First off...sorry if I sound way too picky and choosy and weird!! We'd like to go on a family cruise this summer (July 2007), about 7 days. We've gone on cruises in the past before the kids were born. Those were always very port intensive (European cruises for 10-14 days each). We're trying to arrange it so that a lot of our family can go as well. The breakdown is as follows:
Couple #1--Early 60's--Loves cruising--Don't care too much for excursions
Couple #2--Early 30's with a 3 year old and 4 year old--Love excursions--kids can be a little rowdy (don't do well at formal dinner settings)
Couple #3--Early 30's with a 3 year old and 5 month old--Kids don't do well at long dinners but are great at dinners under 1 hour--Understand that excursions with such young children can be really difficult so in this case, looking for a great ship over great excursions.
So altogether it's 6 adults and 4 children. Any suggestions as to which cruiseline, ship, and destination would work best for us? We're all located in California and would rather not have to fly to reach the departure port. If a flight is needed, we'd prefer a short flight as the kids are terrible on the long flights.
I thought Alaska would be nice and relaxing in the summer but my husband doesn't think it's appropriate for such young children. He thinks Mexico would be better. Others are saying Hawaii...argh!
I have visited all 3 of your destinations but only Mexico on a cruise. I also think that is your best choice and here's why:
1) HI is easy to get to, clean, and has many nice resorts and beaches for just hanging out. When I go to HI, I just like to pick one island and relax at a resort.
2) AK is a great cruise destination. However, the weather can be spotty and may not give the young kids much in the way of pool time on the ship. I would save this for later.
3) MX is more of a hassle to visit than the other 2 locations. Also, the service and quality of the resorts is generally lower than HI. The typical trip from LA has 3 sea days which meets the needs of your C1 and C2 & C3 can have lots of fun in the sun on the ship (pool & kids club) and do a couple of easy shore excursions. Plus the no drive is a benefit in time and money!
The only downside I can see with the Mexico cruise is that it might be really hot. It's not a big deal on the ship, but may make some shore excursions uncomfortable. We did this trip last April and the weather was great.
While Alaska and Hawaii are definitely tops on my list, I think given the number of kids who are very young, you'd do better going to Mexico where you can always go to the beach w/the kids. Alaska and Hawaii are better for grade school kids since there is a lot of intensive, cool things to do in port -- which get expensive. May not be worth it w/so many little ones.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor