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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2007, 06:24 PM
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Hi,
We have not taken a cruise before and need some advice.
We have a 10 year old who will be with us. Which cruise lines have the best kid programs? (Please don't say the one where I will have to look at mouse ears 24 hours a day! LOL!) I have read on the Carnival website that they will allow any child older than 9 to sign themselves out of the program. That worries me. Anyone had any experience with that?
I prefer to leave from Houston, Galveston, or New Orleans since I don't really want to add plane fare on top of the cost of the cruise.
Now we are thinking of going sometime this summer - which makes it harder to find something because of hurricane season.
We are generally fairly casual people and while I don't mind dressing up for dinner, my husband and child are not so into that aspect of it. Are the children even allowed to eat in the dining rooms?
So, pretty much any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Heather

PS Sorry for putting this in the wrong folder. I just found the "General Cruise" folder so I will post over there. But since Royal Caribbean is one of the cruise lines that we are considering, I would appreciate any advice concerning them. Thanks!!
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2007, 06:24 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 23
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Hi,
We have not taken a cruise before and need some advice.
We have a 10 year old who will be with us. Which cruise lines have the best kid programs? (Please don't say the one where I will have to look at mouse ears 24 hours a day! LOL!) I have read on the Carnival website that they will allow any child older than 9 to sign themselves out of the program. That worries me. Anyone had any experience with that?
I prefer to leave from Houston, Galveston, or New Orleans since I don't really want to add plane fare on top of the cost of the cruise.
Now we are thinking of going sometime this summer - which makes it harder to find something because of hurricane season.
We are generally fairly casual people and while I don't mind dressing up for dinner, my husband and child are not so into that aspect of it. Are the children even allowed to eat in the dining rooms?
So, pretty much any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Heather

PS Sorry for putting this in the wrong folder. I just found the "General Cruise" folder so I will post over there. But since Royal Caribbean is one of the cruise lines that we are considering, I would appreciate any advice concerning them. Thanks!!
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2007, 07:17 PM
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Location: Minnesota
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RCL has a great program, but I don't think they have anything going out of Texas....NCL has the Dream going out of Houston for the rest of the season and they also have a good kids program.
We've been on 18 cruises but never with children. But when there have been children on board, they seemed to be having a great time.
Have a great Cruise....
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:19 PM
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And Post Script to my last message..

Norwegian cruise has free style dining which means you eat when you want and just have to dress casual...and of course children are welcome in the main dining room on any ship....
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:35 PM
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Thanks.
I had found where the RCL Rhapsody leaves out of Galveston. I liked the idea of the Norwegian Freestyle, but I am not turning up any Norwegian cruises out of Texas after April. I wondered if they sent them out of the Gulf and Caribbean areas because of hurricanes.
Someone mentioned on my other post that I should look at cruisereviews.com so I think I will start there.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:51 PM
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HeatherA-

I would recommend the Conquest outof Galveston. The Rhapsody goes out of Galveston also but is a old and smaller RCCL ship, not that is a terrible thing but if you are going to bring you kid, the Conquest may win out slightly. I have a friend who brought their young one 3? and they enjoyed the RCCL kids program but that may have just been the age group. They did not enjoy the Rhapsody as much as the Conquest.

The Conquest kids program does allow 9-11 year olds to sign themselves in and out of Camp Carnival IF the parent signs a permission form to let them do so. So I wouldn't let that be your decideing factor. I think for a first cruise, CCL is a good choice. The NCL Dream is in its last season out of Houston. We cruised on it last October.. I was not impressed. ButI have been on newer bigger ships, so I think I was expecting more. I definetly give the better food prize to CCL there.

As far as dinning attire, the husband and kiddo can dress casual. The Conquest does allow "good" jeans instead of pants in the dinning room (and yes, childern are allowed in the dinning room) The jeans are allowed because they are considered to be dress clothes by many Texans. But, Docker casual pants and a shirt are typical. THere is no need for a suit and tie for the dinning room. There are 2 formal nights where you will be encouraged to dress up and its a great chance to get a family picture when everyone is dressed up.

