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-   -   Never cruised - need advice (http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/general-cruise-chat/20856-never-cruised-need-advice.html)

HeatherA 04-05-2007 06:49 PM

Hi,
We have not taken a cruise before and I am looking for info on the different cruise lines.
We have a 10 year old who will be with us. Which cruise line has the best kids program? (I am not interested in the one with the mouse - LOL - because I want something that is geared to adults as well.) I saw on the Carnival website that they allow any child 9 or older to check themselves out of the program. Is this a standard practice? It really worries me. Anyone have any experience with that?
I would prefer to leave from Galveston, Houston, or New Orleans since I can drive to those. I don't want the added expense of plane tickets. I am also concerned with how much I would have to pack. Do the cruise lines have luggage restrictions like the airlines?
We are thinking about going this summer...Yes, right after hurricane season starts...so it seems like the choices are pretty limited. Right now all I am finding are Carnival and
Royal Caribbean. Would we be better off to wait until hurricane season is over to have a better choice?
Also we are pretty casual people and while I don't mind the whole "dressing for dinner", my husband and child are not crazy about it. Are children even allowed in the dining rooms? And what are men and children supposed to wear?
Really any advice will be appreciated. I know nothing about cruises and am having trouble finding out the little things, like do I need to bring my own hair dryer and will there be a place to plug in hot rollers?
Also my daughter's and my passport are expired (husband's is not) should we try to rush to get new ones? I do remember seeing something that they would accept an expired passport - I guess as proof of citizenship - but that sounded a little strange to me.
Thanks so much,
Heather

Dwayne 04-05-2007 07:06 PM

HeatherA, Welcome Aboard Cruise Chat!

You have came to the right place, you will find the best informed and nicest bunch of folks here.
Start out on our sister site CruiseReviews.com

The is a whole section with FAQs, then search the board here and ask away.

Congrats on your first cruise.

IslandCruz

HeatherA 04-05-2007 07:29 PM

Thank you.
I will go check out CruiseReviews now.

Jim C. 04-05-2007 08:07 PM

Heather- please do not post the same topic in multple sub formuns. We really do read them all.

I answered this question in depth (I think it was the Royal Caribbean section). If you have further questions, I would be more than happy to answer...(as will others)

Dwayne 04-06-2007 12:30 AM

I personally do not have the time to read them all. I just try to keep up with my own threads and topics.

I have no idea about any "we" Jim is talking about. I do appreciate his points about multiple posts with multiple questions though.

All I know is when someone is new I want to welcome them here. They are a "we" then and a member of this board.

LisaP 04-06-2007 07:47 AM

Hi Heather, and welcome to cruise-chat.

I'll take your questions one at a time:

We have a 10 year old who will be with us. Which cruise line has the best kids program? (I am not interested in the one with the mouse - LOL - because I want something that is geared to adults as well.)
Pretty much all of the mainstream cruise lines have good kids' programs. Many passengers rate Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival highly. Then again, my son's favorite was on Holland America. Go figure.

I saw on the Carnival website that they allow any child 9 or older to check themselves out of the program. Is this a standard practice? It really worries me. Anyone have any experience with that?
I felt the same as you when my son was younger...still do, in fact, and he's 13. While kids can check themselves out at a young age, there's no requirement that they do so. Parents are given final say -- and you can easily set it up so that she has to be picked up by a designated adult.

I am also concerned with how much I would have to pack. Do the cruise lines have luggage restrictions like the airlines?
Technically, they do, but the amounts are so high that they are out of reach of most pax.

We are thinking about going this summer...Yes, right after hurricane season starts...so it seems like the choices are pretty limited. Right now all I am finding are Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Would we be better off to wait until hurricane season is over to have a better choice?
Waiting until November would also result in lower fares than during the high-peak summer season. You will have greater choice, yet you will need to balance these against taking your daughter out of school.

Also we are pretty casual people and while I don't mind the whole "dressing for dinner", my husband and child are not crazy about it. Are children even allowed in the dining rooms? And what are men and children supposed to wear?
On all but the formal nights, khaki pants and a golf shirt are fine, and your daughter will be fine dressed the same way or in a sundress or pants outfit. I've even seen these on formal nights on Caribbean cruises, although a jacket -- with or without tie -- is preferable for the men. A dress that your daughter might wear to church should do on the formal nights. Yes, kids are allowed in the dining room, and waiters tend to make a huge fuss over them. Your daughter may order from the regular menu, or the childrens menu, or both.

...do I need to bring my own hair dryer and will there be a place to plug in hot rollers?
I have long hair and usually find the hair dryer in the ship's cabins to be fine. It may take a little longer than the one I use at home, but I'd rather not lug it along. Sorry, I can't help with the hot rollers question. I know there is an outlet near the desk area on most ships, although there are sometimes posted requests that certain items not be plugged in there.

Also my daughter's and my passport are expired (husband's is not) should we try to rush to get new ones?
For 2007, a passport is not required for return to the U.S. by ship. But, if you travel a lot (and it sounds like you might as your daughter already has an expired passport at age 10, I'd go ahead and get those renewed.

Andrealovescruising 04-06-2007 08:01 AM

Hi Lisa. Pride had only one outlet. And, yes, it was located at the desk. The second outlet is in the bathroom and states, For Shaver Use Only. I usually pack an extension cord.

My only other suggestion would be, Heather, is to be on the safe side, get yourselves passports. When we went through customs at Long Beach in Feb., my husband and oldest(17) daughter had passports. Myself and youngest(13)did not. We carried raised seal b.c. and I had my driver's license. The immigration officer nicely, but firmly, suggested to me that we obtain them for our next trip. It's worth the $95 for peace of mind in my opinion.
P.S. I still sign my daughter out of Camp Carnival personally and she's thirteen.
Have a good one. http://cruise-chat.com/groupee_commo...icon_smile.gif

Andrealovescruising 04-06-2007 08:12 AM

BTW... Welcome to cruise chat Heather ! http://cruise-chat.com/groupee_commo...icon_smile.gif You will find answers to most of your questions here. People are very knowledgeable regarding cruising, especially Dave. Have a good day.

HeatherA 04-06-2007 11:39 AM

Lisa,
Thanks so much. I just had not even considered all the stuff to think about with a cruise. I kind of thought you just booked your ticket, packed a suitcase and showed up. It is all a little overwhelming!
Will be getting the passports renewed though. We used to travel more when daughter was younger. It's hard once they start school. And her last school only allowed 5 absences a year unless we had a doctor's note. The school she is in now is much more relaxed and actually still accepts a parent's note as an "excused" absence.
Again, thanks. I'm sure I will be coming up with more questions! LOL!
Heather

HeatherA 04-06-2007 11:42 AM

Andrea,
Thanks for the welcome.
I will renew the passports. I have been reading too many horror stories on here about not having one.
Heather


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