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Old October 1st, 2004, 10:26 AM
cokegal19
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Default First time cruiser with questions

Hi. I've never been on a cruise before, and I have some questions about the whole thing. We (me DH and DS (2)) are trying to decide where to go on our yearly vacation. Normally, it would be Disney World (we love it!), but I think I want to try somewhere else this time, so we are thinking about taking a 7 day cruise to the eastern carrib.

1. If we get a room with a balcony, is it pretty big?
2. Do they give you enough time in the ports?
3. Is there enough entertainment to keep you busy on the ship for 7 days?
4. I know the food is included in the price, but is that it? Are drinks included?
5. If drinks are not included, are they expensive?
6. Will there be enough for my 3 year old to do?
7. Are there family things to do?
8. Is the kids club good?
9. In your own opinion, would our family (keeping in mind we have a 3 year old) have more fun at disney or more fun on the cruise?

In figuring out my finances, I think the crise would actually be cheaper, but I'm still not sure about the whole cruise thing and if I coud stand to be on a boat for 7 days.
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Old October 1st, 2004, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Here are some answers:

1. If we get a room with a balcony, is it pretty big?

I can't answer this one as I've never had a balcony room. I'm sure someone else will be able to answer for you.

2. Do they give you enough time in the ports?

In general, yes. Sometimes due to weather or an emergency you might dock earlier or later which can cut into port time.

3. Is there enough entertainment to keep you busy on the ship for 7 days?

Yes. There's so much to see and do you won't be able to do it all and see it all in 7 days.

4. I know the food is included in the price, but is that it? Are drinks included?

Alcholic drinks and soda are not included. I've found the alcholic drinks to be about the same price as the restaurants at home (I live in the Northeast). If you drink a lot of soda you should buy the soda card. If you only plan to have a couple I would buy it by the glass. Ice tea, lemonade, water, coffee, tea, juice, milk, & water are all available at no charge, unless you get special coffee which there is a fee for.

5. If drinks are not included, are they expensive?

No more so than drinking in a restaurant and/or bar at home.

6. Will there be enough for my 3 year old to do?

Yes. There are a lot of activities in the children's program and they are tailored to each age group.

7. Are there family things to do?

Yes. Our family does all excursions and dinner together each night, and on sea days we tend to hang out at the pool together. We also watch all the shows, games, etc. together.

8. Is the kids club good?

The one we used on the SOS was good. My kids prefer Carnival, but they're older

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Old October 1st, 2004, 12:01 PM
Squirrel Gurrl
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Hey this might help some,
1)well this one im not sure b/c i had a ocean view room,but it was really small.
2)I dont really think they give u enough time,b/c there are so many wondrefull places that are hidden away that u have 2 go find and the time u get 2 some of them u dont have that much time left.(if u need any ideas wurr 2 vist just e-mail me)lol
3)Thurr is a lot 2 do on the ship,ull be suprised.
4)Pops and alcholic drinks are not included.
5)Sometimes they are quiet expensive,but others are not.
6) The children programs are wonderfull,my 3 yr old cousin went on a cruise and loved it,she did so many wonderfull things and ment so may kids her age.
7)Thurr are plenty of family activities,also something i rether enjoyd was everyday they had differnt games in the show room,they wurr very fun 2 watch,but i would enchorage u 2 join in.They are very fun.
8)When i was 13 went on a Carnival cruise and i didnt really enjoy the kids clubs,thurr wurnt really many kids my age on it,but there was a lot of younger kids,so i guess it really depends on the age and date and which cruise u go on.
9)thats a hard? i would say prob disney world or maby the Disney cruise ,i herd that one is really nice,u might wunt 2 reachearch.
If u need any other help feel free 2 e-mail me at Reecy2@wmconnect.com
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Old October 1st, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Have you considered Disney cruise line. Our balcony room was plenty big enough. I can not compare to others as I have not done so yet. Will be having a balcony on the Enchantment in January. Disney will give you everything you love about Disney plus the experience of cruising. We could not do everything available to us on our 7 night and gave up trying. We had a great time. You can be port intensive or ship intensive depending on which route you pick. The kids clubs were great and are geared to keep lots of kids entertained. You can also relax in adults only areas that are strictly enforced. disboards.com has lots of disney cruise info on their boards and the boards are very active. Good luck.
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Old October 1st, 2004, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

