Kid friendly tours in the Med? Who's got ideas?

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!

** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to request...do not start a new thread. Thanks!
Other Mediterranean Ports
Dubrovnik, Gibraltar, Istanbul, Kotor, Kusadasi, La Goulette (Tunis), Lisbon, Madeira (Funchal), Malta, Odessa, Sevastopol, Varna, Zadar
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 06:19 PM.
#1
South Florida
560 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Hi we are taking the kids to the Med with us. We want to see as much as possible without making the kids (and us) miserable. Since leaving them on the ship all day is not an option for us we want to plan a good time for all. Are private tours the way to go? What should we see that can be fun for all? We visit Rome, Naples,Nice Florence, Athens and Santorini.

I keep hearing about the families with 500 kids in the med on these summer cruises. Surely some are addicted to CC boards and can share some words of wisdom.

Thanks!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Next up- Oosterdam- 7/16, Escape Xmas 15, Equinox President's Cruise 7/14, Reflection- Xmas 13', Silhouette- Xmas 12', Silhoutte-7/12, Solstice-XMAS '11, Eclipse-XMAS '10, Eclipse Baltics-6/10, Eurodam-XMAS '09, Valor- Thanksgiving '08, Noordam-6/08, Constellation-12/07, Westerdam-1/07, Island Princess-6/06, Caribbean Princess-12/05, Millenium-6/05, Star Princess-1//05, Carnival Legend-12/03, Disney Magic-7/03, Navigator of the Seas-4/03, Carnival Legend-12/02, Magesty of the Seas-1/99, Zenith-6/94, Carnival Holiday-2/91
#2
Southern Calif.
2,563 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
How old are they? We have taken our sons several times now...they always grumble about the long flight, long tours and beg to stay on the ship, but in the end, they have a great time and then beg for Hawaii the next vacation!!! LOL! I must say that both are now interesting, self confidant young men (12 and 24 yrs. old) and it pays off in the long run. Let's see...the best tours...the ruins of Pompeii with the ship's tour, would be worthwhile. There could be some other "kids" from the ship on it, and their misery loves company! Wandering the ruins really is a blast and if you could get them the book (sorry I can't think of the name, but it is the story of a child who survived Pompeii and then writing about it from a nearby city) it could make it more interesting for them. Santorini has some great little souvenir shops with all kinds of goodies for kids (and we young at heart too!). The donkey ride might be fun for them. Honestly, there will be some grumbling. There was a great thread on this and we parents were in agreement that it is our job to make them go, and someday they will thank us!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#3
705 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Hi - we are planning on taking our 10 and 12 year old on a med cruise next summer. Here is what we are planning -

So far, we are planning on going to Monte Carlo (near Nice) to see the changing of the guard and the aquarium. The aquarium is suppose to be one of the best in the world - I am thinking we will spend 2 hr there at the most to leave time to see other sites.

We decided to skip Florence this time (we will be there on a Monday) and go to Pisa and Lucca. My kids are facinated by the leaning tower and Lucca is suppose to be a great Tuscan walled town. I have been told that you can rent bikes and ride on the wall...I envision a great Tuscan lunch, a ride along the awll and some wondering through the streets before we head back. An hour or two at Pisa seems like enough to see the sites.

We are heading to Pompeii and Capri in Naples. This is the only ship's tour we plan on taking. Since we are embarking in Rome, we are going to do 3 nights pre-cruise to recover from jet lag and see the sites - the Coliseum and Trevi Fountain are high on my kid's list. They can't wait to try the Gelato. I want to check out the Sistine Chapel as well as the food and wine.

The donkeys are the focus for my kids in Santorini, they also love to shop. We are beaching it in Mykonos....

We are hiring a private guide in Athens to see the Acroplois and Cape Sonunion. Since we are traveling in August, I expect it to be very hot so I want the flexibility to be seaside.

A gondola ride and the glass factory are on the list for Venice in our 2-night post-cruise.

