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Old March 29th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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Default First Time Cruise - Going with the Family

Hi all. My family is going on our first cruise in June on the Carnival Liberty. We are stopping in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. There are three of us - myself, my husband, and our 6 (almost 7) year old son. I've gotten so much helpful information off of Crusiemates and still have a few questions (I'm sure more than a few but these are the ones that I can think of right now).

1. Has anyone had any expereince with the kids club on any of the ships? I'm making the assumption that they are all about the same from ship to ship but maybe not.

2. Since this is our first time crusing, it is better to book the excursions through Carnival? And book them now or wait?

3. Speaking of excursions, we are thinking in Grand Cayman the sting ray encounter and in Ocho Rios the beach horseback riding (my son loves horses). Still up in the air for Cozumel. Does anyone have any expereince with these two excursions and/or have a suggestion for Cozumel?

4. Elegant night - only for the parents? If not, can my son just get away with khakis and a nice shirt? And my husband just a dinner jacket?

Thanks for any info that you can provide. We are really looking forward to our trip.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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welcome to CruiseMates and you are going to have sooooooooooooo much fun on your first cruise..I'm going on the Liberty in October to the eastern caribbean but I've been on her sister ship The Conquest to the Western Caribbean in 2005....I'll try to answer some of your concerns and I'm sure you will get lots of help from everyone on these boards who have been on the Liberty recently

1) great children's program..you'll be lucky to make an appointment to see your son at dinner..he's at the perfect age (IMHO) for Camp Carnival
2)recent cruisers might be able to give you insight as to which of the shore excursions sell out quickly..for a first timer i would recommend booking thru Carnival for the convience..i would caution, don't overbook yourself for every port..leave some free time to just explore
3)my GF did the beach horseback excursion and loved it, so i'm sure your son will also
4)yep, much more relaxed dress code these days so should not be a problem, plus after dinner they can change..if you like to dress up by all means do so, and if your two men can wear colors that coordinate with your dress for dinner, it should make a nice picture

i always suggest to 1st time cruisers to schedule some activities as a family, some activities for the parents only (your son will be busy with his own schedule) and a few activities that fall under "me" time, and alot of unstructured time to take advantage of the unexpect..that way every night at dinner will call for interesting conversation..also do something romantic
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Old March 29th, 2010, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reed's Mom View Post
Hi all. My family is going on our first cruise in June on the Carnival Liberty. We are stopping in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. There are three of us - myself, my husband, and our 6 (almost 7) year old son. I've gotten so much helpful information off of Crusiemates and still have a few questions (I'm sure more than a few but these are the ones that I can think of right now).

1. Has anyone had any expereince with the kids club on any of the ships? I'm making the assumption that they are all about the same from ship to ship but maybe not.

2. Since this is our first time crusing, it is better to book the excursions through Carnival? And book them now or wait?

3. Speaking of excursions, we are thinking in Grand Cayman the sting ray encounter and in Ocho Rios the beach horseback riding (my son loves horses). Still up in the air for Cozumel. Does anyone have any expereince with these two excursions and/or have a suggestion for Cozumel?

4. Elegant night - only for the parents? If not, can my son just get away with khakis and a nice shirt? And my husband just a dinner jacket?

Thanks for any info that you can provide. We are really looking forward to our trip.
We cruise with our 4 children ages 2-8. We just recently ended a cruise.

1. Camp Carnival is awesome! Our kids never want to eat dinner with us and choose to eat with their new friends there

2. We never book through the ship; overpriced. However, if there is something you really want to do and time may be an issue, I'd book through the ship.

3. Our Sept cruise we are hitting Cozumel again. This time we are doing Nochi Cocom. I have to find the link, but there is some nature park there you might enjoy. That type of thing is ok on a weeklong vacation, but when I cruise I prefer beach time. That's just us though.

4. We've taken everyone to formal night when they've wanted to attend. Bought new suits for the three boys before this last cruise. They decided they preferred Camp Carnival and didn't go with us Khakis are fine though, especially for a kid. No worries

Enjoy your cruise! It's the only type of family vacation - other than a long weekend somewhere - that we will take anymore.

ETA: http://www.cozumelparks.com/ Chankanaab National Park

Last edited by brina; March 29th, 2010 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Added link
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Old March 29th, 2010, 06:25 PM
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My daughter (6, almost 7 at the time) really enjoyed the Camp Carnival experience, I haven't heard a complaint from her, or anyone else about it.

