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  • djdj 31 posts

    Hi all,

    I have been asked to find a cruise trip for next summer, as that is what the Mother in Law wants to do
    3 adults, 2 children (6 and 9). I’ve only been told the destination/cruise has to be hot/warm. I’m not sure where to begin to look as it seems like a minefield – any tips?

    Jill Kinkell 161 posts

    Of no help,sorry . I have been on a few ocean cruises as well as several European river cruises and yet to see any children! Perhaps look at the American cruise lines as I’m sure Disney stuff features highly on some. Having said that I know a lot provide kids clubs on board, just not sure it’s a kids thing! I’d be looking at a family friendly Mediterranean resort that caters for children on the basis of ‘if the kids are happy, I’m happy!

    NorthernLass 8,490 posts

    I agree, unless it’s something that specifically caters to children, like the Disney cruises, or one of the behemoths beloved of the Americans which have water parks, skating rinks and the like on board, I’d go for a more traditional family holiday!

    MisterE 30 posts

    This is where a ‘proper’ experienced travel agent comes in. Someone who can understand what you are after and talk through the various options/price points. We have used Tony Ripper for over 10 years – he has deep knowledge and sensible advice. He is more or less a sole practitioner and you can reach him at tony@cruiseadvisory.co.uk.

    Good luck

    masaccio 808 posts

    I’ve done a river cruise (The Nile) which is about slow journeys spending time to linger on the journey itself. I’ve just booked QM2 transatlantic which is about the journey too but full on glam. I have also watched the another type with horror: tick lists going city-to-city.

    I have zero understanding of why people do Caribbean cruises as the whole point of the Caribbean, to paraphrase Captain Jack, is to sit on a beach and drink rum. Why anyone would want to visit dull Caribbean capital cities and buy tat at a cruise terminal I have no idea.

    Friends loved a Med cruise, but then the Med does have loads of interesting cities on the coast. I’d go for that. Unless you want to do the Nile thing, but it might be a little too much for the 6 year old unless they are already an Ancient Egypt fan.

    The real Swiss Tony 739 posts

    The travel agent may well have value here but you need to have some idea of location and budget. Summer probably means the Med is a good call. I believe that NCL who I used on our cruise have one way trips down the Med so hopefully you can find a combo that gives the kids a couple of points of interest – Istanbul, Dubrovnik and places in between maybe?

    There’s a massive variance in ships, cabin types and ultimately prices which is why budget matters.

    Plenty of cruise finder websites where you select departure month and key destinations. It then spits back the options.

    We did a cruise when my kids were 8-13. It was only a few days but the younger two enjoyed the kids clubs, allowing my wife and I to have a couple of relaxed evenings.

    The Savage Squirrel 611 posts

    I sure as hell wouldn’t be letting my mother in law dictate a family holiday when she is (presumably) the tag-along, but that’s just me. Do the other 4 of you want to go on the style of cruise that your MIL would enjoy (hint – the kids don’t)….?

    djdj 31 posts

    I sure as hell wouldn’t be letting my mother in law dictate a family holiday when she is (presumably) the tag-along, but that’s just me. Do the other 4 of you want to go on the style of cruise that your MIL would enjoy (hint – the kids don’t)….?

    We get plenty of our own holidays so happy for her to dictate this time.

    NorthernLass 8,490 posts

    @masaccio – you would class Santo Domingo, Havana, Cartagena, San Juan, as “dull”, seriously?!

    SamG 1,733 posts

    We’re in the exact same boat (pun intended) – MIL wanted to pay for a cruise. First thing we agreed was budget – there is a huge variation and we wanted balconies. We will have 2 x toddlers so we needed some facilities for them but nothing OTT. Wanted ports that didn’t require long organised trips as that wouldn’t work for said toddlers.

    We ended up settling on P&O out of Malta going down the coast of Croatia. None of us have been (or to Malta) and nearly all the stops are more or less walk off and wander about type setups which will do well for us as we can go back to the ship for lunch and nap time. Pricing was very reasonable – we used an agent (Pure Holidays) who offered it a little cheaper than P&O direct

    djdj 31 posts

    thanks all I will go through all the suggestions

    The real Swiss Tony 739 posts

    Just to add, the BA estore has cruise118.com as a merchant. 3 Avios/£ – could be quite a tidy earner depending how much you spend.

    cabal of rabid baboons 110 posts

    @djdj – Has your MIL ever been on a cruise? Have you ever all been away together before?
    If she’s a regular cruiser then let her sort it out, if not ask her a few questions.
    a) is it money no object
    if not
    b) is she willing to share a cabin with the eldest child?
    if yes
    c) find a cruise line that allows a 6-y-o to share a cabin at no great surcharge.
    d) who will look after the children of an evening to allow the other adults to enjoy the shows?
    This sound like the planning stage of a holiday from hell.