soda is also included on Disney (must pay in bars or room service, but free everywhere else) alcoholic beverages are not included.
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Old October 1st, 2004, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Had a balcony room on the Enchantment two years ago. We had plenty of room for 2 people. I think this would be plenty big for 2 adults and 1-2 kids. Bathroom was really spacious. Showers on all ships are small to me. Shore Excursions are always hurry hurry to me. Maybe I try to do to much. As stated before, drinks are no more expensive than in a rest. at home. I personally think they are way to strong so I don't get them. Food to me on any cruise (I have been on 3) is just OK. Not gourmet, but how can you feed that many people gourmet food. But, I think cruising is the best vacation ever. You wake up every morning in a different place and only have to unpack once. Also, learn to enjoy sea days. They are really relaxing. Have a greatttt timmmee.
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Old October 1st, 2004, 04:56 PM
cokegal19
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Thanks for all the answers! I'm still decideing on where to go, but cruising sounds like it would be fun for the whole family!!! I've looked into a disney cruise, but they are soooooo expensive!!! I would love to do it, but the money just isn't there.

what a hard choice!!!!!!!!
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Old October 1st, 2004, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Hi Cokegal,
What Royal Caribbean ship are you considering? You may want to really check out any of the Voyager class, great for cruising with families/kids, lots of activities for the entire family, plus parades and an ice show you don't want to miss. They also have one that goes to the Eastern, and yes cruises are a great family vacation.

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Old October 1st, 2004, 10:29 PM
Robert Ellis
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

As for drinking, as the bartender about a drink card. You can purchase drinks in advance, something like 10. they come out something like 3.00 each.

We just bring our own liquor and make our own. Bring a big glass as well. then you dont have to go back to your cabin as much.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

We only go balcony anymore! The rooms are pretty big-not as big as some of the nicer hotel chains, but plenty big for us (husband and now 2.5 yr old). On Enchantment and Navigator, there were 2 beds that were pushed together and then a pull out sofa. To save room, we brought an inflatable sleeping bag for our son to use and then just stood it up during the day. It was nice to have the balcony because our son liked to watch the docking procedures, and when he napped, we had a place to go where we could relax, talk or read. The Voyager class ships have lots of activities (rock climbing (our son will try this year), inline skating, mini-golf, ice skating (bring pants and socks for this-our son loved it), arcade (were going to steer clear of it this time), shows, etc. The kids club is supposed to be really good, but children must be at least 3 and potty trained (no exceptions on RCI). The pools were a bit chilly when we went, but no swim diapers allowed-must be potty trained. The promenade area was fun for our son too-restored car he loved to "drive" every day, glass elevators, street atmosphere. Drinks that are included are tea, lemonade, coffee, water, ice tea (not sure about milk). Soda and alcholic drinks are extra but you can buy cards for unlimited use. You will have plenty of time in ports (some you will wish you could stay longer). Some excursions require kids to be a certain age. We usually just do some shopping and head for the beach. We bring along a few beach toys for our son, and a life jacket since you cant take the ones off the ship. We bring a stroller to use for shopping and thats it (may leave it home this time). You really cant use car seats in port on buses and cabs since many dont have seat belts. Since our next trip will be a little closer to home, we are driving and making the most of it. We are going to do both-cruise and then head to Disney for a few days, so we will all have a blast!

alison

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Old October 4th, 2004, 03:11 PM
Dave Falc
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Check out RCI's Family Staterooms - you may have to go directly to their website to see the layout. They go fast!

