Hey there..Im a single parent taking my 7 yoa on the Rhapsody..would appreciate any advice based on experience with the Rhapsody and whether or not this is a trip she will like...Also any suggestions about shore excursions in Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel would be greatly appreciated.Thanks.
I'm the family cruise editor here. Glad to hear you're going on a cruise with your child. Cruising is a great option for single parents since you get some much needed down time when your youngster is in the children's program and also lots of fun, exciting time together too. My 9 year old has been on 13 cruises and she thinks that Royal Caribbean's youth program is the best one. Their youth program is very active and the counselors are a lot of fun. The ships are all very nice and by the end of the year, they will all have a rock climbing wall on them which my daughter really enjoyed.
As for your ports of call, here are some suggestions:
*Key West: Explore on your own since there are a number of attractions in walking distance that kids like: small aquarium in Mallory Square area; two different museums featuring treasures from local shipwrecks; and Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden. The Secret Garden is a little harder to find but my daughter loved it. This small tropical garden features exotic birds and the owner will take them out and explain them to you and your child. One even does somersaults for peanuts! If you are interested, I can find the address for you which you'll need to find it. As I recall, it was about a 15 to 20 minute walk from the pier. The other attractions I cited above are closer to the ship.
* Grand Cayman: Take a taxi from the pier to Seven Mile Beach. Ask the driver to bring you to an area of the beach that accepts day visitors and has a restaurant and bathroom facilities. It's a lovely, gentle beach that's perfect for kids. You'll have to pay a few dollars to use the beach and beach chairs.
* Cozumel: In Mexico, I suggest you go on a group shore excursion through the ship, unless you feel comfortable exploring on your own and using some Spanish. One time we took my daughter to a folkloric show, booked through the cruise line, that she really enjoyed. I also hear that Chakanaab beach/preserve is excellent for snorkeling and exploring on land.
Good luck and let me know how it goes! I'd like to get a single parents' perspective -- it'd be a good topic for a future article for me to write for this site!
Luisa Frey Gaynor