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Old 10-20-2012, 10:06 AM   #16
Zeppelin
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Originally Posted by tvguy View Post
My observation too, and as someone else mentioned, the Easterns are more expensive than the Westerns which implies they are more popular.
I have a hard time putting Western and Caribbean together, you just don't go far enough south to be Caribbean to me. Grand Cayman is only about 450 miles south of Florida, and Cozumel 560 miles. St. Thomas is 1100 miles, St. Maarteen is about 1300 miles south. And the further south you go, the closer to the equator, the warmer the weather. I loved my Alaska cruise, but to me a Caribbean cruise means warm weather, even in January. The average temperature is about 10 degrees warmer in St Thomas and St. Maarten than Cozumel and Grand Cayman in January.
i always figured it was a little more expensive because you have one more full day at sea versus the port which means more food and beverage consumption on the ship...
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:42 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the replies. I, too, noticed the big swing toward Western. Cost was also mentioned, although in my limited research cost seems much more related to date of sailing rather than itinerary.

We are now exploring a few options:

1) Fantasy Eastern/Western right before school starts with extended stay in FL (we are DVC and "home" is AK, but we are using our points for TDL so we will visit a friend and rent a beach house instead). I think for this we are mostly going for the ship. We will flip flop the extra week depending on which sailing we choose. I am not thrilled about this because it seems so pricey for just the ship. Is the Fantasy THAT much worth it?

2) Don't listen to the school and take the boys out anyway for a Labor Day cruise (Western) for $2K less! They would only miss four days, is that so bad? Haha

3) Take them out for three days at Thanksgiving and pay about the same as mid-Aug. DH is not excited about this one because he thinks we will run into hurricanes haha.

4) Forget the whole Caribbean thing and take the Magic from Barcelona! I looooove Spain and Italy (did a summer semester in Florence during undergrad).

Now I know why we never cruise during August. So expensive!!!
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:15 PM   #18
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We have done two Westerns and one Eastern. Our next cruise is an Eastern.

We prefer the Eastern for the two Sea Days up front and the one Sea Day later.

However, if I were you I'd opt for the Western over Labor Day to save money. Yes, there may be a hurricane, but we've cruise in September 3 times and have never had an issue. Just buy cruise insurance.

Good luck choosing.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by KSDisneyDad
We have done two Westerns and one Eastern. Our next cruise is an Eastern.

We prefer the Eastern for the two Sea Days up front and the one Sea Day later.

However, if I were you I'd opt for the Western over Labor Day to save money. Yes, there may be a hurricane, but we've cruise in September 3 times and have never had an issue. Just buy cruise insurance.

Good luck choosing.
Okay so I am assuming the weather is still blazing' hot for Labor Day, right?

I think we might do Siesta Key the week before and the Labor Day cruise - definitely more bang for my buck. It's not like they're gonna not get into college of they miss the first week of school. AND we can go to some Rays games woo hoo!
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:44 PM   #20
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twopeasonepod, with the amount that you guys like to travel, you should just homeschool, then school attendance wont be an issue! We homeschool and therefore can take lengthy vacations whenever we want, because i make our own school schedule. We just got home Tuesday night from our 24 day vacation to Disney World and Bahamas on the Disney Dream. I could never take them out of school for that long!

as for the topic at hand, we were also debating between the E and W Caribb for next Sept. We opted for the W. I believe it will be a more culturally-rich experience for us. My degree is in Spanish and I teach my kids Span, so this influenced our decision. I will have to start researching the best port excursions for us.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:30 AM   #21
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twopeasonepod, with the amount that you guys like to travel, you should just homeschool, then school attendance wont be an issue! We homeschool and therefore can take lengthy vacations whenever we want, because i make our own school schedule. We just got home Tuesday night from our 24 day vacation to Disney World and Bahamas on the Disney Dream. I could never take them out of school for that long!

as for the topic at hand, we were also debating between the E and W Caribb for next Sept. We opted for the W. I believe it will be a more culturally-rich experience for us. My degree is in Spanish and I teach my kids Span, so this influenced our decision. I will have to start researching the best port excursions for us.
I definitely admire you for homeschooling your kids. I could never do it. I don't have the patience, plus I have to bring home the bacon! I am a private practice psychologist and my husband works from home as a web developer - which is why we can travel so much (I make my own schedule and he still works while we are on vacation). And what would I do when they know more than me??? Hahaha that day will come sooner than I can predict!

