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Which ship for Western Carribean Family Cruise


akcruz

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I am looking to book a cruise next June for my family of 4 which includes DD 16 and DS 12. While I have sailed with RC in the past we have not yet been on a Voyager Class and think we would like to try. We did the Carnival Glory last year and while we enjoyed it very much there were just so many people it felt like you were standing in line most of the time. At this point, I think I am between the Mariner or the Liberty Western Carribean itineraries but am looking for feedback from those more familiar with RC. The questions I have are

What are the pros and cons of both ships. The itineraries are the same with the exception of the stop in Jamaica. One has Ocho Rios while the other has Montego Bay. Not really interested in Jamaica anyway, beautiful island but don’t care for the hassles you get there so neither is a preference to me.

Since both ships hold a lot of people, and June is prime time, will I have the same feeling of being with the masses or are these ships designed so that you don’t have that feeling? My son wants the activities such as ice skating and the rock climbing wall so this is one reason for a Voyager or Freedom class. He would love the flow rider, but not sure it is worth the extra people and cost of a new ship. Looked at Freedom, but price is much higher for the weeks we could do.

Last but not least, how big are the cabins on these ships? We did the family oceanview on the Glory which is 220 square feet and it was a little tight for the 4 of us. Should we go to 2 cabins, or is there just so much to do on these ships that you aren’t in there enough to make it matter?

Any thoughts, suggestions etc are appreciated.

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I was just on the Explorer and it was full and never felt crowded or faced lines. Actually the only time there was a line was getting back on the ship in Bermuda going through security and that was only 5 minutes or so.

 

Your kids are practically adults and would definitely book two rooms for the additional bathroom, especially with a teenager girl. We are taking our kids next August who will be 19 and 21. We have a balcony and the kids are across the hall in an inside.

 

The kids will have so much fun with Adventure Ocean and all the activities to do.

 

Sue

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An oceanview and an inside right across the hall is a good set up or connecting oceanviews if you can swing it. We sailed the carnival liberty last march, had a good time but if the kids are active they will like the RCCL ships better. The rock climbing, mini-golf ect. give them things to do when their group isn't "meeting". After trying carnival and celebrity i'm looking forward to getting back to RCCL.

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We've done the Western Caribbean itinerary on the Mariner twice. Love the ship and the crew is absolutely fantastic. Captain Johnny is great - he even "entertains" in the pub now and then - plays a pretty good guitar! Lots to do for the kids as well.

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To save a few dollars, I would probably lean to the Mariner. With teens, I would lean to Mariner because Ocho Rios offers (well actually, you just don't have to take a lengthy van ride from MoBay) some better excursions that the kids would like...Dunn's River Falls or River Tubing. Check airfare, but often, Orlando is more affordable to fly into than Miami. Liberty gives the kids the FlowRider, but otherwise Mariner is very good option. The ship has a teen area that the teens seem to congregate to, especially in the summer. With regard to rooms, the other posters are on track with getting a balcony, with an inside across the hallway...you may even consider a Promenade for the kids.

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With teens, would also go Mariner; very big teen area on back of deck 12 with lots of room, and even in July when we went did not feel crowded. If can get connecting cabins, way to go, but if worried about costs the across the hall plan is a way to save a few dollars.

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For Jamaica - I highly recommend the Zip Line tour. I did the one offered through the ship in May of this year. It was really fun and there was NO harassment. You could but a DVD of photos if you wanted, but not high pressure sales.

 

The tour picked up an dropped off at the end of the pier. I was traveling by myself that day (friends did other excursions) and felt very safe. The only time I got harassed was when I met up with my friends and we walked to Margaritaville....YIKES....although my pretty plus sized friend was proclaimed "One Hell of a Woman!" by a local.

 

We still crack up about that!

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Thanks to all who have responded. My gut was that Mariner was the way to go, but wanted to get the opinions of those who have sailed with RC on some of these ships. My son will miss the flowrider, but that seems to be the only advantage, besides being a brand new ship, to the Liberty. Think we are past the H2O zone.

 

Sunandsea, actually right now flights to Miami from the NY area are less than to Orlando for the time we are loolking at, but they are fairly close. But yes, Orlando/Port Canaveral is an easier port to sail from, does make a difference.

 

One more question, since it looks like the 2 cabins are the way to go, another reason to stick with Mariner, how are the promenades? I have looked at some other posts and some say it can get noisy. Others say it is nice to be able to watch the parades, etc from these rooms. Any opinions?

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For the little bit more that the promenade cabins cost compared to inside they are well worth it. It is very nice to have that window to watch the goings on, plus an extra little sofa for seating or storage..

We did not find the noise to be a problem only heard anything when the parades were going on, otherwise it is quiet and with the drapes pulled very dark for sleeping. Try to get deck 7 or 8 so your not right above a bar, that would be loud.

With 4 people you would be happy to have the extra bathroom and space to spread out.

