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Traveling with 7 year old, which cruise line do you suggest?


samnewf

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Next year my in-laws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and want to take us on a cruise instead of having a big party. We will be 6 adults (ages 40 to 80) and one active 7 year old. My in-laws hate Disney (not so much the ship as the disney atmosphere), they take Royal Carribbean all the time. What would be a good ship that has great childrens programs (similiar to Disney) and will make the in-laws happy too? My only preference is that I don't have to dress formal for Dinner.

I would appreciate all suggestions.

Suzanne
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I think it depends some on where you want to go too.

NCL and Princess have the personal choice or freestyle dining which allows you to pick your dining time and place each night...and not have to dress for dinner.

We live in Hawaii and have taken NCL Star. My kids loved the program. And while perhaps not as long hour wise as Disney, they were still in it for 40 hours of the cruise which was enough for them. There were breaks for meals and while the ship was in port (but not the entire port time).

The new NCL ships are USA flagged and spend more time on each of the Hawaiian islands. There is so much for kids and grown-ups to do here too. Its a great cultural experience without leaving the USA!

I havent taken princess yet but I hear their childrens programs are terrific too.
Have fun!
Susan

NCL Star 1/04
What's Next? Alaska 2005 - Ask me about an official CC group!
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My 7 year old loved Celebrity's children program last summer on the Infinity. If you go to Alaska, while people dress for dinner on formal night, it isn't as formal as the Caribbean. There are also alternate choices for meals.

Lynn, mom to three great kids
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I vote to RCCI. See my post on our NCL experince. I talked to many other disappointed parents on our Star cruise and several said they also think RCCI or Princess are best with kids.

Legend of the Seas 8/02
NCL Star to Hawaii 04/04
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samnewf....

I have taken my children (now 8 & 11) on Celebrity & Princess... The childrens program on Celebrity far exceeded the program on Princess.

The counselors on Celebrity were [B]very[/B] skilled [B]and[/B] professional. It is clearly not a program where they just hire adults to babysit your children.

There are always options on Celebrity where you would not have to dress up for dinner.... but, may I encourage you in this area. It is such an awesome experience...and it would be unfortunate for you to miss the opportunity!

Please do not think that folks are dressing for formal nights...because this is how everyone dresses at home! Oh no, my friend! I am sure others will concur.... most of us do not wear tuxes/gowns except for our cruising vacations.

It is really fun...and a great memory.

BTW, do not let the word "gown" intimidate you. You can wear formal pants!...and a blouse. Lots of women do.

Anyway, just be encouraged! [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

Boo's Mom

Even the winds and the waves obey him!
Matthew 8:27

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
My husband and I are taking 2 granddaughters who will be 7 and 9 on Carnival's Triumph next March. I did a lot of research on childrens' programs and would only consider Carnival, RCCL and Princess, even though my preferred cruise line would be either RCCL or Celebrity.

Do your homework first because they're all a bit different. Some offer in-cabin babysitting, some don't. Some have continuous childrens' programs, some don't. It all depends on your needs.

Beth
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I would go for the RCCL Voyager class since the in-laws like RCCL already. My 6yo went on Disney and had a good time, but he liked RCCL's program better. My only disappointment was that they did not have a kids pool on the Mariner. Voyager, Adventure, and Explorer do, and Navigator and Mariner do not.
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My wife and I just finished a cruise to Alaska for our 10th anniversary on the Infinity. The children's staff was extremely professional and had planned activities in the morning, afternoon and evening. By the second day my daughter wanted to spend more time in the Fun Factory then with us. That allowed us time to enjoy the things we wanted to do, including a special dinner on our Anniversary night at the SS United States, as well as shows and romance. They have a supervised dinner for the kids every night if you want. This was the best vacation we could have imagined and we highly recommend it for parents with children. The kids really feel like they are celebrities.
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samnewf........ I would recommend looking into Celebrity. I have not been on RCI yet, so I couldn't recommend them.

However, I have also been on Carnival (without my children)...and I will never sail Carnival with my children,....the evening shows were, in my opinion, too sexual in nature for a child. ..even the hairy chest contest had some sexual content, which I would not want my children viewing. Lots's of drinking....lots of inappropriate behavior, based on the lots of drinking. (The cruise I sailed was a four night...which I understand can cater to a different population than a 7 night)..

Celebrity has a first class children's program! I believe this cruiseline will accomodate all of your family just nicely!

Princess might work for you also. However, I was not overly impressed with the children's program.
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  • 2 weeks later...
We did the NCL Dawn 6/20/04 with my in-laws and I thought it was wonderful. My in-laws are Princess & Celebrity lovers, so I was a little concerned that they might not like NCL because it's casual and freestyle, not their usual formal and structured cruises that they love.

