HELP...we are seeking a 5-6 day Caribe cruise with our kids (14, 12,3) over Thanksgiving. We are concerned about both kids activities, as well as the safety of leaving them in the room alone. Disney and Carnival look great, Royal Carribe and Princess OK...but we're looking for some help.
Disney is best for younger kids; if teens are young at heart (or have a soft spot for the mouse) they will enjoy it too. It is more expensive than most other lines, and does not offer a 5- or 6-night cruise; your choices are 3-, 4-, and 7-nights that time of year. You can combine the shorter ones with the rest of the week at WDW. Carnival is also generally good for kids, and may be a bit more teen-friendly. I'd go with one of the newer ships (Triumph and later.) Royal Caribbean, especially on the Voyager-class ships, has some great activities onboard that will appeal to your older kids. Not sure if the newer Carnival and Royal C. ships offer shorter cruises (i.e. less than 7 nights) - I think not, as a rule. I agree with Sonia, that Princess is not especially child-friendly.
We went on Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas last December. Our kids are 11, 9, 5, and 3 and they all loved it. It was a five day cruise which was a perfect amount of time. They all went to Adventure Ocean and loved it. We gave the older ones freedom during the day on board the ship without worry. It was great, plenty of stuff for everyone to do (the rock climbing wall was a big hit). I am going to post a review tonight with a little more information, hope this helps!
Given your time frame, Princess is out as it does not offer cruises of less than 7 nights in the Caribbean in November.
Our son had the best times on Royal Caribbean and NCL. We liked the variety of activities, and the kids crew on both of these lines were consistently good.
One consideration for you is whether you want your 12-year-old and 14-year-old to be in the same program. On Carnival, the Teens Club is for ages 12 through 14. Same for Royal Caribbean. On Disney, they would be in separate groups (8-12, and 13-17). NCL's age groupings are 10-12 and 13-17.
We took our children on a Royal Caribbean cruise and they absolutely loved it.
We were recently on the Carnival Liberty without our children, but the children on board seemed to be having a blast. We happened to be sitting next to where the children were eating lunch one day when we were in port. One little girl asked her friend where a third girl was. The second girl said that the third girlís parents ďMADEĒ her get off the ship and go to the island. It was clear they felt sorry for the third girl.
Carnival Liberty does 6 day cruises to the Western Caribbean.
Our kids ages 9.10. & 12 loved Carnival Glory when we took them last spring break. We also have been on RC but we were able to book a suite on Carnival for the price of a lower class room on RC so that made our decision for this last booking.
Carnival Freedom June 2009
Crown Princess March 2009
Carnival Glory January 2008
Naviagator of the Seas Mar 07
Sovereign of Seas Oct 06
Carnival Glory March 2005
Nordic Empress 1996
We also did a Caribbean Cruise Thanksgiving week (2004) R.C. Mariner of the Seas. Loved it so much were going on the Freedom of the Seas Thanksgiving week this year! My son & nephew both 12 canít wait, they loved camp last time and meet lots of kids from all over. And my son loved camp so much that he didnít get off the ship, he wanted to go to camp instead! There are a ton of activities for the kids (especially Adventure Camp), miniature golf, basketball court, in-line skating, ice skating, swimming, game room, etcÖ Iíve only been on Royal Caribbean so I canít speak for the other cruise lines. Camp is open until 10:00 p.m. and then from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. it was $5.00 per hour/per child. I was dragging my son out at 12:45 a.m. every night (or should I say early morning). He didnít want to leave and there were plenty of other children still there at that time. I would suggest if you go Royal Caribbean to go on either the Voyager class ships or the new Freedom.