Going on a Cruise
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Going on a Cruise
Caribbean Cruise for parents' 50th wedding anniversary?
Our parents' 50th wedding anniversary is coming up this fall
and we are thinking about inviting them to a 5-7 day cruise
in the Caribbean. Has your family booked a trip with Royal
Caribbean Cruises and have you been on either the 'Navigator
of the Seas' (out of Galveston, TX) or the 'Freedom of the
Seas' (out of Port Canaveral, FL)? I know our senior parents
will love it ... but will our kids (ages 8 and 11) be
entertained as well? Would you do it again or was it a
one-time experience for you? If we decide to do the cruise,
we would prefer to work with a travel agency who is
specialized in cruises and can help us putting together
package deals (air fares/cruise ship/adjoining rooms, etc).
Do you have any recommendation for a friendly agent? Never
been on a cruise
We went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise
out of Florida to the Bahamas 13 years ago when I was 12 and
my sister was 7. We both had a blast, but then again, it's
hard to find an upset kid with water, sand and free food and
drinks everywhere they look, not to mention a cool vessel to
We sailed on Navigator of the Seas last August with 2 boys
(ages 13 and 9). The kids loved, loved, loved the ship, and
definitely preferred it to the sights they saw at the ports
of call. Our cabins were very comfortable. We prefer cabins
located in the back half of the ship, because we were closer
to the things they loved to do. We could walk a short
distance to the elevator bank to ride up to most of the
activities, rather than having to walk the length of the
ship. They spent some time in the kids and teen club and a
lot of time in the pools, playing putt putt, using the
climbing wall, ice skating, etc. The food was fine cruise
ship fare. They accommodated the kids in the main dining
room and made a cheeseburger for my younger son every night,
even when it wasn't on the menu. The boys' favorite was the
neverending frozen yogurt machine on the pool deck.
We booked the cruise ourselves on the phone with Royal
Caribbean, which was pretty easy. We had shopped around
online so we knew what deals were being offered, and did not
hesitate to ask them to match what we had seen elsewhere.
RC's website has a pretty good map of the ship and cabins,
so you can see where your cabins are located and decide
where you want to be. Costco can also be a good place to
look, because they may offer additional shipboard credit,
etc. The RC representative who booked the cruise for us also
took care of our dining room table assignment.
We booked our own airfare, which may or may not work for
you. If you book through RC, they will be responsible to
make sure your flights get in on time so you don't miss the
ship, but they also may book you via a less direct route
than you would select for yourself. On a previous cruise
where we used the cruise line for flights, they booked us on
a red eye, which we would never have chosen with our kids,
who were really young at the time.
As for excursions, we did not book those through RC, but
looked online, mostly through cruisecritic.com (great
reviews of ships, ports, and excrusions) and travelocity,
for recommendations. The small companies that provide these
excursions live and die by the recommendations and have a
highly vested interested in making sure you will not give
them a negative review. For the same price as the ship
excursions, we beat the cruise ship crowds and ended up in
much smaller, or even private, groups for our tours.
As our cruise was finishing last summer, our kids told us
about a different, newer ship that they had seen profiled
when watching TV in the cabin. They said they wanted to sail
on next time, because it offered more bells and whistles.
Having said that, we were very pleased with Navigator of the
Seas. It did not feel old or tired.
Cruises sometimes seem kind of cheesy, but we have been on
several, most of which included our parents and siblings. It
works really well when you have a large group of people that
includes kids and grandparents. Everyone can do their own
thing during the day and meet up for meals. You also avoid
most negotiations about where or when to eat. Cruises also
tend to be a good value. In my mind, the ship is the
destination more than the ports of call because you don't
spend long enough at any port of call to really experience
Family Alaskan Cruise
Although not really 'cruise types', we would really like to
see some of the beauty of Alaska with our 13 year old
daughter this summer. I have a knee injury, so cannot trek
on land very easily at this time. We have looked in the
archives, but cannot find much.
Do you know of any particular cruise lines we should look at
for good service and for attention to the natural beauty of
the area? Doesn't have to be a trip with a naturalist on
board (although that would be wonderful), nor do we need
bells and whistles and Vegas-type shows.
Thank you for any suggestions you might have!
Well, last year somebody with a diverse group/family ask for
the same question... We did go to the Alaska Cruise, our 17
year old daughter said she wanted to the the glaciers before
they were gone...so we decided that was a good opportunity
to go on a family vacation with my husband, my Mom ( 70
going on to 15) my son, who turned 21 while in Alaska and my
daughter. I'm an expert traveler/ control freak, 'wanna be
travel agent' but this time, when I started my search, i
realized I could not do it on my own... way too many choices
and since we were not too happy about the cruise idea,
reluctantly we were going to take a cruise...I decided to
leave it to a real expert. Pat Frega from Travel to Go, help
us. She new about the different cruise lines, and the
rooms,the food, etc (925) 672-9840 Anyway, Holland America
seem like a small one, I think the name was Westerdam...we
went from Seattle, it is easier and cheaper than other
ports. We pay more for the cabins with balcony - I would not
do it another way-I don't think I will take many more
cruises anyway, but 2 rooms with a door in between gave us
privacy, the balconies added extra comfort and fresh air!
