Travel

Cruise vacation?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 16th, 2019 4:13 pm
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[OP]
Member
May 2, 2017
279 posts
27 upvotes
Scarborough

Cruise vacation?

Hey all,

My parents are extremely interested in going on a cruise and want my brother and I to go with them (we are in our late 20s). Both my parents only speak Cantonese and a little bit of Mandarin. I have no experience in this and looking for some recommendations. Preferably all inclusive. 5-8 Days.

Friends have suggested that I go to the Caribbeans but I really have no idea.


Edit:
Budget under 1500 per person?
Time: sometime in August.
Interest: I'm adaptable


Thanks in advance.
Last edited by SimonL150 on Jun 10th, 2019 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
28 replies
Sr. Member
Apr 19, 2017
551 posts
398 upvotes
Caribbean is best for first timers.

https://www.sunwing.ca/en/cruise-travel
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Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
8146 posts
2454 upvotes
Toronto
Are your parents with you to fly out of Toronto? Suggest you go on travel sites and look up possible cruises for your time frame and length of cruise. That'll give you some idea.

The closest cruises from Toronto would be from Florida for Caribbean cruises, or from Boston/New York/Baltimore, for Caribbean or Canada/New England cruises. Or you can fly to the west coast for Riviera Maya cruises, or one way cruises to Hawaii. Or fly to Honolulu for a week cruise around Hawaiian islands. Or fly to Europe for cruises there.

Lots of choices. Do some searches, look at some possibilities and go from there.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
8790 posts
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Eastern Ontario
Love cruising...
But you won’t find me doing so in August in the US Deep South, or the Caribbean
TOO DANG HOT
Plus it’s Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1st thru November 30th)
And it traditionally kicks into high gear August thru October
Don’t want to be cruising around in that mess

Save your money
And go in the middle of Canada’s frickin eternal winter
THEN cruising the Caribbean is AWESOME
Sr. Member
Oct 13, 2011
515 posts
296 upvotes
SimonL150 wrote:
Jun 10th, 2019 4:27 pm
Hey all,

My parents are extremely interested in going on a cruise and want my brother and I to go with them (we are in our late 20s). Both my parents only speak Cantonese and a little bit of Mandarin. I have no experience in this and looking for some recommendations. Preferably all inclusive. 5-8 Days.

Friends have suggested that I go to the Caribbeans but I really have no idea.


Edit:
Budget under 1500 per person?
Time: sometime in August.
Interest: I'm adaptable


Thanks in advance.
If you sail out of NYC on the biggest and newest ship, your parents should find a lot of fellow passengers who are Chinese. And if they sail on Royal Caribbean, they will find a lot of dining staff who are from China.
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Feb 22, 2016
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For something different, especially if you don't like heat, consider Alaska (obviously in the summer). Most cruises leave out of Seattle or Vancouver, unless you're doing a one-way in which case you'll start or end in Anchorage.
Sr. Member
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Dec 24, 2007
778 posts
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BC
SimonL150 wrote:
Jun 10th, 2019 4:27 pm
I have no experience in this and looking for some recommendations. Preferably all inclusive. 5-8 Days.
Budget under 1500 per person?
Time: sometime in August.
For just trying out the cruise experience, Caribbean is the place to go as lots of Megaships and possibility of getting deals at this late date for a first time cruising (Western Caribbean would be my choice as the port of calls are more interesting). Alaska is also good in the summer and sails out of Vancouver and more likely to have Chinese passengers if that's what your parents want to hang out with. Other destinations like New England, Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia are more destination cruising and probably will exceed your budget.

As for the cruise lines - they target certain market segments so depends upon what cruising experience you want:
Value - Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC, and Norwegian are less expensive, more fun and party activities, targeted at younger age group - more passengers
Premium - Princess, Celebrity, and Holland America are litte more expensive and are more comfort, quality and style. Food and cabin is better and less crowded.
Premium plus - Disney

As for the Value brands, my order of preferences are: Royal Carribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and MSC.

Whatever you decide do not book through the Cruise Lines as they do not offer much in terms of perks - they'd rather you do it with a travel agent. I use Vacationstogo.com to narrow down what cruise to take (the pricing is the pretty much the same in US$ everywhere) and then go through CostCoTravel.ca online to book my cruise as CostCo gives back a portion of the Booking price as refundable shipboard credits (i.e. if you don't use the $$$ up while on board, you can get it cashed out). If you're not a member of CostCo, use Expedia as they also offer additional onboard credits. Ignore the Brochure price as it's like Manufacturer List Price as nobody pays full price - discounts and promotions are offered almost every month. Princess just had their May promotion of Prepaid Gratuities and $60 onboard credit, just have to wait for the next one.

