To cruise or not to cruise?

(54 Posts)
Rizzlekicks Mon 04-Feb-13 15:25:42

We have never been on a cruise but have been told that it is a fun holiday to do with children. Our dc are 6 and 7 yr old.
Has anyone been on one before and if so, would you recommend it?

Fluffy1234 Mon 04-Feb-13 15:58:34

I've been on 3 with my dc and have 2 more booked. I think they are great holidays. My children were 10 and 8 and a half when I did my first one and they were a great age. I love sunbathing but I enjoy sight seeing slightly more , so for me it is is great exploring a new place nearly every day. The food and service are amazing. I've been on Royal Caribbean, NCL and Disney cruise ships. Disney was the best by miles, not in a tacky way but a really classy ship. The adult only pool was to die for with lovely wooden loungers and really thick cushions and staff handing out cooling cloths and bringing you drinks... Pure bliss. I prefer organised trips over doing your own thing at each port but the choice is yours.

whateveritakes Mon 04-Feb-13 19:12:11

I did a Western Europe one as a single parent with my 4 year old. Although the extras can stack up it is brilliant value. 24 hour food is perfect for children who need food and drinks "now" and there is free childcare of a really good standard (although mine wouldn't leave me and the pool).
We did all the trips on our own apart from Pompeii and that it the best bit. You can see all the famous sights without having to have a weekend away. Then you can go back some other time to really holiday in the places you like. Been back to Villefranche 3 times now!

malteserzz Mon 04-Feb-13 21:01:52

We have done 4 ,3 around the med and 1 to the caribbean and absolutely love cruising! The food is fantastic, the entertainment and things for the kids to do are fab and it's just lovely waking up in a different port every day!
We've been with thomson, p and o carnival and celebrity if you need and help with any of those.

Kewcumber Mon 04-Feb-13 21:06:54

my 7 yr old thought he'd died and gone to heaven on our cruise. I did nothing, didn't join anything just ate, went to the gym and watched films. I did eat a LOT though.

Rizzlekicks Tue 05-Feb-13 11:30:33

Thanks for all your replies. I took a look at the Disney cruises and it is around £1300 per person. Is this the kind of price that I should expect to pay for a week's cruise or is it particularly expensive?
What is a good reputable company to go with?

Fluffy1234 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:34:28

You can cruise for quite a bit cheaper than that. I really like iglu cruise and They often include some onboard credit or pre paid tips. Regarding the Disney cruise it would probably be cheaper to book your own flights to Barcelona and then book the cruise bit separately. We did that and added on 3 nights in the Costa Dorada beforehand. Good luck.

whateveritakes Tue 05-Feb-13 17:15:38

Have a look at Travelzoo they have a section for cruises that includes agents like iglu.
Cheap cruises start at £400 for an inner room. I would recommend a balcony if possible because it's fab having wine on one with the children in bed. Otherwise you don't see much out of the little porthole windows so I'm not sure they really matter.
There were deals last year for £549 that included a flights and a night in a fab Barcelona hotel.

whateveritakes Tue 05-Feb-13 17:25:10

Have a look at Travelzoo they have a section for cruises that includes agents like iglu.
Cheap cruises start at £400 for an inner room. I would recommend a balcony if possible because it's fab having wine on one with the children in bed. Otherwise you don't see much out of the little porthole windows so I'm not sure they really matter.
There were deals last year for £549 that included a flights and a night in a fab Barcelona hotel.

whateveritakes Tue 05-Feb-13 17:28:11

Sorry about that. Got carried away with this 2 week cruise to Holy land £599!!!

somebloke123 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:13:59

A basic question: what is normally included in the price of the cruise, as far as on-board consumption is concerned?

Food? Entertainment? Drink? I'm assuming not drink, but is it exceptionally expensive. Are there any particular consumables that it's worth bringing yourself?

