Thirty-something honeymooners need cruise recommendations - no "3 hour tours" either!
August 16, 2005 10:59 AM   Subscribe

My fiancee and I are planning our honeymoon and thought a cruise might be a nice experience. We are looking for recommendations on cruise lines, ships, and destinations. A little about us: We are 30 & 29, employed decently, but are cost concious as we are saving for a home, and pretty hip (if I do say so myself). Our most important criteria in selecting a cruise (line) are diversity in activities, best value, cleanliness, and service. We have only been to St. Thomas and Cancun, and a loop hitting other destinations would be prefered. Mainly, something not astrinomical in $, on a clean fun ship with 20-30 somethings (no toddler or bingo bus rides please) for a few days would be great. Thanks for any recommendations in advance!!
posted by skyguy14 to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Crystal Cruises are supposed to be the best and my friends have always recommended them but they can be pricey at around 1750 or so.
posted by cdcello at 11:04 AM on August 16, 2005

I've never been on a cruise, but whenever I hear about someone planning to take one, I always think of the essay David Foster Wallace wrote about them in "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again". You might find it fun, though clearly, from the title, he wasn't really into it.
posted by fishfucker at 11:15 AM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: My wife and I took a Carnival cruise out of Miami and got married on the beach in St Thomas. it was a wonderful and memorable experience. There are quite a few wedding coordinators (Google them) who will meet you at the dock in St Thomas, take you to the courthouse for paperwork and then on to wherever you want to get married on the island. We chose Megan's Bay with lunch afterwards at Bluebeard's Castle. The only thing I would change is the cruise line. Carnival is sort of the Wal-Mart of cruise lines. The whole thing cost around $2750. It's easier for Americans to get married in St Thomas since it's in the USVI. I would not recommend getting married on the ship.
posted by punkfloyd at 11:27 AM on August 16, 2005

Only caribbean?

My wife and I did a 7-day Alaskan cruise and it was excellent. Inside cabins were something like $850.

It was a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2005

I have been on a number of cruises and honestly had no idea there was such a thing as an untacky, hip cruise. Seriously.

But then again, I no longer cruise because I have a white liberal middle class guilt about brown people serving me.
posted by luriete at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: Without a doubt, take a WindJammer. Leave the Giant-Hotel-On-Water cruise lines for the dolts.

There's nothing like when they turn off the engines and hoist sail on a remodeled old naval sailboat. It's a lot more authentic than the damn cruiselines, and they still have the whole good food/open bar deal. It's a lot more personal and romantic.

My parents did this for their honeymoon, and later with the whole family. There are certain trips set aside for families, singles, couples, etc -- so you can certainly request to not be on the trip with the screaming rugrats.

I personally sailed on Windjammer's S/V Flying Cloud, which has since been retired and now lies in rest at a port in Spain. It was a great experience. They'll even set up all the flights and whatnot for you, if you so desire.

Good luck, and have fun!
posted by symphonik at 12:03 PM on August 16, 2005

Last November I took the GalPal to New York on the Queen Mary 2.

Don't know how to calculate the hip factor, but it is way over the top in terms of history, things to do, decor ($800 million buys a lot of sea going vessel) and general coolness.

Cunard cuts lots of deals so don't be put off by the inital sticker price (keep in mind it includes everything but the booze), and if you're willing to cruise across the Atlantic in November you can get a complete package pretty cheaply. With a balcony I might add.

For me it a transatlantic cruise was something I'd always wanted to do and it was such a unique experience, well, I'm gonna do it again.
posted by Mutant at 12:03 PM on August 16, 2005

Best answer: We (28 & 25) took a cruise for the honeymoon as well. Normally we backpack and stay in tiny hotels, etc. We hosted our own wedding, and throwing a party for 125 was fairly stressful - the cruise made a perfect change of pace. I get bored easily, I didn't get bored there.

Specifics: We took a Celebrity cruise on their smallest ship, the Horizon. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships but we didn't know what we were missing, if anything. Probably activities, so a larger ship might be better if you're looking for that. Ship was very clean, and quality of food and service was equal to any hotel or restaurant I've been in. I would recommend Celebrity without reservation to anyone.

Atmosphere was probably my favorite part - audio announcements and "forced fun" were at a minimum. Very discreet and in the background. Although we do like the bingo - embrace your inner old folks and you'll be fine.

One caveat - you might have a hard time avoiding kids while getting younger company on ship. The things that attract families with children (lower cost, more entertainment, shorter itineraries) also attract young people. The longer the cruise, the older the passengers.