Our group of 11 ranged in age from 36 - 75 with three kids 22 months, 5 and 10 years old. It had plenty to do for every age group. It was casual for dinner, always packed with activities and you didn't have to get off the ship to enjoy yourself.

Only the 5 year old used the kids program and really loved it. The only downside to it was the limited time it was opened for an organized activities. During port days there was port play for $5.00 an hour opened 9-5. Some say it is like babysitting but the counselors on this sailing really did do interactive activities with them and my son took every opportunity to run up there. Otherwise it's free during the sea days and 7-10 PM every evening.

The only thing I would have changed about sailing with my in-laws and the rest of my husband's family is having everyone's cabins right in a row. It was much too close for my comfort and felt like they were constantly in my space. After a few days the togetherness really started getting to me. I started hiding in the laundry room on deck 5 for privacy (the door to the guest laundry is not marked and says "crew only). It turned out it was also a hangout for other daughters-in-law - LOL. But the location on Deck 5 was great.

HTH,
Leenie
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For Alaska-I suggest Royal Caribbean-ithas an amazing kids program and an intimate atmoshere for the older passengers in your party. If you happen to be cruising to the Caribbean, I would reccomend either Royal Carribbean again, or Princess. I don't suggest Carnival if you have an influenced 7 year old. The atmosphere is a tad cheesy for a beautiful anniversery too. It is more a couples cruise.
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I would have to suggest Royal Caribbean's voyager class as well for children's programs. My kids never wanted to leave the ocean adventure program. They were 3 & 6 at the time- We went on the Navigator and they did not even want to go to the ports- they stayed on the boat while we went to the ports- My children called it "ship school" and my daughter is still talking about her "teacher" Jumbo John!! It was the best vacation ever- so we are booking for this spring break as well on the Voyager of the Sea's. There is not a better one out there in my opinion. They also have a structured "curriculum" for your children to do- and it is published in their own newsletter the night before that is left in the cabin. That way your kids can pick and choose what activities they would like to do- It is all free- the only thing you have to pay for is if you do the late night party- from 10pm-1am - it is $5 an hour per child. They basically go all day long- I think they were from 9-12, 2-5, 7-10 then the paid 10-1. I would suggest if you have small children to go to the first seating at dinner. We did so, and it worked out great. Our waiter would bring the kids dinner while we were eating salad, soup and appetizer then hold off on the main course for us while I took the kids up to kids club at 7pm- then when I would get back he would deliver our main course- it was great to eat a meal without the kids complaining. Tiff
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  • 3 weeks later...
Wow.. thank you for all the information.

It sounds like they want to do RCCI.... they get a slight discount for repeat customers.

They are hoping to do a Western cruise. I'm pushing for the Voyager Class.

Didn't know that Navigator and Mariner didn't have kids pools.... My daughter loves the pool and slide on Disney ... so these two ship may be out for me.

Any good web pages to check out for Voyager, Adventure and Explorer pictures?
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Well-
I have now booked another cruise for March 12, 2005 on the Voyager and the main reason I chose RCCL was the Adventure Ocean Program. Great deals are to be had- we got $125 off of our JS catagory room for being Crown and Anchor members- so it does pay to be a loyal customer!!

Happy Cruising- Tiffani
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  • 1 month later...
We took our 4 kids ages 8,11,15 and 19 on a Princess cruise to Western Caribbean. My kids loved the kids club and wanted to leave dinner early so they wouldn't miss anything. (Where else can you dissect a squid?) Everyone could do their own thing during the day and at dinner was all got together to compare how we spent the day. Have not cruise RCCL but glad for the posts about their children's programs.
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[color=darkorchid]Regarding Celebrity, it will depend what ship you are on. Horizon is a smaller ship, and the kids club room is basically not much bigger than two inside cabins put together. It's so small that they don't even do most of their stuff IN the room -- the door was locked more than it was open, so it wasn't available for "drop by playing" if you wanted to go there w/ your kid. (They would meet there, then go to other parts of the ship to do their activities.)[/color]
[color=#9932cc][/color]
[color=#9932cc]I also didn't feel that the counselors were all that experienced in working w/ kids.... one of them hadn't even HEARD of "The Wiggles"!!!!

So for an older child wanting to do the scavenger hunt and other stuff out and about on the ship, the program might be ok on a smaller ship (the kids I saw participating did seem to be enjoying themselves), but for a younger child who would be more interested in the "play room" part of it, a smaller ship like the Horizon will be a huge disappointment.[/color]
[color=#9932cc][/color]
[color=#9932cc]We leave in a little over a month to go on the Dawn Princess -- our son is sooooo excited after having seen pictures of their Fun Zone! We'll see if it lives up to his expectations![/color]
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