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Second best line for cruising with children?

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My family has been on two Disney cruises - courtesy of two sets of very generous grandparents. We're just back from a Caribbean cruise on the Fantasy, so cruising in on our minds. We have absolutely loved the Disney experience and may splurge for a third Disney cruise some day, but it's simply not in the budget to do on our own on a regular basis. In the meantime, I'm interested in which line DCL fans have found to be second best when cruising with children. Thanks.

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My opinion might vary slightly depending on kids ages, but it would be RCCL first, then NCL slightly behind, and even then it would be a matter of ship choice (NCL Breakaway over Radiance of the Seas, but Anthem of the Seas over Breakaway, etc)

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Ncl getaway was amazing for my kids, I was originally going on Disney, but was traveling without my husband, and Disney would not allow 2 cabins with one adult, so switched to Ncl. It was less expensive with 2 balconies than one cabin for 4 on Disney, and I can't say enough good things. Very family oriented, tons of kid activities, classes, shows, movies etc. ropes course, pool, ping pong, movies, kid versions of dueling piano show, legally blonde shiw, cake decorating, arcade, kids clubs, ice bar, game shows, etc etc food was good too

 

 

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You need to look at the kid's ages and the specific ship rather than just the line. Royal Caribbean has more for teens and older kids, NCL good for all ages...but this is too general. Within these lines, you really need to consider the specific ship and see what it has to offer.

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Yup, this is like asking "what hotel chain is best for kids". Every kid is different, there are differences between ships on various lines, etc.

 

You didn't say if this is an option, but maybe it would be worth sticking with Disney, just sailing less frequently?

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It really depends on what your kids ages are, their interests, and what they enjoyed most about the Disney cruise.

 

And what you mean about best for cruising with kids. Most fun for the kids or most convenient for the parents? All the major lines have clubs and activities. So unless you're dealing with bribing a reluctant teen, I wouldn't worry about making that your first priority. It's an exciting trip for them regardless.

 

Budget-wise, look at the kid fares. Whether a line charges less for children and what the age cut-off is varies considerably. Also how many people you can fit into a stateroom will make an impact.

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Budget-wise, look at the kid fares. Whether a line charges less for children and what the age cut-off is varies considerably. Also how many people you can fit into a stateroom will make an impact.

Look specifically at the size of the cabins. Some lines/ships have cabins that supposedly sleep 4 but are so small that I really can't see more than 2 people being comfortable in them. Some ships require you to go up to a "Mini-suite" or "Junior suite" to get the same amount of space you have in a standard DCL cabin. It is almost impossible to do an "apples to apples" comparison among lines.

 

As to kid programming, we've heard very positive feedback from parents and kids while on cruises that aren't known for their kid programming. But you need to look at the hours they are open, whether there are extra charges for the programming and/or during some hours, etc.

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We have been on 4 Disney cruises. While we have enjoyed every cruise with Disney we just can't justify the price difference anymore. We are going RC Oasis of the Seas in March. It was half the price. This is coming from a Disney Loving family that are DVC members.

I just don't see paying twice as much. We shall see.

 

 

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We have been on 4 Disney cruises. While we have enjoyed every cruise with Disney we just can't justify the price difference anymore. We are going RC Oasis of the Seas in March. It was half the price. This is coming from a Disney Loving family that are DVC members.

I just don't see paying twice as much. We shall see.

 

 

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Exactly--DVC member, 30 DCL cruises...but the combination of the price and the lack of any new cruises on DCL makes other lines more attractive.

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Royal Caribbean oasis class

 

 

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Any NCL, our kids have grown up through their kids club and they are the same on every ship, also cheaper than RC

 

 

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Thanks for all the feedback. My girls are 6 1/2 (twins) at the time of this writing (and our last sailing on DCL). I'd love to make DCL a regular thing, but it's just not in the budget. That said I don't want to stay landlocked either!

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I have 7 year old twin girls and they have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Carnival kids club. Disney hands down is the best though.