As far as excursions, it may be more expensive to book through CCL, but it's a comfortable because you know it is "guaranteed" you won't get the shaft and you won't miss the ship. If you choose to book elsewhere, feel free to come back here and ask for info before doing so. I've only been on one cruise thus far, but this place has been a wealth of information as far as helping to make decisions for activities on ship and shore.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 09:12 PM
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Welcome to CruiseMates!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reed's Mom View Post
Hi all. My family is going on our first cruise in June on the Carnival Liberty. We are stopping in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. There are three of us - myself, my husband, and our 6 (almost 7) year old son. I've gotten so much helpful information off of Crusiemates and still have a few questions (I'm sure more than a few but these are the ones that I can think of right now).

1. Has anyone had any expereince with the kids club on any of the ships? I'm making the assumption that they are all about the same from ship to ship but maybe not. While we haven't had direct experience with Camp Carnival I've talked to people who say that the major problem is getting the kids to leave to do stuff with the family!

2. Since this is our first time crusing, it is better to book the excursions through Carnival? And book them now or wait? On a first cruise I'd book with the ship and I'd book on line (especially the horses). Remember that your excursions will be charged to your credit card when you book them :eek:! You can cancel or change excursions afterwards.

3. Speaking of excursions, we are thinking in Grand Cayman the sting ray encounter a good choice and in Ocho Rios the beach horseback riding (my son loves horses). Still up in the air for Cozumel. Does anyone have any expereince with these two excursions and/or have a suggestion for Cozumel? There's lots of "stuff" at the port in Cozumel so you'll probably be fine just wandering. Do check what's offered by the ship. IMO, beaches are the big draw here.

4. Elegant night - only for the parents? If not, can my son just get away with khakis and a nice shirt? And my husband just a dinner jacket? Both your son and your husband will be fine with slacks and a dress shirt (and maybe a tie). They can wear sports jackets if they want to, but it's not required.

Thanks for any info that you can provide. We are really looking forward to our trip.
I think you'll be cruising for life after your first! Please feel free to ask any more questions ,
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Old March 30th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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You should book the shore excursions that you want as soon as you can. We always book them on the Carnival web site. You just look -up your cruise and it will list all of the shore excursions that are available to you fro that cruise. We book the tours as soon as possible. Some shore excursions have limited amount of space and or people and they book up fast. When we went on our first cruise, we didn't know much about cruising. We didn't book any shore excursions. When we arrived in San Juan Puerto Rico we we're sort of lost. We ended up down town in the wrong area and didn't get to see very much of the town. So ever since that we always book shore excursions, they're safe and they always make sure that you return to your ship on time.
When we went on the 8 day "Exotic Mexican Riviera Cruise", we wanted to see the real "Cliff Divers" in Acapulco. When we looked on line, that tour wasn't available to us. When we got on board the ship, we checked with the shore excursions office and noticed that it was available to us. So sometimes you just have to check both places. The "Cliff Divers" were outstanding.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Thanks to all for the great info! We have booked the horses through CCL for Ocho Rios and will probably do the sting rays in Grand Cayman with one of the captain company tours. Not sure yet about Cozumel but will figure something out.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reed's Mom View Post
Hi all. My family is going on our first cruise in June on the Carnival Liberty. We are stopping in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. There are three of us - myself, my husband, and our 6 (almost 7) year old son. I've gotten so much helpful information off of Crusiemates and still have a few questions (I'm sure more than a few but these are the ones that I can think of right now).

1. Has anyone had any expereince with the kids club on any of the ships? I'm making the assumption that they are all about the same from ship to ship but maybe not.

No we haven't But our cousins son loved camp carnival!

2. Since this is our first time crusing, it is better to book the excursions through Carnival? And book them now or wait?

Book them through the ship, being your first cruise, do it now for better selection, some fill up fast!

3. Speaking of excursions, we are thinking in Grand Cayman the sting ray encounter and in Ocho Rios the beach horseback riding (my son loves horses). Still up in the air for Cozumel. Does anyone have any expereince with these two excursions and/or have a suggestion for Cozumel?

We did the beach break which is all inclusive, it was great for a family!

4. Elegant night - only for the parents? If not, can my son just get away with khakis and a nice shirt? And my husband just a dinner jacket?

Elegant night is for everyone and khaki's and a nice shirt on junior should be fine.

Thanks for any info that you can provide. We are really looking forward to our trip.
Glad to help...have fun
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