I don't know where to post this! I need to make a decision tonight about selecting between a Disney Cruise and a Radisson Diamond sailing. Radisson doesn't normally sail the Caribbean in the summer and it is promoting kids sail free. I am worried my 4 1/2 year old may be the only one. Any suggestions? Its my famiy's first cruise and we are all tired and don't want to rush about on Disney or are we mistaken about Disney? We also couldn't get a Verandah room on Disney - outside cabin with a porthole on Deck 2 - my husband is afraid he will feel like the whole ship is weighing down on us....You all have opinions - let me hear them soon! It's my 40th birthday and I want to do something special, otherwise I'll cancel Disney tonight and just go to a resort. THANKS!!
I'm the family cruise editor here. I'm not sure if you've already made your decision about which cruise to sail. I've been on Disney a few times and it's great fun for families and especially for a 4-1/2 year old who may be into Disney characters. However, you are right that you will be very busy trying to fit in all the activities -- character autograph signings, character breakfasts, family activities, Disney stage shows aimed at families, etc. If you want to really chill out, then you might be better off with Radisson. My 9 year old daughter has been on 13 cruises, but Radisson hasn't been one of them. They do offer a summer youth program but I can't personally say how good it is. It will probably be lower keyed than Disney. Since the line is offering summer youth programs, I doubt you daughter will be the only kid aboard ship. Obviously there won't be the 100's of kids like on Disney but sometimes that can be fun for some children and overwhelming for others! Last summer we went on a Windjammer cruise and since it was the last week of the summer, my daughter was one of four kids (all boys). Surprisingly she still had a great time with the youth program and with me ashore. Radisson's food is top notch and their ships are lovely.
Let me know what you decide.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Thank you for your response! I had to book and unfortunately did not hear from anyone by the deadline. I booked Disney. I hope we will be happy. I am nervous that while most families love it, and my daughter will have a good time, that this might not be the right place for us. Fingers crossed! My gut was saying what you wrote above. Oh well...SS
Dear SS in CT:
While you may feel there are too many things to do on Disney, your four year is the perfect age for it. He/she will enjoy the character signings, breakfasts, and Disney stage shows. Just make sure you schedule some down time for yourself and husband when your child is in the youth program -- the spas are great but fill up quickly!
Luisa Frey Gaynor
I didn't realize you have a daughter -- my daughter was five when we first sailed Disney Cruise Line and she was in heaven! Your daughter will love the Disney princess dress up costumes in the youth room for the little ones, dancing with Snow White, etc. -- she's really a perfect age for this kind of cruise experience!
Actually, I meant to ask you a more important question. Disney did not tell me that they were very tight on age when I booked the cruise. She will be 7 weeks shy of her 5th birthday when we sail. They just informed me that she cannot be taken on any of the shore excursions that are indicated for 5 year olds (and of course the ones that I would want especially in St. Thomas). My 40th birthday is the day we arrive in St. Thomas. I use to do marketing for 2 major hotels on the island and have no desire to see anything there and was hoping to utilize the convenience of the excursions to get over to St. John vs. a taxi/ferry shlep to St. John (which will stress out my husband and re time worries making it back to the ship....) to see Trunk Bay. Are there any vendors that allow us to pre-book or other suggestions that are easy for us to get over there. Really wanted to take a cat boat or something fast and planned. I know when the ships dock in St. Thomas it gets very congested downtown, the roads clog and the ferry can run off schedule - any great beach ideas. I read your column and concur - we are not going to sit on a bus tour of St. John couped for the day.... MANY THANKS!!!
Actually there are two on line shore excursions companies that you can check out -- I'm sure they'll have the Trunk Bay transfer. (I agree with you -- Trunk Bay is gorgeous and worth the trip however I get a bit concerned about going on my own and missing our ship at the end of the day!) CHeck out: www.portpromotions.com and www.shoreexcursions.com. Actually their rates are often a few dollars cheaper than when you buy directly on the ship. You'll go on the tours with others from various ships that are in port that day.