Frugal Family Friday | Holiday 2012 Cruises

Queen Victoria shops
photo credit: slideshow bob

Merry Christmas to my readers!  Obviously it is too late to book a holiday cruise for this year, but do consider booking one for next Christmas or New Years.  Booking early is usually better for the holidays if that is the only time you can go on a cruise, but it would be best to wait for some sort of cruise line sale such as reduced deposits or onboard credits.

Christmas is going to be a Tuesday in 2012 due to it being a Leap Year.  The weeks of Christmas and New Years are probably the most expensive of the year.  Third  and 4th passengers will typically cost close to full fare as well. If you can get away the week before Christmas or the week after New Years, you will pay significantly less.

I will not be posting any specific pricing this week.  One cruise line to consider for a holiday cruise is MSC Cruises.  They have offered some decent holiday pricing in the last few years, so do consider them especially if you only have 1 or 2 children as their cabins only hold up to 4 passengers and Kids under 12 Sail Free.  If you have 3 or 4 children, you might be able to travel with the grandparents like we did for Thanksgiving 2009 and have all of your children sail for free!

Frugal Family Friday | MSC Cruises (Kids Free!) Deals From The US

The chimney

Since MSC offers Kids Cruise Free for ages 11 and under on their cruies and typically $99 for kids 12-17, I wanted to feature some deals on MSC Cruises that originate from a US port.  MSC Cruises is less known than some of the other major US based lines, but it is growing in popularity.  We have cruised on the MSC Poesia, their ship used from US ports, so we have a bit of knowledge about the cruise line.

Also, please remember that MSC is still offering the Holiday Family Deal of 50% off the 2nd stateroom. 

The MSC Poesia is in the US and Canada from September through March.  All prices listed below are per person for the 1st and 2nd passengers with kids 11 and under Free.  Tax (port and government fees) is additional for ALL passengers.

October 22, 2011 – 7 Day New England – From New York
Visits: Halifax, St. John, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport
Family of 3:
Inside: $649 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $719 1st/2nd
Family of 4:
Inside: $679 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $719 1st/2nd

November 10, 2011 – 4 Day Bahamas – From Fort Lauderdale
Visits: Key West, Nassau
Family of 3:
Inside: $249 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $329 1st/2nd
Family of 4:
Inside: $269 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $329 1st/2nd

November 14, 2011 – 5 Day Mexico – From Fort Lauderdale
Visits: Cozumel and Costa Maya
Family of 3:
Inside: $349 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $449 1st/2nd
Family of 4:
Oceanview: $449 1st/2nd

December 16, 2011 – 7 Day Western Caribbean – From Fort Lauderdale
Visits: Key West, Roatan, Cozumel, and Montego Bay
Family of 3:
Inside: $519 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $549 1st/2nd
Balcony: $829 1st/2nd
Family of 4:
Inside: $549 1st/2nd
Balcony: $859 1st/2nd

November 10, 2011 – 9 Day Western Caribbean – From Fort Lauderdale
Visits: Key West, Nassau, Fort Lauderdale (combined cruise), Costa Maya, Cozumel
Family of 3:
Inside: $529 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $759 1st/2nd
Family of 4:
Oceanview: $759 1st/2nd

December 6, 2011 – 10 Day Southern Caribbean – From Fort Lauderdale
Visits: San Juan, Antigua, St. Georges (Grenada), Martinique, St. Maarten, Nassau
Family of 3:
Inside: $649 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $729 1st/2nd
Family of 4:
Inside:  $669 1st/2nd
Oceanview: $729 1st/2nd

photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar

MSC Cruises Holiday Caribbean Family Deal

3 Kids at the MSC Poesia Buffet

My 3 Kids Enjoying the Buffet on the MSC Poesia Thanksgiving 2009

MSC Cruises has just posted a new deal for families on holiday 2011 cruises.  On 3 select cruises -Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years – on the MSC Poesia to the Caribbean, MSC is offering the 2nd cabin at 50% off.  This is a great opportunity for larger families or those traveling with extended family.