So, we are trying to mix it up a bit - something for the kids and something for us. We are not huge museum people, a couple of hours is usually enough. My kids know there is going to be touring mixed with fun things to do and that is just part of the trip. I also told them if I hear lots of complaining then the next vacation (Hawaii) we will go without them and they can stay home visiting their grandparents! Hopefully that will give them enough incentive to not complain and enjoy their trip. In case world events take a negative turn, I have also booked a Hawaiian cruise as a back-up.
#4
Bradenton,Fl. USA
3,262 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Nanette:
This is Rick. I've been trying to locate you to let you know that Peter died this past March. I have a thread going on the Orient board.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Trying to decide if I should be a WARNING or an EXAMPLE for others!

booked #37th cruise for next May.
#5
South Florida
560 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Thanks for the good advise. I am trying to mix it up a bit as well. One of the tour companies I contacted suggested the Aquarium. Not my first choice but definately a stop my kids will appreciate. They will be 61/2 and almost 10 when we cruise next June. What private tour companies do you use Vacationhappy? I am looking into booking them now. It seems far in advance, but the names that I see on these boards seem to be the same few over and over again, so I feel the need to make sure we have a reservation.

I can't believe how much research goes along with a Med vacation!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Next up- Oosterdam- 7/16, Escape Xmas 15, Equinox President's Cruise 7/14, Reflection- Xmas 13', Silhouette- Xmas 12', Silhoutte-7/12, Solstice-XMAS '11, Eclipse-XMAS '10, Eclipse Baltics-6/10, Eurodam-XMAS '09, Valor- Thanksgiving '08, Noordam-6/08, Constellation-12/07, Westerdam-1/07, Island Princess-6/06, Caribbean Princess-12/05, Millenium-6/05, Star Princess-1//05, Carnival Legend-12/03, Disney Magic-7/03, Navigator of the Seas-4/03, Carnival Legend-12/02, Magesty of the Seas-1/99, Zenith-6/94, Carnival Holiday-2/91
#6
Bradenton,Fl. USA
3,262 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Lingber: I can't help but get the impression that you have not done a Med cruise before. This is one of our favorite places to cruise but please be forewarned that it is a very Port Intensive cruise and very tiring for both kids and adults. Be careful to schedule in some "down time" for both. You don't have to see everything all at once. You would be surprised how many trips somewhere in the world where we declared "won't see this or be here again" only to find ourselves returning another time.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Trying to decide if I should be a WARNING or an EXAMPLE for others!

booked #37th cruise for next May.
#8
Southern Calif.
2,563 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
Vacationhappy, sounds like you have a great plan! You're my kind of Mom (the "no complaints or no Hawaii" idea sounds like a winner!!!! ). What is your Hawaii plan? We're looking at the NCL Wind for next summer...we did the NCL Star when she was going and it was a great family vacation, for sure!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#9
705 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
I think if you mix it up with kid-friendly activities and adult activities (food, wine and history) then each family member will be satisfied. And everyone needs to respect each other's requests. On a couple of stops, we are not planning on doing much - maybe the beach or just stay on the ship. In Katalon, we may get off the ship for two hours to see the town but it will be a "down" day for us...sleeping and pool. Kudasi has one of the biggest water parks in Europe - we may need a break from history and ruins by the time we get there or it may be 100 degrees.

As far as Hawaii goes - we are considering the Pride of America. Even though NCL got off to a rough stop with Pride of Aloha, I have faith that they will fix the service issues by next summer. Pride of America is their new ship due out in June 2005 and it was designed with Freestyle in mind. With kids and port-intensive cruises, I really like the concept of flexible dining. I have some reservations about cabin sizes on NCL - I believe they are the smallest and I don't want to reserve two rooms...but they are the only ones offering Hawaii in the summer. We will be coming from the east coast so we will probably do three pre-cruise nights...a luau, maybe surfing lessons, hike up Diamond Head.....all fun stuff and something for everyone!
#10
705 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
For Lingber -

We are using Spiros in Athens and Tuscany Tours in Livorno. We are doing the ship's tour in Naples due to the complex logistics issues...also, we don't want to spend all day in a car on the Amalfi coast. My DH and I would love it but I have one kid who gets car sick on a regular basis so we are saving that for another time...so Pompeii and Capri are the destinations that day...the rest of the time we are touring on our own.
#11
Southern Calif.
2,563 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
How funny! We are thinking Pride of America too, but will wait one summer (most likely) to allow them to "get their act together!" Our sons had an inside on deck 10 on the Star and it was a fabulous room...but I wouldn't put more than two people in it! You might consider what we did and have the balcony room across the hall. Our kids were in our room more than their own and it was great yet we had the luxury of two bathrooms and no one in an upper berth... I enjoyed their bathroom LOL! A peaceful, dry place to get ready!

