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Affordable Cruise with 4 kids?

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My husband and I went on our first cruise in October on RCI and we LOVED IT! Now we want to take the kids. Problem is, we have 4 of them :( The cost of a cruise for 2 is way more affordable then 4! I just tried to check Carnival and it won't even let me put 6 people in? Says only 5 can be booked at a time? Any tips or tricks for me, to make it affordable?

 

Our kids are ages 9, 7, 6 and 3 ....

 

TIA!

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Some ships have what they call family cabins--we went on RCI with 7 grandkids and had a family OV room and a balcony cabin. The family OV was really nice--quite large, good storage, a curtained sleeping area for adults, a big sleeper sofa and a bunk room--which was very popular with the kids.

 

The only downside is that there was only one bathroom. It slept six--at times we had 7 in there.

 

Price was good as it was a 5 day and 3-4 passengers were greatly discounted. Sometimes there are kids sail free promotions. We took all 9 of us for under $4000, including 3 days in Florida and air from Nebraska.

 

Another option is to get connecting cabins; really nice since there are two bathrooms. Some people get a balcony and an inside across the hall, but I wouldn't with the age of your kids unless one of you is going to sleep in each cabin.

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Not sure how it is going to work out as we don't cruise until this Sunday on the Indy but we got two of the cheapest inside CONNECTING cabins. I think they were $430 each person. So we will sleep in one and the other is for the LO.

 

Probably we will keep the door ajar a little and I did bring my wireless baby cam for peace of mind.

 

Usually we always get a balcony cabin but to accommodate nap times and early sleeping we decided to go this way and It really did not cost us much more. Maybe even the same price.

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Some ships have what they call family cabins--we went on RCI with 7 grandkids and had a family OV room and a balcony cabin. The family OV was really nice--quite large, good storage, a curtained sleeping area for adults, a big sleeper sofa and a bunk room--which was very popular with the kids.

 

The only downside is that there was only one bathroom. It slept six--at times we had 7 in there.

 

Price was good as it was a 5 day and 3-4 passengers were greatly discounted. Sometimes there are kids sail free promotions. We took all 9 of us for under $4000, including 3 days in Florida and air from Nebraska.

 

Another option is to get connecting cabins; really nice since there are two bathrooms. Some people get a balcony and an inside across the hall, but I wouldn't with the age of your kids unless one of you is going to sleep in each cabin.

 

I cannot find any ship with this option, can you tell me what ship it was? RCI site will not let me enter more then FOUR guests?

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If you are looking at RCL, they have a royal family suite (also known now as two bedroom suite) that can sleep 8.

 

The typical layout is 2 bedrooms with one clearly the master with its own bathroom, and another bedroom that sleeps 4 (2 lower beds, and 2 pullmans), and a sofa bed in the living room provides the final 2 sleeping spots.

 

These usually book very quickly since there are only a few on each ship, and pricing-wise, it is comparable to a grand suite for passengers 1 &2, with the additional passengers paying the 3rd and 4th passenger rates.

 

Often times it is cheaper to book 2 separate cabins, but since this is a suite, you would get suite perks, too.

 

Good luck with your planning

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I cannot find any ship with this option, can you tell me what ship it was? RCI site will not let me enter more then FOUR guests?

 

You will have to call RCI to book a cabin with more than 4 people in it. RCI has several categories of cabins which will take 6 people. The newer ships have more than the older ships. There are two types of suites: Royal Family Suite and Presidential Family Suite and 4 types of cabins: Family Balcony, Family Oceanview (present on voyager class and radiance class), Family Interior and Family Promenade. The family cabins other than the oceanviews are only present on Oasis and Freedom class ships.

 

I've stayed in family oceanviews with my 3 children and I love them (both the cabins and the children:)).

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I cannot find any ship with this option, can you tell me what ship it was? RCI site will not let me enter more then FOUR guests?

 

You do have to call in to book these rooms, since otherwise probably two people would try to book them due to the extra room. They do 'save' them for larger partys, except possibly close to sailing. They might call them suites, though I don't think they are really suites. There are family suites on some ships, though, with a living area and one or two bedrooms.

 

We were using a TA, so we worked through her. I must say, she was fantastic, even called back with better prices and we had more OBC when we got on board than we expected.

 

This was the Navigator of the Seas and the family OV cabin we were in was in almost the prow of the ship. It had very large windows--I have a pic of a kid sitting in one--that looked out over an open deck area.

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We have done connecting cabins and we leave the two doors wide open so its just one room and we can keep an eye on the children.

 

Benefits are that you have two bathrooms; two TV.

 

One adult has to be booked in each cabin with children that you I believe.

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We love MSC, kids sail free. They offer 50% discount on the second cabin too, but you will need one adult in each cabin.

