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

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Old May 13th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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Default Alaska with kids...RCCL or NCL

I have done quite a bit of research and am looking at either RCCL's "Serenade of the Seas" out of Vancouver, or NCL "Pearl" out of Seattle.

Both ports are within driving distance for us. We have an 11 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. With shore excursion days I expect our family will spend the bulk of our time together, but I'm torn as to which ship would be best for the kids. I see NCL's free-style cruising as an advantage given RCCL's formal nights and possible long dinner seatings when followed by an active day ashore with young kids. On the otherhand RCCL seems to have a few extra's for kids with mini-golf and enclosed pool. (I'm not sure if the Perl's outdoor pool would be usable during an Alaska trip). I think we would be happy with either choice given that Alaska is more about taking in the sites that pass by as well as the shore excurssions, but any experience/advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old May 27th, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Both are good choices. RCI tends to have the better youth/teen programming; its early teen program is for those from 12 to 14 yrs. vs. on NCL, its teen programming starts at 13 yrs. Most ships have covered pools these days if they're cruising Alaska -- check to see if NCL's is.

Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Crusie Editor
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Old July 15th, 2008, 10:09 AM
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We haven't cruised with Princess (yet, lol) but just stepped off a RC cruise to New England. Our kids who are 9 (will be 10 in Sept) and 6 LOVED Adventure Ocean!

They opted to stay there for many port days instead of taggin along with us, we couldn't believe it! This is something I swore I would NEVER do, leave the kids behind on port days...however..... We did drag them off for Boston, just couldn't let them pass up the history lessons

They spent 95% of our cruise with their friends, getting up and ready for the 9am opening and often wanting to stay later than the 10pm closing (they have late nights for a minimal charge).

We can't say enuf about the program, at times WE were jealous!!!

2005 Carnival Spirit to Alaska

2007 Carnival Conquest to Western Caribbean

2008 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to New England/Canada

2010 Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to Southern Caribbean
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Old September 15th, 2008, 12:59 AM
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Well think about this: What is easier: Having an assigned time and table for dining or trying to keep track of your kids while you are waiting in line, carrying around a pager and scrambling to find a place to eat? Forgot to mention that the only freestyle restaurant available when kids are hungry has a $15 cover charge. many of the passengers are tired when they get back on the ship and the formal atmosphere is a bit more relaxed. You can also do the informal dining at the cafe or the windjammer in Serenade. Better yet send the kids off to the kids programs on formal night and have a nice diner with your husband.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 12:35 AM
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Well think about this: What is easier: Having an assigned time and table for dining or trying to keep track of your kids while you are waiting in line, carrying around a pager and scrambling to find a place to eat?
I have been on the Pearl and I do not recall any wait at all for any of the restaurants, while someone may have encountered a wait, that has not been our experience on any of our 4 NCL cruises.
If you feel your children may not enjoy a long drawn out formal dinner, you can always take the kids to the buffet at 6:15 for dinner and allow them to attend the kids club when it opens up at 7:00 (whether you choose NCL or RCCL) This strategy often works well for us regardless of which cruise line we sail.

Forgot to mention that the only freestyle restaurant available when kids are hungry has a $15 cover charge.
I am sorry, but this statement is patently untrue. You may choose to eat at either of the main dining rooms, Blue Lagoon (great wings and kid food), or the Buffet at no additional charge.
The charges for the speciality restaurants vary depending on your choices. I highly recommend the sushi and asian fusion options, as well as the Teppanyaki (the kids will love this)

I really enjoy both RCCL and NCL, they have strengths and weaknesses. I do feel that RCCL probably offers a more consistant product than NCL. However, NCL offers many more options and varieties of eating venues.

I do not recall a pool area on the Pearl that is covered and suitable for cold weather. The spa has a lovely Thallassotherapy pool but that will not accomodate the children. I do recall solarium pools on some RCCL ships, so if that is important you may want to do more research in that area.
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alaska, kids, ncl, rccl, recall, trip

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