Disney cruise or something else?

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#1
New Hampshire
2 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Hi everyone,
We are first time cruisers, and I am looking to book a cruise for Feb. 2014, or April 2014 during school vacation. My family consists of my husband and I, and our 3 kids who will be 13,6, and 4 at the time of the cruise.
I have been leaning towards the Disney Fantasy Eastern Caribbean, but only because I know the Disney brand well, and expect they would do a good job on their cruise line. However, my concerns are... will my 13 year old like a Disney cruise? He loves Disneyworld, but obviously isn't into characters anymore. My 6 year old would love the kids club and the characters, so not worried about her. My 4 year old (my biggest concern) is terribly scared of characters, and still has separation anxiety at this point (he is 3 now). So my concern would be leaving him at the kids club (if he would even stay), and that characters would come and I wouldn't be there. Do they tell you the times that the characters make appearances in the kids clubs? I'm assuming when he isn't in the kids club, I can shield him from the characters.
So I am wondering if another cruise line would be better for us? What other cruise lines are good for families? The other issue is we are a family of 5, so I don't want to spend a fortune on another cruise line for a big enough room - where as Disney fits 5 in their family suite.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated! I'm unsure of where to start with planning all of this
#2
The interior of BC about 4 hrs north of Vancouver . In the dry part of the Province
10,480 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
You could look at Royal Caribbean or Carnival , they both have age appropriate kids club without characters . Most kids club are from age 2 to 18.
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#3
65 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
The Navigator (a newsletter with all of the day's activities delivered to your room) lists the times/places of all character greetings and times of activities in the kid's club. For the most part, the kid's club activities with characters will be obvious by the name (Pluto's PJ Party) or will have some details listed in the Navigator. I'm sure the kid's club staff will also help you if you asked them about character visit times.
#4
Timonium, Maryland
3,834 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
To answer your questions- I don't think I would take a 13 year old on Disney. I saw one very sulky miserable teen on Disney and thought- that's because this cruise is really designed for tots not older kids IMO.

If your 4 year old son is afraid of characters- he isn't going to like Disney because they are everywhere you turn. Even on the private island there are Characters.

Do another line like Royal or Celebrity. I think it will be more fun for all involved and more reasonably priced.
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#5
Buffalo
373 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
We are going on RCCl Explorer of the seas in April. We didn't want to travel by Plane. Also, reading up on these boards, I learned that the Kids programs are outstanding on RCCL. They are going to be doing a Barbie theme cruise sometime this year on all ships. My kids will have a great time and can't wait to travel on EOS.
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#6
The Woodlands TX
66 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Have cruised on royal and Disney with kids. Went in November on Disney magic with kids ranged 13-4. They all loved it. They do a great job with the teen/Tweens too. From my kids perspective, they liked the Disney cruise much better than Royal.
#7
259 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
We went on a Disney cruise when out kids were 13, 10 and 1. They loved it! They did a good job with tween/teen activities, my 10 yr old loved it too. If they like disney, they will enjoy it even if they're too old for characters. Everything is too notch, and there's plenty of fun to be had on board for everyone. That being said, we've also done Royal Caribbean cruises and had a great time too. They loved them equally. Have fun!
#8
Timonium, Maryland
3,834 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Honestly- kids like any cruise. The only cruise my son didn't like was Holland America to Canada. Other than that - he has been happy as a clam.

So I would do the one that meets all your needs and is the most affordable.
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Upcoming cruises: Anthem of the Seas Bermuda August 6, 2016, Regal Princess Canada October 2016, and Golden Princess Transpacific July 7, 2017

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#10
Northern Virginia
66 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I can only speak for the 13 year old son and RCCL. We always sail with neighbor families of young boys and mine is now 14. RCCL has top notch and well staffed ships.
If you are traveling as a family and not a group and it is Easter Break from school, any ship will be loaded with kids! The tween boys seem to congregate, (for better or worse), in the hot tubs. So your son should find buddies right away.
We haven't sailed Disney yet but have been on RCCL Oasis. The boys loved the flow riders! (there is a height requirement though)They like any ship with water slides too.
All the kids in our group enjoyed the kids clubs. The Tweens go in and out of their club depending on activities. We always bring Walkie talkies to keep in touch! I know that Disney Fantasy has Walkie talkie-like phones for each cabin but it's just 2 per cabin. We like one per person.
I've heard wonderful things about Disney. At Easter break, your son will be surrounded by kids and have lots to do no matter which line you choose. Just point him to the hot tubs and give him a Walkie talkie so he knows where to find you and visa versa.
Also I think that someone mentioned the 2/split bathrooms on Disney Fantasy. Nice to have if you are all in the same room!
BTW-The line I personally wouldn't choose is Carnival. Though their ships and cabins are lovely, their activities are very understaffed. This means the kid's clubs too.
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#11
Northern Virginia
66 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
One more thing....depending on where you choose to cruise....especially for your first cruise......February could be a bit chilly. Check the temps for where you are planning to cruise. It will be less crowded in February and you could cruise to a warm area.. April will definitely be warmer but at Easter..... more crowds.
In February we went to Nassau, St. Martin and St. Thomas and it was cooler than we would have liked. However we brought wet suits for the kids and they had the flow riders and pool deck to themselves each night! (You know how we knew about this? We looked at the live pics coming from the Oasis and noticed the instructors had wet suits, hats and scarves on!) Oasis rents wets suits at the back of the ship.
We definitely used the wet suits in Nassau at Atlantis too. Also had the place to ourselves-had a blast and stayed warm
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#12
Timonium, Maryland
3,834 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
The Caribbean is usually warm year round. I have yet to have a cold day in the Caribbean and have been there in January, February, March, April, etc. So I don't agree that Feb. is cold in the Caribbean. It is cold in Florida but here are the temps for the Bahamas...