the teens and my Mom share the bedroom and although very
small space had a wonderful time! I have the itenerary but
not with me... We did a very expensive excursion in
helicopter to the glacier- really amazing, that day my Mom
took a bus excursion and love it! another time we rented a
private boat to see whales, expensive too but those were the
only 2 things we did, otherwise, one day you stay in the
boat that goes inside a National Park, and the other day we
just walk the town. The last port was Victoria, very pretty
The cruise itself was an amazing experience, we learn to
contemplate from the big windows. Our favorite space was the
bar/library/ den, people will just seat there have a drink,
play cards, look at internet ( it was expensive so we
decided to disconnect...) and look at the beutiful scenary.
the crowd was relax, older, definitely not a party boat! We
saw some kids like in a group doing activities but there
were not many ( we went in June) They have casino and pools
and clubs and shows but really, you don't even have to join
any of those ( we did join the spa and had a great time!)
but if my Mom wanted to see a show, she could.
The food, oh well, they try...they have everything, not in
our organic/healthy counsious perspective but it was ok.
Couple of night we pay extra for a special dinner and the
main dinning room was actually very good. I think it is
worth to go and adjust a little, understanding that the
food is ok, not wonderful but pretty decent.
Good luck, Mariedda
We went on a Holland America cruise to Alaska last summer
because we needed a vacation that would accommodate 3
generations, and it was nice. It was nice to not cook, etc.
I had expected a little more Alaska and a little less
cruise. We enjoyed it, my in-laws especially, but I have to
say though, if we had it to do as a family (of 4), I'd have
preferred taking the Alaska Marine Highway. The Alaska ferry
is what the locals take, but the seas are much calmer
because it's all inside passage and you get really close to
shore, and see a lot more wildlife. Plus you can stay
overnight in the towns and see what they're like after
masses of tourists get back on the cruise ship. It's not
fancy, but when I did that years ago it was a lot of fun.
It's not as convenient as booking a cruise is, but you see
the same stuff and make your own schedule. Sue
In this situation 3 or 4 years ago, we happily discovered
Kirsten Chute, with a small business called Cruises for
Families. She knows everything about all the lines and
ships, makes recommendations, and then did the booking at a
lower price than we found elsewhere. Even questions we
didn't know to ask -- such as the matter of a younger
teenage girl in the party. Safe? Cautions to take? Answer
was that some cruise lines are safer than others, and a few
ports are to be really careful in.
www.cruisesforfamilies.com, (630) 789-4400 (in Illinois).
Choose very carefully. When I was 13 my parents took me on
an Alaskan Cruise and it was awful for a young teenager.
Most of the other passengers were retirement age and there
was very little for a teenage girl to do. I was into the
outdoors and interested in seeing Alaska but there wasn't
much to be seen on the cruise. will not cruise again until
i'm old too
Alaskan Cruise Company for multi-generational fam
Hi. We would like to go on a cruise this summer to Alaska
with our kids (ages 9 and 2), my in laws (in their 80s but
healthy and adventurous) and brother and sister-in-law with
their 18 year old son. The archived messages are all 6+
years old so I'd love recommendations on cruise lines that
will be good for young kids, a teenager and adults. Several
of my co-workers went on Princess over the last 2 years and
all agreed that it wasn't great for kids. Disney looks fun
but is quite expensive--did people find it was worth the
cost? Disney takes toddlers in the kids club, but I've
heard that many of the other cruise lines require kids to be
3 to go to the kids club. Thanks! Cindy
Last August we took an Alaskan Cruise on Royal Carribean
(Radiance Of The Seas). We loved it and saw quite a few multi
generational families.I do not have young children but the
ones I saw seemed to be enjoying themselves. All of the staff
was amazing and I did not want the cruise to end. Ellen
Cruise line and destination for family
My in-laws would like to take their extended family on a
cruise together this summer, and are asking for suggestions.
Age range is 7 to 77. Carribean, Central America, maybe even
Galapagos...looking for advice on this. Do not want to end
up on a party boat, but don't need Disney characters either.
Educational, beautiful, fun, but also good food and no
overcrowded 'cattle call' feeling on the ship. Even
recommending a good cruise line would help.
- Never been cruisin'
My family and I go on a cruise every January. There are lots
of options, and most cruises have programs for kids. The
one we are going on in January next year is the Folk n'
Irish cruise. This one is organized by Cherish The Ladies
maven Joanie Madden, the larger than life, great- humored
leader of this all-women band. Joanie is the Grammy Award
winning whistle and flute player who has been the leader of
Cherish the Ladies since its inception.
We leave from Miami on January 29th, 2012 and the cruise
goes to Great Stirrup Cay, Cozumel, Mexico, Ocho Rios,
Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island. While floating around to
these wonderful places aboard the Norwegian Pearl, there
will be concerts, set dancing, waltzing and jiving,
workshops of all kinds, lectures, singing and traditional
music jam sessions. It is very family oriented. Bring your
dance shoes, your voice and your instrument.
