From: D Ball on
Hi, Bo,

Have you considered a yacht charter? I think Moorings and Sunsail are the
"go to" groups. You could customize the trip to please all tastes and

This is not a slick-looking website, but it has been around forever and is a
reliable source of information about small ship cruises of all kinds.

Other than private charters and small ships, the rest of the cruise market
roughly shakes out into two categories, mass market cruises for the whole
family and upmarket cruises that are mostly un-kid friendly, with a few
exceptions, e.g., Crystal welcomes children during the holidays and over the
summer. I think that's Silversea's policy, as well, but I'd check to be
sure--Rosalie's find of the (new) Silver Spirit in the Caribbean was a great
idea that surprised me, as I think another challenge you'll discover is that
most of the small luxury lines that appeal to you will not be sailing in the
Caribbean or other location convenient for a one-week school break from NJ
in November. (As Rosalie also points out, you could do a crossing on the
Queen Mary 2...nostalgic for you, but no fun-in-the-sun if you were looking
for that kind of break.)

Based on what little you've shared and our cruise experiences with kids, my
personal opinion is that of all the mass market lines, Celebrity may offer
your group the best compromise between satisfying adult tastes and giving
the kids a fun vacation AND better support your food preferences than other
contendors. Holland America might be a contendor for your group, but the one
and only time we sailed that line, it was a mostly sides and salads cruise
for our vegetarian, so before booking, I'd be especially cautious as a vegan
to get current passenger feedback--not cruise line sales talk--about vegan
options on the ship you're considering. Actually, that goes for any can get up-to-the-minute info and opinions about ships (and get
questions answered quickly) on the discussion forum at

Have fun researching your options!

Diana Ball
Austin, TX

From: Rosalie B. on
Bo1953 <bo1953(a)> wrote:

>On Nov 2, 8:13 pm, Bill <billru...(a)> wrote:
>> On 11/2/2009 12:22 PM, Carol Eskra wrote:
>> > Forgot to mention the nursery caregivers do Not Change diapers, and if
>> > your child or baby starts to cry you will be summoned back to the ship.
>> Hopefully that will not be a problem with the 9-10 year olds the
>> OP asked about.
>> Bill
>Hello all...
>There have been many things to think about for sure. I had not
>considered Disney as I thought there would be too many children for my
>taste. Having a few diversions for them would be great, yet I wonder
>if this is like "Camp at Sea"? If so, then not so sure. As for the
>question about out of school for a week, the first week in November,
>here in NJ, there is election day on which schools are out often times
>and then the two following days is a major teachers conference. Then
>that leaves one day on each side, for which I can take their lessons
>and school them while we are away, so no loss there in my opine.

Unless a lot of people in NJ are of a similar opinion though, you
won't find many other kids on most ships. I don't know if the kids
programs are like "Camp at Sea". Many kids really like the programs.
Some do not. You know your kids best. Of course if they are the only
ones there, the programs can be tailored to them.

Incidentally I only looked at 7 day cruises, and originally I looked
at November 2010. However I found that most of those cruises started
Nov 6, so probably you should look at October 30 or 31 for the start
date. That might make a small difference as to what was available.
>I have gone to several of sites mentioned here, and did find some
>valuable info to help in my decision process. I really would like to
>stay away from the mega ships if possible, even if there are no
>specific programs for children. I find that being on vessels that
>large, in general, is just overwhelming. Reminds me of my first voyage
>of the QE2, the only saving grace was the fact that my dining room was
>the Princess Grill a small intimate one seating and phenomenal
>service, as I recollect. Not that we are looking to recreate that
>experience, yet looking for something not overwhelmingly formal and
>not too crowded either.
>In my mind, 1,500 people are just too many to try an navigate, then
>having to choose a dinner time... I needed to have brought that up
>earlier, we do prefer single seating, that way we can go to the dining
>room when we want and not have to worry about 'alternative' dining
>because we were late or some such.... does this make sense or Am I off
>base with this preference?
The very small ships, like the river cruises seem to have something
like that. I'm not sure about the semi-small ones like Azamara. Most
of the other lines have two seatings - early which is around 6 pm and
late which is roughly around 8 plus a cafeteria/buffet. Most of them
also have formal nights where if you don't want to dress up, you have
to default to the buffet.

