Best Cruise for 7 & 11 y.o., not Disney or Carnival
Our agent always points us to Disney, which I don't want to pay for this time, or Carnival - which the kids enjoy but the food and crowds are horrible if you ask me. What other line could be try for winter break this year?
We are thinking Mexican Riviera, or Western Carib.
Well we've not done Disney, but have done Carnival. I have had luck with NCL and RCCL too. both have fine kid's programs, especially for the 7 year old. I think the 11 year old would be happy too.
If you choose NCL, budget for a larger room with a balcony (I like the minisuites and they are usually not much more than a regular balcony) also budget so you can try the surcharge restaurants. Make sure you book one of their newer ships The Pearl, Gem or Jewel and I think you'll be happy. The Spirit is a fun older ship, but they do not have any quads with balconys, and the inside and porthole quads are microscopically small.
Royal Caribbean is a fine cruise line as well. Their larger newer ships are beautiful from the outside and look like they have lots to offer. I have been on ships docked next to them. the Enchantment is a nice older ship and I wouldn't mind sailing her again if she would do a few trips longer than 5 days.
I really do not like to fight the crowds either, and understand.
I have been on RCI's Freedom of the Seas 3 times, although admittedly without my kids. However, I spent the majority of my last cruise thinking "oh, _____ would LOVE this!" or "I wish ____ was here to see this!" It seemed very kid friendly and made me actually really MISS my kid while I was on vacation without him.
Serenade OTS 10/2005
Freedom OTS 9/2007 and 4/2008
Majesty OTS 2/2009
Monarch OTS over and over and over again
Carnival Imagination 5/2009
Oasis OTS 2/2010
Grandeur OTS 3/2010
Thanks everyone - we actually are booked on HAL for 4/4 - hopefully there will be some kids being Easter week, but we picked this one for the ports and the good reviews of HAL for food and service. I am sure we will have fun. Last 2 cruises were picked around the kids, this one is for all of us!
We've cruised HAL with our kids and really enjoyed it -- the kids' program was good, food was great and the service was gracious. There is an article on the home page of the family cruise section on HAL for families.