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A family Carnival Cruise holiday – you had just a few questions…

2013-10-251Firstly dear readers, thanks for being so sweet about all our cocktail and sunset laden updates. As you may know, the Alexanders were lucky enough to be chosen as Carnival Cruise Line’s funnest family.

We have just returned from our first cruise, around the Mediterranean on board Carnival Sunshine, for the first 5 days we had a film crew with us which was a real giggle. It was all so utterly amazing I had no idea where to start, however, I know I was unconvinced about cruising before I left, so I thought I would ask my readers and facebook friends to remind me what first timers want to know about cruising. You did not disappoint.

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The atmosphere on board

There is one thing that has always put me off the thought of cruises and that’s being trapped on a ship with loads of people and not being able to get any quiet time to chill out without heaps of people around me. Is it really like that?!  Annie, Mammasaurus

2013-11-036Believe me Annie, I am the first person to think I will go stir crazy, I need my space. I was really surprised therefore, at how easy it was to lose the other 3000 people on board. One night Mr A and I sat completely alone in Serenity, the adults only chill out area with the hammocks, sipping G and Ts and watching the waves, another night we had the Red Frog Rum Bar, and the rock singer doing requests, all to ourselves

You could always get in a hot tub, sometimes have it to yourself, there was always a quiet spot on deck. Inside there were so many bars, lounges and entertainment options to explore. The library and spa were very peaceful hiding places.  .

If you need space from the kids, there is Camp Carnival kids’ club where kids can even sleep over until 3am. If you want a break from dining you can order room service for free.

Even our stateroom felt like it gave us space, I could escape to the balcony and the kids to their bunks. Watching the ship sail into port from the balcony each morning it was just me and the ocean, and the odd seagull or fishing boat!

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And is it a bit like the Love Boat with lots of badly dressed old men schmoozing the captain?

Helen, Actually Mummy

Ha ha, you crack me up Helen! Travelling outside of the main school summer holidays we found that the majority of our travel companions were American retired couples. Do you know what? They were so lovely to us. There were also young couples, groups of friends and families and people from all over the world.

We never felt out of place or in a minority, the atmosphere is very welcoming, everyone wants to have fun and there is plenty of space for everyone to do that. The children made friends with children their own age in kids club. They were also spoilt rotten and fussed over by all the grandparents on board.

Dress code

Do you have to get dressed up all the time?!

Annie, Mammasaurus

No. The ship has two formal nights, formal doesn’t have to mean a cocktail dress and tux though, smart casual is fine too. The kids were less keen and went to a party at Camp Carnival instead, but It was a great opportunity for a grown ups night out, me in my Boden number and Mr A in his wedding suit, and to get some photos taken by a professional. This was taken by a Greek lady behind us in the queue, but the professional shots we bought were amazing, the prints of these cost us about $12.

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 The excursions

How many places did you stop/visit and how long did you have in each place

Amanda via Twitter

Our 12 day Mediterranean cruise started in Venice. We had 2 days at sea and on the other days stopped at ports in or near: Dubrovnik, Athens, Izmir, Sicily, Naples, Rome, Tuscany and Marseilles. We finished in Barcelona. You had full day in each port, so maybe 8am-5pm or 7am-4pm. The sail away party was amazing.

Is it knackering for the kids visiting all those ports? Can you relax at any point?

Helen, Actually Mummy

2013-10-022Carnival offer a wide range of excursions in each port, they are rated easy to strenuous, range from a couple of hours to a full day and some are specially for families. Many ports have a Carnival shuttle bus from the port to the town so you can wander at your own pace.

Yes it can be tiring, but it was so amazing! How cool to stick your finger in a hole in the Acropolis, to pretend to be a gladiator in the Colosseum, to wave at Gondoliers in Venice, to have a Greek taxi driver take you to see the changing of the guard, to eat pizza in Naples, to pretend to be a statue in Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Rome was by far the most tiring and whine inducing, but oh my, it was worth it!

