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  #1  
Old February 4th, 2013, 05:48 PM
cruisingky cruisingky is offline
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Default Best cruise line for families?

Hi, we're a family of 5 with boys ages 14, 11 & 8. We've never taken the kids on a cruise and DH & I have only cruised twice on Royal Caribbean. We're trying to decide between Royal, Carnival and Disney. Obviously, Disney is the most expensive, but is it worth the price over the other two? We would be taking a 3-4 day Bahamas cruise. Thanks for any insight!!

Tracy
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  #2  
Old February 4th, 2013, 06:33 PM
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6rugrats 6rugrats is offline
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I don't think Disney is worth the price, and think your children would probably manage to have fun on either of the other cruiselines. If you don't choose Disney, could you manage a seven day cruise?
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  #3  
Old February 4th, 2013, 10:06 PM
chipq chipq is offline
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I agree. Both CCL and Royal have very good youth programs and for the price of Disney you could sail a 7- day cruise with either of the other cruises. See which itinerary you like best if going for 7 days. Enjoy.

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  #4  
Old February 4th, 2013, 10:09 PM
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QLUVS2CRUZ QLUVS2CRUZ is offline
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I've had two friends who sailed Disney and other cruise lines last year and said Disney was not worth the higher price; however, I don't know if you could pay me to go on a 3 night on Carnival or RCI, so in that case it may be worth it. If you can go for even 5 nights, I'd say RCI, Carnival or NCL are good family choices. IMHO 3 night cruises on those lines are not really the family atmosphere I want.
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RCI Grandeur 2009
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  #5  
Old February 5th, 2013, 12:45 AM
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beachbum53 beachbum53 is offline
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Here's what I would do. First, try to narrow down when you want to go. Then, go to both RCL and Carnival's web sites and look at what's available for 4, 5, and 7 day cruises. Even for two people, a four day cruise will go by quickly. But if that's all your budget will allow for your family, it's better than sitting at home wishing you could go. Once you've narrowed down your choices to a couple of possibilities, do your homework on the ones you're considering. Don't be swayed too much by either glowing reviews or totally negative reviews. Opinions are like noses. Everyone's got one. Talk to a cruise agent in your area for information. The key to having a fun and memorable cruise is planning and preparation.
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Carnival Liberty May 2012
Carnival Sensation Feb. 2008
Carnival Destiny Feb. 2007
RCCL Explorer of the Seas March 2002
RCCL Majesty of the Seas Dec. 2000
Carnival Imagination Sept. 1999
RCCL Enchantment of the Seas Feb. 1999
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas Feb. 1997
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  #6  
Old February 5th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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Jimnbigd Jimnbigd is offline
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You might consider driving to Baltimore. That seems to be your closest cruise port -- about a 9 hour drive with stops. You'd save a lot on airfare. Regardless if you drive or fly, be sure to go the day before the cruise departs. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean sail from Baltimore. Cheapest would be two connecting inside cabins, with one of the cabins sleeping 3. Example on the Grandeur of the Seas is cabins 2577/2579. I would not wait to book, as connecting cabins can book up early. You can always cancel for a full refund with Royal Caribbean or Carnival (except for the Carnival ES rate) before final payment date (usually 75 days before departure). Also I did not see any connecting cabins on the Carnival Pride where one cabin sleeps 3, but maybe I missed some. If not, then Royal Caribbean might be your only choice from Baltimore. But...For some reason the Royal Caribbean departs and returns on Fridays, so you'd have to leave on Thursdays, which probably means 2 extra vacation days. Bummer. If you fly, you have more options of course, but flying is expense these days. If you drive, you could even drive to within 2 hours of Baltimore, say overnight, and finish driving to the cruise the next day. If you do the Grandeur, you could drive to Washington D.C. on Friday after the cruise, see Washington, then drive home Sunday.
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Norwegian Sea – Jan 1999 & Apr 2000
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Norwegian Star – May 2003 (Hawaii)
Carnival Jubilee – Sep 2003
Carnival Conquest – Nov 2003
Rhapsody of the Seas – Jan 2004
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2004
Carnival Elation – Nov 2005
Splendour of the Seas – Jan 2006
Rhapsody of the Seas – May 2006
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2006 (New Year's Eve)
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Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2008
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Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2010 & Dec 2010 & Mar 2011
Carnival Conquest - May 2011
Mariner of the Seas - Dec 2011 & Mar 2012 & Dec 2012 & Mar 2013
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Last edited by Jimnbigd; February 5th, 2013 at 02:31 PM.
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  #7  
Old February 5th, 2013, 02:55 PM
cruisingky cruisingky is offline
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Thanks for all the advice! Our oldest son is going on a trip to Disney World with his school band over fall break, so Oct. 10-13th. We originally thought about taking our other 2 kids and just being at Disney at the same time as my son, and our kids have never been to Disney. The more we considered it, though, we realized our kids are not big on rides and we don't want to spend a ton of money at Disney just to walk around and look and not really ride. We've wanted to take them on a cruise for some time now, so we pitched the idea of all of us driving down the Friday before and taking a cruise that would be back no later than Thursday, the 10th, so our son could meet up with his friends and spend the rest of the week with them. From what I've looked at today, our only real options are a 4 night Bahamas with Disney in a Deluxe Family OV with Verandah (indoor and regular OV are sold out) for a total of $3,521, or Royal for a 3 night Bahamas in connecting OV rooms for $1,605. DH and I are a little hesitant about the atmosphere of a 3 night Royal Caribbean cruise, as others mentioned above, but I just don't know about spending so much more on Disney. It may be that we have to scrap the October idea and just try to book a different time. I'd rather keep the cost between $2-3k, if possible. Thanks!!
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  #8  
Old February 5th, 2013, 03:38 PM
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maryred maryred is offline
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I have a cousin that swears by Disney (forsaking all other lines), but will only book it when they run the kids cruise free in the same cabin deal. Then she will carry on board all manner of drinks for the family so there are no beverage charges for the trip to cut costs further. Personally I would not even consider a Disney cruise because to me part of the adult time on a cruise requires at least $20 spent in the casino, a venue which Disney does not offer.