We sailed the Poesia for the Thanksgiving 2009 cruise with my parents allowing us to take advantage of the Kids Cruise Free Deal for all 3 of our kids (among 2 cabins) since cabins only hold up to 4 passengers.

If you factor in this 50% off deal and the kids cruising free, their pricing is very good compared with other cruise lines especially for holiday cruises.

As a Bonus, MSC is only charging $100 per person deposit. Full payment is due by 75 days prior to sailling. If you need to cancel, deposits are refundable if you cancel more than 75 days prior to sailing. So, it could be a great idea to book now before this deal sells out (it is capacity controlled).

For more information on dates, destinations, terms, and starting pricing visit: MSC Cruises Caribbean Family Plan

MSC Cruises Youth Programs

MSC Poesia In Curacao

MSC offers organized programs for children 3-17 years old.  This cruise line caters more towards Europeans than other cruise lines, and there will most likely be children from Europe on the Caribbean cruises.  There could be a language barrier between children, but our children still had a great time!  The youth staff all speak English, and I believe they were all Italian on the MSC Poesia.

Mini-Club (ages 3-8 years old) and Junior Club (ages 9-12 years old)

Activities could include:

  • arts and crafts
  • swimming
  • sports tournaments
  • treasure hunts
  • parties
  • live shows
  • talent contests
  • onboard adventures
  • Virtual World Arcade
  • trivia
  • chess
  • dance contests

On the MSC Poesia, the ship that cruises in North America, there were two children’s rooms.  One was geared toward younger children and had a dinosaur theme.  The other one was for the older kids, but the two age groups were often combined here to watch movies or play Wii.   During sea days children are not watched all day as we have experienced on Norwegian Cruise Line.  There were required times you needed to sign out your children, usually around meal time.

The children earned Doremi Dollars for attending the programs.  On the last night they used them towards small prizes that they got to take home.  The children often spent time in the S32 Disco next to the Kids Club room learning a dance routine.

Doremi Dining is offered at least once where the children are fed by the youth staff.  Parents must pre-register at the Kids Club by 10am on the day of the Doremi Dining.

Teens (ages 13-17):

Activities could include:

  • MTV-style dance classes in hip-hop and Latin-style
  • Virtual World Arcade
  • teen trivia
  • dance contests
  • live music and dancing
  • treasure hunts
  • swimming games
  • talent shows
  • karaoke
  • volleyball
  • basketball
  • football
  • tennis
  • table-tennis tournaments

More For Your Money Monday: Kids Cruise Free on MSC Cruises

MSC Logo on the Poesia in Curacao

Did you know that there is a cruise line that actually lets kids cruise FREE on every cruise?  MSC Cruises, a lesser known cruise company from Europe, offers free cruises for kids 11 and under and typically $99 for those 12-17 years old.  The only costs will be government port charges and fees.  Gratuities are additional as well for children over 3* but only half the price of adults.  The children must be the 3rd or 4th passengers in a cabin with two adults paying Early Booking or Regular Rates.

Unfortunately MSC does not have any cabins on any of their ships that hold more than 4 passengers in one cabin, so MSC is great for families of 3 or 4 OR  you could travel with the grandparents like we do and put your older 3rd and/or 4th children in their room and still qualify for the free or $99 child rate.

MSC offers Caribbean and Canada/New England cruises in North America as well as Northern Europe, Mediterranean, South African, South American, and Transatlantic cruises.  We sailed the beautiful MSC Poesia over Thanksgiving in 2009 which was built in 2008.  This is their ship that currently cruises in the Caribbean and Canada/New England.

If you have any questions about MSC, feel free to leave them in the comments, and I will try to answer them below or in another post.

*I am not positive of the free gratuity policy, but my 6 month old and 3 year old at the time were NOT charged gratuities on the MSC Poesia.

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