We had two fun days at sea to break it up, where we could just chill and make the most of the fun ship facilities. It is entirely up to you what you do when the ship is in port, you don’t even have to leave the ship! Some ports like Naples, Athens, Marseilles and Dubrovnik you can come away feeling like you have had a great taster of, in half a day. Some cities, like Rome and Florence, require a full day trip to do them justice. We decided to opt out of Tuscany as we had been before, and were tired after a full day in Rome, we had the boat nearly to ourselves, which was a treat!

Switch on the fun: family activities

Do the kids get bored on the ship when you’re sailing, or is there enough to keep them entertained?

Helen, Actually Mummy

Collages3Mine loved the Sport Square Helen, it had mini golf, table football, basketball, table tennis, shuffleboard, twister, giant chess. Then there is the waterworks, a swimming pool and 3 giant slides and the rope walk which L was big enough, but not quite brave enough for! Camp Carnival kids club is also open every day, day and night, so perfect if you fancy a bit of time chilling as a couple in the adults only Serenity area. More on Camp Carnival later!

Is there enough for toddlers/pre-schoolers to do as it always looked like my kids might be a little young for a lot of the activities.

Cat, Yellow Days

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My youngest is 4 and it was more than perfect for him, he has not stopped talking about it. He was just tall enough to ride on the waterslides. Toddlers could enjoy splashing in the waterworks, smaller slides, playing mini golf and the pirate ship playground. Camp Carnival caters from age 2 and the selection of toys for toddlers was brilliant. We took some of our own toys and games for our stateroom/travel.

Do you pay extra for the activities?

Rebecca, Here Come the Girls

The movies, shows and all the sports activities are completely free. The only thing you pay for is the spa, arcade games and casino.

 Camp Carnival

It’s a kids club, it’s the place on ship where kids are in charge!

Mr G

 

I’d like to know how they contact you if there is a problem, whether the children can go in and out as they like or if they are tied to timed sessions, whether they serve food, if they do a session where they look after children while adults eat.

Jennifer, Jennifer’s Little World

 

IMG_0394Parents of children 5 and under and children with special needs are given priority to a ship’s mobile and thereafter they are allocated on a case by case basis. Ours did ring once, G needed some clean clothes and refused to put on the spare ones he’d been offered. We tended to pop our heads in as we moved about the ship, only to be told to ‘Go Away’ by our kids, they were having too much fun.

There is a daily schedule of activities, but children can come and go when you/they like, although parents must specify whether older children are allowed to sign themselves in and out.

The activities were creative and lots of fun. They were educational and linked to the port, for example drawing a Gondolier in Venice, weaving a Turkish carpet, making a gladiator’s shield and even making a light up 3D volcano after our visit to Sicily! The leaders are experienced and well qualified, this is a serious educational establishment, far from the gang of hungover students on a gap year I’ve always (unfairly) associated with the words ‘kids club abroad’.

Hasbro partners with the Camp Carnival programme so the range of toys and games on offer is, as you can imagine, vast.

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There were also opportunities for parents and children to play together during the cruise, our chance to try out the facilities! We made bears, played board games and took part in trick or treating. All the Camp Carnival spaces were extremely modern, spotlessly clean and jam packed with great toys and resources.

On sea days Camp Carnival closed only for lunch, on port days Camp Carnival was closed for an hour before dinner. From 6pm children could meet the leaders in the Lido Bistro and eat with their friends before returning to Camp Carnival for games and activities followed by a party or movie night. On the nights we did this we helped them choose what they wanted to eat and then left to have dinner in another restaurant ourselves.

Children can also stay on the ship while adults explore the port and have lunch with the Camp Carnival team, I was torn, while mine wanted to do this, I wanted them to see the world!

Is there a creche for the night time programme?

