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Old 02-09-14, 10:28 PM   #1
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Cruise or Vegas for 15th Anniversary?

15th Wedding anniversary will be this October. Other than a one night stay at a hotel about 4 years ago, we have never taken a trip that didn't involve the kids in some manner and we both think it is high time to change that.

If we can't find someone to watch the kids, then we will stay local and just do a night (or two) at one of the nicer hotels, along with a nice dinner, take in a show at one of the comedy clubs (unless a concert comes along), and quite possibly a limo ride around town for the evening.

However, if we can find someone to watch the kids, we are thinking of either Las Vegas or a cruise of some kind (preferably departing Houston/Galveston- driving there would be cheaper than flying to FL). Neither of us has been to Vegas or done a cruise, so this would be crossing something off our mutual bucket list.

Looking at sites like travelocity and expedia, it looks like the cruise would be a bit more affordable. I wanted to do a 3 day/night cruise, as I don't know how to swim and never been on a boat of any size and don't want to find out I get seasick on a 7+ day trip, but the only things I'm seeing are 4 or 5 nights doing the Western Caribbean with ports of call in Mexico... and since we don't have passports, I don't think we would be allowed off the ship for the duration of the trip?

Neither one of us is really into drinking, but we're looking primarily for dining and entertainment.
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Old 02-09-14, 10:35 PM   #2
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im no help I say neither both seem to be kinda flashy to me id go to some beach perhaps Hilton head
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Old 02-09-14, 10:44 PM   #3
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I've done both. I seem to remember a passport is required for international cruises whether you leave the ship or not.

Your food and entertainment (except for alcohol and shore excursions) are already paid for on a cruise.

Food expense in Vegas depends on where you eat. There are cheap buffets but the big name restaurants can be pricey. Tickets for Vegas shows can also be pricey, averaging about $75-$100 per person for cheaper seats at the bigger shows.
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Old 02-09-14, 11:19 PM   #4
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...stay home where you can relax and have some fun. Use the money to send the kids somewhere.
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Old 02-09-14, 11:30 PM   #5
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Old 02-09-14, 11:38 PM   #6
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If you are not in to drinking, clubbing or gambling do the cruise.
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Old 02-09-14, 11:45 PM   #7
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...stay home where you can relax and have some fun. Use the money to send the kids somewhere.
If we do the multi-day thing, the kids will more than likely be going on a trip of their own to stay with their oldest sister down in OKC. This would have to be done will school is out, so a trip would be a late wife B-Day/early anniversary.

I just got the bright idea to check out Amtrak (as a train ride is another 'bucket list' item). Whether I want to go to Denver or New Orleans, I'd have to go OKC->Ft. Worth, TX-> to freakin' IL???-> final destination... not enough time to make it there and back for either of those cities.
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Old 02-10-14, 12:01 AM   #8
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My wife and I explored Toronto, Niagara Falls, and upstate New York for our 20th anniversary. IMO: go somewhere you've never been, but avoid packaged trips. I hate being herded around.
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Old 02-10-14, 01:17 AM   #9
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I've done both. I seem to remember a passport is required for international cruises whether you leave the ship or not.

Your food and entertainment (except for alcohol and shore excursions) are already paid for on a cruise.

Food expense in Vegas depends on where you eat. There are cheap buffets but the big name restaurants can be pricey. Tickets for Vegas shows can also be pricey, averaging about $75-$100 per person for cheaper seats at the bigger shows.
I will have to check into the passport requirement further. May or may not be a deal breaker, as we've been kicking around the idea of getting passports anyway (but it just hasn't been a priority).

Meanwhile, I am still exploring other options.
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Old 02-10-14, 02:16 AM   #10
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Or go east. Mt Magazine in AR is nice, the Womble Trail is great riding. Then you can hit Beale St. in Memphis and if you need some gambling, there's Tunica.
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Old 02-10-14, 08:40 AM   #11
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Process of elimination.