The Folk cruise is part of the larger cruise ship
contingent, so if you are getting too much folk music, you
can still attend all the rest of the entertainment that the
cruise ship provides, including all the other Disneyfied or
Vega-esque shows. There is SO MUCH to do, like waterslides,
rock climbing wall, bars and lounges of all kinds, pools,
casino, hot tubs, kid's centers, teen discos, spa and
fitness centers. If you really can't get away from it all,
they have wi-fi in all the rooms.
You can't book the music cruise directly with Norwegian
Cruise lines. You need to go to the Cherish The Ladies
website and click on the link there.
Disney or Carnival Cruise to Mexico
We have three small girls and we would like to take a cruise
to Mexico with them. Have you been on Disney or Carnival
cruise lines and would you recommend them and why? The
reviews I read about Disney were not very good but then I
imagine the people who had a great time don't write reviews.
We went on a Disney cruise in the Caribbean with our two
small kids and loved it.
If you want to read reviews of Disney cruises from people
who (in most cases) liked them, go here:
Here is good info about Disney cruises:
We took the Carnival cruise to Mexico (ship- Splendor) for
spring break with our kids (6 & 2). We would not go again.
My kids both didn't like the daycare. 6 year-old
super-social girl who jumps into everything didn't want to
go back after the first day. They played a game called
'mummy' where they wrap you up in TP. They said the
youngest had to be the mummy, and when she said she didnt
want to, she was told by the adult that then she could sit
out. 2 year old seemed to have a love-hate relationship
with it. Loved the trains & toys, but hated the rest. They
don't allow parents to even walk in the play area to get
kids used to it. He cried because they were making fruit
loop necklaces and he was not allowed to eat the fruit
loops. We didn't plan on using the daycare a lot, bit a few
hours alone would have been nice! The other BIG downside
is that there is no kiddie pool. All the pools are 4 feet
deep. There is a 'splash zone' play ground with water
squirting everywhere, but it is on the top deck where it was
too cold and windy most of the days at sea. Staff was
friendly and the food/ restaurants were ok, but not stellar.
All in all, we realized we had much more fun OFF the ship,
and next time would rather just do an all-inclusive in
Mexico at the beach! The not so fun ship
Disney Cruise Travel Specialist
Can anyone recommend a wonderful travel specialist who is
skillful at booking Disney cruises? My huge family would
like to plan a family reunion on a Disney cruise with an
extended stay before or after the cruise at Disneyworld in
the summer of 2011. There would be 50-60 of us coming in
from all over the US and overseas and we'd range in age from
2-70. I'd love any recommendations and advice from those
who've had pleasant Disney cruise experiences. Thank you!
Herding Cats Onboard
YES! I can absolutely point you towards a WONDERFUL
Disney-savvy travel assistant!!!
Please contact Mary Kraemer at MaryK@CruisingCo.com
Mary planned our Nov08 Disney Cruise for us (we had never
done anything like this), and it was *fabulous*! She is
very well-versed in All Things Disney, plus, as the mom of
4, she knows how to plan for *families*.
You can also reach her by phone at (650)520-7688 or (800)
Have a GREAT vacation!!!!!
What to do at cruise ports in Mexico
We're going on a Mexican Riviera cruise in August and will be stopping
at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. I've been looking
at the shore excursions and was wondering which ones might be fun for
a 9 year old. I'd love just hanging out at the beach, but we've never
been to any of these places so would love to do something adventerous.
My son is excited about possibly swimming with dolphins. Has anyone
done that in Mexico? Any other suggestions would be greatly
fun on cruise
Hi, We went on the same cruise several years ago. my son was 5 yrs old & my
daughter was 10 yrs old. In Puerto Vallarta we went on a scenic tour of the
old country town. It was great to share with the kids the way other people
have to live in their countries without electricity, running water, roofs
over head and dirt floors in their homes. It was a two hour tour on an air
conditioned bus. Then we got in a taxi (I wouldn't recommend that, they
drive very fast) and went to eat at an authentic Mexican restaurant down
town, did some shopping with the local vendors. We found the best deals in
Puerto Vallarta on souvenirs. Things get a little more expensive and not as
much of a selection in Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. In Mazatlan we went on
the beach party shore excursion. That was a blast. The beach party was held
at a ***** resort with a swimming pool and buffet on the beach. The kids
got to run up and down the beach with the clear blue ocean water and play
in the white sand. My husband and I sat under an umbrella on the beach
watching the children play. All the while different vendors tried to sell
us home made jewelry. Now Cabo was tricky. You have to go a shore in a
tender, so you spend a lot of time waiting in line. And there isn't
anything at the tender dock. You have to either walk into town or take a
bicycle taxi about 2 miles. Its also the port you're in for the shortest
amount of time early in the morning. 7:00am -12:00pm I would recommend
doing a snorkeling shore excursion in Cabo. The water is perfectly clear
and warm. Nothing is really open in town other than the bars in the
morning. The only place we found open in Cabo was burger king until about
10:00am. There really isn't any beach access in cabo either.
