We are looking at a cruise right before the kids go back to school. We have 2 boys, 10 & 14, but both have late birthdays and will be within a month or 2 of being 11 and 15. We are trying to decide between Carnival Conquest out of New Orleans and the Rhapsody of The Sea (RCCL). We'll be leaving on either July 25th or Aug 1st, which would get us back a few days before school starts again.
I like the Carnival ship, as its newer and larger meaning more to do and less ocean motion! However, RCCL's ship leaves from Galveston which is only 45 minutes from home. Also, the rock climbing wall and other activities are of interest to my boys. I've also heard RCCL's kids programs are a bit better.
My wife is concerned with the "party hearty" reputation of the Carnival ship, especially with a 6' 3" 14-year old and his adventursome hormones along with us. Is this really a big issue to consider?
What due all of you think? New ship and bigger vs older ship/smaller? Will the size really matter as it pertains to motion?
Both ships are very large and the difference in size won't make much difference as far as motion is concerned. I think the rock wall will be a big draw for your teens. My 10 year old has been on 15 cruises and loves RCCL's youth program and fun facilities (like the rock walls). I think you'll find something for everyone on RCCL.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
We have just returned from a cruise with Carnival Imagination. We have a 10 years old boy. It was wonderful!! They have a very nice Camp and a whole lot of other games like basketball and ping-pong. My son loved it!!!
We have been on 3 cruises (one with our 10 yr old daughter) thru Carnival.
This time we're stepping away from Carnival and booked RCL Mariner of the Seas. I have heard wonderful things about RCCL's kids programs and about RCL in general. We won't be sailing til Feb 2005 and can't wait!! Hoping for a great cruise.
I hear once you go RCL you won't go back....at least that is what my TA told me!
I just cruised without my kids on RCCL Serenade out of Hawaii. The kids on the ship appeared to be having a blast. BUT, I was conscious of the 14ish year olds having a lot of freedom and that kind of made me think my carefree days will be slipping away soon (my boys are 8 1/2 & 11 1/2). They had a basketball court with loud rappin' type music outside on top deck which was VERY popular - almost always had someone using it for basketball or soccer. Also, mini golf and climbing wall appeared popular. Waterslide bigger than the one we had on Carnival Pride, and was kind of in the back 1/3rd of the ship, rather than hanging precariously at the back of the ship like on the Pride! My kids were a bit freaked out on the Pride going down the slide in the wind! Seperate kids pool would be great for those middle ages. One adult only pool, and one that all could use. I certainly will be taking my kids on an RCCL - it looked to be quite good. The other pain on Carnival Pride was my youngest, who was 7, had to be signed in and out of the program - I interrupted my meal most nights to truck to the other end of the ship to sign him in, then several times in the middle of a good book, he'd page me (we had FRS radios which are wonderful) and I'd have to truck to the back of the ship again to sign him out. My oldest (10 at the time) could sign himself in and out which was a blessing. Neither of them liked the organized Carnival activities, and truthfully they looked kind of lame. "making pizza" meant having premade pizza shells and sprinkling cheese on them. Yeeha! Seemed to me they were plunked in front of videos a lot, or playing free computer games. Not what I really wanted them doing. HAL allowed the kids to sign in and out on there own with parents "pre blessing" which I appreciated. Then when I was just tuckin' into my lobster tail I didn't have to truck down and sign them in just to keep them happy while I finished my dinner! Not sure about RCCL's sign in/out policy. Those are my thoughts for now... good luck!