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Have sailed one line only, need help from multi ship cruisers!
Just returned from our third cruise on the Disney line. We have sailed Disney Magic/Wonder (Mediterranean/Mexican Riviera) and now the Fantasy (Eastern Caribbean). I have lost 75 pounds and my plan is to lose the remaining 40-50 by next September...I KNOW I can do it, BUT I need a 'reward' cruise to keep me motivated!! We met some amazing friends on this last cruise and all of us want to do another cruise...some of us are considering trying another ship. I am afraid I will be let down because Disney is all I know...we plan on sailing the 2nd week of September but the third week is open, too.
The Allure of the Seas was parked next to us in St. Thomas...it was actually bigger than the Fantasy and looked pretty nice. Other than that I have NO clue about other ships. Could not tell you the difference between Celebrity/Royal/Princess...just familiar with the names.
We have three teenagers...next year they will be 18, 15, 14. They LOVE Disney...get all excited about the characters and if any of you have talked with Jack Sparrow..you know what I mean..spot on characterizations! So, if I take those away from them, I need to know they're getting something fun in return.
We don't drink or gamble, well dh will have a black beer once or twice on the ship (darker the better b/c they're just hard to find where we live) but that's it. Honestly, the perk of a Disney ship is that we're sailing with like minded families..I know Disney cruises must have their hooligans but we've managed to sail during the slowest times (early May/September) when it's not a full ship.
We do love good talent/nightly shows but not into the risque/burlesque kind of stuff..broadway singers just anything the whole family can attend.
As far as ports, honestly, was not impressed with St. Maarten this last go round, LOVED St. John...I guess I like more historical ports where you can DO or SEE something....
That's really all I can give you to go on...we loved the Aquaduck and all of us rode it many times...just a great ride! We also loved the dining technical advances in Animator's Palate...that was really cool..and the kids loved the kids clubs.
Based on these, is there a chance that we would love other cruise lines or should we just continue on with Disney? We want the kids to have as much fun as we do, but now that we've done all of their ships (won't do the Dream b/c it only does 5 day or less cruises and we want a full week or more) we're thinking redoing one of their ships might not be as fun as trying a completely new brand of ships where we get the nuance of finding everything and discovering.
Thanks if you've made it this far and can share your experiences!!
Disney is going to be your best choice for your kids, "If it works, don't fix it"... Other cruise lines have things for kids, but not to the extent of Disney!
We have been on Seven of the major lines and the best we seen so far for kids was Royal Caribbean. (we have no kids, but know if they are around)
So I would say stick with what works and look into Aruba, San Juan, or the other less traveled islands.
Where ever you go and what ever you do, have a great time and enjoy your kids while they are still at home... C.G.
We have been on RCCL, Celebrity, Carnival, NCCL, and HAL.
With teenagers, I do not advise Celebrity. Geared more towards adults...(wonderful for you and your spouse in the future)....same for HAL.
Carnival and NCCL are fun and much less expensive than the other cruise lines, but you get what you pay for.
RCCL....have been on many of their ships....but Oasis/Allure, hands down are amazing. I think you and your family would LOVE one of these. So much to do with not enough time to do it. Unbelievable amount of eateries. A boardwalk, Central Park, Promenade deck. The shows are so professional. You also mentioned "characters" These two ships have them and they are great.
I could go on and on...but if you are looking to try something new and different, I HIGHLY recommend one of these two ships. (they are almost identical).
Allure is the largest cruise ship at sea....you bet it looked bigger!
Honestly, you will get a similar experience from almost any cruiseline....your kids are of an age where the "kids club" becomes less important. Most teens prefer to make their own fun, rather than having organized activities.
There's SO much to do on Oasis/Allure, I can't imagine your kids not having a good time, should you choose that ship. There are plenty of tame shows...any that you believe won't be appropriate, don't see! There are alot to choose from!
Great tips so far!! So Oasis and Allure...those seem like options to at least check out, did not know they had characters on them as well!
I LOVE Disney but honestly, the 'ah, it's new' effect has worn off...I am not one to ever read a book twice, (my daughter has read some over 10x easily), but once I go somewhere I only want to go back if I have someone who has never been so I can see their joy and amazement in it! I just feel like I've already done everything on the Disney cruise ships that I enjoy and honestly repeating them kind of seems disinteresting to me. Another factor is financial..we have been blessed to get amazing deals!!
Mediterranean for 10 nights less than 4k for 7 people!!
Mexician Riviera for 7 nights for less than 3k for 8 people!!
Eastern Caribbean we got 2 Verandah for less than 5k..it was our 20th anniversary so we splurged here.
Disney has Hawaii/Panama Canal but those specialty itineraries NEVER give out deals that could tempt us...so travelling in off season helps us get these...thanks all! Great ideas and a starting point!!
I think all the mainstream cruise lines will have a kids program. I did cruise Celebrity with my son, but he was already too old for the kids program by then. It was a transatlantic, so mainly older people on board & few his age. He made friends with the crew & the other younger passengers all seemed to quickly meet & band together in comradery. They definitely stood out!
He did love the kids program carnival had when he was young enough to use it. He made lots of friends and really enjoyed going every day.
I bet your kids would love Allure of the Seas, so many options for activities.
Its time to try another line. Previous posters have mentioned the Allure, as it and the Oasis are a destination themselves. Another slightly cheaper option would be RC Freedom Of The Seas. A smaller ship then the big girls. I notice that most people who have been on the Oasis and the Allure will steer you that way. Why? Because they are just that awesome. If you like shows, they have the best at sea. The kids will have a great time onboard.
... Based on these, is there a chance that we would love other cruise lines or should we just continue on with Disney? We want the kids to have as much fun as we do, but now that we've done all of their ships ....
Thanks if you've made it this far and can share your experiences!!
It is difficult to generalize the experiences for different cruise lines, since every cruise is different, even on the same ship, or the same cruise line.
That said, I'm going to give it a shot. I've traveled on five cruise line.
For similar itineraries, Carnival and Norwegian tend to have lower prices than Royal Caribbean. Celebrity and Princess cost a bit more than the the other three.
Within the same cruise line, new ships cost more than the older ships. So when comparing cruises, it's not fair to compare a new ship with an old ship from the other company.
Costs for the same cruise also vary a lot depending on cabin selection and time of year that you travel.
You pretty much get what you pay for. The novelty and modern features on the new ships are worth the price difference IMHO. As you probably detect, I have a personal preference for the new ships.
The cruise lines are very competitive, so the programs and amenities that they offer are very similar. Your children will have an abundance of activities to select from, regardless of which ship you choose.
More important factors are that longer cruises (10 or more days) attract an older population segment and fewer children. Also, when school is in session, there are fewer children on board. At the other end of the spectrum, I would avoid short cruises during spring break.
As for specific recommendations, I would recommend Royal Caribbean's Allure or Oasis for a good all round experience. Port of calls may not be as exciting if you have visited those stops before, but the ship itself is a major attraction. Carnival Breeze or Celebrity Reflection would be my next choices.
You should consider NCL Epic. Sooo much to do on this ship. Best entertainment - Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, Legends(fabulous impersonators from Las Vegas). The ship has a great waterpark, bowling alley, and lots of restaurants. I don't think anyone could get boared on this ship. It will be much less expensive than Disney or RCCL and give you extra money for super excursions!