canoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2919 posts, RR: 13 Posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2194 times:
I know there are a lot of cruisers here on a-net. I'm looking for some suggestions for a kid friendly, 7-day, Caribbean cruise that doesn't have a stop in Mexico. Our family is getting together in the fall-2013 for a family reunion so there will be a number of kids involved. We're looking for value and having a good time. But, as I said, none of us want to spend any time in Mexico. Outside of that, I'd love some suggestions on a cruise line we should look at or the most economical way to book our travel. I've never been on a cruise before. Thanks in advance!
DocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 23763 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2175 times:
I wouldn't write of any cruise that has a stop in Mexico. If it has only one stop, you don't have to get off the ship, and if the interary is otherwise favorable, definitely keep it in mind.
Carnival and Disney are the two brands that are most targeted at a younger crowd, many of whom have kids (Disney is more kid oriented, Carnival is more young adult-oriented, but since lots of young adults have kids, Carnival caters to those needs very well). Royal Caribbean and NCL are a bit more upscale, but also family/kid friendly, but not "all about the kids." Companies like Princess and Celebrity are targeted at a more adult crowd and, while they have kids' facilities, they aren't really focused on that market.
canoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2919 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2157 times:
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2): I wouldn't write of any cruise that has a stop in Mexico. If it has only one stop, you don't have to get off the ship, and if the interary is otherwise favorable, definitely keep it in mind.
I would Doc, but the Grandparents have taken it completely off the table so far.
We're not looking for a cruise full of Mickey and Goofy, just one that we can reasonably entertain a few under 5 year olds while the parents and/or grandparents have something to do. We have probably 20 people involved and only 3-4 will be young kids, the remainder will be under 40 plus a few grandparents.
747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4244 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2153 times:
If you do chose Carnival Cruises, or Disney Cruises, the key word is DREAM! Both the Disney Dream and Carnival Dream, are very beautiful ships(well for cruise ships at least) and if I was planning a kid base trip like yours, I would look at those ships.
Now look at the Oasis class also, there should be plenty of activities for kids on those two big giants.
PS: I personally like the Disney Dream, and I hope you vote for it.
Jetsgo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3125 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2145 times:
If you really don't want to visit Mexico, then you'll want to focus on the Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries. Cozumel is just about guaranteed on every Western itinerary, however like others said you don't have to get off the ship in Mexico. Belize was our personal favorite of all the stops we have made in the Caribbean over the years and it's almost always paired with Mexico.
As for which cruise line, there are really only two dedicated "kid-friendly" lines... Disney and Carnival. Sure Norwegian has Nickelodeon and RCCL has various options on SOME ships, but neither come close to the amount of kid activities that Disney and Carnival offer. I second the Dream recommendation, we sailed on Carnival Dream back in January and it was absolutely fantastic. Be sure to checkout cruisecritic.com, it's essentially the A.net equivalent.
Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 3): just one that we can reasonably entertain a few under 5 year olds while the parents and/or grandparents have something to do.
Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 3): We have probably 20 people involved and only 3-4 will be young kids, the remainder will be under 40 plus a few grandparents.
Everything I typed above, I did so before reading this. Pretty much any of the cruiselines will be able to meet this criteria, including Princess and Holland America. In this case would highly recommend the Carnival Dream class ships and RCCL Freedom and Oasis class ships.
garnetpalmetto From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5552 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2130 times:
I'd suggest a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. The ship has a wide variety of things to do for people of all ages and the itinerary completely avoids Mexico. Ports of call are Coco Cay (RCI's private island in the Bahamas), St. Thomas and St. Maarten (hey you can even get some time planespotting at Maho!) My wife and I cruised this itinerary last year for our first anniversary. It departs from Port Canaveral, so it's super easy to fly into MCO and then rent a car or take a shuttle from there to Port Canaveral. The Freedom class ships (which Jetsgo mentioned, although misidentified as Independence class) have quite a few things to do - good shows, iceskating, rock climbing, mini golf, a FlowRider surf/body boarding simulator,and for the kids RCI has teamed up with Dreamworks to do the Dreamworks experience - it's nowhere as "in your face" s it would be on, say, a Disney ship - they have a parade down the ship's Royal Promenade featuring characters from the various Dreamworks animated films and if you'd like you can go to a character breakfast. Beyond the parade, I don't think we saw a single Dreamworks character. The ship has four whirlpools cantilevered over the sides of the ship which provides a great view for the adults and there's a separate kid's pool and an adult's pool. I really can't recommend it highly enough. If you do decide to go this route give me a heads up and I'll let you know which tour providers we went with - we enjoyed them very much and felt they were superior to the offerings contracted through RCI.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
aa777-200 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 323 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2116 times:
Check out the Carnival Breeze Its over in europe now but it comes to the US this november and its their newest ship. It was just delivered on June 3rd. They will be running eastern carribbean cruieses from Miami
canoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2919 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 2097 times:
Thanks for all your input. I appreciate it all.
Quoting Jetsgo (Reply 6): If you really don't want to visit Mexico, then you'll want to focus on the Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries. Cozumel is just about guaranteed on every Western itinerary, however like others said you don't have to get off the ship in Mexico.
