Affordable Cruise with 4 kids?

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#1
Ocean County, NJ
45 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
My husband and I went on our first cruise in October on RCI and we LOVED IT! Now we want to take the kids. Problem is, we have 4 of them The cost of a cruise for 2 is way more affordable then 4! I just tried to check Carnival and it won't even let me put 6 people in? Says only 5 can be booked at a time? Any tips or tricks for me, to make it affordable?

Our kids are ages 9, 7, 6 and 3 ....

TIA!
#2
We live on a small lake in rural Nebr.
7,139 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Some ships have what they call family cabins--we went on RCI with 7 grandkids and had a family OV room and a balcony cabin. The family OV was really nice--quite large, good storage, a curtained sleeping area for adults, a big sleeper sofa and a bunk room--which was very popular with the kids.

The only downside is that there was only one bathroom. It slept six--at times we had 7 in there.

Price was good as it was a 5 day and 3-4 passengers were greatly discounted. Sometimes there are kids sail free promotions. We took all 9 of us for under $4000, including 3 days in Florida and air from Nebraska.

Another option is to get connecting cabins; really nice since there are two bathrooms. Some people get a balcony and an inside across the hall, but I wouldn't with the age of your kids unless one of you is going to sleep in each cabin.
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SciFi
#3
153 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Not sure how it is going to work out as we don't cruise until this Sunday on the Indy but we got two of the cheapest inside CONNECTING cabins. I think they were $430 each person. So we will sleep in one and the other is for the LO.

Probably we will keep the door ajar a little and I did bring my wireless baby cam for peace of mind.

Usually we always get a balcony cabin but to accommodate nap times and early sleeping we decided to go this way and It really did not cost us much more. Maybe even the same price.
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#4
Ocean County, NJ
45 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by Nebr.cruiser
Some ships have what they call family cabins--we went on RCI with 7 grandkids and had a family OV room and a balcony cabin. The family OV was really nice--quite large, good storage, a curtained sleeping area for adults, a big sleeper sofa and a bunk room--which was very popular with the kids.

The only downside is that there was only one bathroom. It slept six--at times we had 7 in there.

Price was good as it was a 5 day and 3-4 passengers were greatly discounted. Sometimes there are kids sail free promotions. We took all 9 of us for under $4000, including 3 days in Florida and air from Nebraska.

Another option is to get connecting cabins; really nice since there are two bathrooms. Some people get a balcony and an inside across the hall, but I wouldn't with the age of your kids unless one of you is going to sleep in each cabin.
I cannot find any ship with this option, can you tell me what ship it was? RCI site will not let me enter more then FOUR guests?
#5
Boston MA
1,519 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
If you are looking at RCL, they have a royal family suite (also known now as two bedroom suite) that can sleep 8.

The typical layout is 2 bedrooms with one clearly the master with its own bathroom, and another bedroom that sleeps 4 (2 lower beds, and 2 pullmans), and a sofa bed in the living room provides the final 2 sleeping spots.

These usually book very quickly since there are only a few on each ship, and pricing-wise, it is comparable to a grand suite for passengers 1 &2, with the additional passengers paying the 3rd and 4th passenger rates.

Often times it is cheaper to book 2 separate cabins, but since this is a suite, you would get suite perks, too.

Good luck with your planning
#6
Toronto
3,517 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by RucaRamona
I cannot find any ship with this option, can you tell me what ship it was? RCI site will not let me enter more then FOUR guests?
You will have to call RCI to book a cabin with more than 4 people in it. RCI has several categories of cabins which will take 6 people. The newer ships have more than the older ships. There are two types of suites: Royal Family Suite and Presidential Family Suite and 4 types of cabins: Family Balcony, Family Oceanview (present on voyager class and radiance class), Family Interior and Family Promenade. The family cabins other than the oceanviews are only present on Oasis and Freedom class ships.

I've stayed in family oceanviews with my 3 children and I love them (both the cabins and the children).
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49 nights with RCCL, 7 nights with Carnival, 11 nights with Disney, 14 nights with Princess, 45 nights with HAL
#7
We live on a small lake in rural Nebr.
7,139 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by RucaRamona
I cannot find any ship with this option, can you tell me what ship it was? RCI site will not let me enter more then FOUR guests?
You do have to call in to book these rooms, since otherwise probably two people would try to book them due to the extra room. They do 'save' them for larger partys, except possibly close to sailing. They might call them suites, though I don't think they are really suites. There are family suites on some ships, though, with a living area and one or two bedrooms.

We were using a TA, so we worked through her. I must say, she was fantastic, even called back with better prices and we had more OBC when we got on board than we expected.

This was the Navigator of the Seas and the family OV cabin we were in was in almost the prow of the ship. It had very large windows--I have a pic of a kid sitting in one--that looked out over an open deck area.
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SciFi
#8
439 Posts
Joined May 2009
We have done connecting cabins and we leave the two doors wide open so its just one room and we can keep an eye on the children.

Benefits are that you have two bathrooms; two TV.