I like your opinion on culture! That is pretty big for me. I want the boys to experience as much diversity as possible.

What did you think of the Dream? And the Bahamas? I don't want to have to do a B2B and Nassau doesn't sound that great, but maybe I am missing something?
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:34 AM   #22
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i always figured it was a little more expensive because you have one more full day at sea versus the port which means more food and beverage consumption on the ship...
And more sales of booze and bingo cards.

We always have all our meals on the ship, even when in port, so never really thought about that.

I do know that on NCL Americas Pride of America, when we sailed on her, there are 2 ports where you overnight......and the big issue the dining staff was having was dealing with how many people where choosing to eat on the ship, and THEN go into town at night, rather than go into town to eat.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:28 AM   #23
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What did you think of the Dream? And the Bahamas? I don't want to have to do a B2B and Nassau doesn't sound that great, but maybe I am missing something?
The Dream is wonderful! It was our second time on the Dream. We dont feel a special draw to Nassau either, so we prefer to stay on the ship. It is rather empty that day, as the majority get off the ship. It is the best time to experience the Aquaduck without outrageous lines, and also do the Midship Detective Agency. We were so lucky this time to receive a complimentary upgrade to concierge. It was amazing!!

are u still considering a cruise to / from Barcelona? That is my dream cruise!! So i would vote for that one! i also LOOOVE Spain! So i would have to plan on staying there for a few weeks either before or after the cruise. I studied there for a semester undergrad. 8 wonderful months i stayed!!
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twopeasonepod
We are now exploring a few options:

1) Fantasy Eastern/Western right before school starts with extended stay in FL (we are DVC and "home" is AK, but we are using our points for TDL so we will visit a friend and rent a beach house instead). I think for this we are mostly going for the ship. We will flip flop the extra week depending on which sailing we choose. I am not thrilled about this because it seems so pricey for just the ship. Is the Fantasy THAT much worth it?

2) Don't listen to the school and take the boys out anyway for a Labor Day cruise (Western) for $2K less! They would only miss four days, is that so bad? Haha

3) Take them out for three days at Thanksgiving and pay about the same as mid-Aug. DH is not excited about this one because he thinks we will run into hurricanes haha.

4) Forget the whole Caribbean thing and take the Magic from Barcelona! I looooove Spain and Italy (did a summer semester in Florence during undergrad).

Now I know why we never cruise during August. So expensive!!!
I would choose:

1) Longest vacation first
2) Magic in Europe
3) Fantasy Eastern
4) Fantasy Western

A few notes - we prefer the Eastern. St. John is our all time favorite port, and, we love Sea Days. We rotate between eastern & westerns (see signature & tickers), but are set on 2 Easterns in 2014 (unless DCL surprises us with a new fancy locale or southern Caribbean). Also, we live in FL & don't have the hurricane-fear issue, so time of year is not a big deal for us. We actually prefer to cruise when it's warmer. 2014 we are sticking to school breaks tho - no more taking DD out if school.

And, I would only consider the Dream if you were short on time & they were doing a 5-night double dip. We love Castaway Cay & have only gotten off at Nassau on our 1st cruise back in 2005. We prefer the longer cruises & the Fantasy over the Dream (although love the classic ships even more). I don't think a B2B would be very exciting when instead I could have uninterrupted time on the Fantasy instead.

Just my opinion!!!

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