After you do this a couple of times, you'll get the hang of it.
Sit down with the wife, and start at the top. What's the budget.
Then pick what you want to do.

Some trip ideas, fly into Miami, fly out of Tampa, drive up the Gulf Coast means you
can do an Everglades air boat tour, pick up some seashells at Sanibel island,
and stop at a unique stand called Robert is here ( http://www.robertishere.com/xcart/home.php ).
I'd suggest doing Robert is here after the Nut and Spice Park. In Tampa, you can visit Busch Gardens.
We did a trip a lot like that a couple years ago. Lots of fun. If you decide on something like that,
send me a PM and I can suggest some restaurants and stuff, like the Miami Zoo.

Vegas can fun, but I have 2 suggestions. Book entertainment first. You can always get rooms in Vegas,
and once you see the ticket prices, you may well decide to go elsewhere... But if you do, don't gamble.
The place is designed to suck you dry. Once you accept that, you can go enjoy the food and entertainment.

You could also visit NYC, Boston, NO, or any other city that strikes your fancy.

And you could always go to a resort somewhere like Mexico or the Caribbean and soak up the sun,
and have a drink with a silly paper umbrella. Sign up with Groupon and Living Social, they offer
package deals on vacations regularly.

There's literally thousands of places to go, and things to do. Grand Canyon, dude ranch vacations,
my wife learned to water ski on one of our Florida vacations.

One last thing, first time out, skip the cruise. You can try one later, but the few good ones are
quite expensive, and with most of them you're a sardine in a can.
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Old 02-10-14, 08:48 AM   #12
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Old 02-10-14, 11:13 AM   #13
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Vegas can fun, but I have 2 suggestions. Book entertainment first. You can always get rooms in Vegas,
and once you see the ticket prices, you may well decide to go elsewhere... But if you do, don't gamble.
The place is designed to suck you dry.
Once you accept that, you can go enjoy the food and entertainment.
Don't gamble unless you know how to gamble.

I go a couple times a year and manage to pay my expenses and still pocket a few bucks.
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Old 02-10-14, 08:35 PM   #14
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Or go east. Mt Magazine in AR is nice, the Womble Trail is great riding. Then you can hit Beale St. in Memphis and if you need some gambling, there's Tunica.
Been east along I-40 many, many times through AR and just past Nashville due to child visitation swaps. A couple of times we had to take 412 to Fayettville and then drop down to I-40 because that barge took out the bridge at Webber's Falls. Wife and I both have extended family in AR... we kinda want to explore the unfamiliar.
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Old 02-10-14, 08:47 PM   #15
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Cruise hands down.
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Old 02-10-14, 08:50 PM   #16
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...stay home where you can relax and have some fun. Use the money to send the kids somewhere.
Did that twice last year, though we didn't have the funds to really do anything. However, the child support my wife has been having to pay ends this year .
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Old 02-10-14, 08:54 PM   #17
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Cruises are great. You go to bed in one place and wake up in another. Depending on which cruise you take, they have port adventures which can include hiking, snorkeling among other things. If gambling is your thing you can do that on the ship. We did a gulf cruise this summer (Belize, key west, costa maya and miami). Had a great time.
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Old 02-10-14, 09:42 PM   #18
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Cruises are great. You go to bed in one place and wake up in another. Depending on which cruise you take, they have port adventures which can include hiking, snorkeling among other things. If gambling is your thing you can do that on the ship. We did a gulf cruise this summer (Belize, key west, costa maya and miami). Had a great time.
I think we've pretty decided to put a cruise on the back burner for now (maybe for the 20th).
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Old 02-10-14, 10:29 PM   #19
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I've done them all - trains, cruises, Las Vegas. In fact before we had kids my wife and I took the train from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale, got on a cruise ship, went through the Panama Canal and ended back up in San Diego. That was a fun trip.

Passports are required for international cruises but you mention that's out anyway. The seas have to be pretty rough to get seasick on the ships these days.