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HAL quite often has 3rd and 4th passengers free. We are sailing in two weeks and our kids were only $106. in taxes. If you had adjoining rooms and that rate, it would be fairly affordable.

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To get the lowest prices, figure out when the peak times are for families traveling, then go some other time. School schedules are the big driver of family vacations, so summer and major holidays (especially Christmas and Spring Break) are going to be the most expensive times. If you can cruise in October or May, the fares are much better.

 

Of course, if you do this, you'll have to decide if you're willing to pull your kids out of school. One way to mitigate this issue is to travel when school is closed due to a teacher work day (professional development day) that doesn't coincide with a standard holiday. You may still have to miss some school, but you might be able to reduce the number of days missed by a day or two by doing this.

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We love MSC, kids sail free. They offer 50% discount on the second cabin too, but you will need one adult in each cabin.

 

Just wondering which MSC ships you have sailed on and what are your favorite ones! TIA!

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Just wondering which MSC ships you have sailed on and what are your favorite ones! TIA!

 

Only Poesia, it's very convenient for us to drive and sail out of Ft. Lauderdale. But we didn't choose Poesia for the kids, just for the value. No slide, no rockwall. Back when we last went, the pre-teen kid program wasn't that great. We heard it has been improved. But it didn't matter, the kids loved the whole experience on the ship. We've sailed Norwegian and Carnival with them, and they liked them too. I guess they're not too picky, it's a great adventure overall just to sail to different places and explore. You can't go wrong.

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When I called RCI my two room quote was cheaper than the Family suite. I don't think I was offered a Family oceanview since our configuration is 3 adults, 2 kids.

 

I would say connecting rooms would be the way to go - unless you are able to get a family oceanview that fits 6. However, I do like the idea of 2 bathrooms! You can get connecting rooms that are both inside, or both oceanview. We tried to get the rooms that one was a Jr. Suite or Balcony and the connecting room was an oceanview but it was booked already.

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We're taking our first family cruise this October on RCCL and the most economic choice for us was connecting interior rooms. We have six kids, and while I would have preferred minimally a balcony, we just didn't have room in the budget. We looked at a few of the suite options that would fit our family, but they were no where near the same cost.

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I agree that the way to go is to get inside rooms that connect...or at very least two inside rooms and you each sleep in one with the kids split up. It's much less expensive to get connecting inside rooms than any sort of family room or suite. If you sail on RC, they have Promenade staterooms that have a large window that overlooks the Promenade where all of the shops are located. That's a nice room to get if you can't afford connecting balcony rooms because you still get a view of the "outside" world if your baby is napping, but they are less expensive than a balcony or family room. Good luck and have fun!

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I booked interconnecting cabins for 2 adults and 4 kids on the rci website as the family rooms had sold out. The trick is to start with a cabin for 2, one adult one kid, then add a cabin for 4 and check the option for a linked booking and make sure one adult is in each booking. You can then scan the deck map and make sure the rooms are interconnecting by looking for the symbol joining the rooms. The rci website lets you try out different classes of room to compare price. The 4 person room should give you a discount on passengers 3 and 4 in the second room. You can choose both your rooms and reserve that booking. You can pay at the rci website or take the reservation number to a ta who offers bonuses like onboard credit.

 

I like the interconnecting rooms better than family suite, we get two toilets and kids get their own bedroom. We chose 2-4 config over 3-3 as there seemed to be more choices.

 

I tried a ta first but they seemed clueless about the best rooms or deck plans.

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I booked interconnecting cabins for 2 adults and 4 kids on the rci website as the family rooms had sold out. The trick is to start with a cabin for 2, one adult one kid, then add a cabin for 4 and check the option for a linked booking and make sure one adult is in each booking. You can then scan the deck map and make sure the rooms are interconnecting by looking for the symbol joining the rooms. The rci website lets you try out different classes of room to compare price. The 4 person room should give you a discount on passengers 3 and 4 in the second room. You can choose both your rooms and reserve that booking. You can pay at the rci website or take the reservation number to a ta who offers bonuses like onboard credit.

 

I like the interconnecting rooms better than family suite, we get two toilets and kids get their own bedroom. We chose 2-4 config over 3-3 as there seemed to be more choices.

 

I tried a ta first but they seemed clueless about the best rooms or deck plans.

 

Thanks for this tip! Gonna check it out!:)

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We have taken our three children on two cruises on the Norwegian Star (before we had the kids, we have also gone on RCI, Celebrity, Oceania and Princess). There are suite options and connecting cabins.

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Occasionally you can find a balcony cabin next and connecting with an inside cabin. I know it sounds strange but they are at the front and the inside is actually on the outside wall of the ship.

We booked them last time, but got upgraded to 2 interconnect balconies!

 

With the kids I'd happily go for 2 inside connecting if i could find them.