As for RCI vs CCL is say go with the one that best suits your family's taste for adventure both on board and in port. Both do a great job of entertaining the kids in their various camps, providing adults with adult venue entertainment, and having things the family can do together. CCL is generally the least expensive of the choices freeing up more funds to be spent in port on excursions
*, but RCI's ships tend to be more physical activity oriented. RCI has a better sit down meal menu in place but CCL's buffets seem to have more variety and are open longer (they run from 7 am to 11 pm continuously with only a few stations closing for an hour or 2). Also CCl's room service is free 24 hours a day.
RCI runs all their shows in either the main theater or in the ice rink
^ but if they scheduled a comedian that night there will not be a any other shows in the main theater. While CCL tries to run a production, variety, or game show in the main theater every night with the comedy shows being held in a separate lounge area, and is done in 4 -5 sets by 2-3 different comedians during the night (comedy is not every night but available more than half nights).

As others have said you may be able to spend time on a longer cruise if you can drive to port rather than fly. So don't forget to investigate cruise lines and ships sailing from such places a Baltimore, Norfolk, New Orleans, and Charleston.


* Note regardless of which cruise line you choose investigate the cost of doing the excursion on your own. Some times there is a significant savings do it that way over buying through the cruise line, but occasionally additional transport costs to the area where the excursion starts from even things out.
^ Due to rehearsals and the use of the ice rinks for shows it is not open as much as people assume it to be for passengers to skate on. On our last cruise tickets for open skating times needed to be obtained the day before you wished to skate.
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  #9  
Old February 8th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Jimnbigd Jimnbigd is offline
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I'm not sure I'd chance a Caribbean or Bahamas cruise in October. It is hurricane season. And, are you ruling out cruising from Baltimore?
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SS Norway – Sep 1997
Norwegian Sea – Jan 1999 & Apr 2000
Carnival Jubilee – Oct 2002
Norwegian Star – May 2003 (Hawaii)
Carnival Jubilee – Sep 2003
Carnival Conquest – Nov 2003
Rhapsody of the Seas – Jan 2004
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2004
Carnival Elation – Nov 2005
Splendour of the Seas – Jan 2006
Rhapsody of the Seas – May 2006
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2006 (New Year's Eve)
Splendour of the Seas – Feb 2007
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2008
Carnival Ecstasy – Jan 2009
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2009
Carnival Ecstasy – Jan 2010
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2010 & Dec 2010 & Mar 2011
Carnival Conquest - May 2011
Mariner of the Seas - Dec 2011 & Mar 2012 & Dec 2012 & Mar 2013
Navigator of the Seas - Dec 2013 & May 2014


