Hi- My husband and I are considering a 12-14 day Med cruise with our 9 year old daughter-who is very well behaved and "prefers the Caribbean to Disneyworld'. Any thoughts on the pros and cons of both ships?? Anyone who has been on both and has a preference? I would truly appreciate any input as I am not an experienced cruiser....Thanks- Pauline
Hi, I've been on both lines, and I'm not sure if a 9 year old would find either line to their liking. Neither line attracts many children at all. Seabourn doesn't even have a playroom or any kind of program for kids of any age. Crystal attracts more children for their Alaska cruises because they have a kids sail free program for this summer, but for European cruises, I've not seen many children on board. There are a couple of reasons why the luxury lines don't have many children on board, with the first being children don't get much of a price break. While most other cruise lines will give great prices for a child sharing a cabin, the luxury lines generally charge full fare for kids, or at the very least 50% of the adult fare while the mass market lines would charge in the $300 to $500 range with some lines only charging port taxes. Another reason is that Seabourn and Crystal attract a much older crowd---at least age 55 and older. While you will find some younger people on luxury lines, they still are mostly for older cruisers. Another reason is the luxury lines are very formal in the evening, which many parents just don't seem to care for. Seabourn and Crystal are very formal in the evenings with most men wearing tuxes and the ladies in long gowns, formal dinner suits or evening pant suits with sparkly tops. Luxury lines also tend to be very port intensive, which means stopping in a port every day, which can be very tiring for a child. Also, for younger children, tours in those Med ports are very long and in some cases, not something kids are interested in. For example in Rome, the better tours are 12 hours long, and the same for a stop in Florence. Some children can handle this and some can't, but only you can decide. There are many other choices for cruise ships that are more family friendly. I've been on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity in Europe and both those lines had huge number of children on board, plus they both have great kid's programs. But no matter what you decide, a cruise is the best vacation.
I am not familiar with the Seabourn Spirit, but I just returned from a Mediterranean cruise on Symphony. There were very few children on board, but those who were there received a great deal of attention. The staff in particular loved the children. Many are fathers whose own children are far away, and the cruising children gave them great pleasure.
Was there enough to do? I wonder. One young boy appeared to enjoy the pool a great deal. You must ask yourself if your daughter will mind sitting through a 4 course meal in the dining room. There are many wonderful adult activities like classes and lectures, but I can think of nothing that a child would enjoy or even appropriately attend. Perhaps you should consider other cruise lines.
I've never been on Crystal or Seabourn, but in terms of a cruise experience that would be at once more refined and elegant for adults, and yet with great kids' programs, Celebrity may be a cruiseline to consider. Being a teenager on Mercury this summer, I got to kind of observe both the kids' programs and the adult atmosphere/activities.