Originally Posted by KentuckyJackson
[color=blue]My biggest concerns right now are:
1) How do I book rooms for 5 people? My husband and I would prefer to have a room to ourselves
but if the price is too great we will have to share with her... Obviously, I can't put my daughter in with the boys. Is there another option?
First off, welcome to the CruiseMates forums. I think you'll enjoy being here. We are a pretty friendly bunch. Secondly, we were all novices at this at one time, so don't worry about it.
As to your concerns, I don't know what your financial constraints are, but it sounds to me that a pair of connecting cabins would work best ... or at least two cabins in close proximity to one another. Unfortunately, I can't see any way around having your daughter in with you ... unless you want to get her a cabin for herself, which would drive up your cost significantly. Most cruise ship cabins don't hold more than four people ... so you've got to go with two of them anyway ... so might as well spread everyone out.
If you can get a good deal, I would get maybe a balcony stateroom and perhaps an inside one right across the hall. The balcony staterooms tend to be a bit larger ... some cruise lines call them "mini suites." Put you and your husband and your daughter in there. She will probably sleep on the sofa bed, which is separated from the regular bed with a privacy curtain. Each evening, your cabin steward will open up the sofa bed and prepare it for her.
Then put the two boys in the smaller, lower priced inside stateroom across the hall. Of course, they can always enjoy your balcony during the day time, so there is no reason for them to have one of their own.
There are cruise lines that have "family" staterooms which, perhaps, could sleep five people, but you're gonna find they are much more expensive than the standard accommodations, and even they will be a bit tight with five people. I personally think two separate staterooms would work best.
As for cruise lines, it's hard to make a recommendation when I don't know what you and your family enjoy. Do you like an upbeat, "lots going on" atmosphere? If so, Royal Caribbean or Carnival would probably work best for you. But there are other options as well.
I would do a search on some of the online booking sites in an effort to find cruises leaving from my preferred port in my preferred time range. Then check out the itineraries and see which one works best for you and your group. You can always book the cruise with a local travel agent if you prefer ... in fact, for a novice cruiser, that would probably be your best bet. Online booking sites are great if you know what you're doing and have some experience with cruising. For the first timer, you're at least gonna want a travel agency that has a human being to talk to ... either in person or over the telephone. A good travel agent can be worth her weight in gold ... especially to the novice cruiser. The advice alone that they can provide can save you considerable money and heartache.
Again, welcome to these forums. Any questions, just ask away.
Blue skies ...