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padams421 Mar 19th, 2004 05:52 AM

Best Alaskan Cruise with 6 and 8yo?
We are thinking about an Alaskan cruise as a summer vacation. Which cruise line is best for school age children? We don't have to have an organized kids' program such as Disney but we want to feel welcome on the ship as a family. Thanks!

Beechtree Mar 19th, 2004 12:36 PM

Have fun. I think school age kids would enjoy a cruise and be accepted. I'd check out Holland America and Princess. A little backgound as to why I say wife and I (late 50's) went with another couple to Alaska on Holland America. We went on a 7 day inside passage cruise that was over the July 4th holiday. We were afraid we would be the youngest on the ship which was not the case as there were 150 kids and Club HAL was very active. I don't know if this is typical or not but we really enjoyed the diversity of the people onboard and I think most others did also.

HAL has a large pool and hot tubs on their uppermost deck and they can be enclosed with a glass roof. Therefore weather and temperature is not a problem and the kids (as well a me on occasion) enjoyed smimming and relaxing there. (If the pool areas isn't enclosed it would be too cold to swim.)
I think both cruise lines have informal dining options.

If you haven't been to Alaska, a cruise isn't a bad way to do it. HAL and I understand Princess have excellent programs with naturalists onboard. I'd make sure any cruise I went on included Glacier Bay which is spectacular. (The national park service restricts the # of ships that can visit so not all cruises include it.)

BudgetQueen Mar 19th, 2004 10:02 PM

Determine what the ADULTS wish to do in Alaska. Touring is expensive times 4 and you get only half a trip without it. :) I have nephews the same age- and am a frequent Alaska traveler- but there probably would be little of interest in Alaska for them- scenery is not usually a highpoint. :) I like and always go on my high cost tours- flights, whale watching etc. Sure plenty else to do on the cheap and certainly worthwhile. But that is the reason I posted the first question. I would suggest a round trip Vancouver cruise- usually more inside passage sailing. One ways- have long flights in/out Anchorage or Fairbanks. I don't do one ways unless I have several more days to interior tour- take advantage of being all the way there.:) As for lines- all have kids programs- kids will have a great time. Look instead at Price, time in ports, ports, glacier, route.

HappyLC Mar 21st, 2004 10:23 AM

I agree with BudgetQueen. We have been on a dozen cruises with our children at every age from 1 1/2 thru being too old, in kid's programs that ranged from hundreds of children to five. They have loved them all. I think it is best to pick a cruise that is right for you.

I will say that some cruise lines have much more limited hours in their programs, and that could be a consideration. If you wanted to do a helicopter ride without the kids, for example, some lines don't have any options for child care while in port. Holland America's program also ends earlier in the evening, and this can interfere with the show schedule. I think these issues are more important to check out. Happy kids will have fun no matter what in my opinion. Good luck!

Budget Queen - nice to see you helping people over here also. I'm Travalot over on with a cruise planned to Alaska on the Ryndam at the end of May.

maryann Mar 21st, 2004 02:30 PM

I would not be comfortable being on a helicopter (or on a land tour)while my kids are on the ship at a 'daycare' program.

If you or the kids get into a problem-how are you able to be there.?

Stay with your kids-or-wait until they are older -or-bring them with you -or-do all the swimming things in the Caribbean-with them.

Take it from me-they will be gone soon enough and you can do all those things later.

Have fun-

HappyLC Mar 21st, 2004 06:16 PM

In defense of padams421 - she never suggested she was going on a helicopter tour, or even leaving her children for one minute -

Personally, have you never gone out for an evening leaving your children with a babysitter? It is probably a lot safer with a cruise staff. I'm sure in a probability sense, it is safer than on a helicopter!

maryann Mar 22nd, 2004 04:03 AM

I realize that the original poster said nothing about helicopters, etc. The responces were evolving into those scenarios.

Everytime I've had babysitters, we have had the attention of the sitter on our kids, a way to reach us and us calling them-and-on a few occasions have had to return.

I would not say at anytime that any other scenario is probably safer.

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