Fast). The bottom like for this boat is that it is good for young and old alike. Those that want to entertain themselves with organized activities can, and those who want to entertain themselves in a less active way can as well. If you have any questions please E-mail Me.

Port Reviews

Anchorage, Alaska / Cartagena, Colombia / Collage Fjord, Alaska / Cologne 2000, Panama / Cozumel, Mexico / Ft. Lauderdale, Florida / Georgetown, Bermuda / Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands / Glacier Bay, Alaska / Haines, Alaska / Hamilton, Bermuda / Hubbard Glacier, Alaska / Inside Passage, Alaska / Juneau, Alaska / Ketchikan, Alaska / Miami, Florida / Montego Bay, Jamaica / Nassau, Bahamas / New Orleans, Louisiana / New York, New York / Ocho Rios, Jamaica / Panama Canal, Panama / Plya Del Carmon, Mexico / Port Canaveral, Florida / Princess Cays / Puerto Limon, Costa Rica / Rotan, Bay Islands, Honduras / Seward, Alaska / Sitka, Alaska / Skagway, Alaska / Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Anchorage, Alaska, USA

The boat doesn't actually dock in Anchorage. It docks in Seward. But you have to travel to Anchorage to either fly out, spend the night, or depart on a land tour. Anchorage is a big city by Alaska's standards. It has a fairly entertaining downtown, with a fairly small airport. The cruise line often offers tours for those with late flights.
 

Cartagena, Colombia

I don't like this city. There are 1 million people that live in the city. This doesn't include the five or ten thousand people who visit by boat, and the vacationers. Everything is so crowded that you can't take a picture without someone stepping in front of you. But what's worse than that is of the 1 million citizens, 7,500 are street vendors. Whenever you go anywhere venders are trying to sell you stuff, and they don't stand to the side. They get in your path and won't move. You have to weave in and out of them. All I can say is watch your wallet.
 

College Fjord, Alaska, USA

This isn't actually a port, but some boats cruise through it while in Alaska. This is a good place to see wildlife.
 

Cologne 2000, Panama

Dont get off the boat! there is one shopping center with nothing in it. The only reason you dock is to pick up the people who did Panama Canal tours.
 

Cozumel, Mexico

This is a very popular port! Good for snorkeling and some shopping. If you want an Aztec calendar, this is where you get it. There is also lots of onyx. If you are a Kalooa fan, you probably know that it is made in Mexico. And if you travel you know that it's cheaper if you buy them in the country where they are produced.
 

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA

This is an arrival/departure port. No cruises have this as anything but an end or beginning. If you have a late flight, you can tour the city and the everglades.
 

Georgetown, Bermuda

The good thing about a port in Bermuda is that you aren't limited to that port. The island is so small that you can rent a moped and be anywhere in half an hour.
 

Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Two words….Rum Cake. Grand Cayman is the home of Tortuga Rum. They have a store every five feet it seems. Their rum cake is the bast in the world. This is a good place to shop. Some of my favorite stores are: Hard Rock Café, Del Sol, and Tortuga. Del Sol is a unique store click here to read more. Also, you can buy lots of coral here.
 

Glacier Bay, Alaska, USA

This Isn't a stopping port. This is one place you might cruise during an Alaska cruise. It has many glaciers and lots of wildlife. A naturalist will come aboard and talk about the animals and the glaciers.
 

Haines, Alaska, USA

Most people don't stop here, but usually you can do tours that take you to Haines. (More on this city later).
 

Hamilton, Bermuda

Same as Georgetown, Bermuda.
 

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, USA

This is exactly like Glacier Bay, Alaska, USA, but there is only one glacier. I am partial to Glacier Bay.
 

Inside Passage, Alaska, USA

If you go on a Round Trip Alaska cruise, you will cruise the inside passage. While you are doing this, you can always see land.
 

Juneau, Alaska, USA

This is by far the best port in Alaska. The people are friendly, and there is alot to do. I recommend the Tram, and a nature cruise. If you like hiking the tram is great. Also, I recommend getting some hot-smoked salmon in the building to the left of the tram terminal.
 

Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

This city is beautiful. It has great shopping and a good lumber jack show. Be sure to take time and walk around the city.
 

Miami, Florida, USA

Also an arrival/departure port. I can't tell you anything you don't already know about it.
 

Montego Bay, Jamaica

It has been a long time since I have been here. All I remember is that I like Ocho Rios more.
 

Nassau, Bahamas

This is kinda boring. There is some shopping and some tours but nothing special.
 

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

This is also an arrival/departure port. Most cruise lines offer pre/post cruise packages. This city is know for it's food and music.
 

New York, New York, USA

Everybody knows New York. Cruises leave from here for Bermuda and Canada.
 

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

I prefer this port over Montego Bay. Here they have good snorkeling and of course, the waterfalls. In case you don't know about them, the waterfalls are not like Niagara Falls, in fact, you can climb them. You are escorted up, with your group, by a guide. It lasts about an hour. Be warned, the water is cold.
 

