Need advice- Family Carnival cruise or All-inclusive (Club Med)?

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#1
New York
16 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
We are debating whether to take a family vacation in January 2013 on Carnival Liberty to the Carribean or vacation at Club Med Punta Cana. We have two girls (ages 6 and almost 10) and was wondering which vacation would have a better kids club and more activities for them. I have heard excellent things about Camp Carnival but I am concerned that there may be lots of little kids during a non-holiday week in January. I also wonder if they may be bored at the ports (Puerto Rico, Turks, Half-Moon Cay, and St. Thomas). I know Club Med also has tons of kid activites but I'm not sure if there will be enough English-speaking kids. We went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico several years ago and there were no kids in the kids club that spoke English. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
#2
phila, pa
51,760 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
there always will be kids on every sailing maybe not a lot but enough counselors do a good job if 5kids or 50.

ports will be different each day if your kids are easily bored how bored will they be in the same resort day after day?

my grand daughter age 5 loved her last cruise and never participated in the camp

p
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#3
Texas
849 Posts
Joined May 2010
I have taken my family to many AI resorts in Jamaica, Mexico, Bahamas and Turks/Cacios. The children's programs at most resorts are similar to what Camp Carnival has to offer. This year was a toss up between Club Med Bahamas (San Salvador Island) and two cruises. I was out voted and two cruises it is. Club Med does mainly cater to a more European crowd. I would suggest a Beaches Resort or an Iberostar Resort for an AI.
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#4
south jersey
33 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Two years ago we took our two boys to Jamaica for a week to the club Negril Beaches. They loved it, but the kids that they became friendly with early on in the week left for home shortly after. Last year we took them on a cruise. The kids they met were there for the whole duration. They much preferred the cruise for that reason. We will be doing another cruise this year due to our boy's constant persuasiveness.
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#5
38 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by wafflestoo
Two years ago we took our two boys to Jamaica for a week to the club Negril Beaches. They loved it, but the kids that they became friendly with early on in the week left for home shortly after. Last year we took them on a cruise. The kids they met were there for the whole duration. They much preferred the cruise for that reason. We will be doing another cruise this year due to our boy's constant persuasiveness.
We're doing an all inclusive Carnival Dream cruise in July.
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Michelle
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#6
245 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
My kids are older (16 and 13) but they started cruising at 11 and 9 and we haven't been able to convince them to go back to any other kind of vacation since then. They love that we visit a few different ports and they make friends with other kids on board. As one person said, the counselors do a great job (even for the teens) and all the kids know they will be together for the length of the cruise so it works well.
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#7
New York
16 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Thank you for everyone who replied to my post. I feel more confident about our upcoming cruise. I am excited the beaches at the ports (Grand Turk, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay). Just wondering if anyone knows if there are activities, such as snorkeling or kayaking, available at these beaches or do we need to book an excusion?
#8
16,517 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by convertimia
We're doing an all inclusive Carnival Dream cruise in July.

Really? How did you manage to accomplish that?

All inclusive means that everything is paid for, including all beverages, food, and activities. Are you getting that on Carnival?

I don't think so, you are getting a moving hotel and food, almost everything else is an add on charge, so a carnival cruise is not all inclusive.
#9
38 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by zqvol
Really? How did you manage to accomplish that?

All inclusive means that everything is paid for, including all beverages, food, and activities. Are you getting that on Carnival?

I don't think so, you are getting a moving hotel and food, almost everything else is an add on charge, so a carnival cruise is not all inclusive.
Open bar for 7 days, all your alcohol and non-alcohol, tips, & gratuities, but it only includes one excursion...inclusive enough for me!
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Michelle
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#10
16,517 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by rgfeldman
We are debating whether to take a family vacation in January 2013 on Carnival Liberty to the Carribean or vacation at Club Med Punta Cana. We have two girls (ages 6 and almost 10) and was wondering which vacation would have a better kids club and more activities for them. I have heard excellent things about Camp Carnival but I am concerned that there may be lots of little kids during a non-holiday week in January. I also wonder if they may be bored at the ports (Puerto Rico, Turks, Half-Moon Cay, and St. Thomas). I know Club Med also has tons of kid activites but I'm not sure if there will be enough English-speaking kids. We went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico several years ago and there were no kids in the kids club that spoke English. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

I would think twice about a Club Med AI, but I suspect that your family would love the Beaches Resort in the Turks and Cacios. It is geared to families, has the kids clubs, lots of activities and is all inclusive.
#11
2,219 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Book the flow rider in Grand Turk for your girls. They will love it!

In St. Thomas, I personally love the view at Sapphire Beach, but I didn't see any snorkeling.

Puerto Rico we self toured San Cristobal fort. Awesome!
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#12
Fort Wortn, Texas
89 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I second going on your own by cab to Sapphire Beach in St. Thomas. It's a beautiful beach and there is snorkeling there, in fact it is pretty good. We had our own equipment but I believe there was a place to rent snorkel gear. You can probably find out for sure by going to the St. Thomas forum.
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#13
Atlanta
910 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Great point about the Grand Turk with the big pool. It is REALLY huge! And it is quite cool that it's totally free. You can't miss it. As soon as you get off the ship, you walk through the gates and it's straight ahead. There are a few little trinket shops around, really really touristy shops. Grand Turk is just so tiny. The water is absolutely GORGEOUS though. Completely see-through. My youngest was 8 last year and just asked him what he liked best. He said "the big pool and the beach." Snorkeling is just plain tough to manouever snorkel gear at that young age. I think the need to be about 10 before they feel confident with snorkel gear. But---of course on here, you're going to get people telling you their kid just had the EASIEST time with their snorkel gear at 6 years of age, lol. But mine didn't. I have three kids and it seemed to take them until they were about 9 or 10 before snorkeling became comfortable to them. But yea, the pool is awesome. Do your own thing in San Juan. OH! I forgot to mention all the GIANT iguanas in the old castles in San Juan. They're running around everywhere! At first we were trying to take pics of each and every one of them. Then we realized there were just too many so we stopped, lol. But the kids LOVED seeing those. I can't wait to see the beaches in St. Thomas everyone is mentioning. See, since we did the catamaran and snorkel excursion, we had to miss the beaches. When we go back, that's a "must do" for our list.
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#14
Florida
1,603 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
This is my favorite itinerary we have done yet, and I think you will have a great time!

Half Moon Cay is a beach day in paradise. The snorkeling is nonexistent at the beach as there is nothing to see but white sand. Carnival does have some excursions here though... there is just something about the place that makes you want to get a big pina colada and relax though.

St. Thomas has some pretty beaches and lots of shopping... hard to get bored there I would think.

San Juan is great for exploring, shopping and touring the forts... I was not looking forward to this port but after our visit there I wanted to do a land vacation there. I agree with the other poster who said it was the most pleasant surprise of the cruise!

Grand Turk... almost everything has been said. However... I don't know about the port area, but Grand Turk has some of the best underwater sealife and it would be totally worth finding a good snorkeling excursion...


I've never done an AI though I've looked at Beaches and Sandals several times. Maybe one day, but I am very happy with cruising right now...
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