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Old 06-23-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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How to decide?

Just got back from the World, and already everyone is wishing we would have cruised, but this was an extended family trip so it was not an option AND... While we were in the parks and listening to my niece whine my husband said, "Christmas cruise, no presents this year" The kids and I latched onto that and are going to start planning. Here's our situation.... Weve only cruised DCL, We've not been on either of the new ships, in December I want the warmth of the Caribbean (the Bahamas isn't warm enough). I'd rather not pull my kids out of school for longer than 2-3 days. What cruise should I look at?! I'm overwhelmed already looking. Then... When I see the Holiday prices, I start looking at others such as fall break weekend (but my high schooler can't miss the 4 days because of college Now classes), thanksgiving? Christmas/New Years? Presidents' Day or Easter? Or... For those of u who have cruised other lines, what would u recommend? My boys are 16, 13 and dd is 11. I love DCL and so have they but i dont want them to be bored. And if we go over A good break, my 22 year old may be able to come. Would u book for next Christmas (prices are still significantly lower) or look at RCCL or other? Thanks for any advice.
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'85 offsite; '99 4n Wonder + 3n offsite; '05 3n Wonder + 5n POP; '07 6n POP + 4n Wonder; '09 Magic 7n Eastern; '11 6n Caribe Royale Villas;
6/13 WDW with 15 family members 8/13 3n Dream just me and Hubby 11/13 5n Western out of Miami on the Magic! (Did I REALLY go 3 times last year!!)

7/14 2n Daytona Beach , 3n Portofino Bay, 4n Yacht Club, I'm looking forward to the new experiences!
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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We do the same thing-no gifts for birthday or Christmas-cruise instead!

Christmas is always more expensive on DCL. Our first cruise was to the Bahamas over Christmas vacation and it was cccccold! Didn't get in the water once! DCL decorates for the holidays and it was a magical cruise experience. I would recommend the Caribbean hoping it would be warmer. The Fantasy is a beautiful ship is you can do a 7 day cruise. And, of course, there are tons of activities for your kids on DCL (well, adults too!). Heck, it's only money.......!!!!!!!!!!! Whatever you decide, enjoy!
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:24 PM   #3
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Well, you already have some parameters. I see you're in MN so you have to fly no matter what...

How about a southern caribbean itinerary? RCCL does one out of San Juan.

Or perhaps you could save a little by doing a 5 night out of Miami on the Magic. There is a Western itinerary over Christmas that does Castaway and Cozumel with two sea days.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:47 PM   #4
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If you are thinking xmas 2013, then you are probably too late to the game or you'll be paying very high prices.

Xmas 2014 dates are out and dream/fantasy have already gone up in price.

Plan, and plan quickly.
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:12 PM   #5
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Our 1st cruise was the Disney Magic in 2007 and we were hooked, but since we were wanting to go kind of frequently, we hopped over to Carnival and this August will be our 6th (my 7th) with CCL. The kids like Carnival and we like the price. It isn't as nice a product as Disney puts out, but it's great value and there are ways to upgrade your trip (balcony cabin, soda card, bar card, specialty dining resie, excursions, spa...). The food and entertainment are just fine on CCL...the cabins and amenities are nice enough too. The BIG difference is in the staff. I think Carnival has cut back on staff and service isn't as stellar as Disney puts out. But CCL costs 1/2 of what DCL costs.

Now, having said all that...we may venture out and try some other lines like RCCL and NCL. They are reasonably priced too and we'd like to compare to CCL. In fact, in 2011 my inlaws all did a Xmas trip to WDW with us and they wanted to add on a short cruise at the end (when the parks got crazy crowded). I looked into cruises out of Port Canaveral for around 12/26 (3-4 nighters) and there were 2. One was DCL 3 nighter and the other was RCCL 4 nighter. The RCCL cruise was 1/2 the price of the DCL cruise and a day longer. We told the family that we would sign up that day if they chose the RCCL cruise...they chose the DCL Dream so my family opted not to go. We just could not bring ourselves to pay double for just 3 nights, when we could get 4 on RCCL. inlaws all HATED it!!! It was a crowded ship...they couldn't get the ship into Castaway Cay (the only good stop...other stop was Nassau) was crowded...they had electrical issues and could not do the pirate deck party and fireworks at sea...the ship was crazy crowded (lines, buffet, food, pool, deck was CRAZY)....did I mention the crowds?

Anyway...look at the other lines. My kids are teens and they LOVE Carnival. There won't be free soda machines like Disney (but you can buy a soda card). There WILL be a casino on the other lines, if that appeals to you and your DH. We get 2 cabins next to each other...we even have connecting cabins for our August cruise. I suggest an older ship that wasn't built to cram on passenger cabins (a ship that has more square feet per passenger)...the Disney Magic was awesome for need a ship that size with that many passengers (the Carnival Dream class packs on the bodies as does the Conquest class...Spirit class is best and Fantasy class is nice but they are the oldest and smallest...but I LOVE them)....that's if you are looking for less crowds (any of the lines will be at capacity for a Christmas cruise, so that's why I am thinking a smaller/less passenger ship would be better).
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:36 PM   #6
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We are doing a 10 night deep southern Caribbean on NCL Sun. It it is over Christmas and NYE.
My kids are 15 and 12.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:34 PM   #7
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Oh and a good website I use to search cruises (all lines) is called vacations to go. You can do really detailed searches and see what fits your criteria and they book for you too (we used a guy there to book a couple cruises for us but really there is no incentive...I just use it to search and then book directly on the cruise line website now).
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