We never felt crowded or saw many long lines while on a Voyager class ship, sometimes we even wondered were's all the people at?

 

We really enjoyed Ocho Rios and visited Dunns River Falls- what a fun time, we took a boat to the falls so we were able to avoid the 'craft market'- sometimes a scarry place for the kids to be caught up in..

 

Have FUN

 

Bev

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I personally have been on the Mariner this past July for the Western Caribbean itinerary. We had an AMAZING time! In my opinion, if you want to keep the price of the cruise cheaper so you have more money to spend on the ship and on excursions and etc., then go with the Mariner. As previously stated, the Liberty had FlowRider and a few other bells and whistles, but it is very close with Mariner and I'm sure the Mariner will be cheaper. Which ever you choose I'm sure you'll have a great time. Good luck in your decision.

 

Derek

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For the little bit more that the promenade cabins cost compared to inside they are well worth it. It is very nice to have that window to watch the goings on, plus an extra little sofa for seating or storage..

We did not find the noise to be a problem only heard anything when the parades were going on, otherwise it is quiet and with the drapes pulled very dark for sleeping. Try to get deck 7 or 8 so your not right above a bar, that would be loud.

With 4 people you would be happy to have the extra bathroom and space to spread out.

We never felt crowded or saw many long lines while on a Voyager class ship, sometimes we even wondered were's all the people at?

 

We really enjoyed Ocho Rios and visited Dunns River Falls- what a fun time, we took a boat to the falls so we were able to avoid the 'craft market'- sometimes a scarry place for the kids to be caught up in..

 

Have FUN

 

Bev

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We took our first RCCL cruise ever on Mariner in September. Our boys are 15 and 11. They loved it! So many activites to keep them busy. Hardly saw my 15 year old as he was out late in the teen rooms. They enjoyed it more than the Disney cruise we took a few years ago.

 

We did fine in a inside at only 160 sq feet. We had 9 suitcases and found room for them all. Cabins are designed very efficiently. I awoke earlier than the rest of the bunch every morning and I just closed the curtains in front of the beds so there was no disturbance. Bunk beds were much better than getting a larger outside with an uncomfortable sofa bed. They wouldn't of been happy sleeping to next each other either. Port Canaveral is such a easy port to get in and out of also. Much better than the congestion in Miami. You can't go wrong with the Mariner...

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For the little bit more that the promenade cabins cost compared to inside they are well worth it. It is very nice to have that window to watch the goings on, plus an extra little sofa for seating or storage..

We did not find the noise to be a problem only heard anything when the parades were going on, otherwise it is quiet and with the drapes pulled very dark for sleeping. Try to get deck 7 or 8 so your not right above a bar, that would be loud.

With 4 people you would be happy to have the extra bathroom and space to spread out.

We never felt crowded or saw many long lines while on a Voyager class ship, sometimes we even wondered were's all the people at?

 

We really enjoyed Ocho Rios and visited Dunns River Falls- what a fun time, we took a boat to the falls so we were able to avoid the 'craft market'- sometimes a scarry place for the kids to be caught up in..

 

Have FUN

 

Bev

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We've done Mariner twice and also Freedom. I, too, have 2 teen/tween DD's. IMO, I would definitely prefer 2 cabins on Mariner than 1 on Freedom (if that's what you were thinking to keep the cost comparable.) Freedom was great, don't get me wrong..... I just love cruising the new ships.. However, they are almost identical with the exception of the Flow Rider and a few other minor things. As you said, you're pretty much past the H2O zone phase :) I actually found there be less storage space in our Freedom cabin with the way they reconfigured shelving to accomodate the flat screen tv's. They certainly did not make the standard balcony cabin any larger... I think it's a tad smaller than the Voyager class, actually. Also, there would be less pax on a Voyager ship than on Freedom. Speaking from experience I think you would be best served with the added benefit of 2 bathrooms, not to mention a little privacy for DH and yourself (if you know what I mean ;) )

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We've done Mariner twice and also Freedom. I, too, have 2 teen/tween DD's. IMO, I would definitely prefer 2 cabins on Mariner than 1 on Freedom (if that's what you were thinking to keep the cost comparable.) Freedom was great, don't get me wrong..... I just love cruising the new ships.. However, they are almost identical with the exception of the Flow Rider and a few other minor things. As you said, you're pretty much past the H2O zone phase :) I actually found there be less storage space in our Freedom cabin with the way they reconfigured shelving to accomodate the flat screen tv's. They certainly did not make the standard balcony cabin any larger... I think it's a tad smaller than the Voyager class, actually. Also, there would be less pax on a Voyager ship than on Freedom. Speaking from experience I think you would be best served with the added benefit of 2 bathrooms, not to mention a little privacy for DH and yourself (if you know what I mean ;) )

 

BTW, I am not a huge fan of Jamaica, either. However, I forgot to mention in this post that DH and DD did the Canopy Tour (ziplines) in MoBay and loved it!!! :D Have a great time with whatever you decide!!

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