We are thinking of surprising my parents with a family cruise for their 40th anniversary next year. Our group would consist of myself, DH, our kids who will be DD 5 1/2 & DS 2 1/2, my two brothers & their significant others, and my parents.
Mom & Dad have sailed RCCL twice (liked it), NCL once (didn't like it) and will be going on the Carnival Triumph in April. One of my brothers has been on RCCL, the other has never cruised before, and my own little family has just returned from a Disney cruise earlier this month.
I've been doing a little research trying to decide which line/ship would best suit our group of cruisers. Since we'd all like to try something new, I thought perhaps Princess would be a good choice. Would Princess have enough activities & programs to accommodate varying interests? Is it "kid-friendly"? We would be doing a Caribbean cruise, from a port in Florida - doesn't really matter which one, it's just that we're from Ontario Canada & it's the easiest/cheapest place to get to - and we're looking at perhaps Feb/March 2006. Which ship(s) should we consider? And also, what type of cabin would fit a family of 4?
Any other ideas and suggestions about Princess or another cruise line would be appreciated.
If you plan to use a camp program for your youngest I wouldn't choose Princess and their children's program starts at 3. Carnival's starts at 2 and I think RCL has just started a program for children younger than three.
4 people can fit in a quad room, but its tight. We've put our 4 kids in one room (all much older than yours). Just remember not to overpack as there isn't much storage space. The other option would be to get a family suite or connecting rooms. These tend to fill up fast so I would book early. Also, keep in mind if you decide to do a quad room that Carnival's rooms are bigger than RCL (I don't know about Princess as we've never sailed that line).
Our family has sailed both RCL and Carnival. We've had a great time on both lines but have found we prefer Carnival for the room size and the food. We found the entertainment to be about the same, and both lines offered many activities to cater to a variety of interests. No one in my family ever complained of being bored on either line!
Hope this helps.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
Actually, RCI's youth program is still 3 years old and potty trained, however they're about to start a mommy and me type program with 45 minute daily sessions w/the little one and a caregiver. It's designed by Fisher Price and sounds like it'll be good. RCI is one of the few lines which also has private babysitting too.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
We're not really concerned about camps for the kids...it would be nice if they were available, and certainly our daughter would enjoy going occasionally, but I know 3 years is the minimum age for most cruise lines, so the programming on Princess wouldn't be for our son.
We're looking to spend time together as a family so I was wondering if there were activities & shows that would be suitable for the younger ones. We've heard many good things about RCI and would like to sail Royal ourselves sometime, but for my parents' anniversary, since they've already been on Royal twice we thought they'd like to experience a different cruise line. Just wanted to know if there would be a little something for everyone on a Princess cruise.
I think we will definitely look into connecting rooms. We tend to pack light so storage is not too much of an issue, but I think the 4 of us would be tripping over each other in a single standard stateroom!
Thanks for t he responses so far - keep them coming!
R& J - i think that Princess would be a good choice - you want to look into the Grand Class ships. Princess is the only mainstream cruise line that has freshwater (not salt)pools- and they are open 24/7- same for the hot tubs. The newer Grand Class ships have "Movies Under the Stars" -first run films - its kind of like a drive-in. You reserve a lounge chair, you get a blanket and popcorn, and there are waiters available to take your drink orders. Lots of sports- mini-golf, basketball, ping-pong, pool, volleyball. The kids and teens programs are also very good. With Princess you also have the option to choose "Anytime Dining" or Traditional Dining.
Good age range(especially in February/March -which is school break season in the US) lots of activites, classes and evening entertainment. All the shows- with the possible exception of the comedians are fine for familes.
A mini-suite would be ideal for a family of 4. The extra floor space, closet space, seating area and larger bathroom is so worth the extra cost, 4 to a regular stateroom can be done with little ones but it would be crowded - if you decide to book a quad then i would suggest a balcony stateroom, again having that extra space is so worth it. Another option is to book 2 staterooms -depending upon which accomodations you choose, it could be cheaper to book a mini-suite. Princess also offers family staterooms which can accomodate up to 6 i believe.
We have done the 3 generation cruise before- Last March on the Navigator of the Seas. I loved it- there were things for my parents to do- activities for my hubby and myself and the kids had many activities. We loved it so much that we leave on the 12th of March for another 3 generation cruise with my parents on the Voyager of the Seas. I think RCCL would be an excellent choice.