    The real Swiss Tony 739 posts

    d) who will look after the children of an evening to allow the other adults to enjoy the shows?
    This sound like the planning stage of a holiday from hell.

    This is one thing that I believe cruise lines do very, very well. They know that happy kids mean happy parents and that means repeat business. The exact formats are all different but I remember one evening taking the kids to the buffet 5.30pm-ish (which they loved – whatever….) fed them, dropped them round the kids club, wife and I then had leisurely drinks and a nice Japanese meal before collecting them around 10pm.

    SamG 1,733 posts

    I’m surprised at the negativity actually – a cruise seems perfect for a multi generation holiday especially if MIL is happy to go off for a coffee and a read of her book for a while .

    Pick the right cruise line and you’ve got lots of activities to do, kids club, child care etc

    No worries about finding restaurants or organising transfers or day trips etc it’s all thought about for you!

    We booked ours MIL + 1 child and then us + 1 child. They’ll both sleep in with us on the sofa bed . I’m sure that breaks some rules somewhere but saved a couple hundred doing it that way

    strickers 762 posts

    Have a look at Vacations to Go, not necessarily to book with but it’s a decent resource for seeing what’s available by destination and departure port. Cruise Critic is a good resource for reviews and asking question. If you are booking several cabins then don’t be in a rush to book all balconies, you spend little time in the cabin so an inside is fine. For first time cruisers book a low deck and in the middle of the ship, it will be calmer when the sea is rough.

    SamG 1,733 posts

    Have a look at Vacations to Go, not necessarily to book with but it’s a decent resource for seeing what’s available by destination and departure port. Cruise Critic is a good resource for reviews and asking question. If you are booking several cabins then don’t be in a rush to book all balconies, you spend little time in the cabin so an inside is fine. For first time cruisers book a low deck and in the middle of the ship, it will be calmer when the sea is rough.

    Yes we got 1 balcony between us as they’re quite a mark up vs a window/inside cabin. I soon learnt that unless you want to be sat in the bath during naps and toddler bed time then it’s optimal to have somewhere separate to go!

    cin3 170 posts

    @masaccio – you would class Santo Domingo, Havana, Cartagena, San Juan, as “dull”, seriously?!

    If you’ve actually experienced the rest of Colombia for example you’ll see why people say that Cartagena is dull. And you might as well go to the Epcot rather than have half a day at most cruise port cities.

    Skywalker 762 posts

    I’m in a similar position to OP (don’t know where to start with cruises) so just reading through all the advice with interest.

    I have another question too – has anyone ever used (or does anyone know much about) the Amex Platinum cruise credit?

    If so, any good?

    tw33ty 212 posts

    Young kids, then book MSC if you’re not into too formal dining, just a shirt and dark jeans or trousers is fine.

    Plus so much things like water parks etc for the kids

    Royback 115 posts

    Royal Caribbean. Big ship. Med. Early june if poss. Get a suite. Depart from europe. Not the UK.

    Won’t go far wrong if youvfollow this advice.

    masaccio 808 posts

    @masaccio – you would class Santo Domingo, Havana, Cartagena, San Juan, as “dull”, seriously?!

    No, but I would count Bridgetown, Castries and St George as dull and they all have cruise terminals. And they all look identical: a soulless row of tat shops selling crap to people with a few hours to spend in an island better explored in a car or a on a small boat.

    I am by no means anti-cruise — I’ve just booked the QM2 — but the routes of most Caribbean cruises just leave me cold.

    omicron 55 posts

    Have done lots of multi generation cruise trips and it works really well as everyone can do their own thing during the day, and there are lots of kids activities on board (depending on which cruise line you pick). Much better than renting a house or staying at a resort as it takes away the need for everyone to agree on what to do/where to go each day.

    If you consider that most food and potentially also drinks are included in the rate it can often end up as quite good value as well! It’s also a good way to sample places you might want to spend more time in later.

    For families I think MSC, RCL and Norwegian would be your best bets as they focus on families and have something for all ages.

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