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Cruising with 13, 16 and 18 yr old...Eastern or Western Caribbean?


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Hello all...I am brand new to this forum..I've been lurking for a few days but finally decided to join and post a few questions. We are planning a trip for March 7/6-14/15...mainland vs cruise, still undecided. I am leaning toward a cruise because I think we will get more fun for our money. We are bringing our 18 yr old daughter for her 1st 'Spring Break', our 16 yr old son and our 13 yr old daughter. We have been doing extensive research on the different cruiselines but we've become overwhelmed with activities, itinerary, cost etc. We are pretty sure we would like Eastern Caribbean but not opposed to Western Caribbean...would prefer going out of Florida vs Texas (prob cheaper airfare from MA). Can anyone help me decide which cruiseline and which intinerary the kids would enjoy most...and whether we should get a 2nd room vs a bigger room. I was thinking a balcony (or alteast oceanview) for me and my husband :) and an inside room across the hall for the kids. What is the most cost effective way to do this....I've been reading 1 and 2nd person vs 3 and 4th...is there a big difference in cost when you are sharing a room with more people vs getting a different room. I kind of figured it was all one set price for each person. Cost is a factor as we are now paying BIG tuition bills... Also, when my husband and I cruised many moons ago (once on Celebrity and once on Norwegien, both to Bremuda) everything was included...food, drinks, entertainment...but it seems like now there is a charge for that kind of stuff once on the ship...what is an extra charge? For instance, is using the waverunner an extra charge? Is seeing an Theater/Ice Show extra? Is getting a drink...alcoholic and non-alcoholic extra?


I know....tons of questions but cruising is fairly new to us and taking the kids is definitely new for us! I'd love any experise/experience that you can share!!


Thanks, Shirley

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  • 4 weeks later...


We did Western last year, and Jamaica was my favourite spot, as well as Cozumel. Some really fun things to do with kids, expensive but fun. If this is the first, then dolphin swimming, and the full ride, with foot push and dorsal pull is a once in a life time memory. We travelled on Princess, and that is the only cruise line I use, although I hear Carnival is more family oriented. I thought Princess had lots of family things on board, I don't think any of your kids would get bored.


As far as rooms, I went with my mom and aunt, and sister. My sister and I shared an inside cabin, and my mom and aunt had a mini suite. I would say, if money is a concern, there is nothing wrong with the inside cabin. Especially for the kids, you are only really gonna sleep in it. The other rooms are not that big, and there is no couch unless you get a mini suite, but that is a bit more expensive. If you go with an balcony cabin on caribe deck on Princess, the balconies are bigger, and easily you can seat 4 and bring a 5th chair outside. That would give you more sitting room, and there is a table, so a great place to play card games and read.


Things do cost extra on the ships like pop and alcohol. The best deal for pop, is to drop the $29.95 at the beginning of the cruise, for the unlimited pop throughout the cruise. My aunt was able to go on the entire cruise for the week, and just have the daily tips, and about $50 more dollars charged to her card. So you can do it very inexpensively if you like. Don't buy the ice cream at the ice cream bar, as they serve it for free in the buffet at 3:30 or so. Pizza, burgers, hotdogs, you don't have to pay extra for those either.


I hope you have a great time.

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Be careful, your kids may end up hooked like ours are! We have gone on 4 cruises as a family and they are asking when we are going again! They are now 19 and 21 and would rather go with us than with their friends on Spring Break. I would definately suggest 2 rooms if at all possible. We have done the same--balcony for us and inside across the hall for them and it works out great. Our kids really enjoy RCCL. There is always something to do, and you don't have to spend extra money for the activities unless you want to. Buy a soda card for the week and you are done. Alcohol does cost extra. Prices are similar to your local bar. We have never found it necessary to eat at the specilty restaurants or buy ice creams ect...plenty of free food and drinks. We do spend money on excursions. Look on the port of call threads for suggestions. You will save a ton of money by not booking through the ship--especially for a family. There are lots of choices if you are looking to leave out of Florida. Your biggest choice will be Eastern or Western. Our kids like the Western itinerary better--lots of beaches, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Pick your cruise based on your ports and what interests you and you will have a great time. Have fun planning!

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