Blyth - Answered a Question by Collins (13 Jan 08 15:23)

Leaving it to a late booking may mean you might not get a good stateroom and given it is a special celebration this might spoil this. We were in the Caribbena last March weather varied between 22 and 29 degrees not as hot as in June/Spetmeber but really nice. There are some lovel islands to visit and finding a 10 day cruise should not be a problem. Some of the crusie companies tolook at could be Prncess; Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We like Celebrity the best the food is fantastic and the ships all fairly mondern oldest I think is around 1992. We had the unfortunate luck on leaving Puerto Rico at 28 degrees to have to change flights on the way home at Boston only to find -18 degrees and we got snowbound for 3 days but it did not spoil our great trip.

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scales - Answered a Question by Collins (13 Jan 08 15:43)

To start with, we are not experts! Just many-times cruisers! we would pick a cruise on Celebrity 'Millennium class' ships. We have been on 3 of their 4 & the standard of service is fantastic. If that is too pricy, pick Princess line. They also gave us extremely good service & their food was slightly better than Celebrity. When you pick a balcony, don't be tempted to pick an 'obstructed view' We would recommend the Caribbean, because all the islands are different, beautiful weather & it is so simple getting off any of the islands & organising your own tours, they are so 'user-friendly'. The Med is good, don't know about March though. Also, it is well advised to let the ships do their own tours, uinless you are very good at 'doing your own thing' as the ports for places like Rome & Pisa are a fiar distance away. Some stops are on a Sunday, with reduced transport for DIY'ers. Personally we would not pick a Transatlantic during March, but others may say they have done it & it's a smooth crossing. The only reason to do a Transatlantic is to get to NYC, It's fabulous! $50-60 for two is usually averaged out on the Carib stops, as some ports of call you may just want to chill out on a beach, like Megans Bay in St. Thomas, USVI. Try & pick islands like Antigua (Nelson's Dockyard, Shirley Heights & English Harbour & a stop at Darkwood beach) & Barbados, (St. John's Church overlooking the wild Atlantic side at Bathsheba),St. Lucia for unusual trips (Pitons & Sulphur Springs). Martinique is like a Caribbean France, with a fabulous wooden church. The island of Dominica is an unspoilt tropical island. St. Kitts is quaint. Curacao has an unusual, harbour & Aruba is delicious. There are not hidden extras on board as such, but the ships are always on the lookout to part you with more of your money, like specialist restaurants, specialist ice-cream parlours, expensive spa treatments, that sort of thing, so just be aware that they are there; you don't have to spend any more on board other than for alcoholic drinks (if you are heavy social drinkers, consider the drinks packages) & shipboard tours if you want to. If you fancy a 'formal' sit-down meal every night with the same people at the same time, consider early or late seating. Late has the advantage of you chilling out a bit between getting back on board from a tour & going to dinner. The disadvantage is if you are a 'early-to-bed'er the food will rest heavily on your stomach, so pick the early dinner. Also if you fancy the formal sit-down, don't pick a table with any more than 8, less than that & it's not as sparkling a conversation always, more than that & it gets abit out of hand. Don't be afraid to speak to the Maitre D to move if some table guests are not to your liking. In 12 cruises we have never had to move, or dislike fellow guests, bearing in mind you only will be in their company for 2 weeks. We are still friends with guests from our 1st in 1997. For the informal 'pick & choose' sort of dining, most of the cruise ships now do this, but NCL Freestyle cruising is the most well-known. You have the price in mind already. Check out page 228 on teletext or the excellent cruises in the Saturday's Daily Mail or the Mail on Sunday. Or get a travel agent to work with you. When a ship comes up with your destination & preferred ship for that price go for it at that time, don't wait. Once the ships advertise, it doesn't take long for those cabins to go. Or for that matter, the flights to go & you have to be routed to your embarkation port a more convoluted way. Good luck.