Panama Canal, Panama

This isn't a port. The canal consists of three sets of locks. The locks were built in the early 1900's by the USA, who recently gave control over to the country of Panama. Passage through the canal can cost into the 100's of thousands of dollars, depending on weight. The cruise I went on took us through the Gatun Locks and around the lake and back out. While in the lake, some tours got off and rejoined the cruise at Cologne 2000.
 

Plya Del Carmon, Mexico

Boats stop here for about an hour to let off tours to the Mayan city of Tulum. Only people on these tours may get off the boat. Tours rejoin the boat in Cozumel.
 

Port Canaveral, Florida, USA

This is where the Disney Cruises arrive/depart. It is about 1/2 and hour away from Orlando, FL.
 

Princess Cays

I love this island. This is Princess' private island in the Bahamas. Here you can snorkel, scuba dive, sail, banana boat, parasail, play on the beach, and lay in the Hammocks. The nice thing about a private island is that you don't have to go back to the boat to eat. The food on the island is free.
 

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Nature lovers will enjoy Puerto Limon. While there I took an eco-cruise, where I saw monkeys, plants, lizards, sloths, and birds. On the bus ride back we rode through a banana plantation. This is where Dole, Chiquita, and one other company grow their banana's.
 

Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

I have never been on a cruise here but I have stayed on the island for a week. It is a good place to scuba dive and snorkel. Also there are lots of opportunities to play with dolphins.
 

Seward, Alaska, USA

This is a city on the water where one way cruises embark/disembark. You have to fly into anchorage and get a transfer to Seward.
 

Sitka, Alaska, USA

Coming Soon...I am going there this summer.
 

Skagway, Alaska, USA

In this city you can go on the White Pass Railroad. This is the route that the people searching for gold took. Also there is a little shopping.
 

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This is where most Alaska cruises depart/arrive. It is a diverse city with many sites. But if you want to spend a weekend I recommend driving down to Seattle.

Choosing a Cruise Line

Which cruise line you choose is very important to whether you will have a good time. Here is a breakdown:

RCCL - Everyone! Young and old, rich and poor.
Princess - Same as RCCL, but a little more upscale
Carnival - Party boat, 21 - 30, cheap and wild.
Norwegian- Slightly older
Seabourn - Expensive; as in $20,000 p/p
Cunard - Not as expensive as Seabourn, but close.
Windjammer - Wealthy, not extremely, laid back and small

This list describes the type of people and the average price of the cruise line. Of course there will always be exceptions to this rule. If you would like information on a cruise line which is not listed just E-mail Me!

Choosing a Destination

There are many things you should consider before choosing a destination. For example: distance from home, Cost, Average length of cruises, e.t.c... For example the Caribbean is closest to me because I live in Mississippi. But if you live in New York or around there, you might consider Canada or Bermuda. If you lived in the Northwest you might consider Alaska. Below is a list of typical destinations most cruise lines offer and how much they cost, and typical length.

Destination Cost ($-$$$$$) Length
Alaska $$-$$$ 7+ Days
Bermuda $$ 7 Days
Canada $-$$$ 7-14 Days
Caribbean $-$$ 3-10 Days
Europe $$$-$$$$$ 7+ Days
South America $$$-$$$$ 10+ Days
Panama Canal $$$-$$$$$ 10+ Days
Australia $$$$-$$$$$ 10-14+ Days
Asia $$$-$$$$$ 10-14+ Days
Bahamas $-$$ 3-4 Days
Antarctica $$$$-$$$$$ 10-14+ Days

As with the cruise line descriptions there will be exceptions.

Choosing a Ship

Some people feel that the ship is more important than the destination. When you are trying to decide you should take into accout your personal mobility, how personal you want the experience to be, and how good your since of direction is. Cruise lines which boast large ships are RCCL, Princess, and Carnival. These lines also have small ships, but all three of these have held the record for the largest ship at one point in time. Currently that record belongs to RCCL for their Vision Class Ships.

Choosing a Cabin

This is the most important part! Picking the wrong cabin can mean long walks and noisy nights. The best cabins are the ones near the center of the ship, away from elevators and laundry mats, and with a deck of cabins above and below you. What ever you do dont get a cabin below the: pool, club, dinning room, buffet, teen center, theater or anything else noisy. Trust me you will hear it.

All About Dinner

Food! The most important thing on the boat. Dinner is the biggest event aboard. When you first get on the boat you are assigned a seating and a table. You will either have early seating (eats about 6:00 or 6:30), or late seating (eats about 8:00 or 8:30). You are also assigned a table. This means that you will probably be sitting with people you don't know. You will also have the same waiter every night. At the end of the cruise you will be expected to tip him or her. All food onboard is included with the exception of special restaurants. This means that you can order three entrees if you like and not be charged. Each night has a theme, such as: American, Italian, French, Captains Gala Dinner, and others. The gala dinner has certain things which are always on the menu, such as: escargot, lobster tail, filet minion, plus some other fancy dishes. On American night the dessert is guaranteed to be baked Alaska, which they will bring out on their head while dancing to the song "Hot, Hot, Hot".

All About Breakfast/Lunch

Most people do the buffet for breakfast and lunch. As far as breakfast goes the buffet and the dinning room have the same food every morning. Lunch is nothing special either. If the ship has a grill I would recommend that.

