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Candace8789

Recommendation for first cruise with small children (ages 2 and 4)

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Hello,

We are planning our first cruise with our children who will be ages 2 and 4 at the time of travel.  Can anyone recommend a cruise based on the below criteria (other than as noted, we are very flexible, and budget isn't too much of an issue - we do prefer higher end, with options to upgrade to VIP service.  However, we're just not ready for a Disney cruise):

- a kids club so that we can have some adult time

- a Caribbean destination so that my husband and I can do some scuba diving (we've been to Mexico a lot, and prefer a cruise that does not include it, or just one stop)

- we live in Calgary, so leaving from a port with a direct flight (because of the kids - I see Galveston and Port Canaveral as options)

- travelling in January/February

 

I did find a couple of Carnival Cruises  (7-day Exotic Eastern Caribbean cruise departing January 4 and 7-day Exotic Western Caribbean cruise departing January 25).  I liked these options simply because they have suite available and their kids club has an age bracket of 2-5, so that my two children can be together at kids club.

 

Any thoughts on the above or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you!

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Based on your needs, either Royal Caribbean or Carnival should fit the bill. Almost any cruise out of Galveston will stop in Cozumel, which has good drift diving, but is Mexico! Grand Cayman has wonderful diving and is a frequent stop out of Galveston. 

 

My only caution about Galveston is that the the two closest airports [both in Houston] are from 45-90 minutes away from the island. Getting there can be a challenge, especially with kids who have already had to sit still on a long flight! You might consider going in a day early and getting a room at an airport hotel. Then you can just shuttle back to the airport and get the cruise line bus down to Galveston. Uber and private limo services are also available, but pricier. 

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Agree Galveston is a little hard to get to , you should use hobby airport if you do it since that is 45 mins away. I think liberty rccl ship has a mini water park for children,  I like liberty cruise it a couple of times.

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Royal Caribbean ‘s Adventure Ocean is for children 3 and over.  You could pick a RC ship with a nursery , but you would have to pay an hourly rate and the kids would not be together.

 

 I believe Carnival is the only major line with a kids’ program that begins at 2.

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I believe only Carnival kids clubs start at 2.  Royal it’s three and fully potty trained.  

 

Some royal ships have a nursery( added fee) that can be used for evenings of an adult romantic nature.  And only some ships have a splash pad.

 

carnival is probably your best/ most viable option, but make sure the the specific ship at the port you want to leave from meets your most important criteria.  

 

Keep in mind that Galveston in January can be foggy which can delay coming and going.  

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Just a general question.  If you go scuba diving who takes care of the kiddos?

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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses!  I'm leaning towards Carnival out of Orlando.

 

Mother-in-law is coming for some babysitting. :-) (though I believe you can leave the kids at Camp Ocean for excursions booked through the ship - digging into that one).

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2 hours ago, George C said:

Agree Galveston is a little hard to get to , you should use hobby airport if you do it since that is 45 mins away. I think liberty rccl ship has a mini water park for children,  I like liberty cruise it a couple of times.

 

The OP lives in Calgary, Canada and Southwest does not fly there, so Hobby is out. The only other airlines into Hobby are Delta through Atlanta and American through Dallas. There are nonstops to IAH from Calgary.  Looks like the OP has ruled out Galveston anyway.

Edited by Texas Tillie

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