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We did Disney, then royal, then princess then carnival and then ncl. Disney or royal for younger children. Princess is good for multigenerational. Carnival royal and ncl for teens and dance parties

 

 

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My kids 12 and 10 really enjoyed RCCL's Harmony after having been on three Disney Cruises. The only negative we had with RCCL was the kids clubs. Disney is by far superior and my kids really loved those on Disney. RCCL's clubs were disappointing. For the 12 year old, the club was 12-18 year olds and most of the kids hanging out were older kids. For my 10 year old, the kids club wasn't enjoyable as it was only one loud room for ages 9-11 with limited activities. Honestly, it didn't seem like a lot of the kids went to the clubs. Also,the sports activities on Harmony like basketball, putt-putt and ping pong had way more older teens than Disney. This made my younger kids not really want to do those things. However, the kids loved all the extras on the Harmony like rock climbing, zip lining and the Abyss slide. We spent far more family time together on Harmony as the kids stayed with us all the time. If that is not your thing, lots of parents allowed their younger kids free run of the ship as well.

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We sailed last summer (2 families with kids from 3-17) on RCCL. The kids all enjoyed it, but I was not as happy with the clubs compared to DCL. More limited hours and just not the big open spaces of the Disney clubs. Plus they gave us a lot of hassle over names listed for allowed pick ups, etc. They are generally closed during lunch and dinner, although you can sign up to have the kids eat with the staff for some meals.

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NCL NCL!!

 

I used to cruise with NCL when I was a child and I absolutely loved it. I made so many friends some of whom I still know...

 

The Royal Caribbean ships are also pretty good, although it wasn't all of the 'bells and whistles' that I enjoyed about cruising as a child. It was the freedom!

 

I've written here about why I loved cruising as a child, may be interesting to think about it from a child's perspective. http://cruisingisntjustforoldpeople.co.uk/2016/12/17/7-things-i-loved-about-cruising-as-a-child/

 

Hope that helps! :-)

 

 

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We're taking the plunge and giving Princess a try in Alaska. My kids (8 year-old twin girls) are excited about the age-specific kids clubs and the pool that can be glassed in to make it usable at cooler temperatures.  I just can't wait to be out at sea again.

 

We sail on the Star Princess out of Seattle at the end of May. Can't wait.

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Others have said this too, but I'll chime in. My kids are 14, 10 & 17 months. The two older kids have been cruising since they were 3 and 1. The baby is taking his first two cruises this summer, one with DCL and one with CCL.  The older two LOVE CCL. They love the water slides and the kids' clubs. We did the Dr. Seuss breakfast and parade when my older two were 10 and 7 and they both absolutely loved it. We are looking at RCL for next summer, and my two older kids picked CCL again because they want the water slides, ropes course and all of the offerings of the newer CCL ships over the offerings of the RCL ships. Not to mention, we could get more port experiences for the price difference. It all depends on what your kids like.

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Our kids have enjoyed all of our cruises on carnival.  The kids club on carnival is actually really good for the younger ones.  At least up until they are 8. (that is all we have done so far).   The staff and the activities are great.   I wouldn't pick an old Carnival ship.  I make sure we choose one with upgrades (water slides, ropes course, etc).   

 

Our kids liked all of the lunch options.  It made eating so much easier than just finding something on a buffet.  The Guys hamburgers were my sons favorites.  My daughter liked the deli.  She could order a grilled cheese every day.  I love the taco/burrito bar (blue iguana).   24 hour pizza that is actually good. Mongolian wok.  So many choices.  That is one of favorite things about Carnival.   

 

  

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Posted (edited)

Outside of Disney, we have seen more kids on Carnival than any other cruise line.  The RCC we took was like a retirement cruise.  A bunch of retired people and elderly with walkers.  Not what we expected at all.   Many of them were complaining about the number of kids on board.  There was like 10, seriously.  LOL

Edited by disneychurro

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