Non-DCL Cruise Lines

My husband and I are lucky enough to have parents who are close enough and able enough to watch our kids for an extended time. We started looking at couples vacations and are potentially interested in a cruise. It would be the first cruise for both of us. We absolutely want to do a Disney cruise someday but when our kids are a little older (currently only 1 and 4). For this vacation, time and money are of the essence and therefore poses my question, should we really be avoiding Carnival at all costs?

We have the Southwest companion pass and New Orleans is good flight for us (out of BOS/MHT). So I was looking for a 5 day cruise out of New Orleans so that a week long vacation could allow us a day in the Big Easy on either end of the cruise. But really the only option seems to be the Carnival Valor.

We could go to one of the Florida ports and take a RCL cruise (the perfect days do look quite appealing). The last post on this board made that line look quite appealing but it also seems like I would need to be on a more expensive ship. If I’m looking for a bargain, am I looking in the wrong place to even attempt a cruise?

Thank you wise ones!

Hi! I have spent the last 6 months heavily researching cruises, but my disclaimer is that I have not been on a cruise before. I have my first cruise booked with Princess although that could change. That being said I think that you should look at some of the great resources that are on You Tube about cruising. In particular Don’s Family Vacations is a great site for basic informational videos comparing and contrasting cruise lines and specific ships. This quickly became my favorite channel for all things cruising, but there are many out there with similar information. I have mostly been thinking of RCL or DCL for my family; the Princess cruise is something I’m going to do solo. I am not interested in Carnival at the moment because the idea of a “party ship” doesn’t appeal to me but I might change my mind if we end up really liking cruising. You are fortunate to have relatives who will watch your kids so definitely use that option whether you do a cruise or not. My kids are now 13, 11 and 8 and I haven’t had one night away with my husband since they were born. I’ve only been able to do solo vacations while he watches the kids (very very rarely) or date nights with the babysitter. I’m sure you will have a great time whatever you decide to do. Enjoy! :slight_smile:

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We have been on two Carnival cruises and really enjoyed them both times. I would not pay a large premium for other cruise lines.


I went on a 5 night Carnival cruise out of Galveston last year. We had a great time, there is a reason they call it the Fun Ship. It is lively but the party cruises are the even shorter cruises (cheaper than a Vegas weekend). You should be fine on a 5 night cruise plus you get to see New Orleans. I think a New Orleans Cruise might have a little more party image. They are good values, are they the “best” cruise? Probably not but I had fun and I can honestly be a little uptight :slight_smile:

Enjoy your time away!


How did i not see this before now?

Do it!
Do it do it do it!!
We just did this as a family in August!!


Ship starts here.

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Oh wow, awesome! Thank you so much! I will take a look at this tonight.

We must vacation alike, didn’t you also go to WDW this past fall around the same time that we were there?

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Yes. My daughters, mother, sister, and I did a trip to Disney in November. You were there just before us, weren’t you?

We have cruised on DCL, NCL and now Carnival as a family. I have also done two Princess cruises with just a friend.

Where my teenaged kids are involved, I don’t think I can go as old as the Carnival Valor again. We really need things like ropes courses, zip lines, rock climbing walls, and the lake. I am currently gathering information on Royal Caribbean, and Carnival for either a cruise in August, or a cruise next year during this week of January.

The vibe on the Carnival Valor was definitely not a party ship. It was a lot of young families, and middle-aged travelers. We saw quite a few extended families. It was very much in line with our Disney cruise demographic.

Please feel free to ask me anything.

I’ve done two Princess cruises, each one a five-night with a mom-friend (different friend each time). For adults, Princess was very nice. The food was excellent and I’ve had both excellent and pretty good cabin stewards. The entertainment was not great. The MUTS (movies at one of the pools) were a lot of fun. The demographic is older, and there is a relaxed feel, compared to limited experience (two DCL, one NCL and one Carnival). The other lines were more diverse with ages, cultures and atmosphere. As yet I have never done a cruise where I’d say “not again.”

DH and I never travel without our kids, partly as we don’t have anyone we really trust and partly because we don’t really want to.

I will now leave your thread alone, @melcort10

Me too. I am cheap, but also a little snobby… it’s a hard line to walk. :wink:

Thank you again! I will ask you a million questions tomorrow. It’s so great to hear personal experience. I do not think I need a rock climbing wall and that I will be happy with just a waterslide or two. Your “food” experience on day 2 seems pretty much where my interests lie!

We were in WDW at the end of Oct into the first two days of Nov. It was a great time. I think you guys must have gotten the beautiful weather that we got glimpses of at the end of our trip! I’m 90% sure we are going to go again this week this year!

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No. I had cold and rain. It was nice just before and just after our trip… our first and last days were lovely.

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Hi! Sorry it took so long to reply. Work keeps getting in the way! I’m so bummed that your had crummy weather! Our last two days were gorgeous. I am thinking mid-late Oct for this year so that we can hopefully get decent weather.

Thank you so much for all of the details on the Carnival Valor cruise! I researched and researched over the weekend. Ultimately, we just booked a 4 night trip out of Miami on the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas. We will probably plan a New Orleans trip in the future as just a land trip. It was going to be too many days of babysitting to do both! And I think we wanted a ship with a couple more bells and whistles. We got such a great deal to go in May too!

That sounds fantastic! I hope you have a wonderful time. :slight_smile:
My goal is to do a family cruise on RCL and Miami is a port I’m interested in, for someday.

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I have done NCL x 2 and Carnival once, always just me and a friend. All 3 cruises were great. If I have to chose between NCL and Carnival in the future I will go with NCL if they are near the same price and Carnival if it is at least 20% cheaper, food was just as good at both lines, with different strengths, but entertainment was better at NCL.

DCL does look wonderful, but NCL is so great for me that I can’t justify paying double its price to upgrade to DCL.

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