PDA

View Full Version : If you had a choice..would you pick the East. or West. Caribbean?


Disney-Kim
02-05-2005, 11:28 PM
which do you think has better ports? and why do you like those ports?

thanks !!! we are planning our first cruise and trying to get ideas.

mommasita
02-05-2005, 11:39 PM
Hi, I have done both, and definitely prefer the Eastern. This is firstly due to the extra sea day. I find this much appreciately and perfectly placed in the week.

Secondly the ports on the eastern (in my opinion) are nicer, and more kid friendly. We go to the beaches, and the kids dd5, ds81/2 love it. Personally I find the Western ports a tad more commercial, and have done a ton of Mexico as a younger adult...

I think that you will find a mix of opinions here..... Enjoy whichever you do choose... :earseek:

lbgraves
02-06-2005, 12:13 AM
We prefer the Eastern and have done both once. We rebooked a Western for this year, then changed it after returning from our Western. We agree that the Eastern ports are less pushy and just more beautiful. We haven't done excursions due to the ages of our children and enjoy just walking around thru the streets near the port. The prices are also better on the Eastern route IMO. Of course this past December GC had the hurricane recovery against it & Cozumel's main road was torn up with made it very difficult to walk down the narrow sidewalk, which was also under repair, with a stroller. :( Someone posted that a shopkeeper said it had been like that for 10 months already in November. Those are both things that will hopefully improve soon & we may try the Western again next year if they do.

CPM
02-06-2005, 02:16 AM
well, I can never do the Eastern, because I won't feel like I'm on vacation if I have to get up at the crack of dawn to go to immigration at each port.
If you like to sleep in then the Eastern may not be for you either. I know a lot of people that won't do the Eastern because of this.

musicgirl
02-06-2005, 08:33 AM
We've only done the Eastern with a special Western coming up in 2006. Even though I like the thought of 2 CC stops, I really wanted to do the Eastern again but timewise it didn't fit in our schedule. I loved St. Martin and we did an awesome excursion (Capt. Nautica) in St. Thomas that I would do again in a heartbeat.

CPM mentioned getting up early at every port, it is only one and that is the morning of St. Thomas. It really isn't a big deal. We had an excursion first thing in the morning. DS-13 was a bit grumpy because he had been out until 1 or 2 in the morning, but this ended up being a time when people believed us that we actually had a ds because he was never with us!!!! LOL

TooPure4u
02-06-2005, 08:36 AM
Just got off the Western yesterday and can say I prefer the Eastern. I had a much nicer time and it was much prettier on the Eastern. I did, however, rebook onboard a Western lol. I can only take mid month off at my job because of what I do. At the time frame I rebooked for, the Westerns were all that were available. My next one will have 2 stops at CC and 1 at Costa Maya and Cozumel. As long as Grand Cayman wasnt in there, I was ok. Who knows, maybe things will change at work and then I will change the cruise dates....no big deal....ITS 600 DAYS AWAY!!!!!

:) Tracy

webray
02-06-2005, 08:54 AM
The way we chose our first cruise, hubby was marine and had been many places. I had always wanted to go to Mexico..so Western it was.

It was excellent, we had a blast.

goofygal1975
02-06-2005, 09:26 AM
I am also wondering the same thing!! I know I have a while (2007), but I do wonder about the pro's and con's of both. Keep posting the good AND the bad about each one!!! It really does help!!

Dreamer04
02-06-2005, 09:36 AM
I've been on the Western, last year. When come back from our Eastern, I'll let you know.

Disney-Kim
02-06-2005, 09:57 AM
I had not read anything about doing immigration at any of the Eastern ports? is this common on other cruise lines?

We like going to the beach and doing a little shopping. So we are looking for which cruise would off the chance to enjoy nicer beaches and shopping.

I am pretty sold on the ports of the Eastern, as them seem more exotic. (FYI...we are most likely cruising on RCCL. so stops would be Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St Marteen, and Nassau.) ;)

But I like hearing both sides. what is it you liked about one or the other?

thansks

lbgraves
02-06-2005, 09:59 AM
You only need to be up early at St. Thomas & if you don't have an excursion to go on, then you can wait until almost 7 to go down to the theater. We are use to being up 6-6:30 with the kids everyday anyway. Of coures, that was the morning they wanted to sleep in. LOL! We just put them in the strollers in their PJs & went down. They woke up before we were done.