http://www.**********/usvi/weather.php
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Holland America Veendam Canada/New England 4/28/16-5/7/16, Regal Princess 3/27/16 Eastern Caribbean, Holland America Maasdam Canada New England 8/15/15, Celebrity Summit Bermuda 7/26/15 Star Princess Alaska 7/13/15 Norwegian Pearl Pacific Coast 5/3/2014 My Birthday! Celebrity Solstice Alaska 5/8/2014Enchantment of the Seas 12/6/13 Bahamas, Grand Princess Alaska 7/19/13, Celebrity Solstice California Coast 5/13, Serenade of the Seas Western Med (1/4/13)Celebrity Summit Bermuda(8/12/12),Celebrity Infinity Alaska 7/6/12
Caribbean Princess New England (8/11), Holland America Maasdam New England (6/11)Celebrity Equinox Norway (7/09), Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas (4/09) Grand Princess British Isles (08) Holland America Zuiderdam Greece/ Turkey (08) Oceania Regatta Caribbean Southern Caribbean (08) QM2 Transatlantic (07) Celebrity Millenium Western Med (7/07), Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Eastern Caribbean(4/06), Disney Wonder Bahamas (8/05), Celebrity Constellation (4/06), Sapphire Princess Alaska (5/24/05) Celebrity Millenium Transatlantic (5/1/05), NCL Spirit Eastern Caribbean (3/05), Celebrity Galaxy (10/04), Carnival Victory (6/04), Celebrity Zenith Bermuda (10/01), Celebrity Zenith Eastern Caribbean (4/01),NCL Dynasty (12/00) NCL Sky Alaska (7/00), NCL Wind Alaska (5/98), Crown Princess Pacific repo (5/98), Royal Sovereign of the Seas Bahamas (10/97), Costa Victoria Western Caribbean (3/97), Crown Princess Alaska (6/96), Vera Cruz Christmas (1981), Holland America Volendam Christmas (1980), Holland America Veendam Christmas (1975).

Upcoming cruises: Anthem of the Seas Bermuda August 6, 2016, Regal Princess Canada October 2016, and Golden Princess Transpacific July 7, 2017

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#13
Atlanta
518 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Disney is normally significantly more expensive than other lines. You can take the money you would spend on Disney and upgrade to a family suite on RCCL which has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and sleeps 8. You also get some great suite extras.

To me, there isn't another theme park like Disney, so I'll pay the extra for Disney World. But you can get a comparable experience (or better when you're looking at the larger RCCL or NCL ships with so many features) on a non-Disney cruiseline, so the extra money isn't worth it to me.
#14
Ohio
207 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
We have cruised on both Disney and RCCL ships. Our Disney experience was with little kids and one who shuddered at the characters every time she saw them. We just kept her close to one of us when we had encounters. The best part of the Disney ship is that you can go to the shows as a family because they are all familiar Disney stories. Castaway Cay is fantastic.

RCCL Oasis of the Seas is a great ship for the kids. They have a carnival area and parades along the center promenade with Pixar characters. There are lots of kid things to do on that ship and the ice show and diving show would certainly be great for kids of all ages. The Flowriders with surfing and boogie boarding were big hits with the kids too. Here is a link to my post on my blog.

Price-wise, RCCL will give you more for your money. And, we have found the Caribbean to be plenty warm enough in the winter months. The Bahamas maybe not so much.
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#15
4,078 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We've done both DCL and NCL, and prefer NCL. My older kids were 9 and 11 on DCL, and they didn't like the kids club. However, I think tweens are the hardest to please. You could probably get a 2 bedroom suite on NCL for the price of a family suite on DCL, with tons of perks (butler, concierge, private restaurant, room service from any restaurant, priority embarkment and debarkment, tendering, show seating). What we like the best about NCL is freestyle dining, and on our last cruise, our 14 year old loved eating with her new friends in the MDR's.
#16
Ewing, NJ
2,459 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I have only sailed Disney, and my kids (now 4 and 13) love it. Honestly my oldest doesn't want to sail any other line.

I just wanted to comment on the rooms that sleep 5... Royal also has rooms that sleep 5 but usually you have to call to get that pricing. I know they have these rooms on Oasis, Allure, and Freedom - not sure about the other RCCL ships.

I would try to work on that separation anxiety with your littlest ahead of time. I know most kid's clubs do their best to get the child to acclimate but still would be helpful to try to work on it pre-cruise.

In regard to Disney/Characters ... they really are not just around all of the time like you would think. There is a schedule that says where character appearances and parties will be. The kids club also has a list of activities so you can see when a character will be there. There are a few different rooms/areas in the club - so your child could be moved to a different room during character interactions if you give the cm's in the club notice about the character issue.

Disney Fantasy and Dream (I haven't sailed Magic or Wonder) have amazing tween and teen areas. I only have personal experience with the tween though. They had a schedule of activities each day posted in the room. My daughter would have lived there if I let her. There was always something going on, and the cm's who work in there are pretty good at getting the kids to feel comfortable with one another.

Obviously I am partial to Disney, but I think whatever cruise line you choose, your children will have a blast.
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