Which line is best for a multi-generational group?
Hello all- what a great site, and such wonderful advice!
My wife, in-laws, kids and I went on a 4-day Disney Cruise this past April. My wife was the one who really pushed it, but by the end I had fallen in love with cruising, and have been driving everyone nuts trying to figure out what we should do next.
I managed to convince my parents, who have never cruised before, to join us, and I'd hate for them to be disappointed after telling them they'd love it.
As much as I loved Disney, we're going to pass on the next trip, since I'm not crazy about their ports of call, and we're a bit Disneyed out- not to mention the cost.
What we have decided on is a 7-day cruise, probably Western Caribbean, probably taking the kids out of school in mid-April.
While most of the adults are good for a couple of drinks a day, we're definitely not party all night types. My dad is a retired college professor, and kind of fits the sterotype. My daughter will be 7 by then, and my son will be just turning 12.
I've read tons of reviews on other sites, and threads here, and the more I read, the more confused I get.
Carnival seems like a great deal, but probably has more of a party atmosphere.
Royal Caribbean seems like it has a lot to offer (the kids would love the rock walls for instance), but the cabins seem small (we loved the set up on Disney, with the partitioned section with the sofabed and drop down bunk), but there don't seem to be a lot of similarly workable arrangements on the RC ships. I'm also a little scared of how chaotic boarding, etc, must be on a ship with 4000+ passengers. How do you manage to not feel like cattle?
I love the flexibility on Norwegian (plus only my wife and daughter like the idea of formal nights), but I'm not sure how much the kids will enjoy it, especially if we don't go during spring break.
Oh, the other thing is that reading a lot of the posts, it sounds like the childrens programs are often designed as a place to put your kids with the adults have fun without them. Even though the kids might be having a blast in the programs, we want to have opportunites to do things as a family (which was one of the nice things on Disney, with all the shows being age-appropriate).
Sorry to go on at such length, but there's such a wealth of knowledge here, I figured I needed to be detailed to get a good answer. Of course, I'm sure that those who love RCI are going to say "go with RCI"- and the NCL fans will say the same. But I'd still love to hear what you think.
I would personally go with Carnival. They are not as party oriented as you might think. Lots of things that you can do together, plus some designed for the kids. I really dislike the ships with 3-4,000 passengers. Just too crowded getting on and off in ports and it can take forever just to get around on the ship. And, some ports are already overwhelmed with cruise tourists. We like being able to be spontaneous on board and that's hard to do when it takes 15 minutes to get somewhere...after you get everyone together. Just my take on this. Oh, and the cabins are fairly generous in size.
For us hands down it ends up being NCL, especially there newer ships! And for your daughter and wife, there are still optional formal nights and plenty of people dress up on those nights and other nights, flexibl;e means you choose. On a seven day there are two formal nights, but optional, we wear suits for the guys and dresses for the gals. On the third formal night of the last cruise ( it was ten days, the guys wore shirt and tie with dockers and the gals more casual dresses.
The kids will not be doing activities with the parents through kids club.
I find all the cabins small, ecept I admit carnival has larger ones, but NCL is way cleaner and better appointed cabins, plus you are just never in them to bother.
We like that NCL has a very busy active lido deck, but that it also has their deck seven, which is the main atrium deck ( unlike other cruises which is lower down on the ship) and every where are sliding glass doors and you can go out and sit in quiet, play games, read a book, watch the sun sets or rise in peace........
They are also not mega ships. Their new ships are 2400 passengers. Some of the other lines have just gotten to big, and I doubt we will ever go back to forced seating and dining times.
"If your number one goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of you, then you risk sacrificing your uniqueness and, therefore, your excellence."
I would opt for RCI and a big one at that ! That gives you ice skating, rock climbing, inline skating, miniature golf, Johnny Rockets, etc. etc. etc. and still have avtivities and attractions for the more sedate crowd.
Freedom Of The Seas -07
Radiance Of The Seas-07
Adventure Of The Seas-05
Navigator Of The Seas-04
Soverign Of The Seas-02
Big Red Boat-93
I also think RCI would be the one to go with, especially with the age groups you are talking about, something for everyone and lots for the kids. I find the cabins on their newer ships to be comparable to Carnival, in fact I was suprised that the cabin I did have on Carnival Glory wasn't any larger than a cabin on a Voyager or Freedom class RCI ship.
I would vote for RCI first and of course if you find a great deal on a newer Carnival cruise with a sailing for 7 days, then the Carnival; just don't do a short Carnival cruise as that will be more of a party atmosphere.
Carnival Victory March 9, 2013
*carnival dream *
Glory 2/28/2010: Dina & Marty
Valor Feb 2009: Dina & Marty - again
Grandeur Feb 2008: DTW, Dina & Marty
Inspiration May 26, 2007
Fascination: Feb 2007
Enchantment of Seas: Sept 2006
Radiance of the Seas
Majesty of the Seas
The Big Red Boat
Tallying the comments so far, it looks like 3 for RCI, 1.5 for Carnival and one for Norwegian. Hmm, maybe I'll just need to book 3 cruises, one on each line.
For a newbie like me, the choice is just overwhelming. At least with Disney you just have two identical ships (for now) and only a couple of itineraries, and for us the cabin choice was obvious (the family oceanview- I didn't see any reason to spring for a balcony when we weren't planning on spending much time in the cabins, but there was enough room for everyone to sleep and get dressed without falling over each other).
But now, I'm looking seriously at 3 cruise lines, each with a variety of ports of call, with huge differences in each ship within each line, and hard-to-compare differences in cabins. Throw in price and sailing dates, and I don't know how any of you ever manage to come to a decision.
Looking at it the other way around, it seems that I can't go wrong whatever I choose (well, within reason), but I'm enough of a control freak that I like to think I've made the best decision.
Thanks so much for all your advice, and more is always welcome.
I would say go with RCCL. We have done both RCCL and Carnival and enjoyed both, However we travelled on Mariner of the Seas last February with three generations and there was something for everyone. It was my Mother's 80th and she had a ball(usually found her at the pub on the promenade when she went missing). My (Then 13 year old)son had a blast and took full advantage of the teen club. My DH and I in early 40's also had a great time. So for a multigenerational ship I would go with RCCL. Hope this helps. Happy sailing!