Fluffy1234 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:08:34

Breakfast, lunch and dinner at either a buffet or table service restaurant. Snacks, midnight buffets. There are normally speciality restaurants with a cover charge of about £15 per person. The three I went on had service areas where you could help yourself to lemonade, water, tea and coffee. The Disney cruise provides all soft drinks throughout the day and with meals. Water us provided with meals on all the ships I have been on. Alcohol is quite expensive. My husband brought a drinks package last time for about 50 dollars a day and I was happy with a yummy baileys, ice cream cocktail thing after dinner that cost about £6. There is loads of entertaiment included. If you steer away from gambling it shouldn't cyst you anything. There are very tight rules on taking alcohol aboard. It varys from 1 or 2 bottles of wine to nothing. I think you are allowed to take on some soft drinks if they fit in your travel bag not your case. Or something like that, ive never done it. Excersions can be expensive but I look on it as I may never go back to that place so want to make the most of it. Overall cruising isn't the cheapest holiday but for the level of pampering and service etc I feel they are value for money. Hope this helps.

somebloke123 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:17:05

Many thanks fluffy - that's very helpful. I have never been on a cruise myself but we are toying with the idea of going on one of those Arctic/ Northern Lights cruises at some point.

Fluffy1234 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:19:47

Glad to have been of help. I'm going on a Norwegian fjord one in a few months. It's from the U.k which I haven't done before.

zumo Sun 10-Feb-13 20:12:23

We have done 8 the kids like it more than we do
Join the cruise critic forum, plan your own shore excursions and its excellent
Some people have been know to smuggle booze onboard to save money.
You will see so many places you wouldnt normally visit, we went to Israel and it was just fantastic, far better than we expected.
You will enjoy it

Just found this thread as we are thinking about going on a cruise for the first time, another question if anyone is still around - how much should we be budgeting for excursions on a Med cruise?

Suzieismyname Tue 12-Feb-13 20:35:33

only been on one cruise and that was before the kids but it was absolutely great. We chatted a lot to a family with kids I'd say of junior age and they loved it. So much to do on the ship and stopping somewhere different every morning means you won't get bored if you need to go and see/do things but you'll have pools to lounge around if you just want to relax. We went on Royal Caribbean specifically because we didn't fancy going on a more European-run one with the same announcement in about 5 languages. (I did French and Spanish at university and A level by the way, so I'm not a language-phobe). My in laws have been on loads of cruises and would say that the Cunard ships are probably more your typical OAP cruise line.
Our DDs are 2 and 4 and we will go on a cruise with them as soon as we can afford it and DD2 is sleeping in a bed.

The one we are looking at particularly is Royal Caribbean, I'm no language phobe either having studied French and Spanish but DH hasn't got a word of either, the main thing is that we are very restricted on choice of dates and live near Southampton, so it seems silly to fly somewhere else. I cannot find any mention of family or interconnecting rooms though, I think I am going to have to phone an agent.

waterbabyabroad Tue 12-Feb-13 22:43:07

We've just gone ahead and booked our first cruise as well. DC's are 4 and 6 and we've taken the plunge and gone for the Disney Magic leaving from Barcelona. We booked through cruisedirect after phoning 5 or 6 different agents. They gave us the best price after i told them the lowest quote i had. The RC cruise going to the Italian Med was our second choice and looks great as well.

Was there much variation between the quotes? I just found an old thread that said the agents are generally no cheaper thanbooking direct.

Aftereightsarenolongermine Wed 13-Feb-13 05:32:02

We did the med cruise on Disney magic 2 years ago, it was fantastic. It's worth having a balcony if you can afford it especially if your dcs are young. Going on celebrity cruise in med this year as dh wants to try another line (been on 4 Disney cruises). Celebrity better be good as he's got me & dcs to answer to if not.

Aftereightsarenolongermine Wed 13-Feb-13 05:46:25

Oh & sailing into Valetta (Malta) is probably is so beautiful. We all love going to Florida but all say our highlight is definitely the cruise part.

I don't think I'd be able to cope with a balcony, I have a bit of a fear of heights and can't stand at the railings of the Isle of Wight ferry, let alone a cruise ship! I always have to stay about 6 feet back from the rails. I need to have a good look at the pictures of the deck layouts to see if I'm going to be ok before we decide to do this.

waterbabyabroad Wed 13-Feb-13 10:55:17

We got a balcony stateroom in the end...decided a family room wasn't worth the extra £1500. I Think we saved about £300 booking with the agent rather than through Disney direct. They weren't offering any discounts until i made it clear that i'd book with the cruise line directly if they didn't offer a cheaper price!

