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Bowker - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 13:01)

Hello, I am a fan of both RCI and NCL and yes I agree with everything written below although we had no problem finding a table in the main dining with NCL, perhaps it depends on the number of people on the ship........if you can coax him around yes RCI does have formal nights and the evening is very enjoyable if he will not participate there are always places on the ship where he can eat in peace without dressing up. We are due to go on Brilliance of the Seas and I am informed on this site that the Brilliance is one of RCIs better ships. NCL does formal if you wish to participate if not smart casual is accepted. On our last sailing with NCL I actually donned the dinner suit went up top and found that I was in a very small minority. I looked too much out of place so went back to the cabin and changed to trousers and shirt…..Drinks, a little more expensive than at home but for how much most people drink will a few shillings spoil a holiday? I think not. ....Wine I have just saved 25% by prepaying for the Wine package at £84 for 7 bottles on a ten night cruise. Regards .

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Bradbury - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 12:33)

NCL offer freestyle cruising - you can eat where you want, but if you want to eat in the main dining room you have to book a table. It is a pain having to book each day and often you have to wait if you try to go ad hoc and they issue you with a pager to let you know a table is ready. It does offer a more laid back approach to dress. Personally I would favour Royal Caribbean. Even on formal nights providing you have a nice suit/smart clothes you will be acceptable, but it really is nice to make the effort and go for the DJ etc. If you type wine into the search box you will find some useful info regarding wine on R.C. You really need to speak to a cruise specialist agency/club such as the freephone number at top of page. Never go to the high street Travel Agent has even though they all seem to have there so called 'inhouse cruise specialist' they usually really dont have a clue. A specialist cruise agent will have far more knowledge.

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brindle - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 13:02)

Royal Caribbean is what i would reccomend, cant think of the price of drinks but they are not silly prices and about the same as every where you would go, as for the dress code you really can dress how you want !

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Brown - replied to brindle (20 Jan 09 19:33)

Not quite true - they've won't let you eat in the main dining room in jeans and a t-shirt! However, you can eat in the windjammer (self service) dressed in practically anything. We went on Voyager a couple of years ago and going with RCI again this year. I, too love to dress up but have a reluctant husband.........I dressed up and he wore a plain suit, which was fine. If your's won't even wear a suit, he would probably be okay in smart jacket and trousers .......if not dress up and go without him ! (to the main dining room I mean).

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Wilba - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 13:19)

The first suggestion is book through a cruise specialist who can help & advise. A travel agent who needs to research cruises should be avoided at all costs. NCL are pretty informal these days, to say the least, & your suggestion of RCI would be a far better option to suit both your needs. On Formal nights many gents wear suit & tie these days, even though a DJ can be purchased for less than fifty quid from Matalan, Tesco’s, Asda etc, there are plenty of alternate dining options if you can’t twist his arm to conform. The freestyle dining on NCL is either a love or hate thing, personally I find it a pain you know where, but each to there own. If I could make one further comment, like me a Silver Wedding age group & probably a first time cruiser, whichever line you decide on, I would avoid the new Mega/Superliner breed of ships, lots of queues, kids, & more queues. RCI’s Radiance class, P&O’s Oriana, Aurora, Oceana size of ship offers a more traditional cruise experience & finally read the reviews of ALL the cruise lines, orange button top left of the page, & speak to a specialist freephone number top right……Regards Wilba.

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Cooke - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 13:30)

As Wilba advises, read the reviews and form a judgement from them. Obviously with the rate of exchange as it is, anything priced in dollars works out more expensive than a year ago. Remember the American companies add 15% to all drinks prices. This probably doesn't matter much as it's a special celebration. Unless you are very fond of children and teenagers again Wilba is correct in saying that the floating shopping malls are probably not the best choice. Depending on where you wish to go you could consider Fred Olsen or Page & Moy, espcially for Norway. Both run small ships with a reputation for friendliness and service. Smaller cabins and less choice of entertainment, but as they say you pays your money and takes your choice. Congratulations on the anniversary, have a good holiday.

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BLYTH - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 13:36)

Just to add to what Wilba said how short a cruise, 5;7 or 10 days and what time of the year. If your anniversary falls July to November then the Caribbean is risky we celebrated our 25th in 2004 but two bad hurricanes lasting over our 14 day cruise meant we never got any further than Heathrow. There are a number of good short cruises out of Southampton; Amsterdam and the Med including leaving from Barcelona. You might want to extend the break with a few days in a hotel, my advice would be hotel for whatever period and then your cruise. Most people I have spoken too agree going from a lovely cruise on a ship to X days in a hotel is not the best idea, but we all have different tastes. Just some more thoughts to mull over.

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BLYTH - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 13:41)

Just one more thought a wine package is a good idea we tend just to go for a bottle of wine and quite good ones come in the bracket $25/$35 and we make it last two nights as we usually have some drinks before and after dinner, they will cork the bottle and bring it back to your table the following evening.

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Cooke - Answered a Question by Ritchie (20 Jan 09 13:46)

Another thought - you have a little while to work on your husband re the Dinner suit issue. Without becoming too obvious, remark on the attractiveness, sexyness etc. of any man in a DJ. Admiring remarks to female friends work best (the direct approach turns my husband into a mule!). When out shopping - yes, that's rare in our house too - casually steer him towards the DJs, I guarantee a salesman will ask if you are going on a cruise. Let the salesman take it from there. I've actually got my husband to wear a proper bowtie this year, instead of the hideous ready tied version he previously insisted on. Perseverance pays. Perhaps buying him a DJ for an anniversary present would be a bit OTT though!

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Setter - replied to Cooke (21 Jan 09 17:36)

If you lived within a shorter driving distance of Devon, I might suspect my Husband of commiting bigamy!!He has such similar mulish tendancies to your Husband!! (It's reassuring to know there are others like it, Ithink!) .

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Nicola Milligan's blog

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