First-time cruiser with two kids, 9 and 13. Can't decide between ships for caribbean cruise in December. It seems like my choices are Grandeur, Rhaposdy, Radiance, Navigator or Voyager. Also, how much difference is it to have a balcony versus just an outside cabin? A little help, please.
Among the choices, I would pick either the Navigator or the Voyager for a number of reasons. First, the kids programs are the best, second, the opportunities for families to spend quality time bonding is outstanding. There is so much to do and so many different activities, that I believe that the Voyager class ships of Royal Caribbean are the best choice for families.
It would boil down to the itinerary that you wanted to go on.
Thanks for your reply. Itinerary is another question. We are learning toward western caribbean but some have suggested eastern. One reason was that there are some eastern trips that have three days at sea instead of two, giving more time to do everything there is to do on the ship. Also, eastern seams to be a bit less expensive. Thoughts?
Oh, also, is the balcony worth the extra money over an outside cabin?
we take always an insidecabin. Sometimes we were upgraded to an outside cabin. But we prefer spending the different in price for the trips on the islands or things on board.
Even if you want to sit in privacy and not among many other peoples on deck, than pay for a balcony.
But we spend so little time in the cabin, that we think, it isn`t worth it.
But everybody has to decide whats the best cabin for him or her.
I would say yes, a balcony is IMHO worth the extra money. I wouldn't have thought so until I had a balcony cabin for the first time. Personally I don't care whether the cabin is inside or outside, but a balcony is a very nice extra and I use it frequently.
If your chidren will be sharing the cabin with you, then it is definitely worth the extra money for a balcony. Speaking from experience, the cabins are not huge to begin with and when 4 people are all trying to get ready to head out for the day, or dress for dinner, etc. the balcony can act as free space. It made a huge difference when traveling with my daughter (and usually one of her friends) that we were not tripping over each other. I loved enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail, or just sit and reflect on the day - while chaos was going on inside the cabin.
I love sea days and as you mentioned there is so much to do on the Voyager class ships that it is nice to have 3 days to explore, rather than just 2. With that said - I would probably lean toward the eastern Caribbean itinerary. What are the specific ports?
I would most definitely cruise the voyager class. We sailed the Navigator last year and I must say it was one of our best. We are big RCCL fans. I would definitely get the balcony if it is affordable. It does give that extra space. We are booked on the Voyager on the 30th and we can't wait!
The itinerary is Nassau, Bahamas; At Sea; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; At Sea; At Sea; Port Canaveral, Florida. This on the Mariner. However, someone mentioned that, for a first-timer, going out of Port Canaveral was not a great idea.
Also, the attraction to the eastern itinerary is the extra day at sea and spending a day walking around the Atlantis. Other than that, we're not big on hanging out on a beach all day so that is why many people suggestion western...because there are more options on shore. Decisions, decisions!
Oh, finally, is there any one online site or agency that offers better deals than the others? My little local agency gave me the same rate I could get directly through Royal Caribbean and I'm wiating on a quote from AAA. Any other suggestions?
Just Curious? Why did they tell you not to go out of Port Canaveral? We went out of there twice and I thought they were very efficient and quickly handled embarkment and disembarkement. We had kids with us and it could not have been any more hassel free.
On the balcony thing... I agree with Nancy it was WELL worth every cent. I have mentioned a few times how much I enjoyed getting up in my PJ's and watching the sun come up to hot tea and coffee in our room. Our kids REALLY enjoyed the balcony too and while we were dressing they would sit out there and enjoy it each night. I am not sure I will want to sail again WITHOUT the balcony I enjoyed it so much!
Carnival Freedom June 2009
Crown Princess March 2009
Carnival Glory January 2008
Naviagator of the Seas Mar 07
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Carnival Glory March 2005
Nordic Empress 1996