We have just returned from our first cruise (2 adults, 2 children 11 & 16 yo) staying in a four birth cabin.
The bunk style layout was better than I imagined and there was more room. It was definately a cheaper option than having 2 adjoining rooms. I also felt that I could keep a bit more track of the kids comming and going. Space and storage was ample. We really didn't spend too much time in cabin all at once. The carpet looked new in our cabin (brownish zebra kind of stripes) or a least newer than some of the other cabins on our floor (quick glance in when cleaning was in progress). The cabin was serviced regularly and ample towels supplied.
Ample small bar soaps and wall dispensed shampoo supplied in shower.
The kids chose their beds first, leaving DH to navigate one of the top bunks each night. Noone told us that the ladders were under the bottom beds, we found that out on the second day!
Conditioner would have been nice. No tissues were supplied even though there was a wall dispenser.
The TV could only be viewed from 3 beds, the other one was completely blocked (guess who lucked out). TV programs were limited and looped. The TV had crackly sound and was of poor quality.
Reception staff, steward were always very helpful and pleasent. Doctor and the two nurses were fantastic. Waitstaff impecable and frendly. Security kept keen eye on the older teens (16/17 year olds) after HQ+ closed. Kids security were very good as well. The ladies running the kids clubs (HQ and HQ+) were enthuastic and friendly.
The head nurse was rude and unhelpful (multiple occassions). DH described her as a propper b Such a shock when everyone else is overtly nice.
We ate several times at the Waterfront Restaurant. Food was great.
The buffet had a a lot of dishes, some changed daily.
The Grill was a nice change, the kids liked the fries and soon worked out when they were free.
The Salt Grill, what can I say. It was a wonderful experience to share with the kids and the food was impecable. Perfect and well worth the $40 per person.
There could be a bit of a line up for the buffet and it became a bit repetative by the end of the cruise, so we found ourselves booking the Waterfront more often for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
TEENS KIDS CLUB:
It was great that they slip the older kids out, otherwise I do not think the older teens would go. My 16 was really reluctant to go at first and after he went he made some great friends. The big group hung out outside HQ+ around the pool and dined together - it was really nice. At night the security let them hang out in areas where they could listen to the nightclub music but still be safe. I think that this little bit of freedom prevented them wanting to get inside. At one stage DH tracked the group down with the help of security who made a simple call to the CCTV manned station.
Lots to do in these two rooms. Facilities were appropriate for these age groups.
Sometimes they relocated these 2 rooms in the library or the Dome when the top deck was closed due to unsavoury weather. I was a bit concerned a couple of times when I felt it was too windy for kids to be comming and going from there. At this age, parents can delegate that the kids are responsible enough to come and go without parental concent. I think different method of access is required.
There is medical assistance if you require it (or a willing to pay a premium).
The cost. Take everything you think that you will need with you, otherwise it could be very expensive.
It was obvious that there were a substantial amount of passengers who had coughs, colds, sniffles who did not present to the medical facility. I recommend if you are traveling at this time of year have the flu needle and take chemist supplies (just in case). If you go to the doctor, be prepared that you may be confined to your cabin if it is determined that you are contagious (and the TV is crap)!
There was a lot of choice and taste to suit all. The kids loved the magic show and the acrobatics. Everything we saw was good.
The acrobatic show was in the Atrium. There was hardly any seating and a lot of people complaining. They should have brought in some extra chairs and had a roped of area where the kids could sit on the floor (saving the chairs for adults).
Our family had a great time. We were glad that we took our own softdrinks and snorkel gear, as both saved a lot of money. We didn't drink too much and therefore there was no bill shock. It was worth the money and could be a cheap family holiday option if you can resist the temptation to buy, gamble or drink.
We would cruise again, but maybe to a different destination/ship for variety.
Thanks to all members who answer everyones questions. Everyone is really helpful.