WDWLVR
02-06-2005, 10:22 AM
We've done both and I can honestly say I love them both. If I had to pick a favorite I think I would say Eastern just for the extra sea day. I love sea days.

We did the Eastern ports on our 10 day so next up is the DVC Member Cruise (Key West and Castaway Cay) and then one of the special Westerns next year (5/27/06).

As for immagration at St. Thomas - yes it is a pain but it is only a few minutes out of your day. We had to do it Christmas morning after going to Midnight (well 11pm) Mass.

prymsu
02-06-2005, 11:21 AM
it is a tough choice because i think the snorkeling and watersports is better on the western, and I am hooked on this kind of thing, but there is nothing like having that third sea day either!

inkkognito
02-06-2005, 11:31 AM
Western all the way!!
I do like an extra sea day, but it is outweighed by that early morning immigration. Also, the Eastern seems geared to beaches; while I enjoy that, I prefer the more "active" ports on the Western. I love Key West, which is always so bustling with activity (and I've eaten the best guacamole in the world there at the sunset celebration...the Hemingway polydactyl cats are cool too). Snorkeling with the stingrays in Grand Cayman is something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime, and I never, ever get tired of Cozumel because there is way too much to do there.
Barb

thumpery
02-06-2005, 11:36 AM
Seems I'm in the minority, but we prefer the Western. We have done both. I agree that the extra day at sea is nice, but the stop at Key West is only for a 1/2 day so you can use that as mostly a sea day. We loved Stingray city in Grand Cayman and thought the people there were so nice. At Cozumel we did the Fury Caterman and had a ball! There is a mall right at the end of the pier to shop. It was a full day at one port; not just a few hours. We were able to go on the excursion and go to the mall twice. I also agree with the others about the immagration on the Eastern. It is early in the morning and the morning after the Pirate show, which you don't want to miss. So, it is a late night. We aren't sleepers, but it is hard on the kids. Just my 2 cents!

CPM
02-06-2005, 01:39 PM
CPM mentioned getting up early at every port, it is only one and that is the morning of St. Thomas. It really isn't a big deal. We had an excursion first thing in the morning. LOL


It's a big deal to me. I don't want to *have* to be told when to get up while on vacation, sorry but 7am is early for some people.

macbasset
02-06-2005, 01:50 PM
We have done the eastern three times and the western once and i think i prefer the western, because we absolutely love grand cayman. however, we are doing the eastern on march 19 again, because that was the itinerary for our easter break, but any DCL is better than none! We loved trunk bay at st. john on the eastern and enjoyed kayaking in st. maarten too. We loved the golden eagle catamarran on the eastern also. We thought 7 mile beach on grand cayman (pre- hurricanes) was spectacular and loved stingray city. snorkeling in cozumel was great too, as well as the beach party excursion. I didn't dislike any of them, but maybe like western because we have done it less. We enjoyed key west too, exploring the city, mallory square, etc. I will say we prefer the summer to the winter because we like hot, sunny days so we can appreciate the swimming, snorkeling ,etc. After doing a christmas cruise, I don't like the cooler weather and water --- especially at castaway cay--- we found it so much more enjoyable in the summer.

cjsmith
02-06-2005, 02:02 PM
Western by far! Funny thing is when we booked on board while on our first 4 night we asked the bartenders that we had become friendly with and the girl who was booking their opinions on which to do and they told us that the Eastern was better for shopping and the Western for active things and the beaches. I do find the beaches to be beautiful on all of the islands on both the eastern and the western though. I also don't want to get up really early on the St Thomas day as required by Disney, it's a big deal for me.

logan1_2000
02-06-2005, 02:52 PM
I'll add another vote for Eastern, but I have found this thread surprising because somehow over the past few years, whenever the topic had been raised, my perception had been that the Western was somewhat more popular, but this voting so far favors eastern.

We are doing another Eastern this year, but really only because that is what is scheduled for DS's spring break. I am in favor of beaches and relaxation, so the Eastern favors that, and first ever cruise on RCCL that visited St. Martin, St. Thomas and St. Croix from San Juan embarkation, so this will be the third visit to the eastern ports from the Magic. Found the shopping terrific on St. Martin, maybe even a bit better than St. Thomas. Love the sea days, and re: the early wake up, I can honstly say I do not even remember it from the last Eastern we did. Nor do I recall that from the RCCL cruise if we had to. But I am used to waking up early, and even on most weekend days I open my eyes 6ish w/o an alarm. For those who love to sleep away the morning on vacation, a 7 am wake up call is a legit reason to find a different schedule.

