Hi - I'm new to these boards. We are a family of 4 planning an August Western Carib. cruise. Our kids are 19 and 13. We hope to take 2 adjoining cabins. Our past cruise experiences include Galaxy to Alaska and NCL Windward to Bermuda without the kids; Horizon to Bermuda (the hands down favorite - but it was in 1995, pre RCI) and RCI Grandeur to Eastern Carib. in 1999, which we all enjoyed but the food was not as good as on Celebrity. For our next family cruise we are choosing between: Grand Princess (but the agent is discouraging this choice, saying they nickel and dime you on Princess); RCI Voyager of the Seas (I think my kids would love it, and it's scheduled for the private island Labadee which was the highlight of our last cruise and we would love to experience it again, but I'm concerned about the food and the crew to passenger ratio; and Century, which
has few balcony cabins (which do not price well) and which, at 5 years old, might be showing its age. Soooo - I'm looking for feedback from cruisers. Thanx for any suggestions.
Grand Princess doesn't nickle and dime you. There is a charge for Sabatini's ($15.00). And there are charges for the machines in the Virtual Reality room, a kid's favorite. Other than that, there are the usual charges there are on all cruise ships, photos, drinks, spa services. I am both a Celebrity and a Princess fan. Although the experiences are a little different, they are both wonderful cruises and I wouldn't hesitate to sail either line. I like Century, but I haven't sailed it in 4 years so could not give you an opinion of her now. I am not an RCI fan so can't give you the comparison between Grand Princess and the RCI Eagle class ships.
OK, first, Century is not showing her age...she is in great shape and immaculate...but she is not the best choice for your family I don't think.
The other two choices are great for you. As far as the nickels and dimes go, they'll both have the same kind of extra charges. The biggest complaint in that regard that I have heard is Princess' charge for ice cream during the day.
The Voyage/Explorer are great choices but the food service is just moderate...but you've been on the Granduer so you know what to expect.
Both good choices...I'd pick by price and by itinierary.
Why not Celebrity? When my children were younger they enjoyed the Horizon to Bermuda. And I think there will be alot of families on board, as we will be cruising toward the end of the camp season and before school starts. I doubt my daughter would participate much in any official dhildren's program, and I know my son will spend his days through dinner with us and his nights with the older teens and younger twenties on board. Are there other things I should consider?
One of the problems with the other ships is that they are both very large. My husband is hobbling around on a bad foot right now, and if he heals as slow as usual, he could still be hobbling this summer. I was considering that the slightly smaller but still 70,000 tonne Century might be easier for him to get around.
Unfortunately I am unable to email from my browser from this location so I have to answer in a posting.
You ask "Why Not Celebrity"? Well, I love Celebrity and you should consider, it as you have been. But you were asking about positioning the three choices and I believe that the other two are better choices for a family. The activity choices on board the other ships are so much greater than on the Century for the kids. Further, you mention how much you liked the private island and of the three cruises you asked about the Century is the only one that has no private island port of call.
So, if you are looking for a lower key experience with lots of relaxation and little to do in the evening for the kids then go on the Century. The kids program on that ship will be their only option. On the Voyager they have a great virtual reality center, 18 hole mini golf, rock climbing, ice skating and in line skating as well as the general programing. They also have a much nicer teen center.
I am sorry to hear about your husbands disability, that can indeed be a factor. The Voyager and the Grand are huge...isn't it funny how we think of the 70,000 grt Century as a mid size ship now!!.
I like all three ships. For myself and my wife I'd pick the Century. But if I was taking the kids I'd look at another option. Just my opinion.