Alaskan cruise family reunion
I need some recent recommendations for a 7-night Alaskan cruise
for a family reunion of 15 people, ages 3 to 78. Which ships,
which ports, which excursions??
I took a cruise to Alaska in May for my Mom's 80th birthday, with my
husband, my almost-4-yr-old daughter, my sister, my brother and his wife.
Not quite on the same scale as your reunion, but along the same lines. We
were on the Celebrity Infinity, leaving from Seattle, and thought it was
fabulous. My daughter loved the kids program (the Fun Zone), and evening
babysitting was readily available for a mere $8 an hour. She keeps talking
about going to Alaska again, and when I asked what she liked about it, she
said the Fun Zone. Some cruise lines have different age limits for their
kids programs (I think 5 and up for Holland America and 7 for Radisson,
which nixed those options as far as I was concerned). The food was great;
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed eating in the main dining room with
its assigned tables and scheduled seating, and even more surprised by how
patient my daugher was with the 5 course meals. The wait staff was great
about remembering her favorites, and!
making sure she didn't have to wait too long to get fed. My mom uses a
walker and rented a scooter for the trip; she was able to get around fine.
As far as itinereary goes, I don't know how much it really matters. When I
booked the cruise I was concerned about the days at sea, but ended up
really finding them relaxing--using the pool, the fitness center, hanging
out with family playing Sorry, etc. The amount of time spent in each port
was pretty short--particularly Kechikan at 4 hours (and you lose 1/2 hr or
so getting off and back on the boat). So if you really want to see the
sights of Alaska, you might find the cruise disappointing. But if you look
at the cruise as the primary activity and sightseeing as secondary, it
really is fabulous.
My group split up for shore excursions, since my Mom's mobility was
limited. She mostly booked shore excursions that could accommodate her
scooter. In Juneau, my husband and I didn't prearrange anything but found
shuttle transportation to the Mendenhall Glacier readily available. We
took a cab to downtown Victoria. We did book a shore excursion in
Ketchikan, a combination of the Saxman Native Village and the lumberjack
show. My daughter loved the Lumberjack show, and so did I. In retrospect,
I should have passed on the Saxman Native Village in exchange for having
more time to walk around.
Whatever you choose, have a great time.
We went on Holland America a few years back and it was great. The ports
tend to be mostly the same. Favorite excursions (though the priciest)
were the helicopter ride landing on the Mendenhall Glacier and the
Seaplane tour of the misty fjords. I am pretty cheap and wasn't happy
about spending the $ on these but afterwards felt like it was some of the
best money I'd ever spent!
We'll be taking our five month old on a Regent/Radisson Seven
Seas Cruise to Alaska in July to celebrate my mother-in-law's
sixtieth. Does anyone have any advice for what to bring and how
to manage it so that everyone stays happy & sane? Previous
posts dealt with much older kids & I'm curious to see if anyone
has experience doing this with an infant. It sounds like a
particularly formal cruise line and I'm worried that it will be
like eight days of flying business class & dealing with the
other passengers' angry looks...Do we need to bring everything
baby or will some items be sold on board (like diapers?) Thanks
in advance for your advice!
My advice is never take a baby on a cruise. I would recommend
getting a family member to watch the child. I was on a Mexico
cruise on Carnival which is great for kids however, babies are
your responsibility. The Cruise line you are on is extremely
formal and it would not be fun for you or the baby. I would
bring everything baby including diapers and also find out if
that cruise line has a baby sitting service or a place for kids
and at what age do they start. Alaska is beautiful at this time
of year. if you have questions just e-mail me. Nicole
We are planning on going on a Scandinavian cruise this June
with our 5 1/2 year-old. The ports are Stockholm, Gdansk,
Tallin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Oslo, and Copenhagen. I have
a friend in Denmark, so the question relates to the other
ports, mostly. Keeping in mind the child age and laziness
factor, what are one or two things you must see. Generally, we
stay in port for one full day in each city. Any other pearls
of wisdom for a cruise with a child?
i lived in Stockholm for 13years and i can recommend to go with
your child to a place called ''Junibacken'' it,s on Djurgarden
right next to the ''Vasamuseum''which you should visit as well if
you have the time and patience with a child....Junibacken is a
kind of interactive museum of Astrid Lindgrens most popular
childrensbook characters...i have never been to the museum part
itself ,,,i,ve only vicited their wonderful bookstore a couple
of times but that is definetely a place to see with a
child....you might dock with the cruiseship at old town which is
amazing in itself and from there you can take a ferry right
across to djurgarden where it is....
i love Stockholm ...it is for me the most beautiful city...
enjoy your trip...Scandinavien as always worth to visit...i wish
more people would
I went on a similar cruise this past summer. We mostly booked
tours that the cruise line offered, so I didn't really roam the
cities much on my own. For copenhagen and st. petersburg, there
are good harbour cruises. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is a
museum built physically around a sailing ship that sank on its
maiden voyage. If you like boats, its pretty neat. Lots of
palaces and beautiful churches in St Petersburg. A shopping
excursion to get some russian nesting dolls, may also be of interest.