This August, we took the train to Herculaneum from Naples and it was a great experience. Were you aware that you can take that train to Pompeii Scavi, then get back on it to Sorrento, then catch the hyrdafoil to Capri...from Capri, hydrafoil directly back to the ship? This eliminates the windey roads to Sorrento (our youngest had to stop for air when we had a private guide two trips ago ). I know, just what you need...more information!!!! It'll be great no matter what you do! Oh, I wouldn't miss the ruins in Ephesus. Now that is a once in a lifetime experience and in our book, worth the whining! Just think of it this way...when I think water parks, I think diarrhea!!! especially in Turkey!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#12
705 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Wow - good point - never thought about water parks that way! OK - so, Ephesus it is! I will be tracking you down with more questions once I think of them!

Our plan is to wait until 2006 to do Hawaii but if world events turn and we end up cancelling the Med trip then we will go in 2005...either way, we will have fun!
#13
Bradenton,Fl. USA
3,262 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Nanette: you've got an email back. I was on the Pride of Aloha(?) when she was the SKY. The rooms are very, very small-much smaller than the Star. The hull was originally built for Costa then sold to NCL who had to "re-arrange" room sizes to fit the hull. I'm talking an inside cabin of 122 sq. feet!!! Now if JD is the hotel manager that's a whole different ball game.....
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Trying to decide if I should be a WARNING or an EXAMPLE for others!

booked #37th cruise for next May.
#15
Hickory, NC USA
3,314 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
The aquarium at Monte Carlo is the best one I have ever been in (and I go whenever I am near one). It is especially impressive because they have representation from all of the world's oceans. Also, go to the roof for a fabulous view of the Med and the surrounding area. There is also a decent restaurant up there but it isn't open all the time. I hope it will be when you are there.
#16
1,526 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
We have taken our kids with us all over. In June, we did the Med (followed by Egypt) on the Millie's Barc-Ven itin. They were 13 and 11 and loved that trip from museums to beaches. Yes, there were a few grumbling mornings, esp. toward the end of the trip. A port intensive itinerary is physically, mentally & emotionally exhausting! But all in all, it was a great adventure.

Everyone's suggestions are terrific. My only added thought is to leave room for some unstructured time to wander back into the local, non-touristed parts of a couple of the towns you visit so your kids can see a glimpse of what "ordinary life" is like in another part of the world. (Renting bikes for a couple of hours is another great way to achieve this--e.g., you could do the walls in Lucca and then just pedal around and see where your wheels take you!) Grocery stores, hardware stores, drug stores, music stores...they are all fascinating for their similarities and differences, and our kids always think it is great fun to go up and down the aisles checking things out, choosing local sodas and junk food--wow! we don't have that flavor back home (we've been watching for years to see if Pringle will introduce paprika chips here!), buying a replacement tube of toothpaste or other utilitarian item that is suddenly "cool" because it's Italian, finding a French cosmetic or hot Euro music CD, etc. Also, when they were little, we always made park stops and they played with local kids; now, it's a little more difficult to find a place where the "tweens/young teens" might be, but beaches, public transportation, skate parks, outdoor chess parks, swimming pools, etc. sometimes present chance meetings with other young people. It is amazing how quickly interest is piqued on both sides and how naturally they interact.

Our children remember all of the tours, sites and attractions we've done and are glad to have made the usual tourist rounds. But when I overhear them recounting their trips to others, or when we sit around and reminisce past trips, it's the non-events and ordinary things, little stories about people and tastes and unplanned moments, that they talk most enthusiastically about and that left the greatest impression on how they think about other people and cultures.

Have fun!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Up Next: The seas await
Just Off: X Reflection - E Carib - Dec 2014
Happy Memories: Royal Caribbean (12) Princess (5) Celebrity (5) Carnival (3) NCL (3) Cunard (2) HAL (1), plus unique voyages (3) on the Pacific Sunrise in the Whitsunday Islands, a Turkish blue cruise in the Mediterranean & Abercrombie & Kent’s Sun Boat IV on the Nile
#17
Los Angeles
177 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Vacationhappy, where are you staying in rome and venice? Our kids will be 10 when we go in June, and I'd like two rooms or a suite, but not pay an arm and a leg.
#18
705 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Hi -

I was able to get quads in both cities - in Rome we are staying at the Morgana Hotel in the Termini section (180E - I noticed Orbitz is running a special right now) and in Venice at Locanda Orseolo. (220E). Both include breakfast.

I would rather stay in a different part of Rome but the budget has to kick-in sometime!

Good luck!