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mazgaon April 5th, 2011 09:12 PM

First Time and Family of Four

I would like to try out a Cruise with my family. I am 38 and my wife is 34. We have two childrens, 9 years old daughter and 5 year old son.

Since this would be our first time cruise, any suggestions would be appreciated. I have read many reviews but it is all confusing. Few say Royal Carribean and others prefer Carnival and then many more..... Very Confused.

We stay in Connecticut and would like to cruise from Boston, NJ, NY or even Baltimore (6 hours drive). I looked at Disney but it is very expensive and they only go out from Florida from east coast.

Also, i have heard about all good food but we are vegeterian and asian (from India), i am not sure how would that work out.

Please Advice.

LisaK April 6th, 2011 12:21 PM

your best bet would be to sit down with a local travel agent who is a cruise specialist, let her/him sort things out for you because there are so many choices. My top three picks for a family would be Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival

mazgaon April 12th, 2011 07:58 AM

I spoke to AAA and another independent agent and both only deal with RC. Maybe RC is very good but it is a bit on higher expense wise.

I have been looking online at following two options:

Ship: Carnival Pride
Itinerary: 7 Night Exotic Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Departing: From Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday, June 5, 2011
Port of Call: Baltimore, Maryland - At Sea - At Sea - Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos Islands - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas - At Sea - Baltimore, Maryland


Ship: Caribbean Princess
Itinerary: 9-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from New York
Departing: From New York on Saturday, June 4, 2011
Port of Call:New York, New York - At Sea - At Sea - Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos Islands - San Juan, Puerto Rico - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands - At Sea - Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda - At Sea - New York, New York

Any suggestion on these with keeping kids activity in mind as well.


Trip April 12th, 2011 09:17 AM

Check out this blog, by a fellow vegan,and you will see how happy she was with Carnivals vegan options. Princess I would think, would give you similar options.

Vegan Crunk: Vegan Dinner on a Carnival Cruise

Both Carnival and Princess have good kids programs, with Carnival getting the edge. Might be fewer kids this year...Some kids are not out of school in early June, especially, in the northeast, with so many snow dates this year. Both ships have some nice beach options,and mix of islands.

Leaving closer to home is always a plus, so that may be the tipping point for you. Make sure your ta knows exactly what you need as a family to enjoy your first cruise.....we all here, know your kids will be constantly be smiling,and expect to want to book again. Good luck!

LisaK April 12th, 2011 11:26 AM

mazgaon- those are both great choices- personally i would pick Princess mainly because i love San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda, haven't been to the Turks yet. Both lines have really good kids activities, Princess has a bit more education about nature and the sea in their programs. There might be a few less kids aboard Princess only because it is a longer cruise. You should have no problem with a vegetarian diet, you would need to contact the special services department of the cruise line and put in your food needs

Donna April 12th, 2011 08:10 PM

I'd agree more with Lisa's choice and go with Princess, the ports seem like there would be more to do, especially with kids. I believe both have good kids programs...Are they both close in price range?

mazgaon April 12th, 2011 08:43 PM

The Carnival may run around 2800 to 3100 depending upon the cabin type whereas Princess would be around 3400 or so...

I stay in CT, so NY is 2.5 hours drive whereas Baltimore is 6.5 hours drive.

mazgaon April 15th, 2011 05:24 PM

Finally made that decision.... Booked Caribbean Princess Cruise going out of New York on June 4th.... Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Many questions, many thought and going blank.....

Any and All Advice would be helpful right from what to pack to what to be aware of..... Cruise excurtions should be taken from the Cruise or book directly or book on the spot....... Any blogs or posts about this ship and Itenrary would be helpful.


Trip April 15th, 2011 06:38 PM

Good for you, no air!!

Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos Islands will be a beach or pool day. shops and margarittaville right there..a short walk off the ship

San Juan, Puerto Rico -the kids may like to visit the forts..or you could do a city tour, lots of interesting and historical places to see.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands -Take the ferry over to St Johns for a beautiful beach day, or Megans Bay...great shopping..take the tram tp Paradise Point, or go up to the Mountain top.

Bermuda -have never been there.

All the ports other than Grand Turks, you can walk off the ship and get tours, cheaper than onboard.

Enjoy your planning!

mazgaon April 16th, 2011 02:14 PM

Thanks Trip, Lisa and Donna.... Thankyou all for your valuable suggestion... There is ton of info on this site and i am trying to browse thru it.....


Donna April 18th, 2011 10:56 AM

Hi Maz,
It may also help if you go to the cruise review section here at Cruisemates and read about what cruisers had to say about their ship/cruise...Some, you have to take with a grain of salt, but you do get a lot of good info and tips from reading them.

LisaK April 18th, 2011 12:39 PM

awesome, great choice. Shore Excursions - Trip gave some great ideas, i would like to add- San Juan - if you have the time, book a tour to El Yungee Rainforest, it is amazing. Bermuda- public transportation is the way to go, i would grab the kiddos, snorkeling gear and head out to Horseshoe Bay for the day. If you don't want a beach day in Bermuda, maybe you would like to take the kids and explore the underground caverns, so cool!

aspengal April 19th, 2011 02:02 PM

Maz, The NY Princess has an especially nice itin. Order some cruise catalogues. Be aware that the online discount agencies offer the best shows them all. Web site is especially informative. Prices change daily. Google disount cruises etc. for more sites. Some online agencies give onboard credit which can be used towards the service charges. Princess has a wide range of foods.

Queen of Oakville June 19th, 2011 11:55 AM

Hey Mal,

Have you booked anything?

A few suggestions:

Have you considered flying to Florida? Some of the low fare airlines like Southwest, can get you to Florida for cheaper (or close to the cost of driving). You will have waaaaay more options out of Florida.

Have you considered HAL? We recently sailed HAL Eurodam and had a pretty good time! You can read my review on this site - go to Cruise Reviews and Member Reviews. One of the reasons I recommend HAL for you, is that I recall them having vegertarian particularly Indian vegetarian options at every MDR meal.

Most ships have Indian chefs. If you ask the Maitre D, they can arrange to have special Indian meals cooked for you. While I have never done this, we have friends who request Goan food on every sailing they take. And the Chefs spoil them! i think for some of them it is a priveledge to cook their native food for you.

If you're considering a Carnival sailing, I'd stick with one of the newer ships like Magic or Dream .... but you'll have to sail out of Florida for those.

We're a young family with two young kids (5 and 4). With our kids, we've sailed HAL and Carnival, and we're soon taking them on a Royal Cruise. If you have any questions .... ask away!

Danny Boy July 20th, 2011 12:27 PM

First time cruiser
A few thing to remember.

1) Carnaval is called the Party line for a reason. you will find many more drunks and younger people in the dining rooms with baseball caps turned sideways and wearing tank tops.

2) I recomend Princess for a youg family, great shows and kids programs.

3) Self serve laundry with irons.

4) Anytime dining with up to four restaurants to choose.
a) You can pick your table size and time to dine and receive special orders for vegetarian with added spices.

5) Cabins are generally larger on Princess, then those on Royal Caribbean.

6) The Plaza deck has the fewest cabins and a inside cabin will offer the best value.

If you want the names of Websites, with lowest pricing, let me know.


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