After a lot of research (I luv the web!) I've pretty much determined that I think Royal Carib. is the right cruise line for our family vacation consisting of myself (age 41), wife (ditto), son (7), and daughter (3). It seems to have a lot to offer to keep the kids happy and be family friendly while still having enough adult ativities to let my wife and I have some fun (been 8 years since our last vacation!!!!!!!)
The next question was where to go and which ship. My daughter's health was not very good the first few years of her life and so we are gradually taking her out. She love's the beach and also our frequent boat trips around Boston so I think she'll do well on a cruise -- but maybe not a mega ship as she is still intimidated by crowds and can get overwhelmed. So I was thinking a smaller RCCI ship.
Like the Nordic Empress out of NY to Bermuda. (Mid-September sailing.) Since we live in the Boston area we don't need to fly to the embarkation port too, which I think would be a plus for my 'lil not-so-well daughter who has never flown.
But my son is 7 and VERY active. Will the smaller ship have enough kid's program to keep him happy? I know the big RCCI ships would, but how extensive/exciting are the kids programs on the smaller RCCI ships? Open question!
Does this all sound like a good plan (first time cruising, so I am unsure of everything!)? Is RCCI 'the best' for kids? Is a smaller ship the way to go?
PS -- is the weather in mid-september in Bermuda still summerish? Will we still be able to swim, walk in short sleeves, etc?
Thanks for any and all help on my bunch of questions!
Hi Jim, i will try to help with a couple of things. Bermuda in September is beautiful, the weather will be just about the same as it is in South Carolina, always the slim chance of a costal hurricane in September but you can't control the weather. I am not familiar with the Empress, you can go to NCCL's website and take a look at the ship to see what she has to offer. Bermuda is a beautiful island, gorgeous beaches, water sports, very clean, very relaxed. Things to do: Horseshoe Beach, visit the caverns, do some shopping,maybe some golf. Most of the activites are centered around the big hotels - especially the ones in Southampton.
I'm the family cruise editor here and I think your choice is a good one, especially with your daughter's health concerns. As you know, all ships have a doctor/medical facility just in case you are concerned with your daughter's past health history. We've had to take my toddler to the doctor on two of his four cruises, and I found the care was fine.
Bermuda in September should be lovely and not as crowded as the summer.
Royal Caribbean's youth program is tops and is VERY ACTIVE! My 9 year old is high action oriented and we couldn't tear her away from RCCL's youth program last year. Just wanted to make sure your 3 year old is potty trained since not all are. Kids must be potty trained in order to participate in the youth program. Also, my daughter has a few allergies and the RCCL youth counselors were very cautious and helpful with alerting their staff to her sensitivities.
Let me know what you decide and if you have add'l Q's.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Thanks for responding. I called a TA to ask about the Royal Carib Bermuda cruise and she said it was terrific, but that I might want to look at the Dawn to Florida and the Bahamas. They were running VERY good specials. The Dawn it seems is bigger than some of the ships to Bermuda, but still isn't a mega-ship. Plus, as you pointed out, my 3 - year old is sill in diapers so she wouldn't be able to join the programs on RC. NCL allows diapered kids [ they give you a beeper, I hear? we run back to change her? Potty alert! Potty Alert! ]
I know I've heard from everyone that RC's kids programs are top shelf... slightly more mixed reviews of NCL's kids programs -- but the Dawn is brand new and seems to built somewhat around families (a kid themed dinosaur pool -- my 7year old flipped when he saw that on a brochure!!) Do you reccomend NCL and in particular the Dawn? I think it may be a better choice for the 3year old, but I'm hoping the NCL program will be active enough for the 7year old dynamo!
thanks for all your help, terrific message board!
Nowegian Dawn, 9/03
RCL Voyager of the Seas, 9/24/04
RCL Voyager of the Seas, 10/7/05
RCL Explorer of the Seas, 10/6/06
hi. I have personally been on the Nordic Empress. Do you or your children get sea sick? I do and I wear the patch. Unfortuantely, because the Nordic Empress is so small, even with the patch I was sick the whole cruise to Bermuda (plus the seas going to Bermuda are much ougher than the Caribbean). Your day at sea will also be a lot like the weather is in New York, so it may be a little cold in September. As far as RCCL, I wasn't fond of the food (my opinion) anjd even though I was sick, I had a blast (I don;t let that stuff bother me I am so used to it by now after 7 cruises). I will say that I hear Norwegian is the better cruiase line. I was on them many years ago and my in laws just went on the Sun. They say Norwegian is now their favorite.
i sailed on the nordic empress may 2001 i did not see many kids at but could have been because of the time we went. i know that there was a kids center with a slide, and ball pit and i belive that there was an arcade but very small. the sea are aliitle rough but nothing to bad, that due to the fact that you leace out of ny. we never had to take any medication for it at all!! good luck and have fun on whatever cruise you choose!!!