There is some interest in going to the Caymen Islands, but as you say that may require a stop in Mexico. Haiti is also something a few people have mentioned as a destination. I'll do some research tonight and see what suggestions you all have made might fit with the group.
Ken777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 9248 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2088 times:
Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 3): We're not looking for a cruise full of Mickey and Goofy, just one that we can reasonably entertain a few under 5 year olds while the parents and/or grandparents have something to do.
I think a big part of Disney's success with the parks and cruises is that they take care of parents and grandparents as well as they take care of the kids.
I'd take a real close look at the Disney ships on the internet to see the range available.
Having said that, we took a cruise on RCL and I was really impressed - but that was a Western Med cruise.
windy95 From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 2785 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2042 times:
Quoting canoecarrier (Thread starter): I'm looking for some suggestions for a kid friendly, 7-day, Caribbean cruise that doesn't have a stop in Mexico.
For a family RCL seem's to me to be the best. We will be taking our 6th RCL cruise in July on the Freedom. RCL has the best mix of ages and the ship's are always top notch. The newer ships with the Flow riders and large basketball courts allow the kids to get out and play. The kid's clubs are also excellent. My son loves the RCL ship's
The Eastern itineraries are a mix of St Thomas, St Maarten or San Juan and their Private Island's. A stop in San Juan gives the adults good shopping and the kid's get a day crawling all over the huge fortress complex surrounding Old San Juan. St Maarten has great shopping and beaches and St Thomas has the same. Or you can take a ferry to St John's with it's great beaches.
As for Mexico a stop in Cozumel is great. We have been there 5 times and enjoy it every time.
daviation From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2039 times:
Many years ago, I worked for Bermuda Star Line (eventually bought by Carnival through a third party). Anyway, I've been of literally dozens of cruises.
When my kids were very young, I thought about Disney but it was soooo expensive. We chose Carnival instead and despite their reputation as being somewhat low-class, it was a great cruise (Carribbean). We chose it again for a Canadian cruise. They handle families and kids very well, and it's a well-oiled operation from top to bottom.
Some other cruise lines I've been on:
Celebrity: very nice to Bermuda, perhaps not as kid-friendly.
Holland America: fabulous cruise to Alaska, but a real 'old-age home'
Norwegian: hated hated hated it. Their 'free style' cruising sounds great in the brochure; they are totally unequipped to handle the big crowds that want to eat at the same time. The whole thing was dreadful.
Princess: see Holland America above
darthluke12694 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1971 times:
I went on a Eastern Caribbean Cruise a couple years ago on Carnival. I was on the Carnival Liberty, and it did not stop at Mexico. It was a great cruise!
We stopped in San Juan, PR (very nice and beautiful city, I would actually like to go on vacation to the city itself sometime), Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (all it is is a beach, the island is owned by Carnival), St. Thomas, USVI (nothing but a bunch of shops), and Grand Turk (very small, mainly beach with maybe 5 shops). If you're looking for sightseeing, this is NOT the cruise to go on (with the exception of San Juan). But, if your looking for a lot of beaches, this is the cruise. This cruise might be better suited for you since you have two stops with beaches, and it might keep the kids busy, and also easy to watch them. So those were the ports of call. Also, I felt very safe at all of these ports.
Now for the ship itself, I would say it was average. They had TONS of activities, whether it would be for kids or adults. Everyday you got a newsletter delivered to your room stating all of the activities. The staff was generally friendly, I never had any un-friendly staff. I was 16 at the time I was on the cruise, so I never payed attention to what all they had for kids. The food was also generally good. You can either choose to dress up for fine dining, or go casual at the buffet (which actually serves some of the same food as the fine dining). They also have 24 hour pizza and ice cream. Outside, they have a huge tv (something like 24 feet) and at night they play movies which the kids might like.
Now did I get the value out of what I paid? To be honest, I don't know. I have never been on another cruise to see what they do. But I think in general I did get my value. I had a great time, and I am glad I chose Carnival.
One thing I do suggest would be is to get a travel agent (only if you don't live within driving distance of your departing port). The travel agent will set up the airline travel so you don't have to worry about times or if you have enough time, etc. Also, with Carnival, if you fly, Carnival will have staff at the baggage claim to pick you up via bus and drive you to the cruise terminal (and also back to the airport terminal).
asuflyer05 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2373 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1860 times:
I'm sailing on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas later this year. However I sailed on Allure of the Seas and would easily take my kids (if I had any) on an AoS cruise in a heartbeat. There's a ton for the adults and kids to do, separately and together. We love the service and food on Royal Caribbean too!
zippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5751 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 1841 times:
Cruise Critic has almost everything you ever want to know on taking a cruise. Check them out. I've taken three cruises all three or four nighters with Carnival and am hooked. I hope to do one this year. My only gripe is the cruise industry discriminates against single cruisers. If you want to go solo, you have to pony up the double occupancy cabin rate. I wish Carnival, R.C. and Norwegian would get the ball rolling and serve the individual cruiser in an equitable manner. They'd get a lot more business especially during the occasional travel lull periods.