First time cruising--three of us: 75-year old active grandmother, 50-year old mother (me), and 10-year old son. Deciding between Caribbean Princess to Eastern Caribbean, Star Princess to Western Caribbean, or Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas to Western Caribbean. I've done a lot of on-line research. I like RCL's itinerary the best, but I like Princess' ship and personal choice dining? Appreciate any suggestions.
Perhaps I shouldn't weigh in here because I've never been on Princess, but we like the Eastern Caribbean route the best.
We've been on the Explorer twice and it's amazing. I think you, your son and his grandmother would all love it. There's something for everyone and the ice show is just fantastic.
We like the formality of the dining room, even though we're not formal people. The waiters in tuxes, the white tablecloths, etc. just seems to make each evening special. For one week, we're royalty. We get to know our waiters and that connection really adds to the cruise experience. It puts a face on various countries of the world. As in, I know someone from Romania and he was so nice.
When I try to choose between equally good things I make a list of positives and negatives. Before I'm finished, I find that in my heart I'm rooting for something, and my decision is made.
Having been on Princess and RCCl ships, I agree that the choice is a difficult one. But please rest easy, you will have a great time no matter which line you choose because both lines will provide you with a excellent cruise experience. I suggest you consider air arrangements (length of flights, change of planes, cost of airfare), hotel stay prior to the cruise, price of the cruise including the children's fare, cabin location, and ports of call when comparing the cruises. Also, you might want to look at partial transits of the Panama Canal which is a great travel experience.
Everyone will have a great time and probably most of all - YOU!
I've extented my researches to include my local public library. There you'll find alot of books on cruising & ports with their cultures, activities. From what I've found, Western is more deep culture and land of adventures, while Southern/eastern is more local culture sites and shopping.My sister-in-law did Western and did climbing waterfalls, driving a jeep in a group ride and saw some ruins. And personal choice dining is neat, but you can have a choice of where you eat on either cruise lines. It doesn't always have to be in the dining room.
Pacific Princess Sept/01 - Family in Pacific Northwest
RCI Radiance Of The Seas April/06 - 25th Annversary in Panama Canal
HA Volendam Sept/06 - Dad's Surprise in Alaska
Crown Princess April/07 - Fun In The Sun in Eastern Caribbean
RCI Brilliance Of The Seas March/08 - Here We Go Again
RCI Vision Of The Seas Dec/08 - Joining Sis On Her Redneck Honeymoon in Mexico