That said, we will sample key west and cozumel on RCCL in a year. we arent hard drinkers so the fact that our itinerary will include only 7 am to 2 pm in key west is not a problem.

on our first DCL cruise, a 4 niter on the wonder, we strolled by the sales desk, and DW mused out loud that it might be nice to take a 7 nite cruise "some day". we were amazed to be on that cruise, having been invited along to DMIL's 60th b'day celebration board with just a few weeks notice and a year or so after out first ever cruise (after which we had said we'd cruise again, but no time soon). I asked DW which of the 7 niters, east or west, and she said east. so i snuck off the next night during dinner and booked the eastern for just 7 months later.

someday, would enjoy a new itinerary, but the rotation for next year's spring break is also eastern, and DW is itching to get back to WDW, so might be a while after this april until next DCL cruise.

ChrisnSteph
02-06-2005, 07:42 PM
We have done both, and we prefer the Eastern. I thought the ports of call were better on the Eastern, however this is probably due to the fact that the Western stops, aside from Key West, are pretty beat up due to the hurricanes. Key West was nice, and would have been great if we hadn't had the kids with us. It's very commercial and is great if you want to hang out in cool bars and pubs. Grand Cayman was just ok, the beaches were pretty beat up and most of the trees are just gone. I can imagine the island was once beautiful, and there is lots of rebuilding going on, but our experience was just so-so. My husband got in a good dive there though, and the water is some of the bluest and clearest waters I've seen. Cozumel was, what can I say.....it was Mexico. We live in California a couple hours drive from the border, so Mexico isn't a big deal to us. We did the Playmia excurision, and it was bit disappointing. It was hyped up, and the beach was nice, but the buffet was awful, with barely warm food and flies everywhere. There's an open bar so there were several drunk people tossing their lunch in front of my kids. Not a fun filled adventure, let me tell you. Then we had our daughters hair braided at one of the street vendors, and we paid her what she asked for, then she yelled at us because we didn't leave a tip. She already charged more than others and she took forever to do the braiding. The locals were definitely not as friendly as some of the other islands. I heard though that if you want to do a dive, Cozumel is the place to do it. We are going to do another trip in 2007, by then the itinerary will be a little different.

musicgirl
02-06-2005, 08:06 PM
CPM, I was only trying to point out that you only have to go to immigration on 1 day only.

You do not go at St. Martin or at CC.

JPC
02-06-2005, 09:03 PM
Western all the way!!
I do like an extra sea day, but it is outweighed by that early morning immigration. Also, the Eastern seems geared to beaches; while I enjoy that, I prefer the more "active" ports on the Western. I love Key West, which is always so bustling with activity (and I've eaten the best guacamole in the world there at the sunset celebration...the Hemingway polydactyl cats are cool too). Snorkeling with the stingrays in Grand Cayman is something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime, and I never, ever get tired of Cozumel because there is way too much to do there.
Barb

I'm sold!

Aisling
02-06-2005, 09:43 PM
Having never cruised, I originally chose the western, thinking Mexico would be a more exotic port, but ended up booking the eastern because of the dates. Now, I'm so happy it worked out this way, because I think having 3 ports-of-call in addition to CC, would be too much for me. I don't want to feel like it's too much squeezed into 7 days, get off the ship, get on the ship, get off the ship, etc. The extra sea day is very appealing.

CPM
02-07-2005, 01:39 AM
CPM, I was only trying to point out that you only have to go to immigration on 1 day only.

You do not go at St. Martin or at CC.


Right, but for some people even that one day is a disruption. It may not always be as simple as you point out. My friends went on a cruyise where two couples refused to leave their cabins, until after two hours of having the entire ship wait for them to go to immigration they almost slammed their door in! EVERYONE on board has to go through, and no one can get off the ship until they do.
I've been to St Martin and St. Thomas. I think the beaches in Miami are just as nice. Just MY opinion.

Disney-Kim
03-07-2005, 05:01 PM
Wow...all these responses have been great.

But I still can't decide. We are leaning towards the Eastern.

We want to see beautiful beaches/blue water and do a little shopping. We are not divers but some in our family do snorkel. I would love a little shopping but its not that big of deal.

We are not big drinkers on vacation, so party areas are not our thing either.

The water in Cozumel just looks so beautiful !! its hard to decide.

ps...we are not interested in extra days on the ship really. We like to be active. Thanks and keep the replies coming. :)