Aftereights - are you allowed to bring alcohol on Disney ships? It looks like you are but would be good to hear from someone who has been on board before...

Aftereightsarenolongermine Wed 13-Feb-13 13:17:09

We didn't take any board sorry cant help. But try to get autograph books for your dcs & don't forget your camera as lots of opportunities for both even before you board. & as long as you take photos with your own cameras you won't need to purchase their official ones. You'll all have a ball!

Fluffy1234 Thu 14-Feb-13 15:58:27

You are allowed to take alcohol on Disney cruise ships as long as it is in your carry on bag and not your suitcase. We stayed a few days in Costa Dorada beforehand and brought a box of red wine there and that worked out fine. I did the Disney med cruise 2 years ago and it was definitely one of my best ever holidays.

Fluffy1234 Thu 14-Feb-13 16:10:57

Forgot to say when you go on excursions an official Disney photographer often turns up and asks if you want your photo taken. We got some fab ones of the whole family at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colloseum. They have a sort of Disney cruise theme border and the date on and make a great souvenir.

waterbabyabroad Fri 15-Feb-13 16:56:31

Thanks for the tips. Only 6 months to wait now. OP - did you book a cruise yet?

We've just booked, gone for interconnecting rooms with an interior window (really couldn't face the balcony). This is going to be such a change for us, we have only ever self-catered (cottages/Centre Parcs or camped before this). Gulp!

Aftereightsarenolongermine Sun 24-Feb-13 08:58:41

Which cruise line did you go for in the end? I find studying the ship layout before I get on board helps me get my bearings. Dh says I'm just a saddo. smile

Aftereightsarenolongermine Sun 24-Feb-13 09:00:12

We only did self catering or centerparcs when dcs were little also. It's obviously more cramped in your cabins but you won't be in them that much.

Royal Caribbean - we are really restricted on dates this year for various reasons so there was only one choice. Booked direct, I had got quotes from various online agents which were all identical, the person on the phone was very helpful WRT fear of heights, types of rooms, other questions I had because of DS having SNs etc. Been looking at pictures/diagrams of the ship to help get my bearings too, the DCs are very excited.

zumo Sun 24-Feb-13 09:10:32

You now need to give us a list of ports and we can give you some tips for trips out, Cruise critic forum is also excellent

Aftereightsarenolongermine Sun 24-Feb-13 09:13:12

I'm going to inform dh that I'm not the only person who studies the ships map 9 months in advance. You'll have a ball.

My DH thinks I'm mad, I said we'll need to think about excursions and he was oh, we can just sort those out once we're on board. I am the plan ahead person in our family, he just turns up and wings things. Thing is, I used to have a friend who meticulously planned holidays, I used to think she was a bit of a saddo, but then I went on holiday once and didn't bother at all, spent half the week trying to find out tourist info, getting bearings etc, wasted a lot of time and didn't see as much as we would have liked. On comparing notes with the friend after our hols it was apparent she was getting a lot more out of hers by planning and researching ahead. Hers were like military operations though, with no room for flexibility at all and every minute planned, I'm not that bad!

Aftereightsarenolongermine Sun 24-Feb-13 09:30:32

Definitely think about booking some excursions before you board. Nothing worse than an excursion you really want to do & it's fully booked. But leave yourselves free time for wandering around if you want to also.

Ships excursions are fairly expensive so only do the ones you really want & then plan what else you want to do. When we were on Disney you could just book your coach seat into Rome for example & just do your own thing when you got there.

Fluffy1234 Sun 24-Feb-13 13:51:05

We had two interconnecting cabins with windows on a Royal Caribbean cruise last summer and was very impressed with the layout. We had the door open most of the time and it felt like a suite. Having 2 bathrooms and double the wardrobe space was great too. Although it sounds like a cliche we were hardly in our cabin as so much to do on and of board.

We wondered about the hardly being in the cabin thing, but the DCs are going to be going to bed earlier than us at least some of the time (they are 9 and 7) and we didn't fancy being stuck whispering in the dark every night while they try and get to sleep, esp as we will not have a balcony. Don't mind for the odd night in a Premier inn here and there but not a whole fortnight.