From what I have heard, everyone says Disney can't be beat if price is not a factor. Quite frankly, we went on RCI last year and will be on the Mariner again in two weeks in a family stateroom with 10,9 and 5 year old boys. They are about half the price of Disney and it looks like they come very close to matching the programs.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 05:57 PM
kwjones
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

Disney is way more expensive, so they certainly should give you a soda for no charge. Most of the lines have an excellent childrens program. You might want to look at Princess, Caribbean Princess in particular, as I know they have a superior childrens program. We just returned from a family reunion cruise aboard her, and the kids had an absolute ball. In any case, you'll not run out of things to do, and I'll guarantee that you won't be ready to disembark when you return after seven days. Happy sailing, and have a great vacation.
Ken
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Old October 4th, 2004, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser with questions

After 14 cruises and the last one finally with my 3 grandchildren these are my opinions:

An Eastern carrib. - Depending on when. Too cool in January & Feb. Suggest Southern or Western Itinerary with a family out of Florida.

1. If we get a room with a balcony, is it pretty big?- Carnival cabins = 185 SF & 40 SF balcony = 2 chairs & 1 small table. Great for relaxing while 3 yr. old naps.
2. Do they give you enough time in the ports? - Carnival & Royal Caribbean do. Avg. 8a.m. to 6 p.m. Another reason to avoid Eastern is often too short a stay in San Juan.
3. Is there enough entertainment to keep you busy on the ship for 7 days?= Yes - variety from Las Vegas style reviews, solo entertainers, late night comedians, piano, jazz, ice skating on Voyager class ships, etc. So many options with not enough time to do everything.
4. I know the food is included in the price, but is that it? Are drinks included?- Alcholic beverages and specialty coffee are extra. There is usually coffee, tea, juices in AM, lemonade and fruit punch, iced tea in the buffet area.
5. If drinks are not included, are they expensive?- Carnival sells a bucket of beer (4) starting at $11, Average $3 a can, $2 for a can soda, Wine, mixed drinks apx. $5 all beverage are plus a 15% gratuity. Soda cards are available on Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Celebrity.
6. Will there be enough for my 3 year old to do? YES- the Fun Factory will be great. Then there is the pool, movies, face painting, parades, etc.
7. Are there family things to do?- YES Bingo, Talent Show, Scavenger Hunt, etc.
8. Is the kids club good?- YES Royal Caribbean, Carnival & Celebrity have good to great programs for children your age. Princess is OK as long as there are 15 or more children on board in the club. Teenage programs lack structure on Princess and sometime are difficult to get the young teens to enjoy on any cruise line. Usually this age group meets up with kids their age and hang out together plus drop into the club from time to time.
9. In your own opinion, would our family (keeping in mind we have a 3 year old) have more fun at disney or more fun on the cruise? More fun and variety on a cruise. There is family fun, children have independent fun, Mom & Dad can relax and do special things they can't do at home without worrying about the children . Babysitting service is often available in a group surrounding for a minimal costs - pajama parties, which the children enjoy too. No one has to drive so having a "drink" is not a problem, beaches are beautiful and getting there is reasonable. Families don't have to spend a lot of money on optional tours which would bore the children. However, if mom or dad wants to try snorkeling or something, the others don't have to be concerned about what the other parent will do. You will have a great time.

I hgihly recommend one of the Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity new ships. Service is top notch, accommodations are great, and everyone will have a good time.
Bon Voyage
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Old October 4th, 2004, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Re: First time cruiser with questions

Sorry, forgot to mention, try to get an Aft Balcony Cabin as they will usually have a larger balcony for the same price as all others in the same category. Also on the Carnival Pride and the Legend, there are 6 cabins that have a huge long balcony which are on decks 6,7, 8 towards the stern near the elevators on the Port side. The coach is big enough for your two children too.
Bon Voyage
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