Hi there. I'm glad I found these boards! Wanted to get input on my idea: I have a DS, 2, and was thinking about getting our feet wet on cruising with him by doing a 3-day Disney cruise in September before he turns 3 (so we'd only pay port charges) and then a 4-day Carnival cruise next March for our wedding anniversary. He'd be 3 then, but Carnival seems like a good choice because I really don't see him being completely potty trained by then.
We live in Florida, so we'd only need to drive, no plane fare worries. Would a pre-3-year-old have fun on a Disney cruise? I know he couldn't use the Kids club or the pool, which has me a little worried. Would he be bored? How hard would it be to get him in to Flounder's in the evening? What kinds of things do young kids do in Nassau?
We'd most likely take the Imagination on Carnival. If anyone has used the kids club there, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Please read the article I wrote on "Disney's MAgical Nursery" on this family section of the site. I enrolled my infant in Flounder's Nursery and it was a good experience. Just make sure you make your reservations as soon as you get on the ship and you should be fine. Disney ships now have a small toddler/infant water play area that I'm pretty sure is okay for kids in diapers to go in. (It might be the "ears" part of the Mickey pool, but I'm not totally sure.) I think it's a good choice for a two year old. And yes, Carnival will change diapers and your child only has to be 2 to be in the kids' program.
Let me know what you decide.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
We had a wonderful experience on Disney last year when my daughter was 2. She loved the Nursery in the evening. The counsellors were amazing. She even fell asleep one night and we found her safely tucked into one of the cribs they have. The other 2 nights she was cuddled up either on the floor with her balnky or on one of the girls laps watching a movie. (just a note. We had never left our daughter with a stranger before and she does not attend daycare. The staff there is just unbelieveable) We are trying Carnival this year. I hope she does as well.
Just a note about your 2 proposed choices, I think if you sail on Disney, then sail on the 9-yr-old Imagination you're going to be disappointed. I've never been on Disney, but from what I hear they maintain beautiful ships and have great service. I'm a big fan of Carnival, but the level of service and look/feel of the ships is vastly different on the newer vs. older ships. On Carnival's newer ships, my family of 4 (2 young sons) had very enjoyable cruises. On the older ones, we were disappointed. I'd urge you to look at a 5-yr or newer Carnival ship for that second cruise.
Thanks mahirsch. I have been on about seven other cruises, and most were older boats (Like the Norway, the Dolphin, even the Emerald Seas!) I went on Sovereign of the Seas for the second time last year, and I'll be going on the Inspiration in November. I believe the Inspiration is a lot like the Imagination, so I should get a feel for the ship.
My main concern is that my son is having a good time, so that DH and I can have a little alone time for vacationing, too. The Imagination, I hope, will be traveling to Key West and Cozumel, which seem like two good ports. I want to avoid Nassau two time in six months, and don't think we'll have time for a week cruise, which is all the newer Carnival ships sail, I believe. Or do any of the new Carnival ships do 4-night cruises?