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Old 01-02-2008, 11:23 AM
Destin Mom Destin Mom is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 23
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Thank you so much for your advice and great points. We continue to weigh the pros and cons of the length. The ship we are on has 2 12 day options- we booked the 24 day thinking it would be a good break from navigating on our own. We will be traveling for 10 weeks total with the kids and love the idea of having a children's program so that we can spend a day or night out alone while also traveling and experiencing the trip as a family. We traveled for 5 weeks last year in Europe independently with the kids, and although very young, it was an incredible experience for all of us. As you mention, it was exhausting at times getting from place to place even with our own car. We have taken three cruises previously- a couple of 4 days and a 7 day- all in the Carribean. We didn't bring the kids (or have them yet in some cases!). We prefer to be on our own time table so the structure of the day (when to get on, when to get off, when to eat) was a negative for us. Also, we didn't appreciate the food and felt that the ship (jewel of the seas on our last cruise) was not set up to accommodate the number of guests on board (i.e. on the days that we were at sea, you had to wonder the 'cafeteria' with your tray to find a place to sit; there weren't enough lounge chairs around the pool, and they were packed in so that you were touching the chairs on either side of you, etc). With the kids, our focus will be different, and we have read that the food tends to be better on Mediterranean trips- is that true? Do they serve any of the local cuisine on board? We aren't overly picky eaters and understand that you can't cook fine cuisine for 1,000 guests. We would be happy with Chilis or TGI Fridays quality but don't wany to eat Shoneys (no offense to Shoneys) for 3 weeks. The Samantha Brown episode featured her on a Med RCCL cruise. A few of her excursions looked very touristy and would not appeal to us (in Croatia, she took the countryside tour which sounded wonderful, but she ended up in a dining room with low ceilings and long tables full of tourists eating a meal while someone played a guitar). It didn't look authentic to us. We aren't big on the drop off at the local pottery place, perfume factory, etc. The Zuiderdam looks to have more space in the room and per passenger on the ship. We signed up for the open dining option so we have some flexibility with our schedule, and I have read that we can navigate many of the ports/ cities on our own. I think this should help many of our concerns but still uneasy about the food and length of the trip. Thanks again for your feedback!