View Full Version : Cruises with kids?
10-04-2010, 12:35 PM
We're looking to plan a spring break vacation. I'd like to go back to Captiva, FL where we only had 3 days last night (not enough!). But my mom suggested looking into a cruise.
Has anyone cruised with kids? How was it? Our kids would be 6 and 9 at the time of the cruise. Do they have to do the kids club activities? If not, can we just do things as a family.
We've obviously never cruised before, so I don't even know what else to ask! Any input and thoughts are helpful!
10-04-2010, 12:48 PM
I've cruised several times, but never with the kids. Some ships are more adult appropriate than others, but I would consider the Disney cruises with your kids ages. Those are definitely geered towards kids and families.
10-04-2010, 12:50 PM
I have a coworker who LOVES the Disney cruises. Says there's plenty there for the adults as well.
10-04-2010, 01:53 PM
I've seen kids on cruises and we'll definitely take our son eventually. They always look like they are having fun.
I would check out Disney, I have never heard one bad thing about that line.
10-04-2010, 02:12 PM
I have only done 2 cruises, the first was a family trip on Royal Caribbean out of San Juan, and the second was my husband and I only on the Paul Gauguin out of Papeete, Tahiti.
As a fairly new cruiser I used the website "Cruise Critic" for so much information. Here is a link to their message boards:
Cruise Critic Forum (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/index.php)
I got everything I needed, cruise tips, detailed info on each cruise line, and an amazing amount of information about excursions. I planned both trips there almost exclusively.
As for kids, they are perfectly appropriate on any of the mass market lines. Most have kids clubs that I've heard are wonderful. My kids were really not interested, and spent most of their time with us, so I can't comment. Food was good, transportation awesome - we had 5 stops in a 7 day cruise - and entertainment was fun.
Here is a link to a review that I wrote on Cruise Critic:
Adventure of the Seas - Southern Caribbean (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1031817&highlight=http://)
My kids were 12 and 9 and had a lot of fun. My daughter particularly remembers the self serve frozen yogurt machine!!
Can't wait to hear what you decide!
As for cruising, I don't know that I love the mass market ships... however, they provide transportation, meals and a comfortable room for far less than I could do on a land vacation with transfers. I was thrilled to wake up in the morning in one location, experience the island and then go back to my floating hotel for food and sleep only to wake up in another gorgeous location the next day! Works for me!!:)
Just FYI, here is a link to our trip to Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin... this one is not for the kids though, but I could gush about this trip!!!
Check out the Cruise Critic boards... there is SO much info there, an answer to every question.
10-04-2010, 02:51 PM
My DS is 7 and has been on 2 cruises (and is going on his 3rd this Sunday, and his 4th next June!). He has sailed on Royal Caribbean (Mariner of the Seas) and Carnival (Splendor) and he just loves it.
We've thoroughly road (sea?) tested the kids programs of both cruise lines and I can recommend them both w/o reservation. They have extensive facilities on board the ships, they separate the kids by age (usually kids within a couple years of each other are together), and have such fun activities planned that I wish I could stay and spend the day w/ them. A lot of people frown on putting the kids in the kids' clubs on board b/c they say "why take a vacation w/ your kids if you're going to leave them at camp?" But I see it as the best of both worlds -- you can spend tons of family time together at meals, on shore excursions, etc., and then the sea days are perfect for the kids to play w/ other kids and give parents much-needed alone time.
I've heard *wonderful* things about Disney and would love to take DS on a Disney cruise; just be forewarned that Disney can easily be twice as expensive as the other cruise lines. Since my son hasn't been on Disney, he doesn't complain about what he's missing / we have no basis for comparison. RCI and Carnival do a fabulous job keeping the kids busy and entertained and I personally can't justify spending the extra $ on a Disney cruise. But to each his own.
I also highly recommend cruise critic's message boards. I'm on there all the time. No matter how obscure the question, someone will post about it and there will be tons of responses. You can get so much valuable information on ships, ports, shore excursions, meals, kids clubs, even on a specific cabin choice.
Good luck w/ your search and let us know what you decide!
10-04-2010, 03:27 PM
We've been on a Royal Caribbean cruise with our children and had a wonderful experience.
In the opinion of our travel agent/cruise expert friend, you pay a premium for the trademarked characters on a Disney cruise. It's just not worth it to me--at least not when the other major lines are doing just as good a job with their children's programming, but without the premium fee.
10-04-2010, 07:29 PM
Thanks to everyone for the responses so far. I have so much to think about.
We would likely NOT do a Disney cruise. We were at Disney using up out Disney Dollars from Chase last spring break, and I honestly don't think my kids are ready for that again this year. But I'm certain that Disney puts on a wonderful experience on the water. Just not for us this time.
I will check out the cruise forum. If you think of more things, chime in!
10-04-2010, 09:49 PM
Just wanted to reiterate what others have said. My son (age 9) will be taking his third cruise next month. We did Disney when he was 18 months, and NCL to Alaska when he was almost 6 (our daughter was 2.5 on that trip).
Our kids have a had a great time cruising and really enjoy it. We actually had to take away the kids club as punishment for my son on the last trip, if that's any indication of how much fun he was having with the other kids.:rolleyes:
Also, I agree that you can find so much good information on Cruise Critic. I can spend hours digging around there looking at excursions, ship's activities, etc.
I did want to mention that mb (Marisa) who used to post on these boards a lot is a cruise expert and recently started her own travel agency. She is a mom of 4 and a wealth of knowledge about cruising with and without kids. She planned our Disney trip with another couple and we couldn't have been happier. Her website is www.sunshinetrav.com.
10-05-2010, 06:32 AM
There was an article in Family Fun last year about all the cruise lines and which was best for kids. They had lots of options:
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