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First-time cruiser looking for advise.


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I am looking to do my first cruise next year and would like to visit the Caribbean but can't decide between a small ship with the ports I'd like to visit or a large ship to experience the all singing dancing experiences. 

Also would prefer a ship with less children as we will be travelling without ours. 

Any recommendations would be grateful. 

Edited by SpeedNoodles
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  • SpeedNoodles changed the title to First-time cruiser looking for advise.

I think ultimately you'll have to decide which factors are most important to you- the ships with less children will likely be smaller ships. However, you will also get plenty of singing/dancing/entertainment on smaller ships as well. If you decide a bigger ship with the extra bells and whistles is what you want to experience, try to find a sailing during the school year, as those also will generally have less children than a summer or holiday sailing.

I think you'll have a great time regardless of what you decide! Good luck and happy sailing!

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Our first ever cruise was jumping in with both feet doing 3 back to back from Sydney on a Quantum class (Ovation) - not many kids on there, but was so large, and so many different areas on board (including some that were adult only), we could have found quiet spaces whenever we wanted to. So much to do. We loved it and got the bug!

This year we did Grandeur for 14 nights from Barbados. Same great service and food but different kind of ship, more old school, but got to see some amazing places. Not many children as sailed in February so no school holidays/vacations.

Which was better? Impossible to decide! In fact we loved them both so much we are booked on Grandeur again next year for back to back from Miami then going up to Oasis the year after for back to back also.

I guess you need to do the research around what do you want from the itinerary OFF the ship v what do you want ON the ship. And factor in costs too I guess. 

There are people on here with a lot more knowledge and experience than me who may have a preference, but it is so subjective.

Do the research, ask the questions, watch the videos and I am sure you will make the right decision for you!

Enjoy whatever you decide to do.

 

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I don't know about the Caribbean, but can comment about ship choice maybe.

Our first cruise was on Symphony and we loved the adult-only solarium. It was very quiet and peaceful.

Our second cruise was on Jewel. We expected the same peace and quiet in the adult-only area of that ship, but that was not the case at all. 

Mostly due to it being in the middle of the deck so people (and children) would walk through the area at all times. Also the 'no-kids' rule was not enforced by staff.

So maybe take into consideration the location of the adult-only areas on the ship you choose. 

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In addition to what has been said, I think the length of the cruise is a factor.  My first cruise was 5 nights, and that was too short.  I prefer 7+ nights so I have time to learn about the ship and what it has to offer.  I actually prefer the shows on the small-medium sized ships; I find Oasis-class shows "not my cup of tea".   My preference would be Vision, Radiance, or Voyager class ships, the latter with a decent promenade.  But whatever you choose, enjoy your cruise!  We have found joy on every Royal ship we've sailed.

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All good advice regarding sailing with less kids above.

As far as small vs. large ship... Only you can research and decide the pros and cons for yourself. Everyone has different preferences and places more importance on certain aspects. Do the research, pick one, then try the other next!

Personally, I have no desire to sail on any ship without a promenade (barring special circumstances). It feels claustrophobic to me. I don't need Oasis-class even though that's mostly what I've been sailing but I need a promenade. That's just me though. Many people enjoy the smaller ships.

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Cruising on a ship with as few children on the ship as possible can be a tricky one to find.  I believe it really boils down to timing, not ship or destination(s), although it could have an impact.  

When I was an inexperienced cruiser, and I'm not saying that I'm an expert now, I would try to book cruising during the time frame that kids are in school.  Well, I get on the ship and I see kids all over the place.  What went wrong, I ask myself?  South America is where my thinking went wrong.  Schools in South America basically are on an opposite school year schedule than we are in North America. During the North American winter months when kids are in school, it's the summer months in South America and kids are on summer break.  On to plan B, try to find out when is the time when both North American and South American kids are in school at the same time. if you can figure that out, you've done about the best you can.  Of course, avoid major holidays in both North and South America. 

I was really pleasantly surprised as to how many South American families travel to the U.S. just to cruise/vacation.   

I'm assuming you are in North America.  

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50 minutes ago, Suite Snob said:

I was really pleasantly surprised as to how many South American families travel to the U.S. just to cruise/vacation.  

Yep. As someone who lives very close to Disney World, we quickly learned that the country with the most foreign visitors there after the UK is Brazil. Extremely common to see very large groups all dressed in t-shirts in the yellow of the Brazilian flag.

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Time of cruise, expectations and ports will be your top concerns. As long as you aren't traveling during the summer, spring break or Christmas/New year's/thanksgiving, children shouldn't be a huge issue. Shorter cruises may have more children and teens because parents can afford to remove them from school for a few days. If you want waterslides, bumper cars, etc. then you want to do a larger class of ship, which would be 7ish days and may have too many children if you again go at a particular time. I think most if not all of RCG ships have singing and dancing, so no issue there. My suggestion would be an Eastern/Western Caribbean itinerary on Allure.

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19 minutes ago, Ampurp85 said:

If you want waterslides, bumper cars, etc. then you want to do a larger class of ship, which would be 7ish days and may have too many children if you again go at a particular time. I think most if not all of RCG ships have singing and dancing, so no issue there. My suggestion would be an Eastern/Western Caribbean itinerary on Allure.

Not disagreeing, but there are other perks of Oasis-class without going anywhere near the water slides and similar bells and whistles. We prefer it for the 3-story Solarium (guaranteed way for the OP to avoid young kids), Central Park for ambience and Park Cafe, etc.

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Just did an Adventure of the Seas cruise to Halifax (no, not the Caribbean) and they had the 70 party in the promenade as well as other music.  I sailed them out of Puerto Rico in 2012 and we had a blast.  It was a port heavy cruise-I believe a port every day.  So in my opinion, you can have the best of both worlds.

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I usually pick a cruise for its ports, not for the size of the ship.  I can usually find something to do or someplace to hide no matter what size ship I am on - and that includes liv-a-boards. LOL!  My recommendation: Pick an itinerary that you would like to visit.  Then look at the ships that cover those ports. Then look at the ship's decks to figure out where you want to hang out. 

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I like all classes of RCL ships. The Radiance class seems to have less children/teens and is not the "party" class. Plenty to do, but more laid back. My favorite is the Independence followed closely by Wonder. My spouse did not like the Wonder at all - too big and crowded for her. To each his/her/they/them own. lol

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