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Guru
01-28-2011, 11:16 PM
When is the most affordable time to visit Hawaii or take a cruise in the Caribbean or Bahamas? Also, on the cruise front, which is the best of the cruise lines?

jd1020
01-29-2011, 12:20 AM
Swim.

Guru
01-29-2011, 12:29 AM
Well, I hope things get more interesting in this thread over the weekend. I don't know the first thing about selecting a cruise and would want to keep a Hawaii vacation as affordable as possible.

TrebMaxx
01-29-2011, 12:34 AM
We like to go to the U.S. Virgin Islands. We have found that for the best price the time to go is right before or the start of hurricane season. Later part of June through the first part of July. It's a risk because of the storms but so far after 5 trips we have never had bad weather. Note: Towards the end of July a lot of the places shut down as it is their down season.

God of Thunder
01-29-2011, 12:57 AM
Also, "spur of the moment" is the best time to go....... The closer it is to 'cruise time' the cheaper the cruise gets because the liner just wants to fill as many rooms as possible. I have done cruises on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. For me, RC wins hands down.....seemed to me that it was a much classier ship.

WV
01-29-2011, 01:02 AM
Not sure about time of year off hand, but I preferred Carnival to Royal Caribbean. The median age was lower and it had a more laid back atmosphere. A lot is based on personal preference though.

Guru
01-29-2011, 01:10 AM
What about the fact we have 4 kids. Does that change any opinions on the cruise line?

God of Thunder
01-29-2011, 01:45 AM
When I went, which was Carnival in 2005 and RC in 2006, it seemed like it was more of a party atmosphere on Carnival where it was more of a relaxed family atmostphere on RC. Thats my experience with them.

googlegoogle
01-29-2011, 01:48 AM
Why not Egypt?

Guru
01-29-2011, 02:13 AM
Why not Egypt?If I could travel via Stargate I would do it in a heartbeat.

wheeler08
01-29-2011, 02:15 AM
We went to Hawaii at end of May, 2 years ago. Thats considered the slow time of the year. The waves aren't as big on North Shore, so there is no surfing competitions going on. Winter is busier and surfing season.
Going to Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day is something I will never forget.

wheeler08
01-29-2011, 02:17 AM
Why not Egypt?

Yeah, I hear Cairo is really nice place right now. :bang:

Spott
01-29-2011, 06:18 AM
The cruises are generally more expensive in the summer and are cheaper when you get them in advance. Carnival is generally more af a party cruise and Royal Caribbean is a little nicer and more family oriented. I would go on one of the bigger ships even if it costs a little more. The food on Royal Caribbean is excellent, btw. If you plan the cruise long enough ahead of time, you can plan your own indepent excursions instead of the ones offered by the ships. You would be surpised how much more there is to do on one of the islands besides the activites they give you to choose from. If you're into playing basketball or volleyball I would bring your own ball(assuming the ship has courts to play on).

Bwana
01-29-2011, 07:22 AM
Yeah, I hear Cairo is really nice place right now. :bang:

:D

Or, numerous places in Mexico would be an "adventure" right now. On this episode of Fear Factor, young Biff eats raw bison testicles and walks the streets of Mexico at night.

Bwana
01-29-2011, 07:26 AM
As far as your question Gu, it's all over the board. I will tell you this, if I was going to go to Hawaii, or the Caribbean, I would do it in the winter. If you can lay waste to a week or two of winter, while basking in the sun and drinking cold beer, that's never a bad thing. I'm heading back to Belize in a couple of weeks myself.

BigRedChief
01-29-2011, 07:43 AM
What about the fact we have 4 kids. Does that change any opinions on the cruise line?Of course. Carnival is your best choice by far. They have activities planned all day for each age group. They have clubs they join, they make friends and plan supervised activites for them. allowing you to enjoy yourself without worrying about them.

Best time to cruise is when kids are in school. Worst is spring break and Christmas. Theres a website/forum that you can get all your questions answered and they tolerate n00b questions really well, Go to http://boards.cruisecritic.com/

We have cruised out of New Orleans and Miami on Carnival. Had a fantastic time on both trips.