Hi! I am a Norwegian living in Berkeley. If I had one day in Oslo
with a five-year-old, I would probably go and see the Kings
Castle, on the top of the main street, Karl Johan, or to
Vigelands Park, a park with lots of statues of people. Both has
lots of space to run around for kids, and things to see for adults.
Sounds like a great cruise. In general the Scandinavians have
given a great deal of thought to the needs and perspectives of
children, so it is unusually easy to travel with children in
the Nordic region. Stockholm is the city I know best of the
ones on your itinerary -- it's a beautiful place and fun for
kids. You can get what is called The Stockholm Card, which
gives you use of public transportation (inc. ferries) and free
entry to attractions for a day (or more than one day). It
costs about $35 per adult per 24 hours and $15 per child.
Probably your best bet is to head out by brief ferry from
Stromkajen or Nybrohamn (subway stop Kungstradgarden) to the
large island called Djurgarden (yoor-gorden, approx. meaning
Animal Park). It was once the royal hunting preserve and is
now mostly a park area with a number of attractions. The best
of these for adults is probably the Vasa Museum, which is
actually a battle-ship that sank in the 1600s on its maiden
voyage and remained in Stockholm's harbor until the 1970s, when
it was raised and restored. The entire ship, repainted and
refurbished with cannons, etc. is now under a roof and you can
walk through it. It is a fascinating museum and not bad for
kids, as they can run around in the huge space. My son liked
it when he was five. Also on Djurgarden is Skansen, an outdoor
museum to which Swedish houses and farm structures were brought
in from the country and rebuilt. There are re-creations of old
Swedish farming life (cheesemaking and the like) as well as
native animals (reindeer, etc.) The amusement park, Grona
Lund, would also be worth a visit; all of these attractions are
within walking distance of one another on the island.
Kungstradgarden (The Royal Park) often has activities set up
for kids (my son loved a giant slide there), and Sweden House
(Sverigehuset) is located at the corner of the park, with lots
of tourist info, souvenirs, books on Sweden, handicrafts, etc.
etc. Certainly you should take the subway to Gamla Stan (Old
City) and stroll around the medieval part of Stockholm -- it's
very small and very charming, and the Royal Palace (Kungliga
Slottet) is there, with the changing of the guard at times
posted. (It's a pretty modest changing of the guard, not like
Buckingham Palace, but therefore much more personal.) If you
have more time, a trip out to Lidingo (a fancy part of
Stockholm) to the Milles Gard sculpture park is beautiful. A
sculpture garden is easier for a kid than a traditional museum,
and the soaring stone sculptures and tranquil park are well
worth a visit. The subway ride out there is also quite
interesting (Stockholm's stations are hewn out of the rock and
left rough, though painted.)
If you have more time a trip out to Drottingsholm is also fun --
there is a park and an 18th-century theater with fun tours.
And if it rains... well, the Swedes have a saying ''There's no
such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.'' But if you are
not of that conviction, you can retreat to the Stockholm City
Museum, which is an historical museum of the City of Stockholm,
but it is designed to entertain kids as well as adults and is
quite fun. The Vasa ship would still be great under rainy
My husband and I have our first vacation coming up since our
daughter was born, and were thinking about going on a cruise.
Neither of us have ever been on a cruise, and were wondering if
anyone has been with a baby. Our daughter will be 11 months at
the time. I've heard Carnival caters to families the most- has
anyone gone on one of their cruises? Also, we were wondering
what the babysitting is like. The Carnival website
mentions ''slumber-party'' style group babysitting in the
evenings, and although they will take babies as young as 6
months, I'm not sure this would be great for younger children.
Any advice would be most welcome- Thanks!
Hi, we just got back from an Alaska cruise with our 14 month
old. This was our first real vacation since having our baby,
we choose Alaska because we were going to be in Seattle for a
wedding. This was my fifth cruise and my husbands second. We
went on the NCL line, the Norwegian Star. We used Kristin at
cruises for families (www.cruisesforfamilies.com) She was VERY
helpful in deciding what line we would use. They don't have
any baby sitting for children under two. So we had our guy
with us the entire time. We didn't mind, we enjoyed the week!
The entire cruise for us was a lot different then when we
cruised before(we got engaged on the last one :) My husband
made the comment that there didn't seem to be as much going on,
on this boat. I alerted him that it was us who weren't going
on. Between naps and early bedtime, you don't do nearly as
much on the boat if you didn't have a little one. We didn't
see any shows or anything like that. I was surprised at the
number of families on the boat, I expected us to be the
miniority. That wasn't the case. The only bad thing was the
crib they provided, it reminded me of a cage. The pad was only
one inch thick. The little guy wasn't very comfortable and
ended up in bed with us every night. But overall I would do it
again. We really enjoyed what they call ''freestyle dining''
Back in the old days, dinner was served at two different times,
like 6 and 8. Now, you have a lot more options. You can go
between 5-9:30 and there are a lot more restaurants to choose
from! Good luck and have fun!
