Tim, each cruise has various ports of call. It all depends on what you are looking for and what you want to do. Do you want Eastern, Southern, or Western Carib? There are many things to do in each. Do you want to spend more time in ports or more time at sea? For instance, Carnival Sensation from Tampa visits 3 ports and yet has a good amount of time at sea. Lots to do in Mexico and you also get to see New Orleans for the day. But in the end it all depends on your personal preferences. Believe me there are many cruises out there that will fit what you are looking for. Have a great time on your cruise. Denny
Having cruised on Explorer last year and would definitely suggest one of Voyager class ships for you and your kids, they are wonderful ships for families. There is so much to do, the kids would love it! Between Voyager, Explorer and Adventures, they visit the Eastern, Western and Southern islands, there is sure to be one that would interest you.
You may also want to visit the "members review" section and read a bit about these ships:
Ports: Beaches at St. Thomas - Maegan's Bay, Sapphire Beach or Coki beach next to the Aquarium. Most also rent snorle equipment. Paradise Tram to view the port or a ferry to St. John for swimming/snorkeling at Trunk Bay. St. Martin - America's cup Regatta, French & Dutch side tour with a climb up to the fort in Marigot. Orient Beach for a touch of European culture (nudity) on a spectular stretch of beach, Everything"s cool is a beach club right on Great Bay in downtown Phillipsburg with beach ball games, music, lunch and drinks. You can shop and return and relax. Aruba, Palm Beach, Baby Beach, the Natural Bridge, rent a jeep for touring and stopping where you wish. Curicou has a very natural aquarium with a "swim with the sharks" option, right next to their man-made beach, a stop downtown is quite historic and a walk across the Pontoon Bridge is a memory in itself. There is always a Atlantis dive under the sea in many ports but this is $$$. Grand Cayman you would not want to miss a Swim with the Sting Rays or climbing Dunns River Falls at Jamaica.
If you go somewhere on one of the bigger ships, like Royal Caribbean's Voyager class ships or Carnival's Destiny class ships, you are certain to find something for everyone in your family to do. You should be aware, however, that it is unlikely that your kids will want to spend family time with you on-board ship. Teenagers of all ages tend to want to hang out with each other, as opposed to being with their parents (We travel with 3 kids, 2 of whom are teenagers. . . sigh).
To encourage family time, you should look for itineraries with more port days than sea days, so that you can do excursions as a family. Alaskan cruises are particularly good for family excursions. The Western Caribbean may be good for seeing Mayan ruins (Cozumel and Belize), Dunns Falls (Jamaica) and for swimming with stingrays (Grand Cayman), all of which are particularly memorable experiences. If your family loves beaches and snorkeling, most of the Caribbean ports will offer excursions for that -- and St. John's is a wonderful not-to-miss excursion from St. Thomas on an Eastern Caribbean cruise. (Keep in mind that excursions for 4 won't be cheap, although there are ways to minimize costs by using taxis, etc.)
We've picked cruises because we wanted to try a particular ship, but generally we pick a cruise based on the destinations. If you read the cruise reviews, you'll find a wide variety of experiences and descriptions of ports. You may decide on a particular cruise line like Carnival or Royal Caribbean because they're so good for families -- and from there, you look at the itineraries and how long you're in port to maximize your cruise experience. You may be surprised at how quickly your choices narrow down.
Old san Juan is a great kid place. Old or Young! So much to see and explore and they dont even realize the history lesson they are getting at the same time. Comfortable shoes, snacks in the pockets and a camera and you have a easy 8 hour day that still is'nt enough.
St thomas for the wonderful experience in water life both human and sea.