One adult has to be booked in each cabin with children that you I believe.
#12
Ontario
667 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
HAL quite often has 3rd and 4th passengers free. We are sailing in two weeks and our kids were only $106. in taxes. If you had adjoining rooms and that rate, it would be fairly affordable.
#13
Howard County, Maryland
1,384 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
To get the lowest prices, figure out when the peak times are for families traveling, then go some other time. School schedules are the big driver of family vacations, so summer and major holidays (especially Christmas and Spring Break) are going to be the most expensive times. If you can cruise in October or May, the fares are much better.

Of course, if you do this, you'll have to decide if you're willing to pull your kids out of school. One way to mitigate this issue is to travel when school is closed due to a teacher work day (professional development day) that doesn't coincide with a standard holiday. You may still have to miss some school, but you might be able to reduce the number of days missed by a day or two by doing this.
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#14
Alburtis, PA
950 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by neptuno
We love MSC, kids sail free. They offer 50% discount on the second cabin too, but you will need one adult in each cabin.
Just wondering which MSC ships you have sailed on and what are your favorite ones! TIA!
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#15
florida
764 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Originally posted by loveysbydesign
Just wondering which MSC ships you have sailed on and what are your favorite ones! TIA!
Only Poesia, it's very convenient for us to drive and sail out of Ft. Lauderdale. But we didn't choose Poesia for the kids, just for the value. No slide, no rockwall. Back when we last went, the pre-teen kid program wasn't that great. We heard it has been improved. But it didn't matter, the kids loved the whole experience on the ship. We've sailed Norwegian and Carnival with them, and they liked them too. I guess they're not too picky, it's a great adventure overall just to sail to different places and explore. You can't go wrong.
#16
San Antonio, TX
598 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
When I called RCI my two room quote was cheaper than the Family suite. I don't think I was offered a Family oceanview since our configuration is 3 adults, 2 kids.

I would say connecting rooms would be the way to go - unless you are able to get a family oceanview that fits 6. However, I do like the idea of 2 bathrooms! You can get connecting rooms that are both inside, or both oceanview. We tried to get the rooms that one was a Jr. Suite or Balcony and the connecting room was an oceanview but it was booked already.
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#17
Eastern US
89 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
We're taking our first family cruise this October on RCCL and the most economic choice for us was connecting interior rooms. We have six kids, and while I would have preferred minimally a balcony, we just didn't have room in the budget. We looked at a few of the suite options that would fit our family, but they were no where near the same cost.
#18
259 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I agree that the way to go is to get inside rooms that connect...or at very least two inside rooms and you each sleep in one with the kids split up. It's much less expensive to get connecting inside rooms than any sort of family room or suite. If you sail on RC, they have Promenade staterooms that have a large window that overlooks the Promenade where all of the shops are located. That's a nice room to get if you can't afford connecting balcony rooms because you still get a view of the "outside" world if your baby is napping, but they are less expensive than a balcony or family room. Good luck and have fun!
#19
Melbourne
158 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
I booked interconnecting cabins for 2 adults and 4 kids on the rci website as the family rooms had sold out. The trick is to start with a cabin for 2, one adult one kid, then add a cabin for 4 and check the option for a linked booking and make sure one adult is in each booking. You can then scan the deck map and make sure the rooms are interconnecting by looking for the symbol joining the rooms. The rci website lets you try out different classes of room to compare price. The 4 person room should give you a discount on passengers 3 and 4 in the second room. You can choose both your rooms and reserve that booking. You can pay at the rci website or take the reservation number to a ta who offers bonuses like onboard credit.

I like the interconnecting rooms better than family suite, we get two toilets and kids get their own bedroom. We chose 2-4 config over 3-3 as there seemed to be more choices.

I tried a ta first but they seemed clueless about the best rooms or deck plans.
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#20
Alburtis, PA
950 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by need_a_holiday
I booked interconnecting cabins for 2 adults and 4 kids on the rci website as the family rooms had sold out. The trick is to start with a cabin for 2, one adult one kid, then add a cabin for 4 and check the option for a linked booking and make sure one adult is in each booking. You can then scan the deck map and make sure the rooms are interconnecting by looking for the symbol joining the rooms. The rci website lets you try out different classes of room to compare price. The 4 person room should give you a discount on passengers 3 and 4 in the second room. You can choose both your rooms and reserve that booking. You can pay at the rci website or take the reservation number to a ta who offers bonuses like onboard credit.

I like the interconnecting rooms better than family suite, we get two toilets and kids get their own bedroom. We chose 2-4 config over 3-3 as there seemed to be more choices.

I tried a ta first but they seemed clueless about the best rooms or deck plans.
Thanks for this tip! Gonna check it out!
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WAHM to Richie, Becca & Ryan!
1st cruise 5/06 RCCL's Sovereign of the Seas
2nd cruise 5/09 Disney Magic Western -Only $2900 for 2 Cat. 12 GTY.'s & we got upgraded to Cat. 10's-woo-hoo!!!
3rd cruise 10/11
aboard the Disney Dream (actually cost less than going on the Wonder in Nov. 2010!!!)