I did this analysis for a friend, so I thought I would share it on the chance that others will benefit.

I include 9 cruises departing in April from Florida to the Caribbean to consider.  Two are 5 nights the others are 7 nights.  The cruises identified are based on my assessment of the following criteria:

  • price/ value
  • reviews on CruiseCritic.com
  • demographics of the passengers on the ships
  • amenities and the condition of the ships
  • service/ guest to staff ratio
  • Florida departures

You can find less expensive cruises on Carnival, but their ships are not as nice/ well-maintained and do not get consistent good ratings on Cruise Critic.  Also, Carnival is known for more of a “party” atmosphere often with younger singles.  For reference I added 2 Disney cruises at the end.  Disney is more expensive, but if you really want to go Disney, these are the options.

Things to consider:

  • Itinerary — Are there particular ports you are interested in?  How long are you in port and what are you interested in doing in port?
  • Number of “At Sea” days.  When you are at sea, the ship is full of passengers and your activities are limited to what is going on on the ship.  Personally, I find at sea days relaxing, because you just hang around with no pressure to sight-see.
  • Location of the cabin on the ship.  The less expensive cabins are on the lower decks, which may require more time/ longer waits for elevators.  I do not recommend inside, porthole or obstructed view cabins, as they can be claustrophobic and you are not able to enjoy looking at the sea while in your cabin.
  • All travel agents sell the same inventory, so you may be able to negotiate prices.
  • You should be able to negotiate for on-board credits and ask that gratuities be free/ included/ pre-paid by the agency or cruise line.
  • Check out the entertainment/ activities on each ship to find which is the best fit for your interests

Gratuities:

  • Princess automatically adds $11.50 per person, per day.
  • Royal Caribbean recommends $11.65 per person, per day.
  • Celebrity automatically adds $11.50 per person, per day.

Note:  Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Government taxes, Port Charges and fees are additional.

Caribbean-Western 5 Days ‣ Celebrity Cruises ‣ Celebrity Constellation

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=272

Sailing Date    Inside  Outside   Balcony  Suite

Apr 01             $464   $524       $659        $1179

Day Date (2013) Port Arrive Depart

  • 1 Mon, Feb 4 Miami 4:30 P
  • 2 Tue, Feb 5 At Sea
  • 3 Wed, Feb 6 Roatan 10:00 A 6:00 P
  • 4 Thu, Feb 7 Cozumel 10:00 A 7:00 P
  • 5 Fri, Feb 8 At Sea
  • 6 Sat, Feb 9 Miami 7:00 A

Concierge Class

Category C3-Deck:   Sky, Panorama, Vista

Special check-in counter, complimentary welcome champagne, express luggage delivery, fresh fruit and flowers, nightly delivery of hors d’oeuvres, pillow menu to customize your night’s sleep, sitting area with sofa, 32” LCD television, vanity, veranda with lounge seating, some staterooms may have a trundle bed , veranda with lounge seating.

Per Passenger (2 )$689

Gratuities Free

Cruise TOTAL  $1,378

Cruise.com  •  888-999-2783

========================================================================

Jewel of the Seas 5 Day Caribbean Cruise

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=307— rated #5 large ship of 2012 #3 (tied) best for service cruise on Cruise Critic

Interior      Oceanview      Balcony    Suite

$509          $609                 $739          $989        800-284-0462,  Discount Code: 2005 or 1-800-CRUISES Apr 13-18

$479          $549                 $709          $1,169      800-CRUISES Apr 27-May 02

Day Port Arrive Depart

  • 4/13/2013 Tampa, Florida 4:30 PM
  • 4/14/2013 Key West, Florida 11:00 AM 5:00 PM
  • 4/15/2013 Cruising
  • 4/16/2013 Cozumel, Mexico 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
  • 4/17/2013 Cruising
  • 4/18/2013 Tampa, Florida 7:00 AM