If you were willing to fly, I would say to try one of the freedom or Navitgator class RCCL ships because they have more kiddo activies, but you would have to fly to FLorida to get on one of those. If you want to stay in TX, then Conquest is your best bet. If price is a big factor, then consider the Dream, but you need to act fast on that one. I think you would enjoy Conquest more.
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Fantasy 90, Celebration 95, Victory 05, Conquest 05, Spirit 6/06, Freedom 6/08, Holiday 7/08, Victory 6/09, Valor 9/09, Dream 6/10, Splendor 8/10,Conquest 8/11,
Magic 11/11,Triumph 4/12,Spirit 7/12,Freedom 11/12, Triumph 2/13 - The fire cruise, Magic 1/14, Freedom x 2 6/14

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Old 04-05-2007, 08:08 PM
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Just took a quick look at vacationstogo.com for the months of june and july. It seems that your options will be Carnival's Fantasy and Ecstasy vs RCI's Rhapsody of the seas. First, the price is defenitely in the favor of Carnival specially when you take into consideration the amount of people traveling. You can always get a room with pullmans which you can put two children in your room with a lower set charge regardless of location (ocean view, inside, balcony, etc) as opposed to getting a room for themselves (connecting room or accross the hall).
My wife and family have been in RCI '05 and Carnival '06. The service and childrens program was much better in RCI. Our kids asked us everyday to take them to see their friends while on the Grandeur of the Seas. They really enjoyed themselves. On Carnival's Victory, they went once and did not want to go back. However, they had the pool, whirlpool, and the waterslide that kept them busy all day. I now that some single adults and older adults do not like the children conglomerating in the whirlpools, but they do. Especially those found around the pool. It's a magnet for kids. Yes, my kids were among them so I apologize.
Now, let's get back to your question. You said that your husband does not like to dress up. Well, this also is in Carnival's favor. I noticed that more people were in more casual clothes on formal nights on Carnival's cruises (taken 2). Our service at dinner has been better on our two RCI cruises, but don't get me wrong, Carnival's service will be better than your normal restaurant back home and the food will definitely be enjoyable. I hope this helps you make a decision.
I love cruising and I think that is the best bang for your buck. I too, have a 11 year old daughter and 7 year old son, so I know that money comes into the equation when traveling together. Good luck and happy sailing
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04-06-2007, 06:51 AM
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Jim,
Thanks for the info on the Conquest and the Dream. I was getting the impression that the NCL was better. Not sure why, maybe because they seem to cost more? LOL!
And I am glad to know that I would have to sign a permission form for my daughter to sign herself out. That eases that concern.
So would you say that the Conquest is a little more "casual" than some of the others?
The main reason I don't want to fly is having to worry about packing. (I also don't enjoy flying, but I will if I absolutely have to.) The more I read about cruises, the more overwhelming it all seems. I have figured that I could do no less than 4 pairs of shoes and I guess I will have to bring my own iron or steamer. So I really don't want to have to pack to the airlines' standards.
As far as cost, I would be happier paying more for something nicer as far as the rooms and the food goes. I don't want something like a Days Inn room and Applebee's restaurant just with a better view.
I've really enjoyed reading everybody's tips and thoughts on here. There's so many things I never would have even thought of.
Heather
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 04-06-2007, 07:03 AM
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Nica,
Thanks for the info.
It's funny. I don't know if I want the kids program to be so good that the kid won't want to spend any time with mom and dad!
As far as rooms go, I definitely think we want a balcony room. Actually I might rather have a suite - don't know if they have those on those ships, or if they are all sold out and that's why they are not showing up when I do a search. A separate room, even connecting rooms, isn't really an option. Since we just have the one child and she is just 10, I would not feel comfortable with that.
The more I read about cruises, the more doubts I have. But I am still willing to try it. I just didn't know there were so many options and things to think about!
Thanks again for all your help,
Heather
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 04-06-2007, 07:55 AM
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Hi Heather. I answered your questions on your other thread. You've gotten great advice on this one, too.

One thing to add here -- passengers are not permitted to bring irons onboard due to the fire hazard. Yet, the steamer will be fine.

I also agree to get the largest cabin possible as 3 to a cabin can get tight. Royal Caribbean and Carnival have the largest standard cabins, at least in my experience, although there are variations from ship to ship.
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