I can't comment on Carnival specifically, but re: taking a baby
on a cruise... we went on a cruise with our son when he was about
16 months old. We didn't take advantage of childcare since we
had family with us that were happy to give us a break sometimes,
but we did look in on it, and it seemed fairly basic, not too
exciting. The cruise itself wasn't geared at all to toddlers -
there were no activities planned for them - so we made our own
fun with him... mostly wandering the boat. He actually spent
much of the time feeling seasick, as did I, so we didn't have too
much fun. Aside from that, the complete display of wanton
privilege and ignorance of the poverty of the places we docked
was pretty sickening... I mean, the whole thing was about eating
eating eating 5 courses per meal with half of that food getting
thrown out, and if we didn't want dessert or something the staff
looked at us like we were nuts -- and in the same day, going out
into Nassau and seeing sick, malnourished people... Okay, I'm
ranting now, sorry.
not going on another cruise
In May we will be guests on a cruise going to Mazatlan, Puerto
Vallarta, Manzanillo and Cabo San Lucas. Can anyone recommend any
good family activities for 2 parents and a 5-year-old in these
ports - either through the cruise ship's shore excursions
(Celebrity) if you're familiar with them, specifically, or just
on our own while we're in town. Thanks!
I have a Mexican friend, Luis Jorge, who has an excursion
business in and around Manzanillo.
I've done several of his trips as I have a condo down there.
I'm also on the Manzanillo/San Pablo Sister Cities board
and have gone with Excursiones Lujo on a trip to a turtle
sanctuary that is part of our project.
Lucky you! They all have great swimming. I was just in Cabo
with my 6 and 11 year old and there is a small beach about 10
miles east of town - Santa Maria - that has great snorkeling
and easy swimming. If your 5 year old is nervous about
snorkeling he/she can just put on goggles, stand in the water
and look down and there are lots of colorful fish. You can
also get a double sea kayak from there and take off - our 6
year old loved both activities.
In PV you can also get a sea kayak and get out to the rocks off
the Banderas Bay and snorkel. A fun beach area and place to
rent kayaks from is south of town, at Mismaloya (big family
resort there - La Jolla de Mismaloya - that is very kid
friendly). You can walk south of La Jolla de Mismaloya to one
of the palapas on the beach and eat delicious fresh fish and
have a (beer? Margarits? Pepsi lite?) and sit for as long as
you like while your child plays in the sand. Also, you can take
a trip into the ''jungle'' a few miles east from Mismaloya to
this wonderful swim hole in the rocks where you can slide down
the rocks into the water and/or use ropes (branches?) to jump
in. They serve a good fish lunch as well. Two hours there is
plenty. You could combine this with time on Mismaloya beach -
unless you want to see the town, which is very nice.
PV's center of town is very lively, with lots of shops, music
and a historic area. If you like to shop, there is good
shopping with some stores that have good quality Mexican folk
art. Just walking along the Malecon and looking at the
sculptures and people is alot of fun.
Mazatlan has an active beach scene. When my son was 4 we
rented a boogie board on the beach and he spent hours playing
in the surf. You could also get horses and go along the beach
(also available at more secluded beach areas around Mazatlan.)
My daughter, since she has been 5, always gets her hair braided
on the beach. She looks forward to this whenever we are in
If you have more quesitons, feel free to email or call.
My in-laws want us (2 families with kids 4-8) to take a
cruise with them. Has anyone had experience with the
various cruise lines to advise which ones have good
kids' programs, nicer rooms, tips about choosing a
cruise, getting good discounts, and whether one can
feel the ocean movement? Do you get claustrophobic or
is there lots to do? How to avoid "old lady" cruises?
We are clue-less!
We recently went on a Royal Carribean cruise to Mexico
with our then 18 m.o. daughter. It was a great way to
travel with a toddler: a lot of structure (you eat
dinner with the same group every night and have the
same servers), only unpack once, don't have to ever
worry about meals, etc. It will be even better for
you, as your children are over three and can join in
with some of the structured activities on the ship.
(We, on the other hand, were not even allowed to
supervise our daughter in the children's room. Something
farfetched about her diaper potentially leaking and
posing a health hazard.) It's not a great way to see
a place you've never been, however, as you typically
only dock from 8 to 5, give or take a little bit of
time. Plus, the entire town knew we came from
"el barco" and we were told by some locals that the
flea markets automatically double their prices when the
ships are in.
While we were on the cruise (our first, incidentally),
we had a chance to talk to the serious cruisers on board.
