New to cruising and looking for a summer cruise


May 25, 2014
We’ve never cruised before. I’m just beginning research for a cruise for summer of 2020. My daughter is graduating high school and I always said I’d take her on a cruise for her graduation, just the two of us. To get an idea of available cruises I looked up iteneries on several lines. I didn’t put in dates. I saw several inteneries I liked at first. I would love to try one of the Panama Canal ones that leaves from the west coast and arrives in Florida. I also saw several Carribean ones that included both the west and east. I was wanting a cruise that was between 14-20ish days and stopped in multiple countries. My goal is to see as many different places as we can. Then I started to notice none of these were offered during the summer. When I plugged in May, June, July of 19 (20 wasnt available yet) as a filter none of these longer cruises were listed.

Unfortunately we are firm on our dates as she will be graduating high school and then going off to college, we only have the end of May-July. Do all major cruise lines just not operate the longer cruises during those months? Are they just not all listed yet? Do they typically run similar iteneries the same time each year, or could I expect summer 20 to be different than summer 19?


DIS Veteran
Apr 8, 2015
Since it’s early I’d recommend going to a travel agent (or contacting an online one like Dreams Unlimited) to outline what you want to do.

As for travel, you can do “back-to-back” cruises on the same ship. In the Caribbean, ships usually alternate itineraries so that they do the Eastern side one week and Western side the next week.

And don’t limit yourself to looking at Royal. With your time restrictions you should look at other lines as well.


Jan 31, 2018
To be completely honest, I would start out with Eastern or Southern Caribbean, as those are a little nicer. Also, I would not start out with a big ship like Harmony of the Seas, that would be very stressful for a first time cruiser (in my opinion).
  • FabFourteenFamilyFun

    Feb 25, 2016
    Here’s another opinion:) Allure AND Harmony- if you can do one Saturday to Saturday, go to hotel near the next port, do your wash, and embark the next cruise on Sunday! Harmony will be from Port Everglades and Allure from Miami (I think). Check flights and ship schedules. You and your daughter will have soooo much to do! The entertainment is fantastic! We never felt the ship(April on Harmony, Western Caribbean; June 2016 on Allure Eastern Caribbean)! We had late set dining 8:00 ( we normally eat at 5 lol) it gives you so much of the day free! We aren’t nappers so we were tired after the shows- no nightcaps! I hope you can work it out to do this or with Symphony! I was with 3 generations of women on the Allure and my cousins daughter was about 20 and she requested a RC cruise in the Mediterranean for her college graduation next year. Harmony was with 4 friends- 60’s with a drink package! They all loved it - even the 8:00 dining ( they were very worried about it being too late!) So we are booked on Anthem next September! Starvenger was so helpful here. I wasn’t in charge of the Allure cruise. I did a lot more research for Harmony- they are so much alike that you will no your way around very quickly if you go from one to the other. We had Boardwalk balconies on deck 11.


    DIS Veteran
    Sep 5, 2007
    During the summer they do Europe and Alaska. Most cruises are 7 days so you could do a back to back, but I caution against that for a first timer.


    DIS Veteran
    Aug 18, 1999
    Another option is to go on a Back to Back cruise. You would go on a seven day cruise, and then stay on the same ship for another 7 day cruise. You can find a ship that does one itinerary one week, then a different one the next. You keep your same cabin and do not have to re pack. You will still have to leave the ship for a short time, but the staff escorts you to a special waiting area and then escorts you back on. The only downside that we saw is that most of the shows & entertainment stays the same. We did a B2B out of San Jaun on the Jewel of the Seas to the Southern Caribbean. They left us notes in our room about the procedures. and escorted us through the whole process on the turn around day. They even gave us a special luncheon when we got back on for the second cruise


    Dec 29, 2011
    FYI - The current rumour is that Allure is going to be in Europe for summer 2020 as she is due for her dry dock.

    Cruises through the Panama Canal are usually repositioning trips for a ship, so they don't happen too often. As mentioned above, a back-to-back cruise is one way to get a longer cruise.
  • frank808

    DVC Member
    Jul 24, 2010
    RCI has only been doing panama canals to reposition ships the past few years. I believe HAL does panama canal transits more often.

    I would do a B2B with one of the big oasis class ships for you and your daughter. One week on those big ships is not enough time to see everything. The second week you are on will help you enjoy the ship and what it has to offer in an enjoyable non rushed manner. We love doing B2B and have done almost a dozen of them.


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 7, 2015
    2-3 weeks is a long time on a cruise ship, especially if you haven't been before. I would recommend either one of the 8-12 night Southern Caribbean sailings or 8-14 night Northern Europe.

    If cost is not a major factor, then Celebrity, Holland America, Oceania, or Disney are good choices. Honestly, unless your daughter is an 'old soul', she'd probably have more fun on one of the budget lines. NCL has the best live music, RCL has the best shows, and Carnival usually has the most itinerary options. Disney is pretty good across the board, but definitely not for everyone.

    I would not do back-to-back on the same ship because shows, activities, and even menus will repeat. If you want a longer trip, consider adding a land portion before or after the cruise. You can add a week in WDW or Paris to a week long Royal Caribbean cruise for less than the cost of the DCL cruise. If you really want a memorable 2-3 week trip of a lifetime, I would consider building on to the N. European cruises, or maybe Asia.


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