Carolin, Mummy Alarm

 

IMG_0184Yes and it is marvellous! A mix of stories, video games, crafts, sports, games. There were often themes, like Pirates, Olympics, or parties like Halloween or the Glow Stick Parties. My two especially loved the parties and the amazing goody bags. By 10pm a movie would go on, so those who wanted to, could drift off with blankets and pillows. Children can stay until 3am.

Do you get charged a flat fee for the kids club, or can you pick and choose and get charged for what you use?

Helen, Kiddy Charts

Camp Carnival was complimentary until 10pm each day which was just amazing. After then it was $6.75 per hour per child plus 15% gratuity, charged by the half hour. The two parties were $13 per child from 10-12pm.

What are the age groups – last year on holiday my two got split up because they fell into different age ranges

Cass, The Diary of a Frugal Family

Camp Carnival 2-5, 6-8, 9-11, Circle C is for 12-14 year olds Club O2 for 15-17 year olds.

Mine are 4 and 7 so were technically in different groups, but ended up spending lots of time together as the two younger groups often joined up. They were also physically near, so could see each other across the room. Staff were sympathetic to sibling divides, although, to be fair, my two enjoyed the opportunity to have time apart as much as being together!

Switching on the entertainment, grown ups

Did you ever get “cabin fever” or were there so many things to do you didn’t have chance to get bored?

Amanda, @Amandaspatch

There was no time whatsoever to get cabin fever! If anything the kids went to Camp Carnival so we could spend more time resting in our cabin 😉

Did you get to know many people on the ship or did you all keep to your own family units? I mean, were there activities run on the ship that got you all together or were you left to your own devices? And were people friendly?

Amanda, @Amandaspatch

It is entirely up to you. We chatted informally to people on excursions, at the bar and there was lots of friendly banter in the piano bar, which we loved. Our fellow passengers were very friendly and very welcoming of children.

There are organised quizzes, game shows, art history talks, karaoke, bingo and exercise classes, but only if you want to join in. Mr A made some friends one night he went out alone, including Cruise Director Jaime who was awesome at her job:

Rik and Jaime

We caught three of the Liquid Lounge Playlist ProductionsEpic Rock (we might have seen this rock anthem experience three times it was so good) Motor City an RnB show, and Studio VIP inspired by the New York City nightlife of the 1970s.

We went to see Lester Bibbs in the Punchliner Comedy club, he is an amazing performer, although the humour was a little blue for me in my prudish ‘no sex please we’re British’ way, he does do family friendly shows and was a great laugh when we bumped into him at the Alchemy bar afterwards. The great thing about the ship is all the staff are so friendly.

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Lester the comedian and Wally from the Entertainment team photobomb my two drinking mocktails

But we kept going back to the piano bar, there is something so magic about lots of random people sipping cocktails around the piano, requesting songs and trying to sing along. Seth the pianist can play over 500 songs and does great banter, so it really was a place to go back to.

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He called us Rikkus and Peggy, and coped with Rik’s requests for Tenacious D and played things for my friends on Instagram. We liked Seth lots.

Dining on board

I was wondering about meals, are there set times like in a hotel for breakfast and dinner?

Jess, via facebook

 

Is it really crowded and busy? Do you have to sit with others every meal time and dress up. I always imagine having to change outfits so much.

Emma, Emma and 3

We were given our own choice of dining time for the restaurant, but you don’t have to eat there, there are lots of dining options! So at 6pm, our table and our waiter was always waiting for the four of us. They were very accommodating if you want to dine at a different time. The only other guests at our table were my trademark double and G and T, and Mr A’s white wine, which would arrive, as if by magic, minutes later. Food is inclusive, but you pay for your own drinks.

The Maitre D would always say a quick hello and ask us about our day, the staff are incredibly attentive and the children were given lots of focus too. They got colouring books and a kids menu and took well to the routine of the same table and familiar staff faces. There were just two formal nights where you could dress up, which was great fun, the rest of the time you wear whatever you would normally wear on holiday.

Here we are dressed up on a formal night, the food on the other hand, was this lovely every night!

