General Question

skfinkel's avatar

Cruise in the caribbean?

Asked by skfinkel (12877 points ) January 20th, 2013

I have never taken a cruise, and believe I would hate it. (Especially after reading David Foster Wallace’s essay: “A supposedly fun thing I will never do again”... )

Given all that, I might have five days in April, and I have never been to any of the Caribbean Islands, and it occurs to me that since swimming and beaches would be my goal here (and not big city activities), a cruise might work, if it is the right kind.

And just what might that be? Small, enough time to spend a good afternoon at beaches, and the kind of people that would prefer a non-big fancy type cruise. Does such a thing exist?

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12 Answers

NostalgicChills's avatar

I’ve been on 3 cruises so far, (going on a fourth one in July) and each time I go on one, I cry the day we leave because I always have the best time ever. (It’s a term known as “cruise ship withdrawal” lol) My favorite cruising experience so far has been Royal Caribbean, specifically Serenade of the Seas. I’m honestly not sure if it would be considered expensive for you, but for my family, it was affordable.

Here’s the link of the destination calendar for the Caribbean Islands in April:

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/search/cruiseCalendar/result.do?cruiseCalType=cruiseCalTypeDest&cruiseCalMonth=3&cruiseCalDay=1&dest=CARIB&cruiseCalYear=2013&cruiseCalJac=true

Not sure if this helped, but I hope I was of some assistance.

JLeslie's avatar

I have had wonderful times on cruises. Total no brainer relaxation, especially if you aren’t into doing any of the excursions and just want to go to a beach. Although, I will say this, if all you care about is flopping on a beach, you probably would prefer a resort at a beach, maybe an all inclusive, which is much like a cruise on land.

Some cruise lines are geared more towards partying, and more likely to have young people, like Carnival. Holland America would have people who are mature, well travelled, and often times many people from outside the US on the ships. Royal Carribean is kind of in-between. I have never taken Norweigen, but I hear good things. I do recommend having open seating for dinner, I don’t know if Carnival and Royal offer it now, unless you are fine with the seating times for scheduled dinners. For me, it never worked well. The early seating I am just waking up from my afternoon nap, and the late is usually very late. All those are reasonable moderate prices, not very fancy. If your cruise has a fornal night and you don’t want to dress up you can just eat at the buffet that evening or in room.

Last minute cruises are very cheap. I reccomend www.vacationstogo.com to browse cruises. Once you find one you can still call the cruise line directly if you prefer, and usually get the same prices.

Some lines have their own islands.

NostalgicChills's avatar

@JLeslie Royal does offer open seating. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@NostalgicChills Last I heard they did start offering it. When I cruised with them many years ago they didn’t, but I know they were testing it a while back. When you find a cruise offering you like, click on the information about the cruise and it should say if dinner in the dining room is scheduled, open, or both and dress codes. Holland America had both. Some people like scheduled because they get to know the people at their table. When it is open seating you can wind up waiting to be seated and you can wind up sitting at different tables every night varying in size. You can always call the cruise line directly and ask those sorts of questions also. Most ships tend to not be fond of jeans or shorts at dinner FYI. Although, I did wear jeans one night even on Holland America, even though it tends to be more conservative. But, they were fashionable jeans. If you want to wear shorts every night you can always go to the buffet or other eating areas depending on how large your ship is will decide how many options there are.

syz's avatar

<= Despises cruising. But then, I’ve only had the money to do the big, obnoxious cruise ship cruising. I suspect that I might like the smaller REI or Nat Geo type cruises.

(For example, I cruised Alaska – arguably one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world. And yet the on-board activities and lectures were “How to Buy Diamonds in Port” and line dancing lessons. Nothing on the natural history, the biology, the geology, the environment, the wildlife, the history of the gold rush – nothing. I was outside watching whales with just a few other hardy individuals while everyone else was inside singing karaoke.)

It is an option for seeing a lot of different areas easily. Just do every possible excursion to get you off of the ship as much as possible and you’ll probably have a good time.

Ron_C's avatar

Let me tell you about my recent cruise to the Caribbean. First we went to Free port. My family and I went to the beach and they brought a guy in slung over a jet ski. My son-in-law worked on him for a half hour until the doctor arrived, they got him to breath but the guy died.
Then we went on a dive boat to snorkel some coral reefs. The seas were 6–8 feet, I fell off the boat and hit the dive platform and my legs were temporarily paralyzed. Later a black and blue mark starting at my hip all the way to my foot developed.

I spent the last 3 days in our cabin and had to be wheeled off the ship. I then spent the night in our local hospital where I was over medicated then given Narcan which negated all of the pain medicine. I still have PTSD dreams about the experience.

I will never, never go on a cruise ship again!!!

JLeslie's avatar

About the shopping in port to follow up on what @syz said. The shops in port are primarily owned by the cruise lines. I never listened to one lecture on shopping. I did by some souveniours in one port, nothing much though. I also bought from a store that had a sign in the window, “locally owned.” Shopping was last on my list in Alaska. On my ship when we entered Glacier Bay a park ranger and a woman from the local Native American tribe boarded ship and had reading materials and gave a short lecture about the area. We were able to ask questions, it was interesting. That was Holland America. The ship had an excellent library and again the people on board tended to be very well travelled, many from Australia and Europe. Also, just a tip, I looked up video of excursions on youtube before picking what to do, which was a huge help.

But, a Caribbean cruise tends to be about relaxing, sun, and fun. So, if I were you I would just look for a cruise that goes to the ports you are interested in. A four or five day cruise is probably going to go to places like Grand Cayman, Key West, Cozumel, those are the frequent stops for short cruises.

skfinkel's avatar

Thanks for your comments and reflections—your comments kind of underscore the concerns I had—maybe a college ship for Alaska (sometime in the future) and just go to a place in the Caribbean—although no doubt there is some interesting history there, if they dug it up. I will check out the Holland cruises. And did check out the last minute idea as well.

@syz Just the kind of thing I imagine, and don’t want
@Ron_C That sounds really awful. Hope you are better now.
@JLeslie Thanks for the information.
@NostalgicChills Happy for your experiences, you give the idea legs.

Seek's avatar

Screw the cruise. Go to Bonaire.

It’s the same island chain as Aruba, but without all the college kids and other assorted noisy tourists. Since it’s April, you’ll want to avoid anything that smells like spring break. Bonaire is perfect for that.

It’s one of the best spots in the world for scuba-diving, if you’re into that. The island is very small and rural – only two stop-signs on the whole island – but rich with history and the water is lovely. Here are my photos. Yeah, MySpace. It was 2007, shut up. ^_^

The Plaza Resort Bonaire is fantastic. The food everywhere is wonderful. Go see Richard at the steakhouse, and get a milkshake at the bright orange house in Rincon, served right out of the living room window. Arnold and Jacqueline will give you a boat tour of the islands (Bonaire and Klein Bonaire) and make sure you’re well fed and keep your cup full. And if you are so inclined – go feed the donkeys at the Sanctuary. It’s quite a fun experience.

skfinkel's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Thanks for the suggestion!

JLeslie's avatar

What about a sandals resort, all included like a cruise? Or, Club Med?

I’m going to assume you have a passport, but FYI most cruises demand your passport not be expiring within 6 months time.

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