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susan21 08-17-2009 12:49 PM

We are thinking of taking a cruise next year with our children aged 14 and 12, the most important factor for us will be our choice of ship. Is there anyone out there that could give us some guidance or recommendations? We have not got a sky high budget so were wondering if it would be too unbearable to share a cabin with the kids? Which ships are best on bar prices as do not want our holiday ruined by a large bill as we check out? Is it possible to cruise with children of the age that ours are during the school holidays and not be overrun with very young children? We would really like to travel around the eastern med. I hope this is not all a very big ask.We shall be traveling from the UK.
Thanks
Sue

penny3333 08-17-2009 01:30 PM

Hi susan21, welcome to Cruise-Chat. My best suggestion is to find a good travel agent that specializes in cruises. Especially, if they have a CLIA certification. I would think that Costa would be a good fit, but a cruise specialist can make sure. Best wishes!

Cruise Fanatic 08-17-2009 02:00 PM

Welcome to Cruise-Chat. I agree you should talk with a cruise oriented Travel Agency. You don't mention if you've cruised before or what your budget is. A Travel Agent can help you sort it all out based on your wants and needs. I don't think you will find the ships over run with young children in the Mediterranean with the major cruise lines. However; Costa and MSC may have more young children because of generous offers for 3rd & 4th passengers in the same cabin. A Travel Agent could price out different scenarios for you to fit in your budget. Perhaps an outside cabin and inside cabin might work, or a suite, or a balcony and inside. They can look at it different ways to see what is within your budget. I think you would appreciate more space with your children being older.

Dave 08-17-2009 02:01 PM

Sue,

With the large cruise lines you will find the bar charges are pretty much the same. Bar fees on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, Celebrity, MSC, and Costa don't vary much. However most cruise lines will have special pricing for the drink-of-the-day or they will offer things such as buckets of beer (4 or 5 bottles/cans in a bucket of ice) where it is cheaper than if you bought them individually.

When you take cruises during school holidays you have to expect higher numbers of children aboard. Not much you can do about that, but as Cruise Fanatic notes it probably isn't as bad in the Med.

Every day there are cruise ships with families of four in a standard cabin. It is certainly a tight fit and one I am not willing to do, but the flip side is that you are really not in the cabin that much. Envision a roughly 11 foot by 15 foot box that also includes the furniture, bathroom, and closet. Perhaps you have an area in your home that is close to that size. Now picture your family in it all at once and see if you can live with it.

Rules for cruise bookings are often different for UK citizens, so if you read something on this board remember it may be someone from Canada or the U.S. "talking" and our booking rules are different. For instance I believe it is common for your deposit to be non-refundable where my deposit usually is refundable within limits.

Penny is correct. You really need to find a good agent who specializes in cruises. You need an expert who can address your expectations and do their best to match you to the ship/cruise line that will offer you the best personal experience.

f-mattox 08-17-2009 02:24 PM

penny3333's advice is good: it is difficult to recommend a cruise line to someone you do not know. A good agent can give you good information on all the cruise lines and help you decide which one suits you best.

I personally would not want to cruise with four in a cabin. Kids are big today; a 12 and a 14 year old are practically adults. It can be done but it would be pretty tight. Two suggestion: a jr. suite or mini-suite would give you considerably more room and a larger balcony. You still have the problem of only one bathroom; but at least you can streatch out a little. Or what some families have found best is an inside cabin for the kids across the hall from the parents in a balcony cabin. Kids don't spend much time in the cabin anyway; and it gives you the convenience of a second bathroom--and you can all share the balcony.

As for bar prices, they are all about the same--HIGH; there is just no getting around that. Most lines offer some sort of soda card which can save you money if your kids drink a lot of fountain drinks. And there is usually some sort of drink "special" every day; but adult beverages are expensive and you can not bring your own, except for a couple of bottles of wine.

There will be lots of children if you travel on school holidays; but most lines have excellent youth programs to keep the kids occupied. Unfortunately not all parents utilize these programs and some kids just run wild. But this is a hit and miss proposition. If you are thinking of a Med cruise, try to avoid July and August as this is when most Europeans are on vacation and the tourist sites ashore are jam-packed.

I hope this helps a little.


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