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The restaurant has a fixed menu and a range of daily specials inspired by the day’s port, plus a veggie special, low fat options and something daring – Mr A tried frogs legs and alligator.  Of course there are more down to earth options to suit a range of palates too, and kids’ meals.

You don’t have to dine formally of course, there is the Lido Bistro with an amazing self-service restaurant, Guy’s burger joint, burrito bar, a snack bar, 24 hour Italian take away pizzeria and then there is room service, all of which is completely free, we did this after some of our longer day trips.  It is amazing how easily you can find a completely empty space on deck, or indoors.

What’s the food like for vegetarians? What did you have for breakfast?

Becky, A Beautiful Space

I thought the vegetarian options were really innovative and nutritionally balanced in the restaurant Becky, tofu steak and lentil filo tarts for example. In the self service Lido Bistro there were veggie options like stuffed tomatoes, tarts and pilafs, there was an amazing salad bar with a selection of beans, olives and interesting salads.

Breakfast in the Lido Bistro was awesome and the best bit was all the family could have whatever they wanted, from Mr A’s full English to the kids’ boiled eggs and pancakes and maple syrup, to my rye bread, cottage cheese and fruit salad (Yeah okay, so I only did that one twice, by the end I was on full veggie breakfast followed by banana bread!)

2013-11-037For a small supplement you can eat at Cucina del Capitano (the ship’s captain is from Sicily) I expected pizza and pasta but what we got was much more imaginative, risotto balls, amazing bean stew. Meat and fish for la mia famiglia. We also got a beautiful view of Athens as we sailed away and one of those meals where you don’t know where one person’s meal starts and the other’s ends. Lots of sharing, wine, and for the kids, colouring and scrapbooking!

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Mr A and I dined at JiJi’s Asian kitchen, which was fabulous. JiJi means Lucky, so whoever rolls the right number on the dice gets to take charge of ticking the table’s food choices on the clipboard (me in this case). As if to make up for the lack of vegetarian options on the menu, the chef kept on sending out more and more vegetarian options for us to try. They were all utterly amazing. The presentation too, is superb, and we even got fortune cookies!2013-11-040For a $35 supplement you can eat in the Farenheit Steakhouse. Mr A wanted to indulge his inner carnivore. I thought the vegetarian options would be poor, but the chef created some amazing food, just for me. It is a really, wonderful romantic dining experience (even with a film crew sat in the booth next to you, a microphone in your cleavage and its battery pack down your jeans). The waiting staff are really knowledgeable about food and wine. When you return to your stateroom there is a complimentary macaroon each waiting for you in a little box.

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Your stateroom (cruise ships have staterooms, not cabins)

Can you chill out in the room for an evening if you want a change of scenery?

Jen, Love Chic Living

2013-11-035Of course! I think you would be so impressed by the stateroom design Jen. As the kids had bunks and we had a balcony, it always felt as if each family member had their own space to chill in. Our bed was huge and our luggage and possessions soon disappeared into the really spacious and well planned storage. Our stateroom steward kept on top of our chaos, he stopped to chat whenever we saw him and our room was tidied during breakfast and dinner so we always came back to a really restful space.

You can order room service for free, or bring back a self service meal from the restaurant. Our favourite was hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies as a post-siesta pick me up!

Are there enough activities and things to see and do for a 7 year old? I worry Bella would just want to get to the next place all the time. Also what are the cabins like for a family of 3?

Louise, Team Lloyd

Louise, Miss L is 7 and I can hand on heart say it was utterly perfect for her. Between swimming, playing indoor and outdoor games, visits to Camp Carnival and the odd bit of cartoons in our stateroom there wasn’t time to think about where we were headed next!

One day she decided she wanted a ‘Mummy morning’ so we had a swim and a race down the water slides, watched a bit of Jail House Rock from a sun lounger (she has been reading a book about Elvis) then had hot chocolate in the hot tub. Then Daddy took over and took her to the arcades and shops while I played mini golf, shuffleboard and pirates on the play pirate ship with Mr G.

