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About Gatordad815

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  1. Hi all! We are a family of four with kids ages 4 and 6. For our upcoming trip we are considering Bananarama or Paradise Beach through Shore excursioneer. Round trip transport and day passes for Bananarama would cost $80 (which seems like a great deal), and Paradise Beach would cost $114. I realize Paradise has a pool and Bananarama does not, which would normally be a big plus! But the only prior time we were in Roatan we spent the day at Infinity Bay (which we chose in part for their gorgeous pool), but we never even went in the pool as we were enjoying the beautiful beach the whole time! So while I like the idea of the pool, I already know the beach alone will be a big hit! Can anyone comment on these two options? What’s the vibe/crowd like at each place? Is either better suited for kids? Are there other options we should be considering? We don’t mind spending the extra for Paradise if it’s a better experience, but not having been to either it’s hard to compare. Any input appreciated-thanks!
  2. Thank you everyone for the feedback so far! Any additional feedback on the original question would be appreciated, but also any suggestions for a family with younger kids at ANY of these ports would be appreciated as it’s all new to me! I’m pretty excited to plan this cruise vacation as it all looks so fun to me. Thanks!
  3. This is why I’m having a hard time choosing! I’m thinking maybe the best thing to do would be to have 1/2 port days 2 of the days to have ample time to relax and enjoy the ship and to do full port days the other 3. That way we can see something everywhere but still not be go-go-going the whole time. These are are fun decisions to be faced with... 😀
  4. Hi all! Last time we were in Cozumel, we went to Paradise Beach and had a great day. Because of kids’ food allergies, all-inclusives aren’t what we are looking for (plus my wife and I prefer to eat lunch off a menu), so Paradise worked well for us. While my wife wasn’t in love with the Beach at Paradise at first (she prefers to look at the ocean as opposed to inflatables close to shore), the wonderful service, food, drinks, pool and vibe more than made up for that and we really loved the place in the end. We we will be back soon, and as much as I prefer to try new things on our travels, I haven’t found anything that seems to compare. Playa Mia just doesn’t appeal much to me (I think it’s the lack of shade on the beach and by the pool that’s turning me off). And most other places seem to be all-inclusive or geared towards adults and not families. Are there any other non-AI options worth trying for families, or did we really find the best of all worlds with Paradise Beach on our last visit? Any input appreciated! Thanks!
  5. Thank you! I hadn’t looked at the Freedom section yet, though that is a great idea for lots of concentrated reading on other people’s experiences at these same ports! I’ll definitely be checking that out. I’ve been in the Caribbean section of CC all week and this is what I’ve come up with so far, but I’m definitely going to keep reading that section! Incidentally, I did post this first on the RC page, but it was immediately moved to this page. I rarely look at pages outside of the RC page, the Carnival page and the Caribbean ports, so I didn’t really know this is where I was supposed to post the question (seems there’s plenty of questions on the RC page similar to this). Clearly the RC forum police didn’t want it discussed there though... I appreciate the leads! Thanks.
  6. Thanks-good point. I’m definitely interested in seeing all the islands (personally I’d explore from the time of docking until all aboard), but I also want/need to choose relatively easy activities that will keep the kids’ interested and happy and I know pools and beaches will definitely do that. Looking at reviews of all the islands, St. Kitts seems to be the island with the fewest fans, so maybe that would be a better port to hang back by the ship. (The new suggestion for Rodney Bay in St. Lucia looks awesome which has me reconsidering staying on board there). Really I want to get off at each stop to at least see something. Thinking about it as a whole, maybe we would be best doing two short days and three big days so there’s low key days between the big days. Perhaps Kitts & St. Lucia would be good for that?
  7. We have not, though it looks beautiful. From what I’ve read it appears to be a pretty long trip. Taxi to red hook ferry, ferry to St. John, taxi to Trunk Bay. That seems to be the way to get there from what I can tell. Water Island seems much closer and easier, though trunk bay appears to be a pretty amazing experience.