========================================================================

Caribbean-Southern 7 Days ‣ Caribbean Princess

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=303

Inside      Outside     Balcony      Suite

$549       $599          $799          $949      800-780-9002 — Apr 06, 13

Day Date (2013) Port Arrive Depart

  • 1 Sat, Apr 6 Fort Lauderdale 4:00 P
  • 2 Sun, Apr 7 Princess Cay 9:00 A 4:00 P
  • 3 Mon, Apr 8 At Sea
  • 4 Tue, Apr 9 Curacao 2:00 P 10:00 P
  • 5 Wed, Apr 10 Aruba 8:00 A 5:00 P
  • 6 Thu, Apr 11 At Sea
  • 7 Fri, Apr 12 At Sea
  • 8 Sat, Apr 13 Fort Lauderdale 7:00 A

========================================================================

Caribbean-Eastern 7 Days ‣ Ruby Princess

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=443

Inside      Outside     Balcony     Suite

$699       $749         $1139         $2249     800-780-9002

Day Date (2013) Port Arrive Depart

  • 1 Sun, Apr 21 Fort Lauderdale 4:00 P
  • 2 Mon, Apr 22 Princess Cay 9:00 A 4:00 P
  • 3 Tue, Apr 23 At Sea
  • 4 Wed, Apr 24 Saint Maarten 10:00 A 6:00 P
  • 5 Thu, Apr 25 St. Thomas/Charlotte Amalie  7:00 A 4:00 P
  • 6 Fri, Apr 26 At Sea
  • 7 Sat, Apr 27 Nassau 12:00 P 7:00 P
  • 8 Sun, Apr 28 Fort Lauderdale 7:00 A

========================================================================

7 Day Caribbean Cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=358  — rated #3 (tied) large ship of 2012 and #4 best Caribbean and #4 best from Florida and #3 (tied) best for service cruise on Cruise Critic

Interior    Oceanview     Balcony   Suite

$689       $799               $999        $1,599   855-296-9012 — Apr 14 , 28  or 800-780-9002

$649       $929               $949        $1 549   800-780-9002 — Apr 28

$659       $759               $999        $1,539   800-780-9002 — Apr 14

Day Port Arrive Depart

  • 4/14/2013 Port Canaveral, Florida 4:30 PM
  • 4/15/2013 Cruising
  • 4/16/2013 Labadee, Haiti 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
  • 4/17/2013 Falmouth, Jamaica 10:00 AM 7:00 PM
  • 4/18/2013 Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
  • 4/19/2013 Cozumel, Mexico 10:00 AM 7:00 PM
  • 4/20/2013 Cruising
  • 4/21/2013 Port Canaveral, Florida 6:00 AM

========================================================================

Royal Caribbean -Freedom of the Seas 7 nights — Apr 21

— rated #3 (tied) large ship of 2012 and #4 best Caribbean and #4 best from Florida and #3 (tied) best for service cruise on Cruise Critic

Interior     Oceanview     Balcony   Suite

$659        $849              $1,049      $1,629     800-780-9002

Day Date (2013) Port Arrive Depart

  • 1 Sun, Apr 7 Port Canaveral 4:30 P
  • 2 Mon, Apr 8 Coco Cay 7:00 A 4:00 P
  • 3 Tue, Apr 9 At Sea
  • 4 Wed, Apr 10 St. Thomas/Charlotte Amalie 11:00 A 7:00 P
  • 5 Thu, Apr 11 Philipsburg/St. Maarten 8:00 A 5:00 P
  • 6 Fri, Apr 12 At Sea
  • 7 Sat, Apr 13 At Sea
  • 8 Sun, Apr 14 Port Canaveral 6:00 A

========================================================================

Celebrity Reflection – 7 Night Eastern Caribbean — Apr 06

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=6

Interior     Oceanview     Balcony     Suite

$799        $1,149            $1,209       $2,299   800-814-8381  Promo Code: PC601

$799        $999               $1,159       $2,199   800-780-9002

Day Port Arrival Departure

  • Apr 13, 2013 Miami – Florida 4:30 p.m.
  • Apr 14, 2013 At Sea
  • Apr 15, 2013 San Juan – Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.
  • Apr 16, 2013 Philipsburg – St. Maarten 9:00 a.m.6:00 p.m.
  • Apr 17, 2013 Basseterre – St. Kitts 8:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.
  • Apr 18, 2013 At Sea
  • Apr 19, 2013 At Sea
  • Apr 20, 2013 Miami – Florida 7:00 a.m.

