We are looking at taking a 7 day Western Carribean cruise in November and would like recommendations on a cruise the kids will enjoy and be safe on - we've looked into Disney but the extra price is just too much - we would appreciate suggestions on cruise lines, or solid reasons why the extra $1,700 for a Disney cruise is worth it.
Sorry, I haven't been on a Disney cruise, but I can recommend RCCL, Carnival or even Princess for traveling with your kids.
Last year we were on Explorer, and I have to say, this class of RCCL ship are just wonderful for families cruising with kids. There is so much to do onboard and the kids program is wonderful from what I've heard.
You may want to check out a few ships that interest you and then post on the "bargain finder" here at Cruisemates. That way you can get some prices from travel agents, via e-mail. I've used it in the past with good success, good luck and hope you find that perfect family cruise:
We chose RCL for our first cruise, we are leaving June 9. Traveling with a 3 year old and an almost 10, so I will let you know when we get back! 30 days and counting...
RCL seems to have some great kids programs, and was the line recommended by our travel agent. Disney would have cost us a few thousand more for the same accommodations. Plus, I figure there will be less kids on RCL, and more opportunity for our kids to make a new friend. I also took into consideration that a 3-year old may be terrified of the characters on the Disney cruise. We went to Disney World just before she turned 3, and she wanted nothing to do with a life-size Mickey. I think we'll wait until she is older to do a Disney cruise.
I'm the family cruise editor at CruiseMates.com and I can recommend Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival and Disney as good choices for a family cruise. They all offer youth programs that would accommodate your three and seven year old and have great family friendly facilities.
We just got off a seven day Disney cruise with our eight-year-old daughter and seven-month-old son and were very impressed with the youth program, service and extra special touches. My daughter never liked the characters when we went to Disney World when she was four years old, yet when we went on a four day Disney cruise when she was 4-1/2 years old she actually went up to the characters for pix. I think it was a less crazy environment on the ship than in the parks. Disney has some great extras -- their private island is lovely and you don't have to take a tender ship there; their alternative restaurant for adults is excellent; and they offer a champagne brunch for adults which is really something to write home about.
We've sailed on Carnival and Princess and really liked their youth programs too. If you're sailing in November (and it's not Thanksgiving), you may want to opt for Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Disney since there will be more kids in the youth program during the off season than on Princess. We will be sailing Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas at the end of June and I'll write an article on it for this web site in July.
I suggest you read some of the recent articles I've written for this family section of CruiseMates.com. Ones which give a good general overview of all the youth programs are: "Best Kids' Programs? Ask a Kid!" and "Kids' Facilties and Activities by Cruise Line."
Feel free to ask me more specific Q's as you narrow down your search.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
We just returned from RCCL's Enchantment of the Seas 7 night cruise with our four year old son. He and we both loved the Adventure Club that they had on-board. Staff and activities were great. I highly recommend it.
We have been on the Carnival Sensation and RC Enchant of the Sea. My children were 4 and 5 on the first cruise (Carnival) and 5 and 6 for the (RC) cruise. They loved both. We are looking forward to the next two cruises one on the Grand Princess and the next on Carnival Conquest. The only thing you might consider is that on RC there was no pool for just children or that parents could be with their children. They did have a wading pool but it was next to the big pool and the adults would take it over on most occasions. But if you aren't concerned about that then either line was great and I expect the Princess line to be just as nice. We won't go on Disney because of the price either. But since it seems most lines are catering to passengers with children. Good luck.