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Family Cruising Discuss family cruising - kids programs, babysitting, infant care, etc.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 27th, 2002, 07:29 PM
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Default Which Cruise Line??

I am really stuck. We are a family of four with a ten and six-year-old. We do a ton of traveling but this will be our first cruise. I started looking only at Disney but then found a ton of other options with the Adventurer, Voyager, Princess Grand etc. We are fairly picky people and really like 4-star type hotels. In addition, we really enjoy gourmet food and cooking..so food is important to us. At this point I think Disney might be too limited in evening adult activiites. The Princess might not be best for the kids. The Voyager looks great but I have heard the food is horrible. Finally, two people have reccomended Carnival saying they have great kids programs and food. I always thought Carnival was kind of a garish party boat type experience..but maybe not??? I want to be able to sip champagne a quiet bar, dance at a fun disco, eat wonderful meals and a fun time for the kids. What are my best options? I know nothing is perfect but I want this to be a great experience for everyone. I open to any advice. Thanks!
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Old July 29th, 2002, 09:41 AM
Luisa
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Default Re: Which Cruise Line??

I'm the family cruise editor here. My eight year old daughter has been on 11 family cruises and has loved them all including those aboard Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Disney, among others!
I'd say that if food is a big priority, I'd consider Princess. I definitely find their food a notch above Royal Caribbean and Disney, both of which I've sailed a few times. My daughter was about 5 or 6 when we sailed on Princess and she enjoyed their youth program. On the other hand, Royal Caribbean's Adventure, Voyagers, and Explorer of the Seas have more extensive youth facilities, as does Princess. While Carnival has a good youth program, it may not be the atmosphere you're looking for from your description. Another line you might want to consider is Celebrity -- they are well known for their great cuisine. They have youth programs too but only in season, which means during the summer and on major holidays.
Good luck with your decision and feel free to ask me any more questions.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
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Old July 29th, 2002, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Re: Which Cruise Line??

Luisa,
Could I ask you 2 questions? We are going on Celebrity Galaxy with my 8 yr old who has mild learning disabilities. He can follow directions and gets along with other kids. How do you think he'll do in the kids program? I 'm a little worried.

Also, what kind of food do they have for kids? In the main dining room do they only have regular meals? I'm wondering if I should bring peanut butter & jelly or can i get that from room service?

Thank you for your help.
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Old July 30th, 2002, 09:50 AM
Luisa
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Default Re: Re: Re: Which Cruise Line??

Hi:
I haven't been on Celebrity for a few years but I know that on other recent cruises I have asked the director of the youth programs about how they deal with special needs kids and they seem willing to work with them. (Disney and Royal Caribbean) Obviously, they don't have the staff to devote one on one with a specific child, but you'll be surprised at how competant the counselors are. My daughter has food and chemical allergies and I was very impressed that Royal Caribbean took a picture of her the first day and posted for the counselors to see so that all were aware of her restrictions. Just make sure you explain (and perhaps write down) for them your child's limitations or what works well for him. If all else fails, your child will probably have a great time in the ship's pool on sea days and visiting ports with you!
Yes, Celebrity should have a children's menu in the dining room for dinner. I'm not positive they'll have peanut butter -- most do. However, if this is one of the few foods he'll eat, you may want to bring your own.
Please let me know how it goes upon your return. (When do you sail?)
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
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Old July 30th, 2002, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Which Cruise Line??

Thanks so much. We sail on Aug. 19th. I will definitely tell them about my son. He does like the water too! I let you know how it goes after we get back.
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Old July 30th, 2002, 11:00 AM
Jo Anne
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Default Re: Which Cruise Line??

Shelle,
Your preferences sound the same as mine. I have been on Carnival before, and would STAY AWAY. Though the kids' programs are good, you'll have a miserable time. Not at all upscale, would say more but don't want a bombardment of emails from Carnival fans.
I did a lot of research before booking my cruise (8/11 Mercury!). I had booked a Disney cruise, which I heard is wonderful. Then I cancelled it--I really wanted a cruise that I would enjoy as much as my kid, and I'm not a great Disney fan. To make a long story short, I booked a Celebrity cruise--though I haven't travelled yet, the line seems to meet most of my criteria. The kids programs are supposed to be superb during vacation times. There aren't a lot of rowdy kids and teens running around the ship, but enough for my little seven-year-old to be happy. The food is supposed to be the best around, the entertainment OK. I'm not much of a rowdy gambler/party girl--the ship seems to have a lot of quiet places for drinks ie Martini Bar, Champagne bar that will suit me just fine. The Celebrity ships are supposed to be gorgeous.
I've had a friend who went on the same ship with her five year old and really enjoyed it. The only downside that I'm investigating--I read a post on another board that said that 85% of the other cruisers were senior citizens, at least to Alaska. Would prefer more of a variety.
That said, it seems that if you want a quieter, more deluxe experience than most you might want to consider Celebrity. I'll know more upon my return from Alaska!
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Old August 1st, 2002, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Which Cruise Line??

