First time cruise with 2.5 year old - Don't know where to start?

(8 Posts)
starfish8 Sun 13-Mar-16 14:36:37

Hi everyone

After reading some reccs for cruising on the short haul forum, husband and I fancy giving it a go. We have a son who will be nearly 3 in this Autumn, so would consider it for Sept once the kids have gone back to school or if it's too expensive, something for next year.

I've got as far as thinking - Cruise to Med or even Norwegian Fjords. 7 to 10 days max. Would consider leaving Southampton or a European port.

Can you please give me a few liners to look at for starters. Royal Caribbean and P&O are ones I've heard of, and read some people rate the Disney Cruises (Husband will go for this with Star Wars being part of Disney now!)

Don't really know what else to look for? Great if someone can advise what is included - I presume the meals and drinks, and how expensive is tipping on top of this?

Thanks so much for giving me a start.

nmg85 Tue 15-Mar-16 16:48:17

Hi,

Royal Caribbean and P&O are good places to start as both have good facilities for families. Disney is v expensive and minimal if any in Europe sailings I believe.
Have a look which offer babysitting services and age limits if it is something you want to use. I think Royal sometimes have a room you can use with toys etc for a child of 3.
Meals are included in the main dining room and a buffet restaurant and maybe a cafe or similar such as a burger grill. All ships will usually have some restaurants that are additional fee to eat at. You can eat well and have variety without paying extra. Room service is usually also included apart from late at night.
Tea, coffee and water (not bottled) are available free along with juice and milk at breakfast and some other soft drinks at lunch in the buffet. Branded soft drinks and alcohol are extra unless you purchase a beverage package.
Tips on Royal are about $11pppd I think and you can pay these in advance.
Sailing out of Southampton you will have minimal 7 day itineraries so think northern France and Spain and norway only. Barcelona is a good port to sail out of as only about 30min from the airport.
Kids especially toddlers are treated really well by all the staff as a lot of them miss their own families.
If you are new to cruising it may be worth speaking to a specialist cruise agent for help and advice.

starfish8 Wed 16-Mar-16 09:41:25

Thanks for the information nmg85. I had a chat to an agent at Iglu, just to get a bit of general advice. He also directed me to P&O and Royal Caribbean.

I think we've decided to look at it for next year rather than this Autumn. We quite fancy the Norwegian Fjords (7 days from Southampton) and the agent suggested May/June as the best time to do this. I would also consider a med cruise from Barcelona though.

The only thing that worries me is potential rough seas - Does anyone know if the sea is calmer out on the Med vs Norway? (DH has been reading horror stories on the internet! Lovely!)

Thanks!

nmg85 Wed 16-Mar-16 10:53:51

You can get rough seas anywhere, The crossing (north sea) to the Norwegian fjords could be rough but once you are there you are quite often either in a fjord or close to shore so not so bad. Med cruise can also be rough but for both destinations it is less likely in Spring - Autumn but can still happen. You are more likely to get rougher seas when coming from Southampton down to the med as you have to cross the Bay of Biscay which is famous for sometimes being bumpy, from Barcelona the chances are less but still could happen.

For fjords the better times to go are May to September. I have been in May and June with lovely weather and also been in August with rain most days so you can never tell. Certain norwegian ports are more spectacular then others and some med ports are easier to do on your own so if you need any advice let me know and will be happy to help. For Med I wouldn't go July / August as the temperatures are to high to walk around etc so May / June / Sept and Oct are best.

starfish8 Wed 16-Mar-16 11:12:50

Thanks for the further info. I'm still getting over a very bad channel crossing to France when I was pregnant - Throwing up all night and baby kicking in my stomach was not fun! To be fair, although at the time I said I'd never get on a ship again, the guy who had parked next to me said it was the worst crossing he'd done in over 30 years, so it was probably a bit of a freak.

I can't see us travelling from Southampton for the med, I think we'd just fly. We have done a lot of Italy/France, so have already been to some of the port towns e.g. Pisa, Rome, Naples, Capri. My DH has always fancied trying a Norwegian cruise, so I think we'll steer towards that as it feels a bit 'different'.

Can you advise which are the 'spectacular' ports to look out for on an itinerary? I noticed some just do Norway where by other cruises visit both Denmark and Norway.

Thanks so much!

nmg85 Wed 16-Mar-16 11:22:08

The 2 most spectacular ports are Geiranger and Flam, they are the two most spectacular ports to sail into. If you can get both of them it will make the cruise.

Sirzy Wed 16-Mar-16 11:24:08

We have cruised with p and o twice with children from 6 months to 7 and it has been fab. We are off again in August.

Now is a good time to start looking as the 2017 intinaries are going on sale in the next few weeks.

starfish8 Wed 16-Mar-16 11:34:18

Thanks so much guys ,really appreciate your pointers!

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