We've been debating this cruise thing off and on for a couple of months, and everyone here has kindly answered my questions. We had a cruise booked but had to cancel due to a work/vacation conflict, and now are trying to figure out the best time to rebook. Here's the situation: we have one son who turns 9 in a week. He wants desperately to go on the cruise. He is an only child, and is homeschooled, but he's incredibly social (Totally unlike me! Don't know where I got this kid!) and makes friends wherever he goes. Because of homeschooling, we have the luxury of cruising in the "off-season", and would love to do the 7-day western in December. But which December? We can't do it this year, and it might be tight to do it next year (promised to take ds to WDW for his 10th b-day next Jan.), but I'm worried if we wait too long ('til 12/04), he'll be almost 12 and might not enjoy the Oceaneer's Lab as much. He *loves* science, and I think he'll enjoy the activities, but will he have hit that awkward "middle school" age that will make it less enjoyable? Any input from parents of 11 and 12-yo's on the Lab? Is it better appreciated by younger kids?