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Family Cruising Discuss family cruising - kids programs, babysitting, infant care, etc.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 13th, 2005, 07:07 PM
ryan840
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Default Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Hi. I'm looking to book our first cruise for next May, and will be traveling with my husband and our two year old son, and if all goes well, a new addition. Can anyone recommend a good cruise line for us? We were going to do Disney, but the prices are almost double all of the other lines and we are on a budget. Thanks!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 13th, 2005, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

My family and I are going on Carnival on the recommendation of my travel agent. Also RCC is a good one and so is Princess.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 08:59 PM
ryan840
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Thanks! I get the impression that people on these cruises hate seeing kids, do you find that to be true?
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Old April 14th, 2005, 07:38 AM
chefkel22
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Default Re: Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

ryan840-

We sailed for the first time last spring on the Carnival Sensation. Our family of 4 (2 children 9 and 11) had the best time. We decided on a 5 day trip for fear that we would get on a 3 day and would think it was tooo short. Or 7 day to long for the first time.

We did the same research and could not justify the extra monies on Disney.

The Camp Carnival program was wonderful and the kids had a blast. Our ship had 2500 passengers and 800 of which were children. With the exception of the kids party, you never saw the kids. The programs were broken down nicely by age and great supervised activities for the kids.

Was such a positive experience that we are leaving Monday for another 5 day Carnival cruise.

Good luck on your search.

Chefkel22
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Old April 14th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

since you have ruled out Disney - the top three family & kid friendly cruise lines are Princess, RCCL and Carnival - you can't go wrong with any of these choices. Go to each lines web site and just surf around, get a "feel" for the line.
Is your two-year old potty trained? Needs to be to participate in most kids programs
Each cruise line and ship has her own personality, you need to find one that suits you the best, its not all about price. I would go to a local experienced cruise travel agent, sit down and really pick his/her brain.
Start with your itineary-ports of call-- What do you want to do? Beach,shopping, snorkeling, dolphin swim, swim with the Sting Rays, climb waterfalls, visit Mayan Ruins, cave tube etc. Then decide how long of a cruise you want to take 5 or 7 days?
Then get into what you want out of your cruise experience and go from there, take home some brochures from the travel agency- sit down with them and really peruse them at home at your leisure --don't let them pressure you into making a decision on the spot.
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Old April 14th, 2005, 10:40 AM
Luisa, Family Cruise Edit
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

If you have an infant by then, however, Disney is the only line where you can get babysitting for the infant in the nursery. We did this when my son was 7 months old and I highly recommend it. You can read my article, "Dsiney's Magical Nursery" on the main page of the family cruise section.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Famiy Cruise Editor
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Old April 14th, 2005, 11:37 PM
ryan840
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Thanks everyone- my biggest questions have been answered- I was looking for the best cruiseline for families and wondering about getting a sitter for the new baby... Now I have to decide if we want to skip the sitter and have a great time anyway. We just wanted to go to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, but we can do that anytime, and this opens our schedule up to a cheaper time period. My son is not potty trained now, but he's not two yet. I am planning on starting next month when we get back from Disney World, so he should be by the time we cruise. Your info really helped me out, I will be emailing a travel agent later tonight.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 12:31 PM
Frilly
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

We like Carnival. I think infants must be at least 3 months old to travel on Carnival.

Carnival does have babysitting available in the mornings at port and also at night from 10pm -3am.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 12:32 PM
Frilly
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

We like Carnival. I think infants must be at least 3 months old to travel on Carnival.

Carnival does have babysitting available in the mornings at port and also at night from 10pm -3am.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 01:47 PM
travelerjoyce
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Just to let you know that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have nothing in the way of child care for any child under three that you can depend on. Our grandson was a week short of three and they would not let him in daycare. THey have in-room babysitting IF available but not guaranteed. For those three and over, and potty trained,the daycare is GREAT. On a later trip we used it and He loved it, they had the kids work for little incentives. It is free (Tips encouraged) and available in 3, 3 hour blocks per day, 9-12, 2-5, and 7-10pm. Hours less on port days, greater on formal nights. It worked great to take him to early dinner seating then to daycare at 7pm while the adults enjoyed the rest of the meal. I am told that Norwegian and carnival have daycare at age 2 and they give you a beeper if the child needs changing they'll call you to come do it.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old May 3rd, 2005, 03:03 PM
Luisa
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Actually, RCI is just instituting a program for infants and toddlers in conjunction w/Fisher Price. It's an interactive daily program for little ones under three years and their parents. I'll be reviewing it this summer and will write an aritcle on it.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old May 6th, 2005, 03:42 PM
PSMyers
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

I'm hoping my question can be answered. We(dh and myself along with 32 adults only from our church 1/04). We were looking at Disney (7day) but I have read som really bad reviews about children/councelor ratio. She will be 12 when we go and I'm wondering will there for example be like 150-200 kids 10-12 during some of thoses activities. On review on the disboards said by the time she registered her kids in the programs that Palo (reservations only) was already sold out. I want her to have a great experience, wall to wall kids no. I loved Carnival. But I only saw maybe a couple a dozen kids the whole cruise. What kinds of things do they have for a 12 years old. I didn't see any special pool area for them? Does RCCL have that?

