This was my first cruise with my children (ages 8, 9, 9, and 12) and I wholeheartedly believe there can be no better cruise ship for a family.
A disclaimer here of sorts: I actually wanted to spend time with my children on the ship instead of putting them in a program. I did sign them up for splash academy thinking they would need another option; and they were excited to go the first day. However, the 8 and 9 year olds hated it. They hated the forced exercise program (they are triathletes so the lazy label does not apply IMO). The 12 year old liked his program though but chose the aqua park and ropes course over a program.
We did not have one boring day. They played on one of the three slides available or swam in an odd pool, navigated the ropes course, climbed Spider Mountain, climbed the rock wall, or jumped on the Getaway bounce. Two interesting things here: 1) They were not enticed by the miniature golf but did play it once only, and 2) that dang pool was oddly attractive to them. The pool is very small and rather looks like a holding tank on a cargo ship with a wall separating the even smaller deeper end. Additionally, there is basically a small wall topped by wood planks for parents to sit and watch and believe me it is VERY uncomfortable, I have to think the designers created this configuration to keep parents from falling asleep while their child swam, or to discourage parents from taking their children. Either way THAT design worked as the pool had very few children in it at any given time, and my children LOVED it. No jumping, no diving, just swimming together. Why the heck did they like it so much??
We shopped with easy walking distance. The kids especially like the small shops and chickens. Not really interested in an expensive excursion at this port.
We shopped with easy walking distance. The shops are well organized and in a nice area. This was a chance for my children to learn to negotiate prices... which the shop owners were not interested in doing :-)