  8. Hi all! Last weekend we booked a Southern Caribbean itinerary on Freedom of the Seas from San Juan with stops in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados. Since then I’ve been researching all of the ports quite a bit-super excited for this itinerary as the only port we have been to before is St. Thomas. We are a family of 4, kids will be 5 and 7. On our prior cruises, we have chosen a Port day to stay near or on the ship & enjoy the ship amenities without the crowds. Given that Freedom will be “Amped” by the time we sail, this is appealing, though it’s difficult to choose which port would best to do this given they are all new. From my research, I’m thinking that St. Lucia may be the best to stay near port or on ship, but I’m not sure? It appears the most recommended site to visit is the Pitons/Jalouise Beach, which is pretty far and expensive to get to. I would LOVE to see them, but perhaps it would be best to save the trip and expense for a cruise when the kids are a bit older? For the other ports, I’m considering: St. Thomas: Water Island or Trunk Bay St. Kitts: Carambola beach or Marriott day pass Antigua: Ffreys Beach, Valley Church Beach or Jolly Beach Barbados: Boatyard (the kids would love seeing seaturtles) or Brighton Beach So is St. Lucia the port to hang back near the ship (saving Pitons for when kids are older), or are there other good options in St. Lucia I should be considering? Are there better/different options you’d recommend at the other 4 ports? Any thoughts on the above from you experienced cruisers would be sincerely appreciated! Thanks!
  9. My daughter experiencing that type of Girl Scout camp experience is a big fear of mine as a parent, so I empathize with your daughter. Fortunately for me, our daughter is still 6 so we have control over almost all of her meals. But we won’t always...and she still does feel “different”at times even in kindergarten (she cried because she was the only kid wearing gloves building the gingerbread house at school last year). We try to include her in everything though. We bring food for her everywhere we go, GF cupcakes to birthday parties, etc. And we choose family travel that makes GF eating easy. Cruises are so great for that because not only is the food safe, it actually feels like a vacation for my wife and me. I foresee many cruises in our family’s future just based on the ease of eating.... I wish your granddaughter the best! I know from personal experience this isn’t easy for her or your daughter, but fun experiences can still be had. Happy cruising!
  10. Ha ha! Yes we did take the November cruise! Had a great time but no trip reports! Took a spring break cruise too & just did a general info report, not a full play by play like this one!
  11. I was happy to do it! I have to do extensive research everywhere we go to be sure there are safe food options and I rely heavily on people who post information on where to find safe gluten-free food. It’s so helpful to me, so anything I can do to help another gluten-free traveler (especially a kid), I’m happy to help! Good luck and happy travels!
  12. I understand that fear well! Our daughter was diagnosed at 2 years old and she is now 6. For a while after she was diagnosed the only place we traveled was Disney World, as they are good at accommodating safely. When we first considered cruising we booked a Disney Cruise for this reason. But in researching Royal Caribbean I saw many reviews indicating they handle special diets well, so we switched to Oasis. We have now been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises and she has been able to eat safely on all of them! They cook her food in a separate area and avoid cross contamination. It’s great as at home we have to cook all meals, so it feels like a real vacation! I did a trip report of our first cruise that describes our food experiences if you are interested: It may be too long for you, as it’s quite lengthy and talks about way more than just food. There are several other reports on here that are more succinct and have very good info about traveling on RC with celiac and I would encourage you to search out and read those. I would also encourage you to travel with her and take her Cruising! Celiac can feel very limiting and lonely at times. The more you are able to have her out there experiencing things like everyone else the better it’ll be for all of you! Good luck and feel free to reach out with any specific questions!
  13. This is awesome to know! I didn’t know Publix had expanded to Puerto Rico but this really helps for safe gluten-free food! We will also probably stay at a Marriott as they are big on accommodating special diets (specifically Celiacs who need gluten free), so between Publix and a Marriott she will be able to eat before we get on the ship! Thanks for this info!
  14. Yes they are. We have been on Oasis twice, Allure once and we will be on Harmony in a few months. I ageee those ships are destinations unto themselves and excellent for families with kids-just can’t go wrong on any itinerary on them! BUT, for Spring Break 2020, we chose Carnival Breeze, mainly because the price for Harmony is insane compared to what we have paid in the past, but also to see some new ports on their Eastern Caribbean itinerary (Amber Cove, San Juan and Grand Turk will be new to us). So by the time November 2020 comes along, our kids will have come to the realization that not all ships have carousels and Aqua-theaters! I was considering Independence just after the Amped Renovation and did quite a bit of research on this class of ship. And while I agree it’s no Oasis (nothing compares to Central Park and the Boardwalk), there still seems to be plenty of kid-friendly amenities. Knowing Freedom will have been recently “Amped” by the time this cruise comes around helps too, as I’m sure that will add to the wow factor for the kids. If anything, it’ll be bigger and nicer than their last cruise on Carnival Breeze! 😉
  15. Thanks for the suggestions-this is exactly the type of stuff I’ll be researching for months to plan our trip! Much appreciated!
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