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Jan 10th, 2014, 09:27 AM
  #1
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Family Cruises

Any recommendations for a three generational family cruise for around New Year's with 5 grandchildren 6-12yrs,? Have you used Dizney, Royal Caribbean or any others and what itineraries? Thanks for all tips and advice.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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With the Grand children aged 6 to 12, can't beat Disney. And I am assuming you are talking about New Year 2015.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 08:43 PM
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I did a week on the Norwegian Epic last year, and it would be a good option for you. It was roundtrip from Miami to St. Thomas, St. Croix and Nassau. They had plenty of programs for the kids, including an arrangement with Nickelodeon, and the waterslides were impressive. There are plenty of spots for the adults, too. Food was good and the entertainment was amazing.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 06:33 AM
  #4
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Yes, I understand Dizney is excellent, but have heard that Royal Caribbean is good and a lot less expensive. Also am concerned about weather if only take the ones to Bahamas right after Christmas to include New Years.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 05:26 PM
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Wwather is usually good during new year, especially to the Caribbeans. Disney is always more expensive and you pay for the branding nad the characters. Food and services are generally a notch better than RCL & Carnival. I would rate NCL even another notch below.

Osasis and Allure are both large ships that the ship itself is a destination. If you can get reasonable rates on those two, it is an option.

Best option: talk to the grand kids and offer them pros and cons of each option ship, destination, facilities (not money) and see what they pick. They will surprise you.

For such an important occassion, it is going have to be more than just money. You are talking about 6 people, airfare, hotel, cruise, it will be $12,000 to $15,000 total. So if Disney cruise is $300 more expenseive per person, would $2,000 make enough of a difference when you are already spending $15,000?

After this time, when do you think you will have the 3 generation going on a trip together again? The older the grand kids get, the harder it is going to be.

I am not singing the praise of Disney. Disney does a very good job selling dreams (and memories) and they do a good job making things memorable. If you are looking at options, you may want to consider Carnival's newer ships as well.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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When I went with Norwegian, it was considerably less expensive than Disney and Royal Caribbean. When you multiply the savings per person, that could be a big factor. One negative on the Epic was that smoking is allowed in the casino, which is in the middle of the main atrium. It didn't bother me, and I'm pretty sensitive to smoke. But it definitely annoyed some people. Also, there's no outdoor promenade that circles the entire ship. Again, it didn't bother me. But a walker might be disappointed by that.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 05:38 AM
  #7
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Eschew and others, thanks for the info. Sounds like you have done several cruises, Eschew. Wish there was an easy way to compare cost between Dizney and RC. Do prices vary between agents and/or if you book directly with the cruise line? Have you booked with a travel agent or on your own? Have you ever used AAA?

Am concerned about weather in the Bahamas if we do only a 4 nite one there.

Guess 7nites would be necessary to do the Eastern or Western Caribbean.

Thanks, again.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 11:03 PM
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Travelforever, for such an occasion, I wouldn't do 4 nights, probably too short in my opinion. Other than Disney, most other cruise lines that do 4 day Caribbean cruise (and I am stereotyping here) are typically using older ships, and cater to the younger, party crowd. There are exceptions. example: re-positioning and schedule fillers.

Almost all of the cruise lines have excellent kids program that will keep the young one occupied. Disney probably do the best job. My kids loves Disney, especially my young son and his wife but I was never a big fan, at times, I thought they are so full of themselves, but then it is only me.

RCCL offer a fair amount of activities for younger people, their signature being the rock climbing wall. Carnival and Disney has the water slides.

As I had said earlier, a good option for you would be Oasis or Allure. They are a destination itself. We had the privilege of "pre-viewing" the Oasis before its inaugural cruise when it was at Fort Lauderdale being showed off to the media. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right people. The ship is impressive and seeing is believing. With that said, those 2 ships are generally more expensive than other RCCL ships and you don't typically see discounts.

I have used AAA and I liked the service offered by the local agent. I am a big supporter of support your community and although I check prices on line, I always find a way to "give" the business to a local travel agent.

The on-line prices can be cheaper because of the lower overhead without a physical business store front. It could be someone operating from the basement of their home. There are many reputable on-line travel agents.

If this is your first cruise, go to your local travel agent and ask to speak to a cruise specialist. My local AAA branch tour desk has cruise specialist and they can walk you through a lot of things. There are usually minimal price differences between agents. The cruise line don;t allow them to discount so they offer a bottle of wine, on board credit etc to make their deal better.

You can try cruise complete and check out on line prices. Although I always used them to check price, I have never booked with any of their agents. The price savings usually is only $50 to $100 per person, and sometimes none at all.

One thing about cruises is that cruise lines offer "exclusive" deals to travel agents and each travel agent has a cruise (as in voyage) that they can sell cheaper than anyone else. You have to ask your TA what are the exclusive specials that they have. We once book a cruise through an agent that the cruise line cannot offer me that same price direct which surprises me.

If you are seriously thinking NOT Disney, and for the Caribbean, I would recommend looking at Carnival, RCCL, Celebrity and Princess as well. You won't go too wrong with them.

Celebrity and Princess is a notch up over RCCL and Carnival. (RCCL owns Celebrity and Carnival owns Princess) You will also find the price a notch up as well but they may present better values.

One thing to consider with the grand kids: limit what they can do with their cruise cards. They can easily run up hundreds of dollars on soft drinks and milk shakes among other things.

Oh, one last thing. Not all same type of cabins are created equal. If you are comparing prices between different travel agents, make sure you are comparing same category of cabins and not just ocean view or balcony. As an example: within the balcony cabins, there are at least 10 to 15 or even more different categories with different prices based on different location of the ship, and make sure the departure dates are identical as well as different date has different prices.

By the way, I wouldn't cram 4 people into a cabin. Ask about adjoining cabins. the typical 3rd or 4th person charge is the same as an inside cabin price so you might as well book an insider cabin across the hall if you think 2 adjoining balcony cabin is too pricey. I guess with 6 of you, for all intend and purposes, you can have 3 in each cabin and have them adjoining.

Once you have decided what to book, post new questions and I am sure people here will answer them. If and when we have grand kids, we will introduce them to cruising as soon as they are old enough to travel.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 01:00 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Lots of good advice there, but in the end your preferences are what matter. We have always used a local agent - one that you can sit down with face to face and go over this stuff. It's tough to get a great deal - they are usually offering a few dollars off or, more likely, shipboard credit which can get lost. Also as noted watch out for the on board extras.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 01:36 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
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I was just researching good family cruises! i found this blog helpful, its the top 5 family cruise lines: http://www.cruisevoyant.com/blog/top-5-family-cruises

Personally, if kids are young, a combo trip with Disney world then Disney cruise is the best...even the adults will love it.
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Jan 20th, 2014, 01:54 PM
  #11
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Thanks everyone---looking at Oasis, Allure, Freedom of Seas, Dream,Magic and Fantasy at present.
Any thoughts on the land tours (Labadee,Cozumel,Grand Cayman, Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Marten,Falmouth, etc.)?
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