My husband and I would like to take our teen kids (15&17) on a Southern Carribean Cruise over the Christmas holiday. It appears that Princess & Royal have nice immenities for teens, but a little pricey when putting out the cash for 4 to travel. Are these the best choices for traveling with teens? If so, are there places to look for family package deals that you won't find on the cruiseline's websites?
YOu may also want to check out some Carnival cruises to the southern Caribbean. Only main problem with the southern itinary is the airfare to San Juan, but you may be able to find that on your own cheaper. We also have our monthly cruise bazaar the first Monday of the month and there will be on tomorrow if you want to stop by there and ask for some quotes, there will be some travel agents there to answer any questions.
Another idea you may want to try is the barbain finder here, just list the dates and the various cruiselines, number of people, city which you fly out of, if you want air included int he price. Then any travel agent will e-mail you back prices and you can compare. Its really easy and it does work, so give that a try too. Hope you find something that fits your pocket book and I think your kids will really enjoy it, expecially over a school break, many other teens to hang out with :-)
My sense that either Princess or Royal Caribbean would be the best lines for teenage children.
I would not expect to see significant discounts on cruises over the holiday periods to which your children's school schedule obvoiusly constrains you. Nonetheless, there are a couple possibilities for cutting costs. In the Caribbean, the prices for third and fourth berths are pretty cheap -- as low as $199 in an inside cabin on Princess, for example. If you and your husband want a separate room, it might be less expensive to book a minisuite with a sleeper sofa in the sitting area than to book separate staterooms.
Donna raised a very good point about air fare. You probably could knock about $500 per person -- $2000 total -- off the total cost by taking either an "Eastern Caribbean" cruise or a "Western Caribbean" cruise rather than a cruise to the "Southern Caribbean" and thus departing from Fort Lauderdale rather than San Juan. Also, most teens probably will think that the extra day or two at sea is pretty neat, as it gives them that much more time with their peers in the teen program rather than spending another boring day ashore with mom and dad. Additionally, they will enjoy the beach bash at either cruise line's private island in the Bahamas.
Brenda, I might suggest that you consider Carnival Cruise lines. They visit wonderful ports and the kids will love the disc's and night-time entertainment. The ships are not wild partyboats, but they are lots of fun for families.
I did register there and received a couple of responses. I've been working with one person but he can only get us onto Holland America which I'm not completely sure about. I'm not so sure about Carnival - I've heard several disaster stories and since this is our first cruise, I'm nervous about being trapped in an uncomfortable environment.
I just replied to Donna about my fears on Carnival. I've heard of fires, food poisoning, backed up sewage, and that it would be like spring break for College Sophmores. Do you think these rumors are unfounded?
I have a gut feeling you're right about sticking with the Princess or the Royal, but it appears that the Royal has nothing traveling on our dates. The Princess Dawn has openings for "adults" but are booked for "teens." Apparantly they have a limited number of spaces that they'll allow for teens. Sounds a little discriminatory to me, yet you felt it was the best we could do for them. If they are catering to teens, why would they cut them off at a certain number? Is that legal?
I'm really not sure what you mean by "booked for teens" unless it's simply that they have so many teens booked that the teen program won't be able to take any more. The fares are the same regardless of age, so it really does not make sense that age would be a factor apart from the capacity of the teen program.
If the winter holidays are booked, you cold shoot for a cruise during the week of your children's school vacation in February or March, depending upon where you live.
Unfortunately, none of the rumors about Carnival are unfounded. The line has had a grossly disproportionate string of these incidents this year, so you are very wise no to take this possibility very seriously.
Also, I have talked to a number of Carnival passengers who have expressed the opinion that the line -- with its nude sunbathing platforms and rather wild party scene -- is not a suitable environment for minors. At the very least, it's not a line where I would take my children!
