Posted October 5th, 2006, 02:04 AM
Advance planning is the key to a super fun trip. We went in early August on the Star Princess with 2 young children (age 2 1/2 and 7) as well as my 64 year old mom. Because of my young children, we did all the ports on our own or with a private guide (in St. Pete and Poland). My kids loved our trip. As a couple of the above post mentioned, slipping in fun things was key to our enjoyment for the entire family.
In Copenhagen, the canal tour with ice cream at that cone waffle shop on Nyhavn, our train trip to Hillerod (the Frederickberg castle has a fun room in the basement with a couple of period dresses that they will let a little girl wear and parents can take pictures as well as a long picnic bench with coloring pages for the young ones), and tivoli (your kids will like those wild coaster rides).
In St. Pete, Peterhof was a big hit with the fountains, and we rode the hydrofoil back. Kids liked the hydrofoil with the fast ride, big chairs, and sucking on a russian lollipop. I think the hydrofoil ride was sort of overrated because the boat was old, chairs not in the best condition, the smell of the diesel gas, and the restroom was so atrocious on the hydrofoil. Eating new foods in St. Pete was fun when we let the kids decide what kind of Stolle stuffed pie that they wanted. The imperial bath palace was really interesting at Peterhof. Shopping was very fun here as well.
In Tallinn, they had an interesting torture museum in the town square area. Very quaint city that your family can take it easy.
In Stockholm, we spent a couple of hours at the Vasa museum. It is pretty cool with the interesting artifacts on various floors. We hid out for about 15 minutes on the top floor on the outlook (great view looking down a little at the front of the ship and seeing the entire museum down below). The bottom floor had a few computers that you can play with relating to the sailing of a ship. We spent about 1 1/2 hours in the Nordica Museum near Vasa. They had displays of old dollhouse, lots of Danish China, antique toy area, and other interesting exhibits.
In Helsinki and Oslo, we just rode around the city on those Hop On-Hop Off bus and got off at places that interest us. Low key cities that we just took our time seeing a couple of things, went shopping, and ate at local restaurants.
The key to a fun cruise is booking with a large ship, whether RCI, Princess, or HAL. The kids programs are better and your children has a chance to hang with someone that will click with them. On our cruise, there were over 200 children on the ship (didn't feel or see that many) according to childrens' program coordinator. Plenty of older passengers so that your in-laws will have in common with. Actually we saw at least 5 or 6 families that include a grandparent with them during our cruise.
Have a good time planning.