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We have done Carnival Pride with four kids... Two rooms with three of us in each. The downside was that my husband and I had to sleep in separate rooms (our kids were 12, 9, 4 & almost-1). We did not get connecting rooms, as none were available when we booked, but we got adjacent rooms. Just have to be careful with slamming doors and little feet. Two rooms was much more affordable for us than any kind of suite. We are actually doing it again this summer, same ship, there is actually a room inbetween our two rooms but I think we'll be fine.

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To get the lowest prices, figure out when the peak times are for families traveling, then go some other time. School schedules are the big driver of family vacations, so summer and major holidays (especially Christmas and Spring Break) are going to be the most expensive times. If you can cruise in October or May, the fares are much better.

 

Of course, if you do this, you'll have to decide if you're willing to pull your kids out of school. One way to mitigate this issue is to travel when school is closed due to a teacher work day (professional development day) that doesn't coincide with a standard holiday. You may still have to miss some school, but you might be able to reduce the number of days missed by a day or two by doing this.

 

On a note about school time off and holidays, Thanksgiving prices are the same or slightly higher than a "normal" rate. For our 11 day we have booked, the only time that it is cheaper is for the 11 days right before Christmas and even then it is only $100 cheaper for the suite we booked. We drive so we have 14 days total we will be gone. With Thanksgiving, my kids will actually be only missing 7 days of school total. Not bad for being gone 14 days!!

Edited by Jasalth

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My husband and I went on our first cruise in October on RCI and we LOVED IT! Now we want to take the kids. Problem is, we have 4 of them :( The cost of a cruise for 2 is way more affordable then 4! I just tried to check Carnival and it won't even let me put 6 people in? Says only 5 can be booked at a time? Any tips or tricks for me, to make it affordable?

 

Our kids are ages 9, 7, 6 and 3 ....

 

TIA!

 

any cabin on any line that fits more than 4 or 5 must be CALLED to reserve, you cannot book online. additionally these family suites/cabins are mondo expensive and it honestly might be way cheaper to book 2 cabins.. either connecting or directly across the hall. you could get a balcony for yourself and an inside or OV for the kids.

 

the first 2 people in any cabin will pay full price regardless of age. additionals may pay less, but not necessarily a lot less. on occasion lines Like Disney will offer special promos that give kids sail free( only pay taxes and port charges) but it may be limited to one free child per parent/Adult.

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We are cruising again with our kids (8) in January. I ran a trial booking for the same sailing and found that you could do 2214 (double) and 2218 (quad) for $3000. This is the 7 day sailing Jan 4, 2014 on the Dream Western itin. These cabins are connecting but not ajoining. You could do adjoining rooms such as 1238/1240 or 1239/1241 for around $600 more. Those are the deluxe ocean views with the extra bathroom. Each room is a triple so you could maybe put the extra kid on the mattress on the floor in kids room for times that you would like privacy :o. Remember that when you do a mock booking at Carnival, only 10 of the applicable rooms will show as available but there are others that are available as well. They only show 10. I hate this fact, but you can call and ask what's available.

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We cruise with 6 kids and get two inside connecting rooms. Last year on Carnival, it only cost us $230 per person for a 7 night western caribbean. We always travel during school tiime and take the kids out of school. My kids get straight A's generally and haven't had a hard time with the missed school. We did sail Disney during a kids sail free promo when we only had 2 kids sailing with us once. Disney is a fantastic ship, but quite a bit more pricey even with the ksf promo! With 8 people traveling, we have to be pretty aware of the budget. This year, we have porthole rooms (which we got for the same price as an inside) on Carnival. I can't wait. It's going to be great. We find cruising to be a great vacation for big families as there is something for everyone to do.

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Years ago NCL allowed kids under 2 to sail for free. We went with our oldest when he was 14 months, and then we went 3 years later when we'd had another kid (paid 3rd passenger fare for him and free for the baby). I don't know if NCL still has this but it was a great deal.

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Check around. We have 4 kids and several times we found the "kids cruise free" deals. We just booked a family balcony room for 6 on the Allure of the Seas. Full fare for Mom and Dad and the other 4 kids were something like $400/each. I like balcony rooms but with 4 autistic kids I do worry about connecting rooms and the balcony. I was really happy when I found a room that would hold us all.

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Check around. We have 4 kids and several times we found the "kids cruise free" deals. We just booked a family balcony room for 6 on the Allure of the Seas. Full fare for Mom and Dad and the other 4 kids were something like $400/each. I like balcony rooms but with 4 autistic kids I do worry about connecting rooms and the balcony. I was really happy when I found a room that would hold us all.

That's a great deal! May I ask what month you are sailing and how far ahead you had to book?

Edited by loveysbydesign

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Please remember that you need to factor in tips for kids too. Most of the lines, including RCCL starting in March, 2013 put them on your set sail pass automatically. That adds about $84 for each child.

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