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Maddie84 Dec 6th, 2019 08:43 AM

New to cruising - need advice.
I am planning on taking my mom (72) and two kids (11, 12) on a Carribean cruise after school is out. We will be going in May. I was going to do a 14 day cruise in Princess but it was suggested that I look at a different ship because there aren’t many things for the kids to do (water slides, better kids club etc). One person recommended back to back cruises on carnival or royal Carribean which look to be more kid friendly regarding both food and activities. The other option would be to do a 7 night cruise either eastern or western with carnival or royal Carribean and then do a week in Orlando visiting universal and Kennedy space center. I don’t want to do Disney as we were there twice already when the kids were 5 and again when they were 9. The girls have been to Florida a lot.

My 11 year old is pretty picky regarding food. And both girls love to swim, play sports, do arts and craft and be active. They do well with two week vacation and we have been taking a two week summer vacation since they were 3 to places like Hawaii, east coast (Acadia, Philadelphia, New York), Michigan, Colorado, etc.

Any recommendations would be appreciated, we are big travelers but have never done a cruise.

mlgb Dec 6th, 2019 08:59 AM

You can look up individual ships on Cruise Critic or the cruise line websites to see what kid facilities/activities are on each ship, because it will differ between different ships on the same line. Cruise Critic also has reviews for individual ships the way Tripadvisor does.

What does 'picky' mean? Bland? Only eats certain things?

Most lines have a pretty wide range of stuff to eat.

I'm sure we all have our rankings of cruise line food quality. If you plan to make use of room service, some lines offer it free and some have started charging some passengers and during some time periods (NCL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean). Princess doesn't.

schmerl Dec 8th, 2019 05:19 AM

Royal Caribbean ships have plenty to keep your children (and you) busy. We prefer then over Princess even without taking children.

schmerl Dec 8th, 2019 05:21 AM

Fodors has a cruise forum:
Cruise Critic is a great site for information.

gbelle1 Dec 8th, 2019 09:11 AM

As others have mentioned, look at Cruise Critic and the Fodor’s Cruises section.Do you have an idea of where you want to go? May will still be comfortable in the Caribbean, but cold in Alaska.

There are lots of activities on new cruise ships that are designed to appeal to all ages.
Depending on which cruise line you choose, there are activities like: surfing, skydiving, a ropes course (including walk the plank), a water park with free-fall slides, bungee trampoline, bumper cars, an ice-skating rink, rock climbing wall, zipline, mini-golf, sports deck activities, movies on deck, live entertainment music & Broadway plays, There’s even a full sized Carousel on some.

Your kids should enjoy the kids clubs on the ships, and the cost is included in your cruise fare. They are staffed by youth counselors, so you can drop them off for activities and have some adult time on your own. The teen-tweens have lounges for hanging out, daily activities, scavenger hunts, pool parties, and games. Be aware that video games will cost extra.

After you have received your room assignments, you can register for “Meet and Mingle” or “Roll Call” and chat with other cruises that will be sailing with you prior to your cruise. By doing this, we have learned about places to visit in the ports, and connected with other travelers to do tours with local companies that others on Cruise Critic have used and recommend.

jacketwatch Dec 8th, 2019 11:57 AM

The Oasis, Quantum and Freedom class ships are very kid friendly.
NCL has some nice ships too like their Breakaway class and have some never ones too.
As for Carnival I am not sure about their newer ships but the older ones I would avoid especially those sailing in the Caribbean in the summer as it may turn into a boozer. We did that once and it got rather ugly.
Disney is great too but quite costly.
Do you know what ships are available?

Maddie84 Dec 8th, 2019 05:53 PM

Thank you so much for everyone who responded. I have it down to Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Sea and Carnival Breeze. I’m concerned about carnival as someone posted it is heavy on the booze. The girls really want to do back to back cruises to go to the western and eastern Caribbean. Im concerned that back to back might be to much for their first cruise. Has anyone ever sailed on these two ships or have recommendations on back to back.

Thank you all. You have been wonderful and very helpful.

jacketwatch Dec 9th, 2019 01:15 AM

The Harmony is an Oasis class ship so it should be great for your girls. I don't know much about the Breeze.
Two weeks? What about mom?
There are lots of food choices available and they should be able to accommodate something for your daughter too. Just ask. They try to please.
Good luck!

schmerl Dec 9th, 2019 04:44 AM

I haven't been on those particular ships, but I have been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean wins by far in my opinion.

melproffit Dec 12th, 2019 02:24 PM

two weeks is too long IMO for the kids and probably your mother for a first cruise. unless you all can enjoy shore excursions in each port area, you will get burned out being on the boat in the tiny cabins. try 7-10 days for a first time.

janisj Dec 12th, 2019 04:33 PM

IMO a seven day cruise would be best -- 10 days max. Fourteen days on ship for fist timers could definitely be too long.

schmerl Dec 13th, 2019 05:21 AM

I agree with two weeks being too long. You will be experiencing the same activities, same food,, etc. One week cruise and then an on land vacation week would offer more variety.

JessicaBr Dec 15th, 2019 04:54 PM

I also agree, for their first cruise 1 week to 10 days would be the best. Cruising is not for everybody, but there is only 1 way to find out!
For the activities. On those larger ships there will always be activities for kids. You mentioned they like to swim. Have a look if the cruise of your choice has waterslides or other water activities.

Sassafrass Jan 31st, 2020 10:22 AM

Since they like to swim, don’t count on the ship being a good place for that. The pools are often too small and too crowded for that. Therefore, make sure the itinerary has good places for swimming, either wonderful beaches or great beach clubs with nice pools. Some of the ships have private islands with lovely, big pools and beaches. Be sure to read about each one. Absolute No to two weeks, that is too much for a first cruise, especially on the same ship. Consider flying into San Juan and doing the Southern Caribbean - St Lucia, St Kitts, Barbados, etc. They are beautiful and have great sightseeing and beaches. I think a Royal Caribbean ship might work best for all of you. For that area and time of year, get a balcony.

CoW_mAn Feb 21st, 2020 02:44 PM

Carnival is great for kids and the Breeze is a great ship - I highly recommend it

Dukey1 Feb 23rd, 2020 06:08 AM

Carnival? Sorry, but we have had nothing but bad experiences with them to include organizational issues and safety concerns.

janisj Feb 23rd, 2020 05:52 PM

The OP hasn't been back in almost three months.

SpaceCreation Feb 26th, 2020 10:32 PM

I've never been on a cruise and I have some fear of it, especially after the movie Titanic. I don't know if I can sail a ship for a week.

fmpden Feb 28th, 2020 07:49 AM

We go to the Caribbean each January and book several back to back cruises just to avoid January in Denver. Cruising is cheaper than renting a condo in Florida near a beach.

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