Cruise ship with kid?

ddrueding

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My wife wants to take a vacation. I've held off this long, but it has been 7 years, so she isn't exactly being unreasonable.

Traveling with a little kid (soon to be 2) has its own layers of difficulty and logistics, so I thought a cruise from a nearby port would be ideal.

1. No need to fly anywhere
2. No need to pack/unpack at multiple destinations
3. The ability to set in our room and see different stuff without effort

Maximum I might be able to get away with at work is a full week gone. Closest port is San Francisco, then Long Beach, then San Diego.
The best options for destinations are likely Alaska, California Coast, and Mexico. My wife would prefer warmer weather, and I don't care as I don't plan on leaving the balcony regardless.
Activities for the kid are a primary concern, general amenities are secondary (high-speed internet of course).
Ideally leaving in September.

Any done a cruise before? Other thoughts?
 

LunarMist

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My wife wants to take a vacation. I've held off this long, but it has been 7 years, so she isn't exactly being unreasonable.

Traveling with a little kid (soon to be 2) has its own layers of difficulty and logistics, so I thought a cruise from a nearby port would be ideal.

1. No need to fly anywhere
2. No need to pack/unpack at multiple destinations
3. The ability to set in our room and see different stuff without effort

Maximum I might be able to get away with at work is a full week gone. Closest port is San Francisco, then Long Beach, then San Diego.
The best options for destinations are likely Alaska, California Coast, and Mexico. My wife would prefer warmer weather, and I don't care as I don't plan on leaving the balcony regardless.
Activities for the kid are a primary concern, general amenities are secondary (high-speed internet of course).
Ideally leaving in September.

Any done a cruise before? Other thoughts?
At that age, I'd leave the child with family. The restrictions you've imposed make it seem not like much of a vacation. :(
You will have to fly to most of those locations unless the cruise is longer than a week or you don't see much of anything.
If you don't do any day trip excursions, you won't see very much anyway.
 

ddrueding

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I've basically spent the day doing research. Several cruise lines offer services that will make this much more practical.

The Carnival Cruise ship Carnival Miracle does a 7-night trip out of LA with a couple stops in Mexico. Direct flights to LAX leave MRY (12 minutes from our house) every couple hours. Car service from LAX to the boat is available.

On-board, there is drop-off kids camp from 9am until 10pm, and <$10/hr until 3am.

Biggest complaint will be poor and expensive internet service; I suspect it'll cost >$300 during the trip. I get to be an Aussie during the trip I guess.
 

LunarMist

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I've basically spent the day doing research. Several cruise lines offer services that will make this much more practical.

The Carnival Cruise ship Carnival Miracle does a 7-night trip out of LA with a couple stops in Mexico. Direct flights to LAX leave MRY (12 minutes from our house) every couple hours. Car service from LAX to the boat is available.

On-board, there is drop-off kids camp from 9am until 10pm, and <$10/hr until 3am.

Biggest complaint will be poor and expensive internet service; I suspect it'll cost >$300 during the trip. I get to be an Aussie during the trip I guess.
If you are really on a travel vacation, then there should be minimal need for internet service.
 

ddrueding

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The reason I haven't taken a vacation in so many years is that there isn't an acceptable contingency plan for me not being at work. I currently have someone part-time, but they aren't up to speed on all the services (and likely won't be by August). I'll need to have my phone with me and be able to remote in for stuff. The company will pick up the costs for phone and internet.
 

Clocker

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We've been on about 16 cruises. 15 with RCCL, one with Carnival (for good reason). My 7 year old son has been on 6 of them. I purchased the internet pacakge once many years ago before even WIFI was available. It totally sucked. You actually used a modem in the cabin! But now, they have WIFI access on the ships and Royal Caribbean claims to have the best internet access speeds by far because of some dedicated satellites they have or something like that. It will depend on the ship you take though, I think. On our cruise in Feb., lots of people were using the WIFI, even doing Facetime with iOS, and it seemed to be working nicely from what I could see on other passenger's phones while in the elevators.

My whole reason for going on vacation is to get away from that though so I'm not buying it. :) It is refreshing to be detached after getting over the first day.

My experience with Carnival has been negative. Royal Caribben seems like the best mix of partying etc. as well as activities for kids. I think most have some free childcare that the kids really enjoy. When my son was 2, we left him there for couple hours at a time, IIRC, if we wanted to take a break from him. He of course, loved it.

Now that we are 'Diamond' members, alcohol is free from 5-8:30 so we are now hooked. We typically get a Jr. Suit, we feel it is the best mix of cost and room for a family.
 

Bozo

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The only cruise I would travel on with a child is Disney. They have an entire deck for the kids ( aka daycare ) You drop your kids off after breakfast and pick them up in the evening. ( no extra charge ) They have a complete section of the ship
that is adult's only. My wife and I did a Disney cruise a couple of years ago. It was great. We hardly knew there were kids on board.
One warning. Once you do a Disney cruise, you will never go back to any other cruise line.

WIFI ?????? don't know about Disney. Besides, your are supposed to be on vacation. Leave the computer at home. Spend time with your family.
 

ddrueding

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First company I looked at was Disney. Unfortunately, they don't have a cruise we are interested in at the time window we have. And as a plus to us, Carnival offers free unlimited daycare to kids over 2 whether they are potty-trained or not. With Disney, that only applies to 3+ and potty-trained. They will take kids as young as 6-mos, but that daycare is booked by the hour and billed accordingly.
 

timwhit

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I would stay as far away from Carnival as possible. I've been on a Norwegian cruise. My wife and I are doing an Italian cruise this summer on Celebrity.

Unless you're on the boat Clocker was on, the chance of having reliable internet access is pretty low from what I've read.
 

ddrueding

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From all the research, Royal Caribbean seemed the no-brainer best. With the best ships out there (Quantum Class). Unfortunately, their presence on the west coast isn't as strong.
 

time

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I'll freely admit that I don't understand the allure of cruise ships. For a holiday, we're generally looking to get away from other people, not be cooped up with a couple of thousand of them.

I can understand the appeal in years gone by, before jet travel completely changed the focus from getting there to being there.

I especially don't know why you would take a child on one, let alone dump them in child care all day. As Lunar said, if you need a break from a kid, drop them off with family or friends for a few days.

Also, under two is too young to absorb exotic experiences, no matter how smart you are.

But that's just me, I guess.
 

Bozo

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Isn't Carnival the line that had all the fires and stranding their ships in the middle of the ocean?
 

ddrueding

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Carnival doesn't have the best reputation, but they are also a victim of statistics. They are so much larger than everyone else, and run more ships and more passengers, that statistically it is significantly more likely that something bad happen on one of their ships. That being said, I wouldn't take one of their ships across an ocean.

As far as what a cruise offers, all I want is a nice private deck to sit on with a laptop and a drink. Don't care where it is going or what the other people on board are doing. I plan to take meals in the cabin (our room has a dining table). I don't plan on leaving the boat until it returns to LA. My wife wants a nice swimming pool that is in warm weather and a couple formal dinners so she can show off. There is no way my wife would OK leaving the kid anywhere for a week (she's never left her for a night), and I suspect that the kid will have as much fun on-board as at daycare at home.

Based on what we want, it seems this trip will handle it.
 
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