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Yes they are fantastic, we have done 8 with kids from age 3 & 6 now 13 & 16 and two OAPs, WE have doen top of the range Clebrity, Middle of the road Royal carribean and some bargain basement Thompson ones on a very old ship, all were excellent value. The newer bigger ships are more stable, best to sail from themed not uk as Bay of Biscay can be rough although finewhen we went. Plan your own trips as it will be far cheaper, Cruise Critic forum is excellent. They know the potential problems with Hygine and are ontop of this so I wouldnt worry. Plenty of quiet spots on the ship, they generally sail at night so a different place every day Any questions just ask
I've taken my DC on many different types of holidays including 3 cruises ( and have 2 more booked) and the cruises have been fab. I was also worried about being sea sick but apart from 1 evening when the children felt a bit queasy but were not actually sick it hasn't been a problem. Yes there are thousands or hundreds of people on board but you can always find a quiet spot. I'd say if you are the type of person who likes there own villa and pool on holiday cruises may not be for you. If you like hotel resorts you will probably like cruising. The first cruise I did was from L.A to the Mexican riveira and was amazing, cruising on the Pacific watching whales was truley beautiful. I enjoy them because I love sightseeing so waking up in a new country each day really appeals to me. I may never go back to Rome, Barcelona or Malta etc but am pleased I have seen a small bit of these places. The service and luxury on the ship is wonderful. I have sailed with NCL, royal Caribbean and Disney. Disney beats the others by a long way. Not in the way you may expect but in a classy way. The adult pool is beautiful with wooden loungers, mega soft cushions p, unlimited towels and staff handing out cool cloths and bringing you drinks. My youngest was nearly 9 when I first cruised and I thought that was a really good age to start. There are many families with younger children but some of the excursions may not work as well. Having said that there is usually a good choice for families such as trips to tortoise sanctuary or aquariums etc.
I like some parts of cruising, not others. We've only done 2, the first was royal Caribbean, huge ship, felt really busy, queued all day and all night, couldn't get to use the facilities such as skate rink because it was so crowded. DS, then 6 loved it though! Second cruise 2 years later we decided to go smaller as we didn't use the big ship facilities anyway. We tried Holland America, it was much better, calmer, DS (now 8) loved it again. Pool was much nicer too and we took care to get a better itinerary and really enjoyed visiting the different ports. We combined a week on the ship with a week on land so it was only part of the holiday. I still don't rate the food, I love to wander back streets and find little local restaurants. And we've never been sick, either felt sea sick or noro-virus style sick so that doesn't worry me. We will go again but not for another couple of years, we might try one of the really upmarket lines next to see if that improves the food, and go to Alaska as I think cruising might be the best way to see it.