Shelle,

I've been on the Ecstasy twice and the Paradise once. They are no more a party ship than any other cruise ship. (We've also been on the Sovreign when she was doing 7 day runs, the Grand Princess, and Explorer of the Seas). Any time you get people together with booze, you will get people who will abuse the booze. RCI I've found pushed alcohol the most, Princess least. The Grand Princess is INCREDIBLY beautiful. I find she beats the Explored hands down in beauty, and is definately 5 star.
I've found Carnival's food the best of all actually. It's been consistantly excellent and the presentation is nothing less than superb. The decor is more glitzy and not "classically beautiful like the Grand though. As for the food on Princess and Explorer, both were more than decent, and worth the $$$, but not consistantly perfect like Carnival's was. (my opinion here!)

As for the children's programs, don't rule out Princess. Our sons were 2 and 4 and we found it to be great and comparable to Carnival's (hadn't taken EOS yet). Princess has the most age groupings of any line, and does cater well to kids. The Grand also has a ton of amenities and fresh water chlorinated pools that don't get dumped at night which is a NICE treat. Carnival also has a lot to offer kids. Explorer though I believe to have had the BEST kids program of all we've gone on. There are also so many ammenities on that ship its impossible to be bored. But what Explorer has in amenities it somewhat lacks in decor, (very basic, not elegant like Grand).

From what you've described you want in this vacation, my recommendation to you is the Grand or Golden Princess.

Cindy
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Re: Which Cruise Line??

Hi Shelle,
I am going to be in the same position as you next year as we are planning to take our 9 and 12 year olds on their first cruise,so I am going to be quite anxious to hear how yours went please let me know.My husband and I sailed on the Voyaguer last september and found it to be amazing.They have a very good variety of things to do to keep the kids busy.I can't really comment on their programs because we did not have the kids with us but I would not hesitate to take them.We would prefer to do something we haven't done before so we were considering possibly the explorer or adventure on RCI.I was very worried about the quality of the food as well.I had read many reviews that said the food was not very good.We found this to be totally untrue. The service as well was very good.Johnny Rockets was a fun place the kids would love.The rock climbing wall,skating rink,9 hole golf course,and full size basketball court would have kept my kids entertained alone.They also have a good size video arcade.I personally would not hesitate to recommend this ship. Have a great trip whereever you end up.
Melanie
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Old September 10th, 2002, 11:54 AM
Denise58
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Default Re: Re: Which Cruise Line??

I put my 8 yr old special needs son in the kids program on Celebrity's Galaxy and he loved it! They were so great with him (esp. Allison, Matt and Mao). He never wanted to leave and always asked when he was going back. On formal nights they took them for a pizza party. We had a wonderful vacation.
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Old November 12th, 2002, 12:38 PM
Mike Maguire
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Default Boston...Downs Child

My family has never been on a cruise. We live on Cape Cod, so to make travel logistics easier, I heard there is only one cruise Line that goes out of Boston in the Summer, I think to Bermuda. Do you know which one, and are they good with kids
Second , our youngest is 4 and has Downs Syndrome. She has no medical needs, but is limited verbally. Loves to play with peers. Any issues with this cruise line do you think??
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Old November 12th, 2002, 12:39 PM
Mike Maguire
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Default Boston...Downs Child

My family has never been on a cruise. We live on Cape Cod, so to make travel logistics easier, I heard there is only one cruise Line that goes out of Boston in the Summer, I think to Bermuda. Do you know which one, and are they good with kids
Second , our youngest is 4 and has Downs Syndrome. She has no medical needs, but is limited verbally. Loves to play with peers. Any issues with this cruise line do you think??
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