There was so much to do on ship it was actually the reverse problem, she didn’t want to get off! But a promise of having her dinner with her new friends at Camp Carnival when we got back from our day out usually did the trick.

Regarding families of 3 or 5, I asked Lucy from Carnival about this:

We offer accommodation for all types of families over a broad range of cabins including inside, ocean view, balcony and suites, these will fit families of 3 comfortably. For families of 5, we offer ocean view cabins that are larger in size which house two bathrooms, which is ideal for larger families to travel at lower costs.

Health and safety ahoy!

Are there really enough life boats in case something goes wrong?

Carolin, Mummy Alarm

This was stressed at the safety briefing which you attend before the ship sets sail, where everyone is allocated a Muster station and a lifeboat number. We could see them being serviced and safety checked regularly from our cabin. They are actually huge when you get up close, they have covers and are un-tippable, a far cry from the little rowing boat of my imagination!

Is it safe for toddlers? Always have visions of him managing to fling himself overboard somehow!

Sonya, Ramblings of a former Rock n’Roll Mum

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This was my fear with my 4yo. Of course ultimately, you need to take care, as with everything involving toddlers. However, the doors onto promenades or balconies are too heavy for a toddler to open, and the walls on deck are very high as you can see in the picture above. You can also lock your balcony door at the top.

Do you get seasick?

Sarah, via facebook and Vicki, Honest Mum

I do normally on small boats and ferry crossings, but on a big cruise ship I didn’t feel the slightest bit sick. I took seabands and tablets, but I didn’t need them – bonus!  You do feel movement, but it is soothing rather than rocking because the ship is so huge. Occasionally it made me a bit sleepy and Mr G fell asleep on his chair a couple of times in the restaurant, but that could equally have been due to late nights and too much fun.

The ship does most of its travel at night while you are sleep, so during the days at sea and early evening the ship moves at a slow and steady pace. I often woke up as we sailed into port, I think as the ship slowed down and turned, but then I would leap up, grab my robe and watch the new city appear from the balcony!

Costs

But how much is it?

You all asked this!

Over to Lucy from Carnival again…

Prices start from around £249 per person. An example of a 7 night sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida on board the Carnival Sunshine next year during kids Summer Holidays start from as low as £489 per person (based on 16th August 2014). Prices are cruise only.

Can you send me a sunrise?

Mari, Mari’s World

Certainly, I thought you might like Naples?

DSC_0299So, as you can see I am a total convert to the cruise holiday. It is hard to be back on land, so thanks for being so welcoming.

Look out for my posts on the excursions, they really were life changing.

If you are reading this and still have questions please leave them in the comments, be sure to leave your email and my reply will be automatically emailed to you, or tweet me @aresidence.

Thanks

Penny

FAQ A Carnival Family Cruisex

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39 Comments

  • Reply becky

    What a brilliant write up of your amazing trip you have mad eme long to go!

    12/11/2013 at 10:45 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Aw Becky, Mr G was so excited to take that photo of his breakfast for you, he really likes you!

      12/11/2013 at 2:44 pm
  • Reply Carolin

    I think you’ve covered pretty much every question I’ll ever have about cruise ship. Fabulous post and so informative. It really sounds like a fabulous option for families.

    12/11/2013 at 10:52 am
  • Reply Mammasaurus

    Great and super informative post – thank you for answering my questions – I’m certainly viewing cruises differently having read this. Looking forward to reading about the excursions next!

    12/11/2013 at 10:55 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      They changed my life Annie, I’m not religious, however, I found another strand to my own spirituality, there is something so moving about seeing the remains of life 2000 years ago so well preserved.

      12/11/2013 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply Jennifer

    What a fantastic resource, and thank you so much for answering my questions about the kids club! We have cruised before with little ones on different cruise lines, although ours was only just old enough for the club, so it’s really interesting for me to see how they compare and it sounds like a favourable comparison.