========================================================================

7 – Night Western Caribbean – Ft. Lauderdale on Oasis of the Seas

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=368 — rated #3 (tied) large ship of 2012 and #5 best from Florida #4 (tied) best for service cruise on Cruise Critic

Inside     Oceanview     Balcony     Suite

$849      $849               $949          $1,749      855-296-9012 — Apr 13 , 27

$749      $889               $949          $1,899      800-780-9002 — Apr 27

$749      $829               $949          $1,699      800-780-9002 — Apr 13

Day Date (2013) Port Arrive Depart

  • 1 Sat, Apr 13 Fort Lauderdale 5:00 P
  • 2 Sun, Apr 14 At Sea
  • 3 Mon, Apr 15 Labadi/Labadee 8:00 A 5:00 P
  • 4 Tue, Apr 16 Falmouth 10:00 A 7:00 P
  • 5 Wed, Apr 17 At Sea
  • 6 Thu, Apr 18 Cozumel 8:00 A 7:00 P
  • 7 Fri, Apr 19 At Sea
  • 8 Sat, Apr 20 Fort Lauderdale 6:15 A

========================================================================

Caribbean-Western 7 Days ‣ Celebrity Silhouette — Sun, Apr 07

http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=594— rated #4 (tied) large ship of 2012 and #3 (tied) best for service cruise on Cruise Critic

Inside      Outside       Balcony      Suite

$849       $999           $1109          $2249       800-780-9002

Day Date (2013) Port Arrive Depart

  • 1 Sun, Apr 7 Fort Lauderdale 4:30 P
  • 2 Mon, Apr 8 At Sea
  • 3 Tue, Apr 9 Cozumel 7:00 A 4:00 P
  • 4 Wed, Apr 10 Caymans/George Town 10:00 A 6:00 P
  • 5 Thu, Apr 11 Falmouth 8:00 A 5:00 P
  • 6 Fri, Apr 12 Labadi/Labadee 10:00 A 5:00 P
  • 7 Sat, Apr 13 At Sea
  • 8 Sun, Apr 14 Fort Lauderdale 7:00 A

========================================================================

Disney Magic — 6 Nights — Apr 20

Ports Of Call:   Galveston | Grand Cayman | Cozumel

Insides      Outsides      Balconies      Suites

$870         $1,020         $1,140           $2,520

Onboard Credit $100          $150            $175              $400

  • 04/20 Galveston
  • 04/21 day at sea
  • 04/22 day at sea
  • 04/23 Grand Cayman Arrive 07:30 AM
  • 04/24 Cozumel Arrive 10:15 AM
  • 04/25 day at sea
  • 04/26 Galveston Arrive 08:30 AM

========================================================================

Disney Fantasy — 7 Nights — Apr 6

Insides      Outsides       Balconies

$1,435      $1,484           $1,519

Onboard Credit     $200         $225             $225

  • 04/06 Port Canaveral Depart 03:45 PM
  • 04/07 day at sea
  • 04/08 day at sea
  • 04/09 St Thomas Arrive 08:00 AM
  • 04/09 St Thomas
  • 04/10 San Juan Arrive 07:45 AM
  • 04/10 San Juan
  • 04/11 day at sea
  • 04/12 Castaway Cay Arrive 09:45 AM
  • 04/12 Castaway Cay
  • 04/13 Port Canaveral Arrive 07:30 AM
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About molly2903

Southerner by culture - urban west coaster by lifestyle. Born in Atlanta, GA, grew up in aggie Fresno, CA and lived LA, Seattle, Philadelphia and Atlanta (current). Enjoyed a 20 year career in Fortune 100 pharmaceutical and biotechnology in all aspects of commercialization (Ph2b-5) - for folks not in the industry, I am an executive marketing and sales professional.

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