Saulbadguy
01-29-2011, 08:17 AM
Carnival. Its the least expensive and has the most activities for kids and young people. When I say "young" I mean under 55.

BigRedChief
01-29-2011, 08:22 AM
Carnival. Its the least expensive and has the most activities for kids and young people. When I say "young" I mean under 55.yeah, compare apples to apples on a cruise and Carnival will be $200-$300 cheaper per passenger than the other crusie line.

bevischief
01-29-2011, 08:31 AM
http://www.kayak.com

Oz_Chief
01-29-2011, 09:05 AM
I was on Oahu last July and it was pretty busy with family vacations. Concierge told me that August/September was a quiet time because the families are back in school. Not sure if quiet = cheapest, but I assume so.

DaneMcCloud
01-29-2011, 10:04 AM
Summer time is "offseason" in Hawaii. I'd suggest the Hilton Waikoloa on the big island with maybe a couple days on Oahu.

jspchief
01-29-2011, 10:09 AM
If you're looking for "budget" hawaii, just put the trip off until you can afford it. That's not a place you go to on a tight budget. Period. Particularly compared to cruises and south american resort areas.

LocoChiefsFan
01-29-2011, 10:29 AM
Hawaii seems like a really expensive place to vacation. My wife and I booked a cruise for March on Carnival. Really inexpensive I thought. It's our 1st cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. Let ya know how it was when we get back.

DrRyan
01-29-2011, 11:12 AM
As far as your question Gu, it's all over the board. I will tell you this, if I was going to go to Hawaii, or the Caribbean, I would do it in the winter. If you can lay waste to a week or two of winter, while basking in the sun and drinking cold beer, that's never a bad thing. I'm heading back to Belize in a couple of weeks myself.

You will definitely pay more going to HI in the winter. A lot more actually. But, if you are living in KC, or somewhere else with a cold winter, it is probably money well spent. I live in Phoenix now, so going to HI in the summer is the best of both worlds for us. Cheaper in the summer and the ideal time to get out of AZ.

I was on Oahu last July and it was pretty busy with family vacations. Concierge told me that August/September was a quiet time because the families are back in school. Not sure if quiet = cheapest, but I assume so.

I personally have soooooo many other places in HI I will visit before finally going to Oahu. Maui (again and again and again), Kauai and the Big Island all have so much more of what I am interested in in HI than Oahu does. October is a great time to go as well, kids back is school so it is not nearly as busy and you still get the cheaper rates before they go through the roof at Thanksgiving.

If you're looking for "budget" hawaii, just put the trip off until you can afford it. That's not a place you go to on a tight budget. Period. Particularly compared to cruises and south american resort areas.

I would agree with this, HI is not a cheap vacation any way you slice it. I think my wife and I spent around $6k for 11 days in Maui which seems to be pretty cheap when we did everything we wanted to do and could fit in the 11 days. Eating seemed to be where you are going to cough up the most $ on the trip. That said, if you are wanting to do the HI vacation and save some money and still stay in a nice place, check out vrbo.com and really nice place and pay a fraction of what the low end hotel room will cost you each night.

Feel free to PM me if you would like any more recommendations or specifics.

Bwana
01-29-2011, 11:31 AM
You will definitely pay more going to HI in the winter. A lot more actually. But, if you are living in KC, or somewhere else with a cold winter, it is probably money well spent. I live in Phoenix now, so going to HI in the summer is the best of both worlds for us. Cheaper in the summer and the ideal time to get out of AZ.




Without question you will pay more in the winter, but for me, being able to ditch two weeks of winter here in Montana, makes it worth it. I have done Hawaii twice and that's enough to be honest. There is no such thing as a "cheap trip to Hawaii," just expensive, or more expensive.

KChiefs1
01-29-2011, 11:35 AM
My wife & I just got back from two days in Honolulu & eight days in Maui.

Stayed in a condo on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu...did the whole Pearl Harbor experience for a day along with the Punch Bowl. We climbed Diamond Head the next day along with the beach & shopping. Flew to Maui. Had a condo on Ka'anapali Beach with a convertible & we did whale watching, Road to Hana, ziplined, relaxed, shopped at Lahaina, drank & ate A LOT, relaxed A LOT.