    I love the idea that the crafts are themed around the locations that the cruise is visiting. I also like the fact that the children can go in and out as they please. Before I went on a cruise I imagined that the children would be in there for whole long sessions at a time, when in reality you can just pop them in there for half an hour or so if they are bored before you go on to do a family activity.

    12/11/2013 at 11:37 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Glad it helped, I wish I had taken more pics of the craft, I need to think like a craft blogger too 😉

      12/11/2013 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Sonya Cisco

    Thank you for answering my question re toddler safety, feel much reassured by that. Have to say, have read through the whole post and I am sold! Looks brilliant, and I love the idea of visiting so many places during the holiday, as I am not one for lying on a beach! Just need to get saving now…. X

    12/11/2013 at 11:41 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      I’m not either Sonya, in fact the whole family is poor at sitting still for long! I guess one thing I didn’t consider with toddlers is that they won’t remember it, almost worth waiting for them to be old enough, I think mine just about will, L much more than G however!

      12/11/2013 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply Jen

    Wow Penny, what an amazing post. I am yearning to take the family now, on a type of holiday I would never have considered before. Good job!! And thanks for answering my question 🙂

    12/11/2013 at 11:42 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      I would never have considered it either, funny how so many of us discount it, it really was the holiday of a lifetime!

      12/11/2013 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply Jennifer Howze

    Great informative post, Penny. I’ve been on this ship too and it really has so much for families. We especially loved the shows. I thought they might be Love Boat cheesy but in fact they were AWESOME!

    12/11/2013 at 12:01 pm
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Spot on Jen, they were really cool, Mr A actually went to see Epic Rock twice in one night. The 70s show was so awesome too.

      12/11/2013 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply Actually Mummy...

    Wow! I think this is the most comprehensive holiday review I’ve ever seen! You’ve totally explained the myths of cruising to me and I’m now dying to try it! I think it would even convince my husband, and he’s a total activity-seeker who has always said he’d never do a cruise!
    Brilliant post.

    12/11/2013 at 12:32 pm
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Myths, you’ve hit the nail on the head Helen! Cruising has so many and I wanted to explode them, thanks for helping! Hope your hubby is convinced, I think the Actually Mummy gang would have a ball!

      12/11/2013 at 2:53 pm
  • Reply Stephs Two Girls

    This has to win the award for the longest blog post I’ve ever read!! But I did get all the way to the bottom, because it was so informative and fun, so thanks for that. Am now disappointed though because my OH refuses to ever get on a ship – not even a ferry, boo. Maybe I’ll take the girls on my own one year – oh, lightbulb, maybe grandparents would love it!! 🙂

    12/11/2013 at 1:48 pm
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      Ha ha Steph, I did think about doing lots, but I kind of wanted to explode all the myths for families and when I went I had so many questions – i wanted the answers in one place. I think it would be a fab one to do with grandparents, my Dad was gutted Mr A got the time off work, he was more than ready to help me out!

      12/11/2013 at 2:54 pm
  • Reply HPMcQ

    Never ever have I even considered a cruise. Always assumed (wrongly) that these were for old folk, how wrong can I be!

    12/11/2013 at 6:54 pm
    • Reply Alexander Residence

      So many myths! I was really surprised by how much we loved it too. Mind my husband is banned from talking to much to anyone on holiday, not since Corfu 2002 when he unwittingly befriended some swingers and they wouldn’t leave us alone ha ha!

      12/11/2013 at 9:03 pm
  • Reply Mari

    What an utterly unforgettable experience, it is exactly the kind of holiday I want to share with my family and you have covered so many points of interest in this post.

    But most of all, thank you for my beautiful sunrise <3

    12/11/2013 at 7:38 pm
    • Reply Alexander Residence

      Pleasure! Italy is so amazing, I can see why you loved it! Can so see your lovely lot cruising 😉

      12/11/2013 at 9:00 pm
  • Reply Liz Burton

    What a fabulous post, it answers so many questions! Even though I didn’t ask one, as I was reading I was thinking “Oh I’ve wondered that too”.