Aftereightsarenolongermine Sun 24-Feb-13 14:50:37

First cruise we went in with dcs they were 9 & 5 didn't go to bed much earlier than us to be honest, far too much happening on board for them to miss out on smile

There is that, but DH rarely goes to bed before midnight, often nearer 1am and I'm not much earlier, so even if they stay up till say 10pm and we go earlier than usual, which is likely, we are still not likely to want to go to bed at the same time as them most nights.

Fluffy1234 Sun 24-Feb-13 15:21:52

I'd recommend ordering room service breakfast as a lovely treat. It's usually included and you just tip whoever delivers it. You chose what you want and hang the order on your cabin door at bedtime. It's good for lazy sea days or to save time if you have an early trip.

I need to start making notes! Room service breakfast sounds lovely. We are not early risers unless we need to go out (as you could guess from our bedtimes).

Fluffy1234 Sun 24-Feb-13 16:06:43

What ship are you sailing on?

Adventure of the Seas. Which were you on?

Fluffy1234 Sun 24-Feb-13 16:18:05

Grandeur of the seas which is much smaller than yours but this May Independence of the seas which is large with the iceskating etc. Adventure of the Seas looks amazing.

gottasmile Sun 24-Feb-13 16:56:12

Just caught this thread and have a question...

Do you pay per person for interconnecting rooms, or do you pay for the rooms? I hate the idea of those high folding out beds and 4 of us squashed into those tiny cabins.

I've enjoyed reading about your cruising experiences. I've only done one and loved it.


I priced ours up for all of us in one room or two interconnecting rooms with two of us in each, the difference was about £500 for a 14 night cruise.

gottasmile Sun 24-Feb-13 20:05:07

Thank you, that's interesting. I'm definitely going to make some enquiries!

Fluffy1234 Sun 24-Feb-13 20:12:10

Basically if you book 3 or 4 people in a cabin you pay 2 times standard price and the third and 4 th person pay a reduced price. If you book 2 cabins all four people would pay the standard price. Often it's actually cheaper to book for instance 2 cabins with a window than 1 balcony cabin. It's just a case of doing a bit of price research.

Geordieminx Sun 24-Feb-13 20:33:01

Waterbaby... Which agent did you book through?

gottasmile Mon 25-Feb-13 10:30:47

Has anyone ever done a cruise with MSC? They have a great one that leaves from Venice and it seems like children don't pay. At the moment the cost is around 749 pounds.

waterbabyabroad Wed 27-Feb-13 19:12:00

Geordieminx - just caught up. We booked through We had to push for a discount though - they didn't offer it upfront.

herecomesthsun Wed 13-Mar-13 09:55:50

I have been wondering about cruises. We have a 1 year old and an almost-5-year old. I am a little anxious though about a) swimming pools and the risk of kids falling in and b) the whole idea of being on a boat when I am the only member of the family who can swim (though I am trying to change that).

chicaguapa Wed 13-Mar-13 13:01:21

gottasmile I haven't heard good things about MSC personally.

We went on an RCI cruise around the med last year and we all loved it. DC 11 & 8 are desperate to go on one again so we are waiting to book one for summer 2014 later this month. Either with RCI or NCL.

We were a bit worried about DS falling in, but he never even looked over the side once, let alone thought about climbing over. He was too focussed on what was happening on the ship tbh.

For us we felt it gave everyone the holiday they wanted. DH & I had time to wander around the ports, have a coffee and soak up the forrin atmosphere. And we didn't lift a finger the whole time as the cabin boy tidied our cabin and made our beds and someone else did the cooking. There was plenty of time for relaxing and I felt properly pampered and relaxed when we got back.

DD(11) came ashore with us when she fancied it, but stayed on the ship when she didn't and enjoyed the freedom of choosing what she wanted to eat and when. She says the best thing about the holiday was being able to do what she wanted.

DS(8) stayed on the ship the whole time as he was having too much fun in the kids club and wasn't interested in the ports. Once he went to lunch with them even though we were back on board. He loved trying new foods in the dining room as he could always order something else if he didn't like it. And he enjoyed the unlimited free frozen yoghurt.

We had an outside 4-berth cabin with the bunks above us and we thought it was fine for what we needed it for. It was nice to go back before dinner and relax on the bed with the sun coming in the window. And looking out first thing to see where you were. We didn't find it too small.

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