I believe we spent about $10K for the 10 days but we did just about everything we wanted to do...

Rain Man
01-29-2011, 06:31 PM
go to vacationstogo.com. great place to compare cruises and when I went to alaska I got a better total price (with store credits or whatever) than I could at the cruise line's site.

i've been on cunard and holland. cunard is way better for adults but would throw children overboard.
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JD10367
01-29-2011, 06:43 PM
When is the most affordable time to visit Hawaii or take a cruise in the Caribbean or Bahamas? Also, on the cruise front, which is the best of the cruise lines?

First of all: the best resource is the website cruisecritic.com, which has more info than you can shake your pecker at. You can find threads about the cruise line, the ship itself, even the ports of call (where you can interact with people who actually live there, find out what's best to do, what tour companies to go with, etc.,.). It's a vBulletin site so you should feel very familiar with it.

To answer your question in short: "shoulder" seasons are always cheaper, just like going to Disney World. It's cheaper in June and September than it is in July and August. But it varies greatly by cruise line and by week, even, as the cabin fees--like Vegas hotels--are driven by occupancy. In general, a cruise is cheapest when it first gets released to the public, then the price goes up slowly, and then right before the cruise if it's not sold out it gets cheap again (as they're trying to fill the ship). For research purposes, the best thing to do is go to a site like travelocity.com and enter a few search parameters, and it'll bring up some cruises based on lowest fare, and then when you click on the cruise you'll see all the weeks listed and how much it fluctuates. My wife and I tend to book our cruise based on price, not on when it is. You might call up a three week period, for example, and see this:

September 12-18: Inside $579, Outside $899, Balcony $1099
September 18-24: Inside $559, Outside $859, Balcony $1199
September 24-30: Inside $599, Outside $879, Balcoy $999

So from that example, you might go for 9/24-30 if you want a balcony as it's a relatively small increase over the outside cabin. But if you just want an outside, you'd go for 9/18-24.

Now, for the Caribbean, you need to beware of hurricane season, which runs roughly mid- to late-September to mid-November. Cruises are cheapest, but there's the possibility of skipping/changing ports or even cutting a cruise short.

My wife and I tend to cruise March through early June, September, or December.

Cruise lines: it's hard to go wrong with the big names. In general, the cheapest cruises are on Carnival, which used to be called "the party line" but has tamed somewhat. Still, if you take a short Caribbean cruise, you'll likely find a lot of young drunks; if you take a longer cruise and/or a non-Caribbean you'll find more sedate folks. Royal Caribbean and Princess are also mainstream, although Princess tends to be a little pricier. Celebrity is more money, as is Holland America and Norwegian. Norwegian gets fairly bad reviews, although we enjoyed our Hawaii cruise with them.

For Hawaii: due to a law on the books, any foreign-flagged vessel visiting a U.S. port must also visit a foreign port. Almost all cruise ships are foreign-flagged. This becomes an issue when it comes to Hawaii. Because of the law, most cruise lines do a one-way cruise out of either Vancouver or Mexico that has a few sea days before reaching Hawaii. So, if you go that route, you need more time off (takes 10-14 days). And you need to know you won't go crazy while crossing the ocean. But there's one alternative: Norwegian has one lone American-flagged vessel, the Pride Of America, which allows them to do cruises right out of Honolulu that island-hop and come back to Honolulu. The advantage to this is that you can just fly round-trip to Honolulu, and see the islands in 7 days. That's what my wife and I did.

Stinger
01-29-2011, 06:58 PM
With cruises the cheapest time to go is late Summer through fall. That is the hurricane season and school is in so they really lower their prices at that time. As far as what cruiseline for kids IMO Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Their ships are best suited for families with tons of things to do. Although if you are looking for more room in the cabin go with Carnival.

JD already mentioned http://cruisecritic.com that is the best site for all thing cruise related.

Also for something a little different you can use http://www.cruisecompete.com/ in which you give the ship you want and the date you would like to travel and travel agents from all around will give you a bid from their agency. If you like the bid take it .... if not there is no obligation. It is a way to get some more perks upgrades if you are not a regular cruiser or past customer.