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First time cruise with family


Sikey
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Hi

We are a family of five who are looking to go on our first ever cruise next year. Looking at May, June or July. Really want to find the right cruise as it will be our first big holiday in years. 

Can anyone advise what  cruise or ship would be suited to keeps our kids aged 9, 12 and 13 occupied and happy. What ships have best facilities like  water slides, pools cinema's and things like that. We would preferably like to sail from UK but flying to port isn't out of the question either. Would like to do 10 or 12 days maybe. Any advice would be great please.

Thanks

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You don't say what country you live in, but I'm going to assume UK. I'd suggest, since this is your first cruise, that you find a local travel agent with experience with cruises. They are best able to guide you through the selection process of cruise line, ship, and itinerary that best meets your preferences and budget. But all else being equal, if you want all the bells and whistles for your kids, look at the Oasis class Royal Caribbean ships.

 

But also realize that most European cruises have very port intensive itineraries, so you won't be spending that many day time hours actually on the ship (unless you don't go ashore).

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It would help to know what kind of travel you have already done as a family, and where.  But if you are from the UK, your home cruise line would P&O-UK.  They cater to families on Britannia, Ventura, Iona, Arvia.  (Arcadia and Aurora are adults only).  I would avoid Princess, Celebrity as their ships would not have the attractions your kids want.  Also Oceania, Regent, Silversea and the other premium and luxury lines.  I see Disney will have a ship in play by June, but I think your kids may be over Disney by now, and their prices will give you a stroke.  Also have a look at NCL, particularly their larger, newer ships, and MSC.  Cunard is too traditional and will not have what your kids want.  
I suggest you go to cruisetimetables.com and choose ‘cruise from’ and select desirable ports.  I only checked Southampton, but if you are willing to fly you might consider Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome).  You can also look at Athens, but not in July as the eastern Med. Can be beastlynhot in July.    EM

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6 hours ago, Sikey said:

Hi

We are a family of five who are looking to go on our first ever cruise next year. Looking at May, June or July. Really want to find the right cruise as it will be our first big holiday in years. 

Can anyone advise what  cruise or ship would be suited to keeps our kids aged 9, 12 and 13 occupied and happy. What ships have best facilities like  water slides, pools cinema's and things like that. We would preferably like to sail from UK but flying to port isn't out of the question either. Would like to do 10 or 12 days maybe. Any advice would be great please.

Thanks

 

Hello @Sikey and welcome to the Cruise Critic message board!

 

I see on one of the Host/Administrator Only software features, your IP address IS in UK. You might enjoy our UK Cruisers and The Pub forums. Here are other links to our forums mentioned above in no particular order: Royal Caribbean InternationalP&O Cruises ( UK )Norwegian Cruise LineMSC Cruises and if the kids are still into it, Disney Cruise Line

 

Thank you for your new topic on the Ask a Cruise Question forum! However, it is the forum for general questions regarding cruising. Your inquiry concerns a specific type of cruise and is off topic there.

 

To help you out I have moved your new topic to the Family Cruises forum where it will be on topic. The majority of your fellow Cruise Critic members that have sailed family cruises frequent this forum and provide feedback here. If sailing with kids, it is our forum for the best family cruising advice. Browse through the thread titles on this forum looking for threads of interest. You will probably find your fellow Cruise Critic members have already posted questions and received answers that may be of interest to you.

 

The Cruise Critic website and message boards are great resources for new as well as experienced cruisers and we are so glad you found us! Please feel free to browse the Cruise Critic Community categories list for the various forums. Please read a few threads in the different forums to get a feel for what each forum is about. Make sure you read any pinned threads (aka Stickies) on the top of the first page of threads in most forums. You will find very important instructions or information there.

 

Please remember the following portion from the Guidelines we all agreed to follow when registering for our free Cruise Critic memberships:

Browse Before You Post
Browse a topic first to see if your question has already been asked or answered by someone else. Also, many of the major cruise lines forums have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) topic that has been created by our members. Give that a try first. Browsing is your #1 best resource! Please post your messages in an appropriate topic so that you'll receive the best possible response. It is very time consuming to move misplaced messages that are in the wrong topics.

 

Anytime you need to start a new thread/topic on a forum, first make sure you are in the correct forum for your topic. Word your new thread title in a way to help the members know exactly the information you seek. This greatly helps the members browsing through the thread titles and if they know the information, they will reply to you.

 

Also, it is best to limit each inquiry to only one topic such as one cruise line, one ship, one port of call, etc. and of course, on the correct forum. You will get more replies that way. Be sure to mention your cruise line, ship, port or sail date in your message if that sort of information will help your fellow Cruise Critic members help you.

 

Anytime you are reading a thread and want to address a particular post already in the thread, be sure to use the Quote feature on that post as I did yours. That way all will be aware of what your post concerns. You then type your reply UNDER the light blue quote box. When you are done with your post, click the blue Submit Reply button.

 

Once you book your cruise, be sure to locate and post on the specific Roll Call thread for your line, ship and sail date. For information about our Roll Calls, please read What is a Roll Call? Everything you Need to Know and How To: Create A New Roll Call. For more information about our famous Roll Calls, please read the Roll Calls and Our Policy Regarding Facebook and Roll Calls sections in the Guidelines we all agreed to follow when registering for our free Cruise Critic memberships. We also have the following Cruise Critic article from last year you might enjoy8 Reasons to Join a Cruise Critic Roll Call

 

The specific Roll Call thread for your cruise line, ship and sail date is the ONLY place on the Cruise Critic message boards where you and your fellow Roll Call thread members are allowed to post personal ads about sharing private tours, excursions or transportation with each other. There is a "captive audience" there since you are all sailing together! Your fellow Roll Call thread members may have important information posted in your Roll Call thread. Especially those that have sailed your line, ship or itinerary before. Also, they may have already posted private share requests that may interest you.