As far as Las Vegas, I'm only good for a couple days there. It's cool to experience it but the manufactured reality gets old after a while.

If you're at all into nature, somebody mentioned the Grand Canyon. I'd say Flagstaff/Grand Canyon/Sedona is a really nice trip. You could easily spend 3 nights and have a great time.

If you do the train get a sleeper.

San Diego is always good too.
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Old 02-11-14, 06:39 PM   #20
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If you are not in to drinking, clubbing or gambling do the cruise.
But those are all big on cruises too aren't they? As a kid I remember my folks spending entire 12 hr ferry rides in Atlantic Canada on those slot machines w/ cheap drinks in hand, w/ breaks for roller disco.
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Old 02-11-14, 06:46 PM   #21
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You do what you want to do and don't ask us; our opinion should not matter... frankly neither appeal to me at all... but if Vegas is your thing - do that instead... too much risk nowadays with the cruise...Vegas, frankly, just annoys the heck out of me... too loud, too many creepy, drunk crazy people, throwing money away on gambling...It's like watching reality TV and seeing into the lives of people you would never want to call friends (i.e. its like being at Mardi Gras without the coolness of MG - just the crazies all drunk - what you see in commercials - not happening there) - is there not something beautiful and quiet you can get away to - that would be more romantic???
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Old 02-11-14, 06:50 PM   #22
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I've done them all - trains, cruises, Las Vegas. In fact before we had kids my wife and I took the train from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale, got on a cruise ship, went through the Panama Canal and ended back up in San Diego. That was a fun trip.

Passports are required for international cruises but you mention that's out anyway. The seas have to be pretty rough to get seasick on the ships these days.

As far as Las Vegas, I'm only good for a couple days there. It's cool to experience it but the manufactured reality gets old after a while.

If you're at all into nature, somebody mentioned the Grand Canyon. I'd say Flagstaff/Grand Canyon/Sedona is a really nice trip. You could easily spend 3 nights and have a great time.

If you do the train get a sleeper.

San Diego is always good too.
This. Although Las Vegas is a must see once in a lifetime. A weekend is all you need there but it is a spectacle worth seeing.
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Old 02-11-14, 06:52 PM   #23
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San Diego is always good too.
And San Diego is a good place to visit... I'm just 2 hours away and like to go there myself! And if you jjust have to go into a casino - there are plenty in So Cal...including San Diego.

Although this is not the time of year... spening a long weekend on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is so beautiful and relaxing and enchanting - The Grand Canyon Lodge is spectacular but I think its closed until May....
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Old 02-11-14, 08:07 PM   #24
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Vegas is good if you are into drinking and gambling. The strip is interesting people watching at night. All the "iconic" hotels... Meh. It's like Vegas sees you as a cash cow.

On my honeymoon, I spent the first week in San Diego and the second week at Mammoth Mountain. The ironic thing was that I already lived in San Diego at the time. But my bride and I used the time to do the tourist thing in San Diego, which we never had time for in day to day life. Mammoth was nice too. We did do a day trip to Yosemite, but found it overcrowded.
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Old 02-11-14, 10:20 PM   #25
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And San Diego is a good place to visit... I'm just 2 hours away and like to go there myself! And if you jjust have to go into a casino - there are plenty in So Cal...including San Diego.

Although this is not the time of year... spening a long weekend on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is so beautiful and relaxing and enchanting - The Grand Canyon Lodge is spectacular but I think its closed until May....
Someone else mentioned the Grand Canyon thing and I did a little bit of research and found this place that offers a hotel/train/bus tour of the South Rim package that wasn't all that unreasonable. That might be a family thing, though. San Diego has some appeal, but only if I can pull off the logistics.

My wife would almost prefer to just drive somewhere than fly. However, she would be doing all of the driving herself (as I can't anymore) and I'm not sure she could pull off 12+ hours behind the wheel in one go nor do I want to subject the kids to a lengthy road trip (if we can't find someone to watch them).
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