PSM
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old May 9th, 2005, 04:00 PM
Luisa Frey Gaynor
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Actually, with Disney, Carnival and RCI, there will be lots of kids on board during holiday / summer periods. They carry the most kids and thus have the best youth programs. Others, such as Holland America and Princess have good youth programs and still carry plenty of kids, but generally there are a few less than the "big 3!"
Hope this helps,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old May 10th, 2005, 06:20 PM
PSMyers
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Thank you Luisa,
I had just read some reviews, not good, that with Disney there could be up to 900 kids. One review the cruisers children had to wait in line for even a chance to see the characters. She will be 12 but to pay that much and not a chance to see what you pay for doesn't make sense. Thank you for your input.

PSM
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old May 12th, 2005, 09:54 AM
Luisa Frey Gaynor
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Yes, Disney does carry a lot of kids! We found seeing the characters much easier on the ships than in the theme parks during the two times we sailed w/Disney. Disney excels in the youth program for little ones and their nursery for the under three year old crowd.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old June 4th, 2005, 09:57 AM
Morticia
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

We went on the Disney Magic (7 days) last August and the ship was PACKED. Lots of liness. Great food and shows and it was a great time for the 10 of us. We recently went on a 5 day (April, RCL, Majesty) and the ship seemed empty by comparison (and it was full). Quiet, mellow, good shows, good food - but not quite as good as the Magic.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old June 7th, 2005, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

My kids ages 18, 13, 12 and 9, just loved our royal caribbean cruise.
They had everything they could have asked for. We are sailing next month with carnival, just hoping they are as fun! I'll keep you posted.

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  #18 (permalink)  
Old June 11th, 2005, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Luisa,
i am going on the Explorer of the Seas Aug 21st w/my 2 1/2 yr old son. i was wondering about the program you mentioned w/fisher price. is this something that will be in effect then? will it be on all ships? any info would be greatly appreciated..
thanks
gina
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old June 13th, 2005, 02:53 PM
Luisa
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Hi:
Yes, the Fisher Price program is fleet wide on all RCI ships. It is a 45- minute daily session with you (or other care giver) and your child. Sounds a bit like free play time with FP toys and some group songs, etc. I'm cruising on RCI (Enchantment) on 8/7-14 and will be checking out the program then. If you'd like to email me on 8/15, I could give you more details then.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old June 14th, 2005, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

thanks Luisa, i will send you an email then
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old June 14th, 2005, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

We sailed on RCCI's Enchantment on Aug 2004.

Our kids prefered to stay with us vs. participate in the kids activities, but they still seemed to find lots of things to do. On day 2, they asked if we do another cruise!

If your kids like to swim, go early in the morning, before the late sleepers get up. We went at 6am one morning and they swam for 3 hours before another person got into the pool. (they get up at 5:30 weekdays anyway, so they were used to it and we watched the sun come up together) Water in pools is salt water..

If your kids want to see the shows at night, you may want to sit in the back of the theater, far away from others - people often stared at the kids because they wouldn't hold still, and we ended up moving to a new section.

The waiters will try their best to entertain your kids (magic tricks) and greet them in the halls when you run into them. Our oldest didn't want to go to the 'dress up' place for dinner, but after the waiter made him feel comfortable, it was a blast.

Be prepared for loud singing/dancing in the seated dining by the waitstaff area after your meal. We had no idea that was going to happen but it was really fun!

The kids did see dolphins swimming off the side of the boat - that was really cool!

We are going HAL this August..should be awesome!

DeAnna
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old July 9th, 2005, 05:53 PM
Sonia K.
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

My family (3 kids under the age of 6) went on 3 different cruise lines this past year. My husband is a Mental Health News Anchor on our local Fox station, He did a newspiece on "Cruising with Kids". Hands down, Carnival was our favorite. We did the Carnival Spirit 8 night to Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Manzanillo. The BEST thing about this cruise was the kids dinner alternative. Dinner on RCCL and Princess was a complete disaster every night with our three kids (especially on Princess). If any of you have children 5 and under DO NOT waste your money on a Princess Cruise, particularly. I wanted to jump overboard after the 2nd dinner (as we were seated next to 55 year olds on both sides who did not appreciate the sounds of children screaming....totally understandable). Carnival takes care of that problem (and it is a huge problem). I was extremely grateful that they thought about that crucial opportunity. My husband and I actually enjoyed our dinners in the dining room, and our kids enjoyed their dinners with the friends that they had made. Go Carnival!
Sonia K.
San Diego
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old August 16th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

Carnival has my vote!!
My two grandchildren had a blast, and prices are great!

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  #24 (permalink)  
Old August 16th, 2005, 04:02 PM
cjbg
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Default Re: Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

The Carnival program Camp Carnival starts at age 2 and (according to everything I've read and been told in various non-related places) they not only accept non-potty-trained kids (most only accept 3 and up and potty trained) which is important because we have a delayed kid (Down Syndrome) but they will actually change the diapers, as long as the parents bring the supplies needed.

For *our* situation (not yet three, certainly not potty trained) this is hands-down a winner.

Carolyn
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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:41 PM
katluc
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Default Re: Re: Please recommend a family friendly cruise line

We have done two disney cruises. One on spring break, and one at Thanksgiving. Even though Disney caters to families, my daughters were never cramped in the kids area. They met a lot of new friends from all over the world. The only time they had to stand in line was to get autographs. There were about 5 characters at a signing and the line moved quickly. Characters were always available all over the boat. Even if you saw one in the hall way going from one location to another, they were never to busy to stop and talk with the kids. My girls were 10 the first time, and 12 the second. I know this cruise cost more, but it is really awsome.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 08:09 PM
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carnival conquest is definately my favorite cruise ship! good kids activities but also fun things for adults! fun stops too!
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