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6chickens

Which cruise should we choose?

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I am trying to decide between two cruises and would love your opinion. We haven’t ever sailed on Carnival before. (Princess 18 years ago for honeymoon & Disney 3-4 years ago as a family). There will be four of us. My husband, myself, son who will turn 16 during the cruise and my daughter who will be 13. 

 

During our Disney cruise there was a hurricane and we had to miss the private island, which was going to be our beach day. So my kids have been IN the ocean, but have never been to a beach. We had looked at renting a place in Florida on/near the beach/ocean. Rental prices were quite high and we decided to look into a cruise instead. 

 

Our two options are: (March 2nd or 3rd)

Vista - Galveston, 3 sea days, Belize, Mahogany Bay & Cozumel

 

Breeze - Port Canaveral, 2 sea days,  Amber Cover D.R., St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. 

 

We would be be interested in ocean/beach excursions or other adventurous land excursions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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If it were me I would choose the Breeze. You got a lot more beach options with that one. And even though there is no beach at Amber Cove I'd bet your kids would love it there. 

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Breeze without a doubt.  Your family will like Grand Turk with the beach right by the ship.  Also Margaritaville  with their pool to wash off the sand and enjoy lunch.  Not really a fan of Cozumel - it's very overrated.

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If you have no personal preference, I would go on price. 

 

Grand Turk has good beach as does Cozumel, if that is something you are looking for.  St. Thomas and San Juan are just not worth it to me.  Based on this alone, I would choose Vista.  JMHO.  

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Since kids are involved, and you have expressed interest in beach days, I would definitely choose the Breeze itinerary.  Grand Turk is a free beach right off of the ship.  There's also a free, large pool there too, as well as in Amber Cove. 

 

For St Thomas, I would highly recommend taking a taxi to Coki Beach.  It's gorgeous, and there are tons of fish on the right side of the beach, not far from shore at all.  If your kids can handle snorkeling, they would love it.  There's also Coral World which is right next to the beach that your kids would love.

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Another vote for the Breeze. In St. Thomas, go to Megan’s Bay or take the excursion to St. John. These are beautiful, safe beaches. I rank Trunk Bay in St. John as one of the top five beaches I have ever visited, and I grew up in Clearwater. At Grand Turk, walk the beach and swim for free. The history of San Juan makes it a great port stop. 

 

If if you choose the othe ship, Paradise Beach in Cozumel is a fun, inexpensive option for families. 

 

Either way, have a great cruise. 

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Both ships are great for teens but I would opt for Breeze.

San Juan has tons of history in the forts (easy to walk to from the port) as well as great architecture and food.  

St Thomas has Magen's Bay which is a beautiful beach also very easy to get to with a taxi or shuttle.

Grand Turk is an easy beach day plus the big pool at Margaritaville.

I have not been to Amber Cove but the port of call section here will have lots of information.

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If you want beach time I'd book the Breeze. Grand Turk is a great beach day, Jack's Shack is usually quieter (a short walk down the beach, off the pier and head to your left) - there are a couple of dogs that are so much fun to play with there. Topher and Calypso. St. Thomas also has some great beaches, check out the Ports of Call forum - Link - lots of info on all ports. Have fun, whichever you chose.  

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I will echo nearly all of the Breeze comments.  The Breeze is a great ship and I love that itinerary.  San Juan has so much to offer but the forts are right there and inexpensive.  We have also gone to the rain forest and thoroughly enjoyed.  Grand Turk - another inexpensive day right at the end of the pier - free beach day.   Echoing others, Amber Cove has a nice pool available.  We did a zipline/horseback/lunch excursion last time and were planning on renting a cabana for next cruise there.  St Thomas - there are a lot of options depending on what your family enjoys doing.  Enjoy your cruise whichever trip you decide.  

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I love Breeze - haven't been on Vista yet.  As far as itinerary, Breeze's has no tender ports, so that's a plus.  In Grand Turk, we usually walk over to Jack's Shack - it is sandier once you get into the water.  The beach by the ship was pretty rocky last time we were there.  In St. Thomas, we've caught a cab to Magen's Bay and we've done a few snorkel trips on Castaway Girl.  A lot of people seem to like St. Thomas for shopping, but I don't get it.  I guess I'm just not a shopper.  San Juan is easy enough just to walk around, check out the forts.  There's also a free trolley if you don't want to walk.  In Amber Cove, we did the La Casa en la Playa excursion through the ship.  It was a decent lunch, drinks & the staff was great, but not sure I'd do it again.

