European Cruise which is best

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#1
2 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
We have been talking for some time now about a European/Mediterranean cruise this summer. We have a son who will be 5 by next summer. Anyone have any opinions on what they like best? We have cruised on Disney and liked it. We have also been on Norwegian and Celebrity.

We found an itinerary we liked on Norwegian but we are curious about Royal Caribbean and also Disney. We figured 10 days at least for any cruise. A good kids program is a must as is a nice pool.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
#2
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
27,806 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
If you have been on Disney, you know their kids program. Same with Celebrity. RCCL will be similar to Celebrity. Can't comment on NCL. But if you are happy with those lines, you will probably select from them.

Other than kids issues, Med cruises are all about itinerary, and are usually very port intensive. "Best" is strictly a subjective personal opinion, and your opinion may differ significantly from mine. Our best ever cruise (of 15) was a 20 day Med cruise on Holland America's Noordam. Before you say Holland America is for old folks, you would be interested to know there were over 300 kids on board.

Generally, you need to think about your interests. Religion? History? Fantastic buildings? Scenic areas? Some reading on the Med Ports board, here:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=603

would be beneficial.
#3
84,561 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I would also recommend taking a look at Princess.

They have really nice kids programs. Not Disney but some of the best I've seen and they do a nice job with their European Itineraries.

Keith
#4
Greenville, SC, USA
51,203 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have taken a number of Princess cruises in the Med, the British Isles and the Baltic. All were great.
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Paul
#5
San Mateo, California
5,178 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We have done Princess, Celebrity, HAL, Cyrstal, Cunard, and we are booked on NCL for this coming April. Have cruised out of Rome, Venice, Istanbul, Athens and Barcelona in the Mediterranean. Barcelona and Athens are the easiest.

We have also done Northern Europe and the Baltics out of Dover.

All European trips are very port intensive.

We typically do port tours on our own, with a small child that probably would work best.
#6
St. Paul MN
2,977 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Have you ever been to Europe?
Cruising the Med in the summer will be very hot! I would go in June.
Even in early Sept. it was over 100 degrees in Rome and the Greek Islands.
On a ten day and eleven day cruise we had only two sea days. Not much time to be at the pool if you get off at every port of call.

The suggestion of DYI in the ports with a five year old is good advise.
Most private tours and ship tours are all day, with lots of time in a van or bus to get to the local venues.
The ship does not really matter, because the whole point of a European cruise is the ports of call.
would you leave your child in the kids club while you get off the ship? Or will you be traveling with other family members?

Sorry for all the questions. but I have grandchildren and my five year old was overwhelmed by Disney World ( needed down time, nap )compared to the older grandchildren.
#7
New Cumberland,PA, USA
26,093 Posts
Joined May 2000
Yes, it has been a hot year but normally in the Med the temps will be in the mid 80s to low 90s in the coastal areas (such as the Greek Islands). Some inland places such as Rome do tend to get quite hot in the summer (we love hot weather). As to choosing a cruise...the OP needs to keep in mind that cruising in the Med is an entirely different experience then the Caribbean. In the Med the ports are king and onboard activities usually take a minor secondary role. In the evenings many passengers will go to bed relatively early since the long port days tend to wear-out many cruisers tend to cram in a lot in the ports.

Traveling with a 5 year old in Europe does mean that the OP needs to consider some compromise in the ports. For example, wheras many folks visiting the port of Naples for the first time will want to go to Pompeii...this is not always the best place to take a 5 year old if its a hot time of year. Personally, we think 5 is a tough age for Med cruises and we would probably suggest an itinerary that allows for some easy days (such as a beach day on a Greek Island). Although we traveled with our daugher when she was young we did not start dragging her around European cities until she was 9 and had enough endurance to handle the long days and lots of walking. At that age things were really well since we took frequent ice cream/gelato breaks and were able to plan some things that were of interest to a child. But the 3-7 age range has its own issues which require lots of thought about how to spend port days.

