My family and I are considering a cruise at the end of April 2005. This will be a first time experience for us. We usually do Disney, but have decided to explore our options a little. There will be two families with children ranging from ages 9 to 18. We really want a great first experience but have no idea which cruise line is geared towards families.
We have heard that Carnival is a college age crowd majority, Celebrity is geared towards couples, etc... Any advice for a nervous first timer would be greatly appreciated!
Weve done 2 and soon a 3rd New Years cruises on Royal Caribbean. We have a 2.5yr old son. People, including kids have said they really like the kids club on RCI. Some kids say they liked it better than Disney. As long as the child is 3 and potty trained they can use the club. The other + with RCI is the activities they have on board:rock wall, ice skating, inline skating, basketball, mini golf, arcade, pools. There are no added fees, except for the arcade to use these facilities. Just be sure if you do go with these ships that you bring long pants (ice skating reqs) and socks (ice skating, inline skating, and rock wall).
I'd also agree and check into some of the Royal CAribbean's "Voyager" class ships. Since you are traveling with kids/teens, these ships are great just for that, tons of activities and entertainment for all ages.
The kid situation also depends a lot on when you cruise. If you go when school is in session, I would think on any ship the # of older kids would be very limited. We go over New Years and there are a ton of kids. I think someone said that on Navigator this past New Years there were more kids than adults.
I agree that RCI is a good choice especially since you have grade school children and teens. RCI's teen program goes until 17 years while Carnival only until 15 years. The Navigator and Mariner have very extensive teen facilities and all the ships have rock walls. Lots of fun action for all ages.
Let us know what you decide.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
Princess is also a great choice for familes, especially the newer ships,- great kids activites, large teen center, outdoor movie theatre, Freshwater (not saltwater) pools that are open 24hrs. Golf, basketball, volleyball, computer games, golf simulator, really good food, and great service. Lots of familes with school age children and teens, especially during school breaks, Princess limits the number of kids/teens allowed onboard, so that the programs don't get jammed packed and there aren't tons of kids running around, there are a lot of kids on board at any given time, but not so much that you would notice "wow there are tons of kids on this ship".
We have cruised with our kids on Carnival and RCCL, both are good for families, but in my opinion RCCL does a better job with teen activities and their kid's club is a bit better.
The Voyager class with RCCL is wonderful, with rock climbing, ice skating, roller blading, etc. We were on Mariner last April spring break tons of teens, a lot of them seemed to really enjoy the ship and activities, others just wanted to ride the glass elevators and be their version of cool.
Carnival is not strictly a party ship, if you do a 5 or 7 day cruise or do it when school is in session you will see lots of families with young children and lots of older vetran cruisers. The newer big ships attract a variety of age groups. I think entertainment is slightly better on Carnival, but we had great entertainment on Mariner last spring. I think you'd be fine with either line.
Yet another vote for RCL Voyager class for family cruising! Just did one. Booked on board for the same ship next year! Kids begged me to. My son loves the rock wall and ice skating, my daughter loved the pools - especially the kids pools. Big ships. lots to do, freindly staff, interesting kids programs run by obviously professional kid-type folks.
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
Carnival or RCCL are both good choices and Carnival's average age *isn't* actually college age...
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
My kids went to the Caribbean on RCC, and Alaska on Carnival. My daughter preferred RCC, because of the rock-climbing wall and the ice rink. My son preferred Carnival, because the "Teen Club" on RCC was geared for older teens, while he was in the young teen age range. He really liked the Teen Program on Carnival.
Add one more vote for RCCL . Have sailed them in caribbean and Aalska. Kids love it. they have 4 cruises under their belts. Am looking at another for our spring break. My kids are 5 and 10. 10 year old is a veteran of Adventure Ocean and the 5year old has been 3 x. Have had to drag them literally off the ship. we are now looking at one of the Voyager class for Spring break.