very keen to experience a cruise for the 1st time in life. my wife in me both mid 30's along with our son who would be 4 and a half yrs old will be traveling and we maybe maybe joined by friends. we've assumed a 7 day cruise would suit us best and have decided to go for the western med region.
the options we've found are as follows:
1. $649 - adventure of the seas from malaga (2nd may '12)
2. $1049 - mariner on the seas from civitavecchia ( 9th june '12)
3. $1249 - liberty of the seas from barcelona ( 2nd june '12)
now i hear the liberty is the best amongst the 3 available options but almost double the cost of adventure.
also we prefer going in may than in june (no liberty option in may) but if some experienced travellers would be kind enough to inform me if it is worth paying such a huge difference in amount for the liberty then we would go in for it and also change our plans to june rather than may. also since we've travelled before quite a bit of europe a number of times, our focus is not necessarily on the ports we are docking at but moreso on the quality of the cruise experience. our focus is to make this a fantastic experience for our son as well.
also my other query is there a big difference in the sleeping/stay experience between the inside cabins to the outside or balcony?
your valued inputs would go a long way in making our 1st experience pleasurable and memorable.
The Liberty is more expensive because it is on a freedom class ship, so there are going to be more amenities for you and your family to enjoy (especially the little one).
In my experience, it is always worth it to get a balcony room vs inside stateroom. With the inside stateroom, you never know what time of day it is (pack a travel clock! the room comes with none), it feels claustrophobic and you cannot get fresh air unless you walk to a deck. With a balcony room, it is great to order room service breakfast and eat on the balcony. It is so beautiful when you are pulled into a port. This will also be nice for the little one, since you and your wife can enjoy some relaxation outside on the balcony while the little one naps inside.
To better help you.. the adventurer is 11 years old, mariner is 9 years old and liberty is only 5 years old. Hence the price differences.
No matter which ship you choose, a cruise is sure to wow you and leave you wanting to cruise again!
Liberty is mostly just a slightly larger version of the other two ships. It has only a few minimal features the older ships do not have, most specifically the FloRider surf machines.
I personally do not think it is worth double just to go on Liberty. Age of the ship has very little to do with the experience. I would go with the best price, as the ships are very similar.
The Liberty is almost identical in floorplan to Adventure or Mariner, all three have the indoor promenades and all the other great public rooms.
This is their first cruise, they will be overwhelmed with everything onboard no matter what ship they take, and they won't feel they have missed anything by not taking Liberty at twice the price.
You should concern yourself with the cabin square footage.
Staying on lower decks is one suggestion.
Inside cabins are far less in cost and the Plaza Decks normanly contain fewest cabins in general.
Royal Caribbean's older ships have some inside cabins as small as 131 sq ft.
This is very small for cruise industry standards and may not be advisable on a voyage over seven days with three people in such a confined space.
Also, select ocean view cabins on the lowest deck may have a port hole, verify before you place a deposit.
Some cost saving measures for a family.
Some cruise ships may not have self serve laundry, underware and socks can be washed in the sink with hair shampoo provided by your cabin steward remember ironing if available will dry your clothes faster then blow dryer, if you want to avoid the additional cost for service offered by the cruise line.
May I suggest comparing your itenary as your main focus of your holiday and determine the square footage of cabin as your foremost concern with cost.