 

If you ever need technical help in regard to using the Cruise Critic message board software, go to the Need Help Using the Forums? Check Here! forum. You will see a large amount of "How to..." pinned threads toward the top of the forum's first page. Also, browse through the threads in the forum looking for threads of interest. Again, you will probably find your fellow Cruise Critic members have already posted questions and received answers that may be of interest to you.

 

So sorry this is so long, but I sincerely hope this additional information will be helpful to someone new to posting on our message boards. We are glad to have you aboard Cruise Critic! 

 

Happy sails,

 

Host Kat

 

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14 hours ago, Sikey said:

Hi

We are a family of five who are looking to go on our first ever cruise next year. Looking at May, June or July. Really want to find the right cruise as it will be our first big holiday in years. 

Can anyone advise what  cruise or ship would be suited to keeps our kids aged 9, 12 and 13 occupied and happy. What ships have best facilities like  water slides, pools cinema's and things like that. We would preferably like to sail from UK but flying to port isn't out of the question either. Would like to do 10 or 12 days maybe. Any advice would be great please.

Thanks

 

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Actually, you should speak to your kids to get their input on this big trip.  Would they like to go to a beach?  Would they like to visit cities?  If they have traveled in the past, where have they gone and how have they enjoyed it?

 

In Europe, my two favorite cruises were the Baltic cruise and Norway.  there are Norway cruises that leave from Southampton, and if you think your kids would enjoy exploring places with stunning views that might be an option.  My favorite ports were Flam, Olden and Geiranger.  In Flam, there was an amazing railroad and we also visited a goat farm.  In Olden you can hike to a glacier (it's been hit hard by global warming but is quite pretty.) and take a gondola to the top of a mountain, and in Geiranger there are lots of beautiful scenic outposts.  

 

I also liked my Baltic cruise, and there's lots in Stockholm (Vasa, open air lemurs in Skansen), Copenhagen and Tallinn for kids (I loved St. Petersburg but that could be quite awhile).

 

My kids (13, 8, 5) preferred Royal Caribbean over other cruise lines, although Princess has a very good kids club (no waterslides though).  Surprisingly, we sailed an old unimpressive RC ship (Adventure of the Seas) and my kids preferred it to the megaship we sailed on NCL (Getaway).  The Getaway was in much better shape, but it was much easier to get around AOS, and the food was much better on RC, so I'd start with that.  

 

But if you think your kids would like itinerary and travel, consider Princess or even Cunard (we took a 2 and 4 year old on Cunard for Norway and that trip worked since they loved the ports).  If they want ship amenities like waterslides try newer RC ships.

 

And if you can afford it, consider private tours for just your family.  Thea ability to control your itinerary and take breaks whenever the kids get overwhelmed might be the difference between enjoying the tour and dragging miserable teens/tweens everywhere.  Whenever my kids started to get cranky, we'd stop for gelato and they would cheer up.

 

If you are sailing for itinerary, just be careful with NCL.  On our last cruise, one month prior to sailing NCL announced that they were cancelling the stop in the DR and the morning of Antigua to help the environment.  My children had wanted to visit a giant tortoise island that only has tours in the morning, so I contacted NCL to request that we be able to switch to an identical sailing a few weeks later, but they denied that request because they dropped the ports after final payment.  They continued to advertise the original itinerary, and didn't let passengers who booked after the port cancellations change their reservations either.  This has been happening to a number of NCL sailings so if you chose NCL make sure you check private tour operators refund schedules prior to booking:

 

 

For NCL, also check the recent ship reviews to see if they are diverting similar sailings to yours and where they might be going.  For the DR they'd cancelled that a lot, so I knew I needed to research Nassau and GSK as backups but we wound up with an extra sea day.  

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  • 1 month later...

We've done P&O, Fred Olsen, Royal Carribean and Princess from Southampton and my kids liked Princess the best. The RC ship had the water park but it was such a large ship it meant tons of queueing for all the activities and they were really disappointed not to make the cut for some things. You'd queue for 30 minutes for ice skating and then get told, no more ice skating today. They were tiny when we went onb Fred Olsen so don't really remember it but it is a great itinerary that went from Southampton down to the south of Spain as far as Barcelona and back so we got opportunities to go to the beach as well as a bit of sightseeing for the adults. P&O wasn't too bad but the kids clubs they found boring, whereas the kids clubs in Princess they wanted to go all the time, indeed rather than get off the ship! This was a Norwegian Fjords cruise in the summer and offered something for everyone but meant we got to relax on the ship while they were in the kids club but we also did lots of family stuff like some of the quizzes, movies under the stars, some of the concerts and shows together. On Princess and P&O I felt the ships were ok for them to free range a bit out of our sight but the RC ship was really too big and busy for that. It's a factor that puts us off the larger ships, as well as the queueing. I would do RC again, it was a good cruise, but maybe when the kids are older and it feels a bit like Disneyland where I am in constant fear of losing them if I relax for a moment.

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