Best Eastern Caribbean cruise with 3 YO?

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!


Cruising for the first time? Our members will have you cruising like a pro in no time! Don't forget to read our 8000 reviews written by first timers just like you!
First Time Cruisers
You May Also Want to Read: Over 9,000 Published Cruise Reviews by First Time Cruisers

Best advice for first-time cruisers; learn how to pick a cabin, find the best cruise bargain, tips on what to pack.

Browse Cruise Critic's First Time Cruiser Resources (articles)
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 09:50 AM.
#1
16 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Hi all,
I have been on a few cruises (Disney, RCL, Princess and Carnival) as a single person/part of a couple, but only on Carnival with our daughter. (Our Carnival experience was pretty awful, but I would possibly consider going on the Dream if I heard rave reviews). We are looking at going on a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise this fall with our soon to be 3 year old, and I was wondering if anyone has any strong opinions about which ship would be best for our family?

We are currently looking at the Eurodam and Ruby Princess, but are willing to entertain other options. I have had a hard getting a feel for what cruising with young children is like on either ship from reading the reviews. We will be driving to our port and I would actually prefer to go out of Port Canaveral, but the Ft. Lauderdale itineraries and pricing are more appealing.

Thanks for your help!!!
#2
14,695 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Travel agency discussions aren't allowed on this board.

What are you looking for? If you child isn't at least three years old and potty trained, they can't go to Club Hal, and there's no pool for non-potty trained kids. Same with Princess, your child must be at least three for the kid's program.
#3
16 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Sorry - I didn't realize about the travel agency. I will edit my post.
Our daughter will be turning three in September and we are looking at going in Oct/Nov. She has been potty trained for over a year, so no worries there.

As far as what I am looking for - I would just like to hear people's personal opinions about travel with a young child on ships offering E. Caribbean cruises. I am not as interested in the childcare programs because we will likely have our daughter with us at all times. I am more interested to know about other family friendly activities on board, as well as the way that children are treated by staff on board, etc. Hopefully that will clarify my request.
#4
Los Angeles, CA
3,176 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I'd go with Disney. They really do cater the best to kids, and they have programs for kids of all ages (you do have to pay for Flounder's with the little kids, though). The kids' club is awesome. And the Mickey Mouse shaped pool has a shallow area for little kids. They sail from Port Canaveral.

Now, if you're wanting a better price, I think that Royal Caribbean offers the next best childcare. They have a lot of activities and programming. Most of the ships now have playgrounds in their kids' clubs for the little ones. Many ships also have kid pools (I'm thinking Radiance class and above). It's not as original and well-done as Disney, but the kids still have a great time. With RCI, you have the option of sailing from Fort Lauderdale or Port Canaveral.

I know nothing of Princess cruiselines, so I can't really tell you anything about their childcare. But honestly, if you're looking for the line that caters best to kids, Disney is the way to go, and if you want wallet-friendly, I think RCI is the way to go.
#5
3,523 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
The crew on Eurodam will treat your daughter like a princess. There were 25 children on our Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Westerdam in early March - from about a year old to early teens. I would have loved to have been able to get a pic of the executive chef down on one knee talking to a little one in a stroller in the Lido one lunch time.

Not sure what the itinerary is but ours - Grand Turk, St. Maarten, San Juan, and Half Moon Cay was nice. Good beach days on Grand Turk, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay is fabulous.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Alaska & Caribbean photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sparky46/page1/



#6
90,254 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Certainly Disney would be great but this might be something to wait on until she gets a little older so that she will remember her time with Disney.

I would recommend Princess.

Keith
#7
16 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Thanks for the input so far!

We would love to go on a Disney cruise, but it is cost prohibitive at this time. I actually went on a Disney cruise about ten years ago, and I know my daughter would LOVE it. The RCI cruises I've checked into are almost as expensive as the Disney ones for some sailings (at discount TA sites).

Right now it looks like we're leaning toward the Ruby Princess because it is cheaper and has a kiddie pool. My dad, who will be traveling with us, also has a preference for Princess. I would like to try out the Eurodam as I have heard great things about HAL, and it is the only one of the major lines I've not been on. We'll see who wins out!
#8
Lakeland, FL
445 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
I took my 2 year old granddaughter on Carnival in May, she had the time of her life. They had a family sail away party, and she danced and danced and danced. Then funship Freddie came in and I've never seen her smile so much. She is booked on Carnival again in Oct. & Dec. She keeps telling me "I need to go on the bye bye boat" I tell her a few months and she says "no few months now". So coming from a 3 year old I think she'd recommend Carnival.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
a