As to destinations: British Virgin Islands are quite nice, and St Martin (I prefer the French side). One place to visit on the Dutch side is Sunset beach and watch the planes land. It does look like that in person, plus there's a beach bar where you can relax and enjoy the sights.
posted by true at 12:28 PM on August 16, 2005

We took a Princess cruise along the inner passage of Alaska (link). It was an ideal cruise destination - Plenty of outdoorsy excursions when we were off the boat, cheesy cruisey stuff to do on the boat, and beautiful views each moment of the trip.
posted by tlong at 12:39 PM on August 16, 2005

A cruise is a great way to see a solar eclipse, if there's one at a reasonable date for you. The boat can move around looking for holes in the clouds (should they be a problem) more readily than one can on land. while not in a boat, silly
I presume this also affects the clientele, getting a bunch more sciencey types than on a general cruise, which you may or may not like.
posted by Aknaton at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2005

I've always wanted to do one of these, and I imagine they can't be beat for hip-factor. Sadly, $$$$$!!
posted by frykitty at 2:06 PM on August 16, 2005

Make sure you know what a cruise entails, what the particular cruise offers, whether you're ready for it. I don't like being trapped in a cramped, floating mall bustling with horribly uninteresting tourists. That is pretty much the cruise experience.

If you enjoy prefab experiences, guided tours, mingling with loud kahki-dressed people with baseball caps and cameras hanging over their pot bellies, eating "authentic" food that has nothing to do with the local cuisine, and shopping, and shopping, and more shopping, and perhaps some gambling, then a cruise is just the thing for you.

If you're the kind of person who likes to seek out the quiet parts off the beaten track and still untouched by the tourist machine, I suggest avoiding a cruise.
posted by gentle at 2:17 PM on August 16, 2005

Cruises are floating shopping malls filled with watered-down versions of things people do on land, not to mention being breeding grounds for gastrointenstinal disorders and generally filled with banal, complacent tourists who like to experience life as passively as they watch television.
posted by jgballard at 5:00 PM on August 16, 2005

Wow, people certainly get fired up over cruises.

Yes, there are some people you'll find that fit that negative stereotype, but you'll also find people who might be looking for a non-stressful getaway where doing a whole lot of planning to see a whole lot of things won't be required. After planning a wedding and dealing with that stress are you really going to want to be organizing all your meals, excursions, island-hopping flights?

The cruise is really what you make of it. You're not forced to do anything (except the lifeboat drills).

And some of the things you do on the islands would probably be the same whether you visited on a cruise or not. I stopped in Antigua on a cruise and went kayaking in the mangrove swamps...not exactly a "banal" or "passive" activity.

I'd highly recommend Celebrity (best food) and Royal Carribbean. Although I've never been on a Windjammer cruise I've wanted to go on one forever.

And for what it's worth, your average hot tub is probably more of a breeding ground for bacteria and general nastiness than the inside of a cruise ship. Don't let that scare you.
posted by awegz at 6:11 PM on August 16, 2005

gentle, jballard -- what cruise lines/destinations disappointed you?
posted by mendel at 6:31 PM on August 16, 2005

I went on a Royal Carribean cruise a couple years ago with a friend. We went Monday-Friday in the off season and there were maybe 10 people under 50 on the whole boat. We should have taken a weekend cruise So, not the best social experience, but we did talk to a lot of serial cruisers. The consensus was that RC is the best, with the best food.
My parents went on a WindJammer cruise like 25 years ago and they LOVED it, and would go again in a second. They went on Tauk Tours cruise to Alaska last year. My parents are big fans of smaller boats. It's more laid back and you have the opportunity to really get to know people.
posted by clh at 12:42 AM on August 17, 2005

My fiancee and I are getting hitched in (counts on fingers...) about 4 weeks - and we're getting a cruise from Vancouver up the west coast of Alaska for our honeymoon.

We've never cruised before - and probably would never have considered it, except for (a) comments similar to some already posted (e.g. nice and relaxing; seeing lots of things without having too much organising, etc.), (b) my wife-to-be's family is from Vancouver/Victoria (so it's a good excuse for me to meet them!) and (c) it looks absolutely spectacular up there!

We're going on the MS Vollendam, with Holland America - if you can wait for a month or so, I'll let you know how we got on! ;-)
posted by Chunder at 5:40 AM on August 17, 2005

mendel: Sun Cruises' Seawing.
posted by gentle at 3:32 PM on August 17, 2005

Easycruise seems to fit the young and hip bill. Frankly, It looks a little too "springbreak" for me. However, I did notice a topless bather in one of the pictures.
posted by tfmm at 6:58 PM on August 18, 2005

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