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 Family Cruise Suggestions

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PostSubject: Family Cruise Suggestions   Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:09 pm

Any recommendations on a family cruise? We have 4 kids. Last cruise we did 2 cabins, but I know some cruise lines have family staterooms and I'm wondering what everyone prefers. My kids are 15,13,3,1. I'm trying to find a time to cruise that will accomodate everones schedules. It's getting cold here and I need to book a cruise....even though hubby and I are cruising in January on the Ruby Princess. Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:16 pm

One thought is one of the newer Royal Caribbean ships like Freedom or Independence of the Seas, you could book a Family Suite or even the Presidential Suite. Might be cheaper than 2 cabins that way.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:38 pm

Interestingly enough, this was my topic for the article I submitted for Gangway!

Many cruise lines do have family cabins, but honestly the previous poster is right: it's usually cheaper to book two cabins. And with two cabins you get two bathrooms as well! Since your kids are older, you could book a balcony for yourself and the two youngest, and an inside cabin for the two older kids across the hall. You could also go for connecting cabins.

On the newer Princess ships, the balconies connect. So if you have two adjoining balcony or minisuite cabins, you can remove a section of the balcony wall to give you an extra long balcony opening into two different cabins.

Calebrity also has some very nice family balcony cabins at the back of the Millenium Class ships.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:37 pm

Thank everyone for your input.

HelenB...I did get 2 cabins on carnival this fall and that worked well...I just wasnt sure if I should try something else. I am anxious to book another cruise and figuring out my options. I am cruising Princess in Jan and maybe I will really want to do that as a family. I wish the school had our 2010 spring break planned. Summer seems a lot more expensive and confllicts with football stuff at times. Do you have any suggestions with traveling with kids of varying ages like mine? I appreciate any insight.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:32 pm

Whatever kind of family cabin you book, just do a price comparison in terms of cost with booking 2 cabins, and consider the difference in room type, balcony size (if relevant) and number of bathrooms available.

Honestly with kids of varying ages, the best advice I can give is to take a cruise! On most vacations it's a constant compromise to do something that everyone can enjoy, but not on a cruise ship. The Kids' programs are so well-customized for the different age levels that everyone should be able to find something they can enjoy.

The older ones would probably enjoy some degree of independence. Since a cruise ship is a relatively 'safe' environment, you could use that setting to experiment with them in terms of giving them the freedom to go where they want and hang out with friends they meet onboard. Often when we cruise as a family we will not see the kids all morning but then get together for lunch and a swim, and then separate again in the afternoon. Dinner is always a good connecting time, as everyone is at the table for an hour or two. Yet it also allows us to engage in activities we enjoy. Keep in mind that lines like RCCL, Princess and Celebrity require kids to be age 3 and potty-trained to fully participate in the kids' programs (you can still accompany them to the facilities, but you won't be permitted to leave them there) so I don't know how close your youngest will be to that cutoff with a Spring 2010 cruise.

Your older kids might enjoy some of the adult activities and shows, and you may want to give them the option to accompany you and your husband at these times.

The school may not have the 2010 spring break planned, but what about the school district? Often I can find the school calendars on their website long before my kids' school makes them available.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:21 am

Thanks Helen,

I think I will price cabins differently but my husband tends to like an inside which makes it nice and dark for the little ones to nap during the way....and of course so does dad! The older boys did have freedom on Carnival in oct...they had a cousin and a friend some soccer onboard and they all hung out. They also met friends at club O2 but they were a little bored the last day and it was only a 4 day cruise. The school district calendar usually comes out in march but I contacted them and they will hopefully have it in january and they are considering doing calendars for 2 school years instead of just one. I would love a balcony but the extra cost can be put towards excursions and airfare.n I guess it all depends on the price. My just turned 3 year old always want to see pictures of big boats....I have him addicted!

Penny
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:42 pm

HelenB wrote:
Keep in mind that lines like RCCL, Princess and Celebrity require kids to be age 3 and potty-trained to fully participate in the kids' programs (you can still accompany them to the facilities, but you won't be permitted to leave them there)

Actually they don't allow parents past the front door. Disney does. You can accompany a child to their club. But not RCCL, Celebrity or Carnival. (with the possible exception of RCCL Explorer who has allowed some parents into AO) I have never been on Princess so I can't comment on that. Wink

mnmomof4 - I totally agree that you need 2 cabins. It is usually cheaper to do 2 cabins than to do a larger family suite. I always suggest the RCCL Freedom (and now Oasis) class for families of varying ages. But if you have to go during the Summer, those Freedom ships are actually priced pretty high for Summer 09, so you may want to look at something else if budget is a concern. For Spring break 2010, I don't know how high it will go.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:45 pm

crusinmama06 wrote:
Actually they don't allow parents past the front door. Disney does. You can accompany a child to their club. But not RCCL, Celebrity or Carnival. (with the possible exception of RCCL Explorer who has allowed some parents into AO) I have never been on Princess so I can't comment on that.