All About The Entertainment

In the evening entertainment is the main event. On each cruise there are generally 2-3 Broadway style shows. These have it all, dancing, singing, and fancy sets. Other nights they have comedians, ventriloquists, magicians, and other shoes. If you have ever wanted to see people dance and jump around on a moving boat, you'll enjoy the entertainment.

All About Activities

If you want to be entertained durring the say this section is for you. Entertainment varies greatly depending on the boat. There are some activities that are on all boats for the most part. These include: putting tournaments, cirtual golf, trivia, name that tune, arobics, pool games, lectures, the spa, a library, a game room , bingo, music, movies, bars, shuffle board, the casino, and many other things. The new boats provide activities that none other can. These include: ice skating, rock climbing, put-put golf, roller blading, shopping centers, 3D arcades, and virtual studios. Heck, you can even get married on a boat.

All About Kids

I dhould probably say all about youth, but oh well! It use to be that only adults went on cruises but now things are changing. Most boats now have youth and teen centers. The youth centers have TVs, games, movies, and some have computers. The teen centers are now like small disco's. They have dance floors, DJ booths, Jukeboxes, bars (no alchohol of course), computers, and alot of other stuff. This just shows that everyone can enjoy a cruise.

All About Embarcation

Embarcation can either be really good or really bad. Some embarcations have long lines and long waits. But princess has started an express check-in. This is where you can send Princess all of your information in advance and all you have to do when you reach the boat is get your card.

All About Disembarcation

This is often the most frustrating part of a cruise. Here you have to leave your cabin and wait in a lounge for them to call the color they give you. Then you have to find your luggage and get to the airport.

Extra! Extra!

Of course there will always be things that will not be included in the fare. These things include: special resteraunts, pictures, souvaneers, tips, shore excursions, alchohal, soft drinks, special coffee, candy, and other things. these can add up fast, and since your not using cash it can be easy to loose track.

FAQ's

1) What all cost extra?
2) How much do the extras cost?
3) Who all do i tip?
4) How much do i tip?
5) Can I use cash on board?
6) Will I get sea sick?
7) Would a cruise line take me somewhere unsafe?
8) How has September 11th effected cruises?
9) Can my kids have their own cabin?
10) Can my kids cruise by themselves?
11) How old must I be to drink / gamble / smoke?
12) Can my kids play bingo?
13) Where can i get a cruise brochure?
14) Where can I see links to cruise line web pages?
15) Where can I read cruise reviews online?
16)Where can I book a cruise online?
17)What if this section doesn't ansewer my question?

Q. What all cost extra?

A.

Bar drinks Bingo Spa Shore Excursions
Soft Drinks Casino Bottled Water Special Coffee
Pictures Shopping Hair Tipping
Special Resteraunts Golf Virtual Golf Mini Bar
*This does not include everything

Q. How much do the extras cost?

A.

1.50-5.00 5.00+ Depends 25.00+ p/p
1.00 / 1.50 Your Choice 1.00-3.00 1.50-3.00
15.00-25.00 Your Choice Depends Depends
8.00-20.00 p/p 20.00 1/2 Hr. 20.00 1/2 Hr. Depends

*Prices may vary

Q. Who all do I tip?

A. waiter, assistant waiter, steward, sometimes matre'd

Q. How much do I tip?

A. That is up to you. Each cruise line gives a recomended tipping amount.

Q. Can I use cash on-board?

A. No. When you check in you are given a cruise card. This is your room key, your boarding pass, and your credit card. At some point in time you will give them a credit card number. At the end of the trip they bill you to that card. If you dont have a credit card, you may pay in cash at the end of the cruise.

Q. Will i get sea sick?

A. I don't know.

Q. Would a cruise line take me somewhere unsafe?

A. No, a cruise line will even change the itenterary in the middle of the cruise if needed.

Q. How has September 11th effected cruises?

A. Due to September 11th, Princess has cancelled all of their European cruises except one. Also, they are no longer doing bridge tours.

Q. Can my kids have their own cabin?

A. Yes, but they will not qualify for 3rd and 4th person rates.

Q. Can my kids cruise by themselves?

A. No. Someone in your group must be 21 or older. the only exception is a honeymoon. You may be as young as 18.

Q. How old must I be to drink / gamble / smoke?

A. Cruise ships follow US laws; gamble - 21, drink - 21, smoke - 18

Q. Can my kids play bingo?

A. Not by themselves. Technicly it is gambling. They must be with someone over 21.

Q. Where can I get a cruise brochure?

A. Some cruise lines let you order tem off their web page. If they don't they will have a phone number for you to call. Also, you can see a travel agent.

Q. Where can I see links to cruise lines web pages?

A. Cruise.com's links

Q. Where can I read cruise reviews online?

A. Cruise 411......cruises.com.......cruise.com......orbitz.com..........travelocity.com

Q. Where can i book a cruise online?

A. All of the places listed above.

Q. What if this section doesn't ansewer my question?

A. E-mail Me your question, and I will add it.

The Bottom Line

Cruises are the best vacation in the world. "And that's the bottom line"


Thank you for reading this page. If you have any questions or comments E-mail Me!