By way of full disclosure, these factors are among the reasons why I have consicentiously decided not to buy any shares of Carnival's stock. I do own a small interest in both Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (parent of both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises) and Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Compnay (parent of P&O Cruises in the UK, Aida Cruises in Gerrmany, P&O Holidays in Austrailia, and Princess Cruises here in the States.
I think Carnival has come a VERY long way in the past few years. I wouldn't hesitate to cruise with them again, with my kids or without.
There are "episodes" on every cruise line.
Cruising at times the kids are out of school means lots of kids on most cruise ships.
We were on Triumph X mas 99 with our boys. Think there were 800 kids below the age of 18 onboard. Did we notice them. U bet we did. However, they didn't ruin our cruise at all. I have been cruising with Carnival since Dec. 1997, and have never seen a "frat party" atmosphere on any of my cruises with them.
What I have seen is a lively, fun cruise, with food and service improving each and every trip.
I agree with Kuki, as a matter of fact, we took my two boys when they were 7 and 5 on one of those "awful, decadent" Carnival Cruises - it was one of the best experiences of their lives!
I would advise against letting anyone scare you away from Carnival - no lines are completely trouble-free, and there is a lot of jealousy directed at #1. You may have at TA that would rather you book a more expensive line, more $$ for them.
But, bottom line, it's your money and your life, so go with what feels right to you.
Yes Brenda, in my opinion it is unfounded. Yes CCL did have a fire but there never has been a passenger hurt onboard a CCL ship by fire or collision. I have not heard of any food poisoning on CCL although it has happened on a couple of other cruise lines. CCL also has a policy that you must be 21 or older to cruise on one of their ships unless you are accompined by someone over 25 yrs old that is willing to accept responsibility and share your cabin. Also they do try to enforce the drinking age which is 21. I have seen a couple of people that most likely had more than they should to drink, but that has been on all cruieline ships and no more on CCL than the others. I have also smelled marijuana onboard the Ecstasy once, but I also smelled it onboard the Norway and Splendour of the Seas. I have found the people on Carnival to be very friendly and open and quite nice in almost all circumstances. No matter what line you choose you will find that the shorter cruises as well as those that span holidays to have a younger and 'rowdier' crowd, but no more so on CCL than other lines. To be perfectly frank, you are much safer onboard a cruise ship than any other vacation you can think of. The idea is to go and do as much or as little as you wish and just enjoy yourself. Sure, take normal precautions, but you will find cruising to be the safest and most enjoyable vacation you have ever had.
Why don't you actually cruise this line and judge for yourself rather than listen to rumors and exaggerations? First off, there is no 'nude' deck. There is a topless bathing area that is well marked and out of the way and it caters to mainly foreign passengers who are not so uptight about the human body. You will see quite a bit of topless sunbathing on many islands as well as some total nudity, but not on the ship. CCL has had a couple of fires and some well published 'assaults' but if you look further you will find that the fires were well handled and no passengers were injuried in any fashion. The 'assaults' from what I have been able to find through personal investagations and talking with some of those involved are totally bogus and never occured but are nothing more than attempts to make money through lawsuits. I have cruised on Carnival 10 times now and have never seen any of this wild partying going on. Feel free to support whatever cruise line you choose, but please don't make statements that you cannot confirm from personal experiance.
I went through the same concerns you did about Carnival and am going on the Carnival Destiny for winter break with my three teens 14 16 and 19. We booked late so really had minimal choice. Everyone tells me that the kids will have a fabulous time and I stopped reading all the reviews since they are not consistent. I finally decided to make the decision myself and thanks to the help of CruiseMates most trusted staff.
As far as your comment about maximum number of teens on the cruise, I was told by my TA that some cruise lines will most definitely only sell a maximum number of "kid" spots so there arent't more kids than adults. I did like the fact that carnival has the 25 year minimum to cruise with underaged kids so we shouldn't find a pile of college students on their own on the ship. Hey, we are going winter break and expect tons of kids (after all I am bringing three already)
Good luck in your choice. I will be sure to post my own opinion when we return.