We found Royal Carribean to be family friendly, and
this observation was confirmed by others who had tried
numerous cruise lines. There seemed to be some partying
going on, no doubt, but we were on a separate schedule
from that crowd. We were told by numerous people that
Carnival is over the top with the partying scene and
that the food isn't as good. (You didn't ask, but I
thought the food was consistently okay, but I'm spoiled
by living in the Bay Area. The aesthetic seemed to be
"mass quantities": 24 hour room service, ostentatious
midnight buffets. There are also plenty of kid-friendly
You do feel the rocking of the ship. I have strong sea
legs, so it never bothered me, but it took my husband
a day to adjust. The water only got rough at the end
of our trip, which apparently bothered some folks. The
rocking ultimately worked to our advantage. Our normally
wakeful daughter would be lulled back to sleep quickly
when she stirred. We were on an upper deck, so we didn't
hear too much engine noise, but apparently that's an
issue lower down. Because we had to hang out during
naps, etc, we reserved a stateroom with a balcony.
Actually, the fresh air was really nice too. If you
can afford it, I would definitely say it's worthwhile,
especially if you are worried about clausterphobia.
We thought we were clever by bringing high powered
walkie-talkies on the ship. As it turned out, others
had the same clever idea. Even though we had to switch
channels occasionally, it was nice to have a way to
communicate if one of us wanted to go off and do
As for deals, I would talk to a travel agent who has
experience in booking cruises. Ours was able to
upgrade our stateroom for a teensy more than we would
have paid for the non-balcony one because she received
a fax about a cancellation at the last minute and
notified us that the room had become available. We went
to Dorothy Purdie at Travel Service Montclair. She has
a little bit of a bossy edge to her, but she knows her
stuff and was good at following through with things.
Her number is 339-7000
Hope this helps!
Sorry, I don't have any advise on which cruises cater
to families with kids, however I can tell you which
ones to avoid. We took a cruise in January a few years
ago on the NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines) to the Carribean
and it was packed full of retired folks. I think NCL
might cater to the older crowd, plus it was after the
holidays so the younger people already had their holiday
in December. Also, we took a Princess Cruise to Alaska
in June 2001. There weren't many families with kids
on the ship. As for feeling the ocean movement, the
lower the cabin is, the less movement there is. Also,
if you are in an inside cabin, there is less movement
Advice needed on cruises:
My inlaws are planning to take us all on a cruise of the inland passage
in Alaska. I am worried we will all be sick from the movement of the
boat or plain old cabin fever. Has anyone gone on a cruise there? What
cruise lines are better (i.e., larger ships, good athletic facilities,
large pool, kids' activities)? Thanks!
I've been on 2 cruises when I was in my mid-20's a few years back. Each
time we stayed in the cabins on the lowest level because the lower points
don't have as much movement as the upper points. Carnival was more fun
for us since they had a younger crowd. When we went on NCL, it was in
January, and we found it catered to an older crowd. Maybe it was because
January is off-season with young adults back in school after the holidays.
I know your email said Alaksa, but I'll throw this in anyways. The 7 day
cruise we took in the Caribbean visited about 6 or 7 ports. That was too
many. When I look back on it all, I can't remember which port was which
and it gets all meshed together. Also, we flew on a red-eye flight from
SF to Chicago to San Juan Puerto Rico. We arrived in Puerto Rico during
the afternoon, their time. By the time we got to bed that night, I was
pooped out from being up way too many hours without any sleep, plus the
time difference. I was like a zomby. Even so, it was a great trip and
that shouldn't stop a person from taking a cruise in the Caribbean.
After our cruises, when we got back home and on land, we had
'shore-sickness.' I think all my friends did too. Legs are a bit wobbly
and sometimes you feel like things are swaying, but it doesn't stop you
from going about. It goes away in a few days.
I went on a 12-day Princess Cruise which went from San Francisco to
(Inland Passage) with my grandparents about 15 years ago as a freebie
tagalong for their 50th wedding anniversary. I was sick as a dog on the
first day/night! It was really rough and my grandparents (the 75 year
old troupers!) were amoung the few at dinner that night. I survived by
staying in bed. One of the stewards brought me a sandwich which really helped
settle my stomach: white lightly toasted bread, tomato, swiss cheese and
turkey (no mayo/mustand/onions/pickles).
Other people have told me that that first day out from SF is the
roughest--I think I hit a real bad day. We were lucky to be in an
(expensive) room on one of the upper decks with a window that opened,
and the fresh air really helped, too. The rest of the trip I was fine, even
coming back to SF. I'm sure you'll get better advice, but be prepared
(BTW: If your trip offers an option of flying over a glacier in a small
plane--go for it! I remember it was expensive, but it's a truly awesome
sight--a river of incredible aqua-colored ice and water-- and one of my
best all-time visual memories.)
