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 What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?

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HelenB
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PostSubject: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:00 pm

I've been on a few different cruise lines, although only three with kids (and a fourth one coming up). While Disney is in a class of its own, it's also somewhat pricey on a per day basis for a similar cruise.

I love Disney's larger staterooms, fantastic Kids' Club and family-oriented shows and activities. For other cruise lines, my favorite family line is Princess (but I'm always looking to be convinced otherwise Wink ) because of their appeal to all family members. Their kids' programs are great, and they're very accommodating in the main dining room to families, yet there are lots of things for adults to do as well.

What are your favorites, and why?
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becktours
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:57 pm

Our three kids have been on a Disney cruise, two Royal Caribbean cruises and most recently onboard the Emerald Princess. Hands down, they loved Princess!
They were in the Shockwaves room and had a fantastic time. They made friends and always wanted to go play in the club.
We took our 2 year old into the Princess Pelicans room and stayed with him while he played. He had such a fun time. I loved how the room was set up for the youngest children. Lots of activities and supervision!

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Next cruise:
Carnival Sensation March 29, 2009
Queen Mary 2 July 1, 2009
Caribbean Princess Aug. 29, 2009
Caribbean Princess June 28, 2010

Ruby Princess 11/08//Sovereign of the Seas 10/08//Norwegian Sky 8/08//Emerald Princess 3/08//Sovereign of the Seas 1/08//Emerald Princess 10/07//Mariner of the Seas 07/07//Liberty of the Seas 05/07
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HelenB
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:19 pm

What was your experience with Adventure Ocean, Jeanie? We had some unfortunate issues with them, as well as coming face-to-face with their 'three strikes' policy. Your kids are obviously older than mine, so I'm curious how they liked the program.
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Trish
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:42 pm

We're going on the Disney group cruise here with Cruise Freeks in May, 2010 and it will be our first time on Disney. We've only cruised Carnival with the kids and Royal Caribbean without them. I was wondering how Disney how your kids enjoyed the Disney experience.
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HelenB
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:19 pm

Trish wrote:
We're going on the Disney group cruise here with Cruise Freeks in May, 2010 and it will be our first time on Disney. We've only cruised Carnival with the kids and Royal Caribbean without them. I was wondering how Disney how your kids enjoyed the Disney experience.

They loved it. They had a fabulous time. They kept talking about the 'Disney Boat' for months afterwards.

Now to be fair, they also feel the same way about our Princess cruises. Wink

We had set up the cruise first, and then a few days at WDW, because I thought that if we were at WDW first they would be upset at having to leave and get on a cruise ship. In fact, the opposite occurred. They were sad to get off of the boat, even knowing that we were driving to WDW!

The Castaway Club is fantastic. Hands down the nicest kids area I have ever seen. The area for 3-7 year olds is huge, with a giant playstructure replica of Captain Hook's ship. The area for 8-12 year olds has a cool science lab and Buzz Lightyear themed computer station. The area for teens is in the fake smokestack and has its own 'coolness' factor, looking like a college lounge.

The Kids' activities run non-stop, from 8 am to midnight. They will feed the kids lunch and dinner. The kids ages 3-4 never really leave the children's area, but the kids 5 and up go on 'excursions' around the ship, eating lunch and dinner in the 'grownup' restaurants, making cookies in the galley with Disney Chefs, playing on the sports courts, etc. There is no charge for 'late night' care. This makes it much more flexible when trying to plan family time, since the club effectively never closes.

There are also a number of 'family' activities: trivia, games, scavenger hunts, etc. that are not part of the regular kids' club. The shows are generally family friendly as well, so if you wanted your kids could be with you the entire time and still have fun doing things everyone enjoys. That being said, our kids always enjoyed the Castaway Club the most.

Another winner was the Buffet. They have one entire side dedicated to Kid foods, so there's never a problem finding the foods kids like to eat. Also, there is a FREE soda dispenser just outside, so you never have to buy sodas. Sodas are also complimentary in the dining rooms.

There is a kids swimming area with waterslide and wading pools, and a splash zone for diapered kids. My kids loved this area much more than the plain old 'family' pool.

The private island is also very family friendly, and the Castaway Club offers activities there as well. Our favorite thing to do on the island was the Whale Dig to discover Monstro's bones.

If you love Disney Characters, then you can meet them... as many times as you want, as often as you want. There were lines for the really popular characters (all 5 Princesses, and the Jack Sparrow lines were big too) but most of the time the wait wasn't long.

The cabins are extra big too, and the accommodations for third and fourth passenger are extra roomy. We all appreciated the split bathrooms as well.

Let's put it this way: if the kids were paying for the cruise, I think we would always be on Disney. The extra money it costs primarily goes for their benefit. That being said, DH and I had a fabulous time as well. Honestly, the only real complaints I had were the extra cost (although I can see what that goes to) and the limited itineraries.