Norwegian is the only one that has multiple alternate dining venues
with completely free times to go and also no formal nights. This
leads to another kind of hassle. The other lines either have two
set seatings for dinner (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity) or two set
seatings with freestyle/any time options (Holland American and I think

>I tried looking up a TA on the CLIA website and nothing came about, I
>was perplexed and will try again maybe something with the site. It was
>odd there were no agents found in the Trenton, NJ area... no big
>shakes, will get it sorted out.
Most of the time I think the cruise ship TAs do their business by
phone and internet. IMHO you want someone who is comfortable with
that because so much of travel now relies on internet.

>I would like to be a bit educated when talking to someone about our
>desires and needs and requirements, regardless of who or what it is
>(TA or Website or Direct although TA is where I will go regardless).
>Some of my friends brought up the midnight buffets and seafood... as I
>looked at them like a deer in headlights, I forgot to mention that I
>Am a vegan and will make sure my agent advises the cruise line in
>advance that I do not expect side dishes and tons of salad for my
>meals... ;-)
>I really want to thank each and every one who posted to my questions
>and thoughts. I found something valuable in each. We appreciate your
>thoughts and input and know I will be back with further questions and
>thoughts for input and design...
>Warmest regards...

This has been an interesting discussion. I wish I knew what to tell
you about a vegan diet. Some of our fellow pax have been diabetic or
needed a gluten free diet and that has been satisfactory to them, but
I'm not sure about a vegan diet.
From: John Sisker on
"Bo1953" <bo1953(a)> wrote in message
>I and a few friends are wanting to go on a cruise next year.. the
> first week in November and need some suggestions...
> We want something small, under 1,000 passengers and is child friendly
> (9 & 10). Any all-inclusives possible? If not, that is fine too...
> There will be between 10 -14 of us traveling.
> Any thoughts on this for me?
> TIA...
> Samuel a/k/a Bo1953
> NJ


You have had a lot of feedback in this reference already, some quite good
and/or at least interesting. Actually, a few of us even suggested you look
into Disney Cruise Line for various reasons. It seemed to fit the bill for
most of what you are looking for.

However, the real clincher here is the rest of the group you will be
traveling with. Those with kids may have no problem if you mention Disney
Cruise Line, but those without, that may be a hard nut to crack. I still
feel Disney would be a good choice for what you are looking for, but I'm
quite sure you don't need to want to have to go into a sale mode, trying to
convince most everyone else otherwise. Therefore, let me suggest an
alternative, that should fit the bill all-around, and should bring you very
little objections.

You might want to consider Holland American. It fits the bill for what you
are looking for, and even with some of their smaller ships, has far less
passengers than some of these mega ships others have been suggesting.
Likewise, in the scheme of things and as a booking agency, they tend to be a
notch above Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International, yet not
to the point of being so upscale that the passengers on board are trying to
get away from kids. Likewise, we can ever speak from personal experience, we
too have sailed on Holland American. They cruise the Caribbean and ever have
a pretty good kids program.

At least take a quick look, you own it to yourself and your fellow

Holland American: 800-426-0327 or

Smooth sailing...
John Sisker

From: Warren on
On Nov 1, 1:20 pm, Bo1953 <bo1...(a)> wrote:

> We want something small, under 1,000 passengers and is child friendly
> (9 & 10). Any all-inclusives possible? If not, that is fine too...

My suggestions are to look at Silversea, RSSC and Seabourn in addition
to SeaDream - wherever they are sailing next November. I disagree that
you "must" limit yourself to the caribbean. As others have said also
take a look at Azamara, Oceania and the small Princess ships - all of
which use the former "R" ships.

These choices might not have dedicated children's programs or
facilities but the itineraries are so port intensive that it really
doesn't matter. You'll all be out exploring or playing on a beach.

You'll always be able to find a steward who will watch the kids for a
few hours in the evening for some extra cash.

From: Warren on
On Nov 3, 8:09 am, Rosalie B. <gmbeas...(a)> wrote:
>  The other lines either have two
> set seatings for dinner (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity) or two set
> seatings with freestyle/any time options (Holland American and I think
> Princess)

If I'm not mistaken RCI and Celebrity are rolling out their version of
open seating. It might not be on all of their ships yet but probably