Hi all, Hubby and I are thinking about taking the three little monsters, oops I mean the boys on a w. carribean cruise around the end of march on the triumph. We have been on only 1 other cruise which was RC and we only did 4 days in Bahamas, and did it without the kids. The ? is, will my 5, 8, and 11 yr old boys who do not like to venture far from mom & dad, have enough to do for 7 days on this ship. Like I said they ar'nt the type to go to a room with a "kid coordinator" and play games. I really dont want to pay all that $$ to have my kids whining "I'm bored" or "we have nothing to do" I'll flip. We really would like to take the kids somewhere special as we hav'nt been on a family vacation in about 4 years, and Disney is definately out of the question for us, been there done that and had to take a week off just to recooperate! If Any of the readers out there that have cruised with kids this age could tell me a little about your experiences, good or bad I would greatly appreciate it and it may help me decide if this is the right thing to do with our kids.
The answer to your question is simple. Take the family on Royal Caribbean's Voyager or Explorer of the Seas. These ships are the world's largest and have more onboard ammenties for the family to enjoy than Carnival. 9 holes mini golf, rock climbing, full size basketball court or volleyball court, inline skating track, ice skating, pools, etc. All these amenities are free of charge. They also have a Jonny Rockets onboard that is also free, many of the younger kids love it there. For a family with kids that do not want to take part in the coordinated kids program there is plenty on Royal Caribbean for them to do without getting involved in the kids program.
I think your boys will keep busy, and will find lots of friends in the kids' program. We have been on several Carnival cruises -- our first was when our sons were 11 and 9, and our daughter was 6. I signed them into the kids program on Carnival's Celebration (Western Caribbean) and was shocked to find them running loose around the ship on a treasure hunt. They all had a wonderful time, and still talk about that cruise since it was the first time they had that kind of freedom. We went on the Triumph in April (they're now 14, 12 & 9). All of them found friends by the second day, and wanted to participate in the kids' activities so they could hang out with their friends. You still have to pick them up for lunch and dinner, but what other kind of vacation gives you even a few hours of free babysitting a day??? Note, however, that your 9-year old will be able to sign himself out of the kids' program, so you should give him your own guidelines if you don't want him wandering the ship.) Carnival is slightly cheaper than RCC, but RCC won't fit 5 in a cabin. Carnival does have rollaway beds they can will add to a cabin for 4 -- although you won't have much room. We've tried it all, from 5 in a cabin to adjoining cabins (Celebrity -- too formal for kids) and getting 2 cabins. I recommend getting the mini walkie-talkies, which will let the kids feel they can contact you at any time if necessary. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.