 

Belize is a tender port, so it's a bit more inconvenient if you want to get on & off the ship multiple times.  We usually do some sort of excursion there - cave tubing, zip lining, snorkeling.  Roatan has a free beach at the port or you can book snorkel trips.  I think there are lots of other things to do there - we dove there a couple of times through Anthony's Key Resort.  Cozumel is easy enough to grab a taxi to one of the beach clubs.  Some are pay as you go for drinks & food - others are all inclusive. 

 

Also, if you have to fly to either port you choose, keep in mind that for Vista you would fly into Houston, which is 45-60 minutes away from the port of Galveston.  Since we always drive down, I don't know what the shuttle/hotel situation is for getting from the airport to hotel or port.  For Breeze, you fly into Orlando & it's 50-60 minutes to Port Canaveral.  Seems like they had a decent shuttle system from the airport to our hotel in Cocoa Beach.  We were able to walk to several areas from our hotel & Cocoa Beach also has a free shuttle to take you to the boardwalk.  So, while you would have roughly the same commute time, you may want to check on the details to see if one ends up being better or more cost effective than the other.

 

Probably the best thing to do is check out the other sections of the board - ports of call sections have been really helpful to me in the past.  Also, check out the roll calls for the cruises you are looking at.  I've found posts there that help me decide what I may want to do in port as well.

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Well let me put in one vote for Vista, the newer, more modern ship.  In Belize you can do cave tubing with add ons like zip lining, or you can explore Mayan ruins at Lamanai or Xanantunich (avoid Altun Ha, unimpressive).  Cozumel has great beach clubs like Paradise and Mr. Sanchos, and Mahogany Bay has Tabayana, Maya Key and Little French Key as beautiful Caribbean beaches with great snorkeling as well.

 

With 3 sea days, the teenagers will likely hang out with other kids all day long  There are tons of things for teens to do on both ships.

 

The Breeze has Amber Cove - which has a pool, no beach, a port that I try to avoid.  Grand Turk may be the nicest beach, but only if you walk down past the crowds and get to where the locals like Jack's Shack are situated.  St Thomas has some nice beaches but is usually very crowded, check your port load at cruisitt.com to see how many passengers are there the day you arrive. Old San Juan is interesting, but I don't know how today's teens would react to it, they may just want to find an internet cafe!

 

Both are very nice ships, and both as noted by dmdiver are a good distance from the main airports.  Pick one for now, and save the other for your next cruise.

Edited by evandbob

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I vote the Breeze too. There are only 2 port days instead of 3 so it gives the kids more options too. Enjoy!

Although I do love Cozumel!

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On 10/25/2018 at 2:08 PM, 6chickens said:

I am trying to decide between two cruises and would love your opinion. We haven’t ever sailed on Carnival before. (Princess 18 years ago for honeymoon & Disney 3-4 years ago as a family). There will be four of us. My husband, myself, son who will turn 16 during the cruise and my daughter who will be 13. 

 

During our Disney cruise there was a hurricane and we had to miss the private island, which was going to be our beach day. So my kids have been IN the ocean, but have never been to a beach. We had looked at renting a place in Florida on/near the beach/ocean. Rental prices were quite high and we decided to look into a cruise instead. 

 

Our two options are: (March 2nd or 3rd)

Vista - Galveston, 3 sea days, Belize, Mahogany Bay & Cozumel

 

Breeze - Port Canaveral, 2 sea days,  Amber Cover D.R., St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. 

 

We would be be interested in ocean/beach excursions or other adventurous land excursions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Amber Cove has unlimited zip lining for $20 plus the HUGE pool. Grand Turk has a very nice beach next to the dock. These would be my choices.

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We have loved both itineraries, but check the port boards to see what has been recovered since Irma and Maria, a year ago.  We are all about beaches and snorkeling.  

We travel more for itinerary than the vessel.  

Edited by kcdancerkc

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