    Brilliant – oh and I love that photo of you and your husband too!

    12/11/2013 at 8:23 pm
    • Reply Alexander Residence

      Thanks Liz, I wanted to try and explode some of the myths and barriers to cruising, glad it worked! That picture got 100 plus likes on fb, never had that before, must be a good one 😉

      12/11/2013 at 8:59 pm
  • Reply Pinkoddy

    What an amazing post, I’m really interested now, especially the bit about leaving special needs children in the kids club. Could you tell me more about that please – do they have visual aids or sensory lighting, training or just about anything you could let me know about how they help look after the special needs children in there please?

    Thank you.

    12/11/2013 at 8:43 pm
    • Reply Alexander Residence

      Hello Joy Thanks for asking that. I have taken your question to Carnival, so will get back to you in full with both my impressions and their info shortly.

      12/11/2013 at 8:55 pm
  • Reply Clare Rudd

    Great article. we are firm cruise ship converts. Where else could you wake up to a different view everyday? We love cruising holidays. We haven’t tried carnival yet though – but we have been to some of the ports you mentioned. It looks like you had a fantastic time!

    12/11/2013 at 8:47 pm
    • Reply Alexander Residence

      What was your favourite destination Clare? The veggie food was really good, I was pleasantly surprised! Shame it wasn’t made more of on the menu and that Guy’s don’t do a veggie burger, but the chefs were very imaginative.

      12/11/2013 at 8:58 pm
      • Reply clare

        One of my favourite ports ever was Monte Carlo – mainly because it was the first port I ever woke up in and it blew me away – waking up to the sun coming up over the city. . I was also in awe of the Norweigan Fjords – again, waking up in a fjord in the tiny town of Olden and stepping out onto the deck, to discover how insignificant your gigantic cruise ship is in relation to the huge fjords. We did a 10 day tour of the norweigan fjords and it was fantastic – and we saw snow in August! Sailing through the Ventian lagoons in the early hours of the morning was fab on our med cruise. I also loved Istanbul because it was so different and the Grand Bazaar was amazing – although you have to keep your blonde kids from being mauled!! Dubrovnik was beautiful and holds special memories of eating ice creams with my kids and my mum and Nan. I think most ports are special in their own way – although some are prettier than others!!

        14/11/2013 at 12:30 am
  • Reply Louise

    Fabulous post Penny, love the photos – you certainly have answered all the things I wondered about. It looks absolutely amazing and the perfect holiday for all the family to relax, spend time together and see some brilliant sights. It sounds like you had around five holidays rolled into one. Look forward to hearing all about your excusions! xx

    12/11/2013 at 9:27 pm
  • Reply Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer

    Wow – what a thorough proper review – an eye opener, indeed. The facilities are what I’d expect nowadays, but much more child friendly than I’d imagined. Great job 🙂

    12/11/2013 at 10:16 pm
  • Reply HonestMum

    Wow, wow and wow! What an incredible trip you’ve all had and so luxurious too, you’ve totally made me rethink what a family cruise could be like! Thanks darling Penny x

    13/11/2013 at 9:45 am
  • Reply Rebecca English

    Wow – ti sounds awesome! You’ve totally sold me. I love the pictures – especially the one of you and your hubby. So romantic.

    13/11/2013 at 10:21 am
  • Reply Photobox Photo Journals: The Ideal Christmas Gift

    […] With these Photo Journals, which are new to the Photobox range, the editing options for your photos are really comprehensive. You can add all kinds of effects, crop them and even add your own text in a variety of fonts. I think this is why it took me so long to make the books; the editing options are so vast. I made two identical booklets of my girls’ year to give to family as a gift, but you can obviously make them for yourselves to remind you of your journey. I can imagine they would be ideal for someone like Penny who has just experienced her first family cruise holiday. […]

    14/11/2013 at 11:01 am
  • Reply Emma

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