Wow, that must be new! When we were on RCCL they told us straight out that parents and younger kids were allowed in at certain times of day, and they even had a 'toddler room' with toys for kinds under 3. They also held some of the Aquababies/Aquatots classes in the Adventure Ocean. I wonder if there has been a change in policy?

Princess and Disney let parents in all the time. They encourage younger kids to come in (with parental supervision). We have HAL and Crystal cruises coming up, so I'll be able to see how those operate for myself soon...
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:18 pm

HelenB wrote:
Wow, that must be new! When we were on RCCL they told us straight out that parents and younger kids were allowed in at certain times of day, and they even had a 'toddler room' with toys for kinds under 3. They also held some of the Aquababies/Aquatots classes in the Adventure Ocean. I wonder if there has been a change in policy?

Princess and Disney let parents in all the time. They encourage younger kids to come in (with parental supervision). We have HAL and Crystal cruises coming up, so I'll be able to see how those operate for myself soon...

What ship were you on? The Aqua Tots/Babies classes are held in a lounge on most ships. The security on the newer RCL ships is tighter than Fort Knox. Laughing The younger kids have alarm braclets on that are logged in and out of the computer at the club. The parents are not allowed past the rope at AO.

That's why on Oasis they are now introducing "Family Common Areas". Parents aren't allowed in any of the other AO areas on the ships. Those policies have been pretty fleetwide for 2007 and 2008. Carnival is the same.

I guess we'll see if Independence is the same in a few months. Very Happy

And I will be looking for a review from you for HAL and Crystal. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:47 pm

LOL... Crystal we're doing next summer and HAL in January 2010, so you might wait a little while for the reviews. Our January 2009 cruise didn't work out, so it is a long time until the next one! Sad We are also booked on the Oasis Halloween cruise in 2010.

We were on Vision of the Seas, which I know is a smaller RCCL ship, so I just assumed they would have more/bigger facilities on the other ships. The kids had bracelets, but not alarm-triggering ones. It was similar to the ones they wear on Disney. I wonder if some incident caused them to change policies...? On Princess they don't wear bracelets at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:21 am

HelenB wrote:
LOL... Crystal we're doing next summer and HAL in January 2010, so you might wait a little while for the reviews. Our January 2009 cruise didn't work out, so it is a long time until the next one! Sad We are also booked on the Oasis Halloween cruise in 2010.

We were on Vision of the Seas, which I know is a smaller RCCL ship, so I just assumed they would have more/bigger facilities on the other ships. The kids had bracelets, but not alarm-triggering ones. It was similar to the ones they wear on Disney. I wonder if some incident caused them to change policies...? On Princess they don't wear bracelets at all.

Well then I will be sure to get info on Oasis for you. Very Happy The muster station bracelets are in addition to the alarm ones for the 3-5 year olds on the Freedom class. My daughter in the 6-8 year old group didn't have to wear an alarm, just the standard muster station one.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:37 am

JMHO, the alarm seems a bit much on a cruise ship. As long as ID and name-matching is required for pickup. Do they think the kids are going to somehow jump off of the boat?
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:46 am

HelenB wrote:
JMHO, the alarm seems a bit much on a cruise ship. As long as ID and name-matching is required for pickup. Do they think the kids are going to somehow jump off of the boat?

Seeing the set up of AO, I think they are worried that the child could wander out or be taken from the AO room. The alarm would sound if the child is removed. And the bracelet is removed when they leave AO. So they don't have to walk around the ship wearing it Wink

I have had the big long debate on the Dis Boards about the Carnival/RCL security verses Disney. We've been on Disney twice. This past September I could walk into the bathrooms to get my kids, no one stopped me. And no one knows if the people IN the kids clubs are really the parents of those kids because they wave everyone in.

So there has to be a happy medium between the lock down security of CCL/RCL and the everyone come in and play mentality of Disney. Wink I just can't figure out what that happy medium is. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:49 pm

Really? I took Disney as recently as June and they were very strict on not letting parents into the room without going through the gate and their attendant first. Once you were in the room you could do whatever you wanted, though.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:07 pm

HelenB wrote:
Really? I took Disney as recently as June and they were very strict on not letting parents into the room without going through the gate and their attendant first. Once you were in the room you could do whatever you wanted, though.

That's the problem though, you said "parents"...and that's not the case. They just wave you through the gate. They don't scan your card or ask for a password until you come out of the gate with a child.
All you have to say is "I'm here to pickup" and they let anyone in. affraid There is very little chance anything can happen, but you just never know. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:53 pm

Well to be fair, you had to tell them which child(ren) you were there for, and they checked to make sure they were present before letting you in.
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PostSubject: Re: Family Cruise Suggestions   Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:03 pm

HelenB wrote:
Well to be fair, you had to tell them which child(ren) you were there for, and they checked to make sure they were present before letting you in.

On Wonder we didn't. At times there were groups of us waved in. On the Disboards, they never disputed the fact that this is done. They just argued that nothing can be done to the kids once someone gets in. And that I clearly disagreed with. Wink

I don't remember how they handled it on Magic because it was 2005. I wasn't paying as much attention back then...lol.
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