If you want any more details on anything, LMK!
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becktours
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:22 am

Helen,

The kids didn't like always doing group activities! It seems that was all they ever did at Adventure Ocean. They wanted time to play around with their friends on the air hockey table or just wanted to play video games.
On Princess, they were able to do whatever they wanted most of the time! I guess they liked the freedom more with Princess!

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Jeanie Beck, ACC, DS
Owner/Travel Specialist
Beck Tours & Travel
www.becktours.com
jeanie@becktours.com
1-800-249-7151


Next cruise:
Carnival Sensation March 29, 2009
Queen Mary 2 July 1, 2009
Caribbean Princess Aug. 29, 2009
Caribbean Princess June 28, 2010

Ruby Princess 11/08//Sovereign of the Seas 10/08//Norwegian Sky 8/08//Emerald Princess 3/08//Sovereign of the Seas 1/08//Emerald Princess 10/07//Mariner of the Seas 07/07//Liberty of the Seas 05/07
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HelenB
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:55 am

You know, that was essentially the problem my son had with Adventure Ocean. He was a rambunctious 3 year old, and wasn't always interested in the group activities. They paged me to complain that he wanted to play with the toys in the corner of the room, instead of participating in the group activity. Um... if he's playing with the toys in the corner of the room, what's wrong? Let him! Their response was that if he didn't participate, then the other kids wouldn't want to participate either, so it caused trouble. I bit my tongue but I wanted to tell them that they had to find more interesting activities, then!

They also paged me because he kept trying to run out of the room. Well when I got there I found that they had the double doors WIDE open, and of course across a short hallway there was the open entrance to the video arcade. So WHY do they think he was trying to run out??? I told them that they needed to close the door to the Kids' Area, and they told me they 'couldn't do that' with no explanation why. I didn't get it.

He got 'two strikes' for these events, and a third would have meant that he was kicked out of the AO program. How devastating is that to a parent?

Now on Princess, they keep the door to the kids' areas closed all of the time. If the kids aren't interested in the group activities they can go do something else. As long as they're not bothering anyone, it's fine. Such a difference!

I want to point out that I have only taken one RCCL cruise, and I don't want to claim that all of the AOs on the different ships are like this. I know that a lot of it is the people who staff these areas on any given cruise, and how strictly they interpret the 'rules'. But I would love to hear about more experiences from other people to give me a more well-rounded picture.
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MerryMeetingTravel
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:12 pm

I have taken my kids on cruises as well... The Big Red Boat, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Disney...

My youngest was 4 when she was on Disney... she didn't like it. She caught conjunctivitis while there... and actually would only go and participate in specific activities like Story time with Belle and Tea Time with Wendy...I actually found the staff to be very UNattentive on the Wonder... everytime I went to pick my daughter up... the staff was hanging by the desk and not engaging in activities with the kids... I was honestly very surprised... I kept my daughter with me MOST of the time.

She absolutely loved Princess.... had no complaints about Carnival... And Royal Caribbean was very good as well.

My two other kids are now in their teens and haven't participated in any activities in years, lol.

JMHO
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HelenB
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:53 am

Wow, I'm surprised to hear that! On Disney my kids have always had a good time, and once or twice I have been paged when they were clearly not enjoying themselves (in both cases it was because I had one child with me and the other was in the club and they knew they were 'missing out on time with Mom). I'm wondering if you had a bad experience or if this is more prevalent than I realize.

My kids are far from being teenagers, but I'm curious. Your teens don't go to any of the scheduled teen activities? Do they stay with you on cruises or meet other kids their own age in different ways?
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:03 am

My teens hang with me... My son wanted nothing to do with Club O2 last April... he is a tad on the shyer side unless he is around people he knows...even then he is quiet. (except when teasing his little sister)

Although, there was a girl that sought him out.... he did hang with her and her friends for a bit... but they were actually drinking alcohol... my son left...

My little one, now says she wants to go on another Disney cruise... not for the kids room... she loved the pool area...loved the restaurants and shows...
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:08 am

We've only taken the kids on one cruise, and that was on the Carnival Celebration. The two girls, both teenagers, didn't even bother with the kid's club. They found plenty to do on their own, and can't wait for their next cruise. Our son, who was almost 11 at the time, spent quite a bit of time in the kids club activities and even did the "sleep-in" they had. He had a blast.

Now a plug. Our kids will be going with us on the Cruise Freek Cruise to Bermuda on June 20, 2009. This is a 5-day sailing from Cape Liberty on the Explorer of the Seas. That sailing is open for booking now, so let's get those reservations in and make it a big family cruise!

Information about that cruise is found at http://bermudajune2009.makeswebsites.com/index.php
and you can make your bookings at
https://secure05.servadmin.com/jsweb.net/sf/bermuda.htm
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HelenB
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PostSubject: Re: What are your favorite cruise lines as a family?   Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:52 pm

That makes sense. Kids who are shy in new situations or with new people would obviously be less interested in the Kids' Clubs.

The girl was drinking alcohol? Youch! I can see why that wasn't a good situation. Kudos to your son for being mature and staying away!
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