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  #10  
Old February 8th, 2013, 02:18 PM
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Diane&Duffy Diane&Duffy is offline
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Default Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are my travel dates flexible?
2. What is on my bucket list of things to do and see?
3. What destinations is my Family most interested in?
4. 3,4,5,5,6,7 or 8 nights?
5. What is the closest or most convenient departure port for my Family?
6. Do I want a children program that offers a "babysitting" type experience or perhaps a certified and training counselor offering educational and fun programs for your children?
7. How many staterooms?
8. What type of stateroom is best for my Family for best cruising experience
9. Do I have a reasonable budget in mind?
10. Do I need a pre or post cruise hotel?

This will get you started if you are not working with a travel agent, if you are working with a travel agent, they should be asking you these questions to find the best ship and itinerary for your Family.

Once you have a better idea of what you want and expect, your DREAM cruise vacation decisions will fall into place and you'll better understand the "VALUE" in the pricing of each cruise line.
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Disney Dream, October 2012
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  #11  
Old February 8th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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Jimnbigd Jimnbigd is offline
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You'll spend more than just the cruise price. Tips alone are nearly $12 per day per person now. Shore excursions can be $50 or more per person. (No cost to get of the ship and explore on your own -- including tendered ports.) Carbonated and alcoholic drinks are extra and always have a 15% tip added automatically. Ship professional photos can be $20 or more each (so take a good camera/phone and take your own pics instead). Ship casino slots are usually very tight (but still we think they are fun). Still, cruising can be one of the best vacation values. And when pricing cruises, be sure to include port charges and taxes/fees -- the total you pay to the cruise line (not including the charges I listed above).
__________________
SS Norway – Sep 1997
Norwegian Sea – Jan 1999 & Apr 2000
Carnival Jubilee – Oct 2002
Norwegian Star – May 2003 (Hawaii)
Carnival Jubilee – Sep 2003
Carnival Conquest – Nov 2003
Rhapsody of the Seas – Jan 2004
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2004
Carnival Elation – Nov 2005
Splendour of the Seas – Jan 2006
Rhapsody of the Seas – May 2006
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2006 (New Year's Eve)
Splendour of the Seas – Feb 2007
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2008
Carnival Ecstasy – Jan 2009
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2009
Carnival Ecstasy – Jan 2010
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2010 & Dec 2010 & Mar 2011
Carnival Conquest - May 2011
Mariner of the Seas - Dec 2011 & Mar 2012 & Dec 2012 & Mar 2013
Navigator of the Seas - Dec 2013 & May 2014



Last edited by Jimnbigd; February 8th, 2013 at 05:53 PM.
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  #12  
Old February 8th, 2013, 08:08 PM
ducklite ducklite is offline
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I would love to cruise Disney again some day. I wouldn't go on Royal Caribbean again if it were free.

That's my answer.
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Past Cruises...
August 2002--Disney Magic Eastern Caribbean
October 2005--RCCL Mariner Western Caribbean
October 2011--Disney Dream Bahamas
June 2012--Windstar Wind Surf Back-To-Back, Rome to Venice to Athens
April 2014--Paul Gauguin to French Polynesia

Still to come...

2016 -- Windstar Wind Surf Southern Caribbean Back-To-Back
2021 -- SilverSea Explorer Antarctica for Milestone Birthdays!

Three weeks in Europe (two on a ship) with a 20" roll aboard and a tote bag--packing list here.

My all in a 20" wheeled bag for a warm weather cruise packing list here
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  #13  
Old February 11th, 2013, 12:45 AM
CruiseGirl01 CruiseGirl01 is offline
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My family has cruised on CCL and loved it. The kids clubs are great. They also enjoyed the amenities, pool, golf, table tennis, basketball, etc, etc, etc. They were 10/daughter and 15/son at the time. We also had other families with us with children from 6-18. Of course, it was during the Summer so there were many children on board so they met lots new friend. Also, they cruised again during the school year and had a good time. but it was noticeable that there were a smaller number of kids over age 5 on board and my kids mentioned that they preferred cruising during the Summer when there were more school aged kids On board. DH and I have been aboard CCL and RCI. We agree both are good for kids. We are on Oasis this year on RCI. This ship even has a "Disney" like parade with characters. It's your kids first cruise, I'd save the money and skip the Disney cruise and go with either RCI or CCL.
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