As part of the cruise experience, you'll be offered optional shore excursion while in port, I would skip those offered by the ship unless you have some Cruise Line onboard credits you need to use up since those credits are not refundable. Although they are convenient since arranged by the ship, they are much more expensive. You can find and book private shore excursions yourself online and save money. Just don't miss returning back to the ship on time as they will sail away without you.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2005
4032 posts
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Scarborough
SimonL150 wrote:
Jun 10th, 2019 4:27 pm
Hey all,

My parents are extremely interested in going on a cruise and want my brother and I to go with them (we are in our late 20s). Both my parents only speak Cantonese and a little bit of Mandarin. I have no experience in this and looking for some recommendations. Preferably all inclusive. 5-8 Days.

Friends have suggested that I go to the Caribbeans but I really have no idea.


Edit:
Budget under 1500 per person?
Time: sometime in August.
Interest: I'm adaptable


Thanks in advance.
Cruises are not like AI Resorts, most of them is a la cart. You can buy a drink package, but the price will go up.

My parents live in Scarborough and they book their cruises through a travel agency. I think one of them is UCruising. They have pretty decent prices. When I come to what I pay through the cruise line's website, the flight is almost free through them. A lot of the Chinese travel agency have group tours on cruises, if language is an issue with talking to people.

Royal Caribbean is a safe choice.

Note: August is hurricane season in the Caribbean and there will be tons of kids on most cruises. For August, I would recommend Alaska.
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Nov 20, 2012
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Narkham
Budget friendly: there are often deals for interior cabins (no windows) that are buy 1 get one free/50% off. Boarding in NYC/Ft Lauderdale.

Personally recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines. Never had a bad experience with them.
RFD is the reason I live in poverty.
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Jul 12, 2003
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Markham
OP, if your parents are Chinese and doesn't mind joining tours. You can check at your local Chinese Travel Agencies.
All you do is to get yourself to the airport, they will arrange transportation from airport to the port and arrange the dining seating, rooms and all other stuff for you. At the port, they will arrange local transportation and bring you around.
Most of the time they get better deal on planes and cruise cabinets because they order from airlines and Cruise company in large quantity.

There is NGH Tour, EC Travel, etc....
Probably less headache as a first time Cruiser.


Wife and I first cruiser on our own in 2014 to East Caribbean. We arranged our own hotel (arrived 1 day prior) and arrange a bus to drop us to Miami Port. We loved cruising since then.
We took the risk and cruise on Sept, after the labor day to avoid the school kids. The fare is much cheaper probably due to the Hurricane Season, but the weather was perfect. We loved it.


I'm opposite to the poster above. I would avoid Norwegian at all cost. Keep hearing horrible stories are this cruiseline.I started with Carnival, which is more budget friendly and younger crowed, since then I cruised with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity which are even better cruiseline.
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May 10, 2005
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Ottawa
If your parents are asking you to go, then clearly you will be their interpreter and company on the cruise.
Right now there are many sales on Caribbean cruises on almost every cruise line. You did not say if you are looking for adventure or relaxation or sightseeing. Cruises offer all of these but some lines offer more of some than the other.

I suggest you go to a travel agent, one that specifically caters to the Chinese community. I have been made aware that there are quite a few in the GTA. They will have lots of specific information to make your decision easier. Many travel agents will also up the offers that the lines are making right now (onboard credits etc).

Summer is a off period for cruises and you can easily find some within your budget.

One tip, cruse prices are often dependent on where your cabin is located. An inside cabin (no windows) is the cheapest and a cabin with just a window is next and a cabin with a balcony is the most. Also, location on the ship is also a price dependency, lower decks are cheaper and front and back is cheaper.
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Aug 22, 2011
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Ottawa
+1 for Alaska.
Fly to Anchorage, rent a car and drive down to the port of call, which is about a 2hr drive on a very scenic route.
Lots of sightseeing and tourists attractions along the highway, without having to veer off to far.
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Nov 20, 2012
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MP3_SKY wrote:
Jun 11th, 2019 2:00 pm
I'm opposite to the poster above. I would avoid Norwegian at all cost. Keep hearing horrible stories are this cruiseline.I started with Carnival, which is more budget friendly and younger crowed, since then I cruised with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity which are even better cruiseline.
Interested to hear your opinion. What stories are there? I've been on maybe 5-6 NCL and 1 Carnival. Carnival was worse by far IMO!
RFD is the reason I live in poverty.
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Jan 15, 2017
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If you are interested in Alaska, Holland America currently has a great promotion: up to 50% off for you and your guest and bring two more for free. https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/de ... -crew.html

Now, this means that 4 people will share the same cabin. With 4 adults, I recommend a larger cabin. A Signature Suite, Neptune Suite or Pinnacle Suite. Taxes, fees and port charges apply for all guests.
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skeet50 wrote:
Jun 12th, 2019 3:37 pm
If you are interested in Alaska, Holland America currently has a great promotion: up to 50% off for you and your guest and bring two more for free. https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/de ... -crew.html

Now, this means that 4 people will share the same cabin. With 4 adults, I recommend a larger cabin. A Signature Suite, Neptune Suite or Pinnacle Suite. Taxes, fees and port charges apply for all guests.
Have you cruised with Holland America before?
The ship for the Alaskan cruise looks very nice.

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