Author Topic: Cruising with kids  (Read 866 times)

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elephantschild

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Cruising with kids
« on: January 16, 2013, 10:01:09 AM »
My family ... DH, myself, our two sons ... have an opportunity to go on a three-night cruise. We have never been on a cruise. We have never particularly wanted to do so. This is a family thing that would be completely paid-for, however, so we feel that we at least need to consider it.

DH has tremendous qualms about taking the boys, who will be ages 7 and 5 at the time. DS1 has special needs that make him much younger intellectually, has a great love of water and, occasionally, little common sense. :)  DS2 is very, very adventurous, with little fear of anything.

You can see why DH would have qualms.  ::) I suppose that I do, too, but I wanted to do some research to find out what a cruise ship is like with kids. Is it safe? I know a lot of families cruise, so it seems like there must be extensive safety precautions. But we've never even looked into this before, so I have very little idea what it's like.

Any advice or perspective would be greatly appreciated.
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rashea

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 11:19:04 AM »
Do you know what cruise line and ship? You can often find information on what is available, and some cruises are more suited to children than others.

Most of the ships are pretty safe. You'd have to work to get overboard, but we're talking railings. If your children might climb those railings then I think this might not be the best plan. If you can explain to them that that is dangerous and they will listen, great.

If there is a kids' program on board, make use of it. A lot of these have great activities.

I'd practice manners ahead of time, especially if you will eat in the dining room. That will make things easier all around.

Generally, I think cruises are a nice options for families, since there's only one round of unpacking, and there is a wide variety of things to do. But, it depends on the cruise!
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Thipu1

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 11:32:05 AM »
Since it's a three day cruise, I assume you're talking about Disney or Carnival.  Both of those lines have wonderful programs for children. 

You're talking about a child with special needs and one who's very adventurous.  Go to the website of the line.  There you can learn what accommodations can be made for your children.

We don't have children but we have talked to many people who have sailed with children.  They all had positive things to say about youth programs on ships.  The lines take great care to make sure the children are safe. 
 

bopper

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 02:02:09 PM »
Try asking this on cruisecritic.com or if a Disney cruise, disboards.com

If you are thinking very adventurous and therefore Will Jump Overboard, you really spend very little time near a railing on a cruise ship! 
If you do, then you would just hold their hands.
Perhaps don't get a room with a balcony.
There are children's clubs so you could have them go into a program like that for some of the time.
If they like water, they will want to go into the pools.  Those are as safe as any other pools.
Have you gone to a hotel with pools? This won't be that different.

Judah

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 02:04:59 PM »
We cruised with the kids when they were young, but not quite as young as yours.  I'll be honest: I was convinced one of the kids would go overboard. I didn't even allow them on our balcony without me holding their shirts the whole time to keep them from going over the railing.  ::) I recognize that it's an unreasonable fear, but it was there none-the-less. My now-adult-kids still tease me about it.

Other than my crazy paranoia the trip was great. There was an abundance of activities for the kids to participate in on board and they loved the excursions we took. We were travelling with childless friends, but there's such a variety of activities that we all had fun.
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elephantschild

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 05:30:20 PM »
Thanks for the advice; I will check out some of those forums. It's not Disney or Carnival, to be honest. (Another major line, though ...)

I've been to the line's website and read about the children's programs, but there's really very little about safety other than precautions, etc., if the ship must be evacuated. I just don't have a good grasp of what the railings look like. (I do know that we wouldn't get a room with a balcony. :))

I think the other thing DH is worried about is that it was be positively claustrophic in a small room together for four days, three nights, and that we'll be so tied to the kids that we won't really be able to do anything but follow them around making sure they're not in danger.  :-\

This is something I know nothing about, and I hate that feeling.

"But there was one Elephant -- a new Elephant -- an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions."
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Acadianna

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 09:55:39 PM »
We went on a Caribbean cruise with our daughter, who was then two years old.  We were with other family members who helped us with keeping an eye on her.

That was 30 years ago, so I don't remember anything very specific, but I don't recall having any problems at all.  (Except that DD became carsick when we were on a bus to the airport for our flight home -- but that was after the cruise had ended.   ;)  )

snowfire

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 01:23:06 AM »
I don't have kids, but I have cruised a little.  I don't think your DH will have to worry about being shut up in your room.  When we were onboard, the only times we were actually in our cabins were either to sleep or change clothes.  There was a TON of stuff to do on board. 

Thipu1

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 08:12:16 AM »
Believe me, with all the things to do on a modern ship, you'll probably be in your room only to change clothes and sleep. 

I'm about 5'6" tall and the railings come to right under my bustline.  They're pretty high. 

One thing that I've heard from everyone who has cruised with children is that the kids' programs are VERY heavy on safety.

Like others, I highly recommend cruise critic.  The folks there are just as nice as the folks here.  Your research will be fun. 

ladyknight1

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 08:51:57 AM »
Thanks for the advice; I will check out some of those forums. It's not Disney or Carnival, to be honest. (Another major line, though ...)

I've been to the line's website and read about the children's programs, but there's really very little about safety other than precautions, etc., if the ship must be evacuated. I just don't have a good grasp of what the railings look like. (I do know that we wouldn't get a room with a balcony. :))

I think the other thing DH is worried about is that it was be positively claustrophic in a small room together for four days, three nights, and that we'll be so tied to the kids that we won't really be able to do anything but follow them around making sure they're not in danger.  :-\

This is something I know nothing about, and I hate that feeling.

I can set your mind at ease. We took DS on a three day cruise on Royal Caribbean when he was 10. It was great. We had an amazing time. We literally never saw DS after breakfast until the evening, but that was because he had such a great time in the club. We played board games in the library, watched movies, played in the pool, enjoyed the art auctions, and visited all the clubs.

On RC, many of the kid's club staff had masters degrees in early childhood education and they were from all over the world. They love working with the kids.

You will only be in your room to sleep and change clothes, maybe a nap for a lazy day. Your luggage will either go in the closet or under the bed, so it won't be in your way. My DH was concerned about being claustrophobic, but he loved cruising.

My advice to you is to go for it!
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 08:56:01 AM by ladyknight1 »

Kiara

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 09:52:32 AM »
OP, are you going to be on Norwegian?  I know they do 3 nights to the Bahamas.  If so, the top railings on the main deck are about chest high on me, and I'm 5'7".  Then there's 3? horizontal bars beneath that.  The railing on the back around the outdoor buffet had that in the middle, then solid metal at the bottom on the sides.  It would take some effort to climb them.

I've also seen kids in the kid's program on Norwegian, and they always looked like they were having a great time, and there were about 1 adult to every 5-6 kids.  So I think they'd be okay.

Thipu1

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Re: Cruising with kids
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 11:24:15 AM »
A little more on Kid's programs. 

The children learn about life at sea and animal life in the sea beneath them.  If the ship will be visiting ports where the first language is not English, the children may be taught basic phrases in the language spoken at the port  The results can get quite impressive.

We had lunch with a family who got lost in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They knew the street they wanted but couldn't find it.   The  7 year-old DD walked into a shop and politely asked, 'Por favor, seņor?  Donde esta Calle X?'.

Although almost everyone in San Juan speaks and understands English, the shop keeper was tickled that this little blonde girl addressed him in Spanish.  The family got properly oriented. Her parents were almost kvelling that their DD learned that in the youth program on the ship.