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Dulciana8

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About Dulciana8

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Huntsville, AL
  • Interests
    music, reading, traveling, cooking
  1. Your ship will very likely dock right in the middle of Old San Juan, and there is so much to do there for small children! Our son loved it last year when we cruised to San Juan. It’s a great place to walk—even with the stroller it’s doable but know that it’ll be up hill from the ship— the two old forts are easily in walking distance, and El Morro especially will be fun for the children. When we were there in February there were re-enactments and cannon firings, it was really neat. Grab lunch/drinks at El Convento. It’s beautiful! St Thomas is also very easy to do on your own— Magen’s Bay is a great beach, and is easily accessible via taxi from either pier.
  2. What a great review of Old San Juan! The El Convento is one of our favorites, too— beautiful hotel, and a great place to stay. I know sometimes folks can be very critical of OSJ, but we’ve always loved it, and especially now that we have a child— he loves visiting El Morro and playing in the grassy parade field next to it. Last year there were re-enactors and costumed interpreters and to our four year old, he thought that was the coolest thing to see! Especially with drums and canon fire, lol! Thanks for continuing your gorgeous photo review. Keep it coming!! 😊
  3. I loved your trip review you did last year— it was very helpful to us as we took our (then 4 year old!) son on his first HAL cruise last November. Seeing your pictures and reading all the details was so helpful to me before— thank you!!! AND we are booked on Nieuw Statendam for Thanksgiving this year!!! So I’m loving your NS review! Thank you so much for posting— I especially love all of your remarks geared towards what works with children/families on HAL. Super helpful! 👍
  4. Hi there! We have only ever done Caribbean itineraries over Thanksgiving. Seven day and even five day hops (RCI has several of these over the holiday week that we have done in the past before our son was born), although I do prefer the longer— honestly I’ve never explored departing outside a US based port due to our personal travel constraints (work, now school for our son) at this time.
  5. Having done three Disney cruises with our son, I will tell you that in our experience, their kids club activities are very structured— the children are really sort of expected to participate with the other children in all activities. I’m sure this is done because of the high number of children on board— while this is fine for many children, it really wasn’t the best for our son, as sometimes he just wanted to be in the kids club and read or chill. You can expect large volumes of children and families on Disney cruises, but also the adults only areas are really well done, and are pretty mellow. The staterooms are very large for a standard room, and the split baths are super convenient. Otherwise, we found ourselves back on HAL over Thanksgiving (over 200 children on board) and our son thought the club was great. Yes the activities were structured, but the smaller size allowed him the opportunity to do more his own thing within reason. He really liked this. You know your grandchild’s personality— does he like large groups? Or is he content making his own fun? Club HAL is excellent. The Disney clubs are non stop fun. And, we will back on HAL for Thanksgiving 2019.
  6. Fingers crossed you can get that second pack n play— when kiddos get good sleep at night everyone else is happy!
  7. Hey there! I would definitely bring your own beach toys from home— slightly annoying to haul around, but very convenient to just have on hand without to trying to find a place to buy once in port (if you can find them at all). Also if your children use puddle jumpers (not sure of your oldest’s weight) then consider bringing that, too, for any beach swimming. We haven’t sailed with our child on RCI so I can’t speak to any specifics regarding that (Disney and HAL cruisers here), but we have a 5 year old, and the logistics of kid travel are the same— just bring everything you need with you, particularly diapers, medicine, formula, etc, and operate on the assumption that you can’t buy it (even though sometimes you can). Have fun on your trip!!! When our son was still in the pack n play, our steward would fold it up during the day to give us more room— our preference, so just plan to have this conversation with the stewards once you board. And I’m sure RCI is the same as other lines, in that you need to request the pack n play in advance to ensure availability and prompt delivery to your cabin.
  8. My dog would go bananas on a ship. I couldn’t even imagine the chaos— 90 pound Doberman, who loves everyone, but who doesn’t realize people are (in general) afraid of his size/breed/exuberance... yeah... it’d be a real party. It’d especially go well since his head is at the same level as the food in the buffet lines. I think he can stay at home 😂 👍
  9. Call Expedia and speak with an agent— it will ease your mind. We have booked cruises before through them and they’ve been fine to deal with— we’ve never had great offers of OBC or specialty dining like you scored, so I can’t speak to that, but other details such as our MDR early seating and bed configuration preferences were always handled courteously and timely, as well as linking reservations with our travel companions. Sounds like you got a great deal, and I hope you enjoy your first cruise on HAL!
  10. Club HAL did not provide any sort of heavy snacks or meals on our last cruise— one night they had an ice cream social in the lido, but it was after dinner. Unlike Disney cruises, Club HAL will close for periods during the day, so in November, club times were basically 9-11, 1-4, and 7-11 on sea days, and then on port days it was like 9-4 with advance registration (then with regular evening hours, 7-11).
  11. Thanks for your review! We were on the Oosterdam over Thanksgiving with our 4 year old son, and he loved Club HAL. He’s got three Disney cruises under his belt and thoroughly enjoyed himself on HAL, to the point that we booked ourselves on Nieuw Statendam for Thanksgiving 2019. Glad to hear Club HAL on NS didn’t disappoint!
  12. We’ve sailed on both Eurodam and Oosterdam. Biggest difference is an extra deck up top on Eurodam that contains Tamarind restaurant. And Tamarind is, in my opinion, a wonderful specialty dining experience. And worth it! Both ships are beautiful. Can’t speak to the AK itineraries as I’ve not done this...yet!
  13. Great review! I love reading about your adventures— your girls are adorable. Nevera sailed on Vision, like you, only the larger RCI ships. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip!
  14. These are two amazing itineraries! I’d be nail biting for sure, lol. The only island I haven’t been to is Martinique but I’ve heard it’s lovely and it’s on my list... Do you have specific questions about any of the islands? Antigua is a personal favorite of mine— gorgeous beaches and lots of history there. Barbados is great for snorkeling. St Lucia is very wild and scenic, with good beaches. St Maarten is still a little rough around the edges from the 2017 hurricanes but maybe by 2020 it’ll be on the mend— it’s still a lovely island and they’re in need of visitors. Aruba is great for shopping and beaches. Curaçao has some neat historical sites and the snorkeling and beaches are great there and in Bonaire. I don’t scuba but both islands are also known for this. Your children will love any of the places mentioned. So for some practical considerations, other than itinerary, which are equally amazing— what about missing school? Looks like the Jan 19th cruise may be over the MLK holiday so that’s one less day your children would miss? More sea days for the ABC islands trip... is this a concern at all? I love sea days, but sometimes it’s better to keep the momentum going with multiple islands. What else? It’s a little early to consider airfare prices into San Juan but I’d imagine there’s not too much difference from week to the next. Let us know which itinerary you decided on!
  15. Will this be your family’s first HAL cruise? We have cruised Disney with our child, and we have cruised HAL with our child, and they are definitely different, lol! We have a 5 year old— we were on the Oosterdam over Thanksgiving and are booked on Nieuw Statendam for Thanksgiving 2019. We are really excited to sail on her. In your situation, I would anticipate more children on board at spring break time, although significantly fewer than Disney, for example. On our last HAL cruise, out of 2100 pax, 200-ish were children, and probably 50 were regular Club HAL attendees. In our experience, children can expect personal attention, and the ability to tailor their club experience within reason.
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