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Southwell - Answered a Question by Collins (13 Jan 08 15:51)

Hi. We have done 11 cruises since we started in our 50's having travelled onvarious cruise lines. Our first advice is choose P&O line and if you don't want children around at your special time. P&O Artimis and I think Oceana, are child free. If you book early, you won't lose financially, you'll have the pick of cabins and you'll look forward to it from the time you book. If you like flying, go to the Caribbean for weather. If you're not keen on flying, there are plenty of P7O ships from Southampton to the Med,Iberia or Canaries. Your holiday starts the moment you step on board. If however, you've never seen New York and you love Broadway, Cunard do some great deals to and from New York including up to 4 nights in a great hotel. We did this on our Ruby Anniverasy and intend to do it again. I would recommend going by air to NY and sailing back to Southampton. P&O entertainment is incredible and Cunard for the 6 night crossing will match it. Have a great time whatever you do. Mike S> Southampton.

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Ingle - Answered a Question by Collins (13 Jan 08 17:22)

March is too early for the Mediterranean so the options are Carribean or maybe a final sector of a world cruise. P&O have flights from Birmingham or East Midlands to the Carribean on Ventura (new ship) and Oceana. If you go early March you can do a flyout/fly back cruise or later March a flyout and sail back to Southampton as the ships come back for the summer season. P&O do a free bus back to your departure airport. As P&O have 3 ships doing world cruises in 2009, you could do San Franciso to Southampton on Aurora, Mumbai/Southampton on Oriana, Singapore or Dubai/Southampton on Arcadi or various other combinations. These will involve flights from Heathrow. Note prices quoted normally include the cost of flights unless it specifically states "cruise only". The extras you have to pay on the ship are for drinks, beauty treatments, photography, computer access and tips. Most ships also have "speciality" restaurants where food in individually prepared and an extra cost is charged. However the normal restaurants are more than sufficient but you may want to splash out for a special day. Premiums range from £6-£15pp. Excursions can be quite expensive - assume around £30pp for half a day. In many places it is cheaper to hire a local taxi, particularly if you get together with another couple, or just explore yourself. I have always found P&O to be pretty good allround. Have a look on the P&O website but dont book on there. Phone round a few "cruise clubs" and you will get it a lot cheaper. I would suggest you book now to be certain of getting what you want. You only have to pay 10% deposit. Look out for any special offers such as on board credit, which cna be used for on board spend including excursions. A word of warning - cruises can become very addictive. Bria.

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Johnstone - Answered a Question by Collins (13 Jan 08 17:43)

Personally, I would not do a transatlantic crossing to/from NYC at that time of year as you may face rough seas. Arepositioning voyage where a ship is leaving either South America or the Caribbean to move to the med for the summer season over here is a different matter entirely. That can be a great combination of getting usually a week in the Caribbean, then 5 relaxing days at sea just to chill out, papmper yourself in the Spa, go to classes or whatever you fancy, then see a bit of the Med too. This has the advantage of not having the awful overnight flight back from the US which can sometimes take a bit of the sparkle off the holiday experince. If you like heat and sunshine, I'd tend to leave the Med for later in the year during the summer although if you pick a cruise that goes down to Lanzarote, madeira or tenerife it might be a bit warmer there. March is certainly a good time to head out to the Caribbean. I'd suggest that you book early rather than late. I've had some good deals leaving it to the very last minute but could not get the cabin type I wanted (ended up with an inside both times I did this). I've just booked to go on the Caribbean Princess next January and there was a discount for booking early and I got a good choice of cabin. Why not look at the Cruise Offer section on this website for mar 09 and look at which fall in to your price range for the length of holiday you want. then have a look at the reviews on those ships, that will give you a better idea. cruising is a fantastic experience and what ever you end up choosing, you will have a fantastic tim.

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Summerfield - Answered a Question by Collins (13 Jan 08 18:08)

CAN I SURGEST YOU TRY A WEEKENDER TO SEE IF YOU WOULD LIKE IT AS WE DID AND LOVED IT THE oCEANA IS A GOOD SHIP TO TRY BUT THEE Arcadia is child free adult only.By me wife is in a wheelchair and there was nothing she could not do on both ships,but i reconmend a cabin with a balcony.

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