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Need Advice re: cruising with 4 year old

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Hi there!


We were supposed to be on Radiance this October, so bummed it didn’t work out. We took the FCC & OBC option and am looking for our next cruise. But this time we are going to take our daughter.


We are looking at either of these cruises and need advice on which one would be more kid friendly. She will be 4 at the time. We want to make it a great family vacation and try to do as much as possible together and not just leave her in the kids club. The two cruises we are looking at are:

Mardi Gras- April 23,2022 to San Juan/Amber Cove/Grand Turk or

Mardi Gras- April 30,2022 to Cozumel/Mahogany Bay/Costa Maya


I feel We can’t go wrong with either, just wanted to get others experience. 



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My son was just 5 on our first cruise, we did an Eastern route. He wasn't keen on San Juan, no beach time and while the fort was neat to walk around, it was HOT and a lot of walking. I think he would have preferred a Western, there are a lot of kid friendly excursions to do, Though with that Eastern you could do it with the port area at Amber Cove, free beach in front of Grand Turk and walk to the Fort. So no transfers required (if you are worried about that). 

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We have cruised with children and now grandchildren.  Eastern/Western are both good - though I prefer the beaches on the eastern.  With a child that young excursions can be limited.  A beach day is always perfect - make sure you bring some water wings for her.  The kids club  is only for specific hours so you will have plenty of time to play with your daughter.  We had one grandchild that hated the kids club - she ended up with us all week and we still had a great time.  A lot of wonderful memories!

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We have a 1, a 2, and a 4 year old (2, 3, and 5 at next cruise and have cruised every year). We love Playa Mia in Cozumel for the little ones, particularly Buccaneer's Bay.




It's not a Carnival excursion as far as I know (but I believe it was in the past), but it was a major factor in the itinerary we chose for our February cruise (Covid willing).

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I think beach days are a great choice for young children.  Having said that, I just asked my two daughters, 18 and 20 years old now, what they liked best about our cruise when they were 4 and 6.  "What cruise?" they asked.  I reminded them of where we went and the other family that travelled with us.  No recollection.  If your child is having fun, doing whatever, great.  If not, well they may not remember it anyway.  Good luck!

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I agree that the forts in San Juan may not be very interesting for a pre-schooler. It's amazingly BOILING in San Juan and even taking a taxi to the forts, it's still a ton of walking and no relief from the heat. Grand Turk has amazing beaches, but I don't think I've ever been to Amber Cove. I don't recall.

Edited by fyree39
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I'd go with the western itinerary.  We cruised a lot with our children when they were young and it seemed to us that there were a lot more child friendly shore excursions on that itinerary.

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Posted (edited)

We have decided! Thank you all for your advice. 

We are going to.....


MEXICO! Whooo!


The countdown begins.... 630 days 😂. We choose the Western itinerary based on your guys feedback as well as when looking at the ports on YouTube, it seemed the Western had more choices than just beach days. Sloths in Mahogany Bay!


thank you again! 

Edited by k_immi_e
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If you are going to Costa Maya I highly recommend checking out Maya Chan! Our kids are still talking about it more than a year after our visit. The food is FANTASTIC, the beach is wonderful, and they have all kinds of beach toys (and folks that will help the kids with them while mom and dad relax!). They also had a "create-your-own" smoothie competition that was a huge hit. 


And agreed, the sloths in Honduras are so fun! We absolutely loved that excursion!

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