WE ARE LOOKING FOR ANYONE WITH ANY EXPERIENCE ON CRUISES TO EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS. WE WOULD LIKE TO GO IN THE SUMMER OF 2006. OUR KIDS WILL BE 7 AND FOUR. THE OLDEST MAY BE 8 BY THE TIME WE SAIL AND OUR OTHER WILL BE TURNING 5 THAT SEPTEMBER. HAS ANYONE GOT ANY NEWS TO SHARE ON SPECIFIC BOOKINGS, SHIPS OR PORTS?
THANK YOU FOR ANY SUGGESTIONS!
I took my daughter on her first European cruise on her 10th birthday. She had cruised extensively prior to that but in hindsight, I'm glad I waited until she was older to go to Europe since days in port are filled with longer sightseeing tours. She loved the whole experience! If you do go with your children (esp. the four year old), make sure you choose a cruise line such as Royal Caribbean or Carnival that has a really good kids' program so you can leave your little one once in a while in the kids' program if you opt for more historical tours. Long bus tours are tough on pre-schoolers.
I wrote an article, "CAn your kids do Europe?" which should help you. It's on the main page of this family cruise section -- scroll down on that page until you see the article title and click.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
I would never poo poo taking kids to Europe, at any age, BUT, I would think twice taking them on a cruise there( when as young as your kids will be) since many of the ports are actually quite a distance from the cities and sights.
Luisa has very good points about long bus rides and tours.
Try taking them to Europe on a land trip , then when older try the cruise. Of course cruising in the Caribbean is great for kids of any age, it's just Europe is different.
we just got back from our third european cruise with our kids (5 and 2) and this was our best ever.
we did the 12 night med tour on the millenium by celebrity - the kids program was the best yet!! and the babysitting was 8 dollars an hour for the younger one. it was a reall family vacation.
previously we did the splendour of the seas med tour and it was so so and before that we did the oosterdam in the baltics and that was not kid friendly.
I would wait until your kids are older and can appreciate the trip more. My son, now 3.5 yrs, has been on 3 soon to be 4 cruises to the Caribbean and we wouldnt cruise anywhere else. He is happiest on the ship or on a beach digging in the sand and playing in the waves. Most of the ports Ive already been too so not doing tours isnt a big deal for me. If I were in Europe, it would be a whole other story, despite having lived and traveled there many times. I wouldnt want to miss a thing over there, and for us, cruising is family time away from phones, work, etc. I dont cruise to put my kid in the kids club or with a babysitter. I want to experience what he is experiencing. Its priceless to see his reactions to new things. And as the others have mentioned, a small child does not want to be stuck riding a bus for hours to get to some spot that probably wont be very exciting anyways (a four yr old is not going to comprehend or want to listen to a tour of a castle, etc).