Hank
#9
New York State
783 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by alisontheice
We have been talking for some time now about a European/Mediterranean cruise this summer. We have a son who will be 5 by next summer. Anyone have any opinions on what they like best? We have cruised on Disney and liked it. We have also been on Norwegian and Celebrity.

We found an itinerary we liked on Norwegian but we are curious about Royal Caribbean and also Disney. We figured 10 days at least for any cruise. A good kids program is a must as is a nice pool.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
My niece's son, now 5, has been cruising since he was 6 months old. He's been in kids programs on most of the 10 (!) cruises he's been on, including Norwegian. He loves the activities and is always busy.
Agree with others about not overdoing with shore excursions, unless it's something you think he'll love doing. Most ships have very nice pools, too, and special ones for the kids in the kids programs.
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Past Large Ship Cruises:

January 2016 - NCL Epic - Canary Island and Morocco from Barcelona (ship didn't dock in Morocco due to sea issues)
November 2014 - NCL Getaway - Eastern Caribbean
December 2013 - NCL Jade - Western Mediterranean
September 2013 - NCL Gem - Canada and New England
January 2013 - NCL Jade - Mediterranean & Holy Land
September 2012 - Carnival Glory - Canada and New England

January 2011 - NCL Jade - Eastern Mediterranean
May/June 2010 - NCL Sun - Scandinavian Capitals & St. Petersburg
December 2009 - NCL Gem - Bahamas
May 2009 - NCL Pearl - Alaska

Past River Cruises - Grand Circle :
August 2010 - Ancient Egypt and the Nile River
May 2008 - Russia Revealed
March 2008 - Holland and Belgium in Springtime
November 2005 - Great Rivers of Europe

#10
Gold Coast
9,169 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by alisontheice
We have been talking for some time now about a European/Mediterranean cruise this summer. We have a son who will be 5 by next summer. Anyone have any opinions on what they like best? We have cruised on Disney and liked it. We have also been on Norwegian and Celebrity.

We found an itinerary we liked on Norwegian but we are curious about Royal Caribbean and also Disney. We figured 10 days at least for any cruise. A good kids program is a must as is a nice pool.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
Have you considered elsewhere in Europe in summer, like the Baltics in the north?. The weather is cooler and there are more sea days for a 5 year old to enjoy the children's programmes on the ship you choose.

My daughters were experienced travellers, from a very young age, however, they wouldn't have enjoyed a port intensive Med Cruise at 5 years old. A train trip in Europe, yes!

A cruise around the Greek Islands, at a slower pace, could be a good option.
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Marion
Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
Princess - Ocean Princess - 2013 - Dover to Iceland and Norway, via Shetland and Faroe Islands.

Princess - Ocean Princess - 2012 - Singapore to Sydney
Fred Olsen Black Watch - 2012 - The Baltic, with Norway. Dover to St. Petersburg, via Kiel Canal.
Celebrity Century - 2011 - Auckland to Sydney

CTMA Vacancier - 2011 - Montreal to Magdalen Islands. Amtrak - Toronto to New York
MSC - Poesia - 2010 - Kiel, Germany to NY. Amtrak NY to Niagara Falls, VIA Rail Toronto to Vancouver
MSC - Lirica - 2008 - Genoa, Italy to Fort Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean - Rhapsody of the Seas - 2007 - Honolulu to Sydney
Rivers of Holland Cruise - 2003 - to Amsterdam
Alaskan Marine Highway - 2003 - to most Alaskan ports of call
Star Cruises - Superstar Leo - 2003 - Sydney to Darwin
Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Naruik - 2002 - Bergen to Kirkenes
Angelina Lauro - 1971 - Sydney to Perth. Indian Pacific - Perth to Sydney (Put me off cruising for 30 years!)

P & O - Chusan - 1970 - London to Brisbane, via Africa, India and Sri Lanka (Suez closed).
Chandris Lines - Queen Frederica - 1969 - Sydney to London, via Panama, New York and Rotterdam