Cruising is the best vaca for a couple with kids. We love it because there is something for them to do and something for you as a couple to enjoy. We find that you will make friends with other parents and get to meet other kids on board and that will be the group that you socialize with unless you came with a group, I have never encountered any problems with anyone being rude with our child or us on a cruise and believe me, there are plently of people being rude in the food lines! We have always booked kid-friendly ship such as RCCL or Carnival...that is the key. Many families and great times. Good luck
We have only sailed on Carnival. Their Camp Carnival Programs are great. You might want to start out with a Fantasy Class ship for your first cruise. They are large (70 ton) but not mega ships., so they are easier to get used to. Our first cruise with the kids was on the Elation when it sailed out of So. California. We had a great time and the kids (they were 11 and 13) participated in many of the Camp Carnival Activities. One thing about sailing out of So. Cal.........your first day at sea will be cold so there won't be a lot of activitiy by the pool. When we sailed the Inspiration (had a great time on her too) out of Tampa, the pool was open and we enjoyed the outside decks from the moment we boarded.
I would go to a travel agent and get brochures for Carnival, Royal Carribean and Disney (they can be EXPENSIVE, depending on the time of year). Browse through them, look at the itneraries. You'll get a feel for what's available and what interests your family. You won't be able to compare prices using just the brochures........go to the cruise line websites and plot in some dates and see what they're charging. I always book through a Travel Agent, but I always go in with, at least, a narrowed down list of choices.
I agree -- look at Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney. Also, peruse some of the articles I've written on the main page of this family cruise section to get a feel for each line's youth program.
Feel free to ask more questions once you've got it narrowed down.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
I took my son on the Carnival Fantasy last year. He was 8 yrs old. He had a blast, they had 6 PS2s, their director was English and very funny. They did all sort of activities, and when I would go pick him up for meals, I had to practically drag him out.
If you go to Carnival's website, they have a list of "sample" activites" for kids. See below:
Junior cruisers ages 6 through 8 will delight in Camp Carnival's fun-filled and age-appropriate activities. From "Make Your Own Sundaes" and spin art, to candy art and movie time, your kids will have the opportunity to participate in fun events and make new friends from all over the world.
Children also get their very own menus, featuring all their favorite foods. Hot dogs, chicken nuggets, pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are all available on a Carnival cruise, so even our pint-size guests can feel pampered on their "Fun Ship" family vacation.
PlayStation 2 and IMac time
Spin Art, Sand Art and Candy Art
Arts and crafts
ExerSeas - Kids' Fitness Program
EduCruise - Educational activities
I think you will enjoy any of the kid friendly cruise lines and most iteneraries. Choose the places you want to go and you will find that there are many choices of things to do in port that the children will enjoy. The best part of cruising with kids is that you can travel as a family but get a little reprieve from the kids to have some adult time and know that your kids are having the time of their lives. Sometimes you will have to go get them kicking and screaming that they want to stay at the kids area! Relax, Enjoy and be confident that no matter what ship you choose and no matter what itenerary ....the kids are gonna have a blast.
Some kid friendly ships with great programs include: Carnival, NCL, RCCL, Princess and Disney. Carnival and NCL are great if you are on a budget. They give a lot of bang for the buck!