I haven't done a family cruise to Alaska (though I'd love to -- you're
lucky to have such generous in-laws!), but I did take a two-week cruise
there just with my mother a number of years ago. Unless you're going on
one of the smaller "adventure" type cruises, you don't have to worry
about cabin fever. The boats are huge, endlessly entertaining in themselves,
and the scenery is spell-binding. Passengers generally spend very little
time in their cabins. Most cruise lines now have lots of programs for kids,
even all-day, staffed play areas and activities. The inside passage is
protected from heavy seas and anyway, the boats are so big, that unless
you are prone to motion sickness, I doubt that you'll notice the motion much
until you get OFF the boat! (If you are prone to motion sickness, you'd
better take plenty of whatever gets you through long car rides.) We
went in early summer and were fascinated by the 20-hour long days. In terms
of which cruise lines are better, my guess is the big ones (Princess,
Holland America, Norwegian. etc.) are all pretty similar (for example, all
will have large work-out facilities, running/walking tracks around the deck,
multiple smallish pools) but you should be able to check their websites
and brochures for more details on activities for children. Also, the
Chronicle travel section does an edition on cruising once or twice a year that
gives good summaries and comparisons. You should be able to get that from
SFGate, the paper's website. Have fun!!
Has anyone ever taken a cruise with their toddler? We've heard from
some colleagues with families that it's a nice easy way to travel
together. We were wondering, in particular, what people have done
after the little one's bedtime. Have you had a sitter so that mom &
dad can go out? Have you rigged some kind of long-range baby monitor
so you can hear if your little one wakens without you (or is that a
Thanks in advance.
I loved our cruise with our toddler! I would do it again in a New York
minute. We took our son, 13 months at the time, on a seven day cruise to
Alaska a few years ago. It was wonderful. There were lots of things for all
of us to do, particularly during the shore time, which was daily. We hiked,
ran around local parks and so on. On the ship we explored all the different
decks and observation areas. And our son loved running up and down the
The ship was a huge floating hotel. It had a special area for children, and
although it was for older kids, there was a huge ballpit and other things for
our son to do, which he loved. The staff was fantastic. Many of the people
who work on cruise ships are foreigners who have left their family behind to
spend months out of the year on these ships. They LOVE children. Our son
was treated like a prince. They had a special place set for him during our
dinner seating, complete with his own yogurt and everything they learned that
he loved. He felt very special, as he was constantly attended to by everyone
on the ship.
My husband and I tag-teamed for things like working out and stuff like that.
We did go out at night a few times. The concierge helped us find a sitter --
one of the crew members who was off duty. Again, she had children of her own
at home so she had a terrific time hanging out with our son. We felt very
comfortable with her.
If you can swing it, I would try for a room with a balcony. They are solid
plexiglass and completely safe. These rooms are a bit bigger, too. Of
course they provide a portacrib if you need one.
Enjoy your trip!
We did the Disney cruise when our kid was 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 and it was great--a
younger toddler might be a bit young. Cruises are a good way to be together
with family and friends but also independent. The Disney cruises are
expensive but totally geared to parent confidence and kid fun. They give you a
beeper when your kid is in the kid club--she didn't want to leave when we went
back an hour later to get her--disney everything from costumes to stories to
crewmembers dressed up like the characters giving out autographs and hugs.
They have a computer lab and lots of crafts. We didn't really think of
ourselves as members of the cult of Disney, but we're still very favorably
impressed. If your're going alone and not with other folks, I'd wait a year or
two. If there are grandparents or aunts or someone else to help check in on
your little darling to make sure she's happy in the kid club (or if you want an
in room babysitter which is available) then you'd probably enjoy it but not get
full benefit out of the disney specialty which is entertaining kids and letting
the grownups have a break and vacation too. There are adult only areas as
well, such as a remarkably sophisticated Italian restaurant, pool, deluxe spa,
and nightclubby areas. It's an elegant deco looking ship that really keeps all
ages happy. One weird thing is the lack of a casino--usually a feature of
cruises. Lots of liquor, though. We'd go again. Chris
(We took our daughter to Disneyland when she was 3 and her idea of a great
time was playing with a wood box on Tom Sawyer's island. )
We have taken our son on two cruise ships. The first time he was 1 1/2 and
the second time he was 2 1/2. Depending upon the age of your child, you
should find out at what age they allow the child to participate in the play
room activities. When our son was under 2 years, he was not allowed in the
child play area and we had him the entire time, without any time for
ourselves. The second time, he would not stay in the play area and wanted to
be with us. Luckily, we were with friends and took turns watching the
children. Also, with a child, most cruise ships will not give a balcony
cabin and will restrict you to an indoor cabin. I found both cruises to be
very confining. Finally, both cruise lines that we were on did not provide
individual baby-sitting. They only had group baby-sitting in the play area.
Personally, our trips involving planes and hotels have been much more
Taking 14-month-old on a cruise
we are thinking of taking our 14 month old baby with us to a
4-day cruise to Mexico. We usually prepare fresh food for her,
which is almost not possible to do during crusing. Any
suggestion? Also, any precaution we need to take?
We took our 2 year old twins on an Alaskan Cruise on one of the
Princess cruise ships. It was the best vacation since having
the kids who are now 4. They have a great child care facility
with lots of activities for little ones. Food was not really a
problem. There is always fresh fruit, breads, yogurt, eggs,
pancakes, hotdogs, spaghetti on so on. At the sit down dinners
our waiters had apple juice waiting for our twins when we sat
down. They were very attentative to our needs. We will
definitely do a Princess cruise again in the future. You will
have a great time!
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