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Family cruise for 5 on a budget and special diet

Family cruise for 5 on a budget and special diet

Jul 24th, 2013, 09:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
Family cruise for 5 on a budget and special diet

So more than anything my husband and I would like to take our family on a cruise to Caribbean/Bahamas for a vacation. Kids are 9, 7 and 6. We have never cruised before. We live in Alberta, Canada and can fly out of Edmonton or Calgary.

We have a vegan diet (no meat, dairy or eggs...or any animal products). Thus limiting our cruise lines to choose from. I know I cant use Carnival or Royal Caribbean as they said they do not know how to accommodate this, but, Norwegian, Disney and Celebrity can, and I havnt yet checked with MSC.

Its also hard to get 5 ppl in a stateroom, maybe connecting rooms? but will that cost more?

I really need to find a deal because flights alone are almost the same cost as the cruise.

I'm wondering if MSC would be a good route as kids are free?

I can go anytime in November/December 2013.

Can anyone provide me any advice, I find the cruises are costing 4-5,000 with at least 3,000 for air that's 7-8,000 already not including everything else like gratuities, excursions etc.

Thanks so much for any help!
Aboklage is offline  
Jul 25th, 2013, 03:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,100
I think cruising any line as a vegan would be incredibly difficult. Since you are vegans you already know that eating out and explaining your special diet needs is difficult - people understand vegetarian far better than vegan. On cruises where they mass-prepare thousands of meals/day, I can not imagine how you could safely avoid things like stocks, seasonings, etc that do not contain some animal product. Even breads often have an egg wash on crust.

Putting 5 people in a stateroom, even a large one would be a real challenge, even if they allowed it.
gail is offline  
Jul 25th, 2013, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 159
Actually, I think that a cruise line should be able to accommodate any diet. Lactose free, gluten free, Kosher, etc, etc., You may not have great selections but it can be done.
Do you have a travel agent? I mean a local person that you can set down with face to face and work all this out? That would help a lot. Like for instance, I have heard that most North Americans have bad experiences on MSC.
On the over all, you will spend some money, but if you go too cheaply, you may not enjoy it.
Reme is offline  
Jul 25th, 2013, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,085
I think NCL might be a better choice for you as they have a wider selection of Asian foods, which are more likely to be vegan.

Nevertheless, I agree with the posters who caution you that because of the large number of additives, it's harder to be absolutely certain you aren't getting something you don't want. If you are that strict, then I think a cruise is not for you.

There are no regular cabins that will accommodate 5 people on any of these ships. None. And on MSC, kids only sail free if they are in the same regular cabin with their parents, so again, that's not going to happen for you.

Both Disney and Celebrity are going to be more expensive than Norwegian, so you have to keep that in mind.

A money-saving idea is to book a regular outside (non-balcony) cabin and a regular inside cabin across the hall. Any cabin that naturally accommodates 5 is going to be far more expensive than anything you can afford.
But on NCL you will experience lots of extra costs, and the main Asian restaurant is an extra-charge restaurant, and not going there is going to cut down on your dining options.

And don't take any excursions. Do everything on your own, and you'll save tremendously. Spend most of your time on the beach, and take taxis where necessary; they are almost always less expensive than an excursion for 2 adults and 3 kids.

Here's a final thought. Don't sail from Florida. Instead, sail on the new Norwegian Breakaway from NYC. The flights may be cheaper for you (or not, so you have to price these out). These cruises are a bit more expensive, but you may save the balance in flight costs. And if you plan carefully, some weeks are definitely less expensive than others, especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jul 28th, 2013, 02:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,100
I also think you will need 2 cabins - just beware that cruise line will not let you officially book 3 minors into one cabin and 2 adults into another - there needs to be an adult in each cabin. After you are onboard, no one cares who sleeps where, but you will be issued a keycard that opens your door cabin door only.

You can deal with that by going to the desk and asking for a "key only" card that will let you into the other cabin.
gail is offline  
Jul 28th, 2013, 09:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,723
Vegan diet can be problematic but is very possible on a cruise ship as there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegtables on the buffets. There are also dried nuts and fruits on teh salad bar. Choices could become somewhat limiting after seeing the same things everyday for a few day. I have seen

Speak to the Maitr'd at the dining room and see what they can do for you. You will be surprised at how accomdating they can be. The ship has their own bakery so they should be able to tell you what ingridents are in there.
Eschew is offline  
Jul 28th, 2013, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,428
My wife is Indian and we have always gotten special food for her, Indian food so I think you have a decent chance. I would forget MSC completely. Like Eschew says speak to the Maitre'd. They are likely to be as accomodating as possible.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jul 28th, 2013, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
I recently sailed with NCL. On the Norwegian Sun there are family cabins for 5. There are 2 twin beds which can be put together to form a Queen, a sofa sleeper for 2 and a single that pulls out of the wall. It would be tight on space, but it's available. I don't know if it's cheaper than 2 smaller cabins. The advantage I see is not needing an adult in each cabin. Perhaps there are some adjoining cabins, but the best we could do was book a second cabin directly across the hall. Our minors were 16, so we were ok w/that.
peacefullm is offline  

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