I read the reviews and they lead me to believe that most parents board the ship (Conquest) with their kids and let them head out on their own. Our kids (Girl 9 & Boy 13 1/2) are responsible and can be trusted...but I am not so sure I want to sa see 'ya in the morning and meet up with them at some point later in the day.
OTOH, I don't want to be over-protective...just protective - after all, in these days and times you can't really know for sure WHO is on the cruise.
Can some of the other parents on this board share their thoughts with a first time cruiser dad & mom that want their kids to have a blast but also want them to be safe.
Any comments will be greatly appreciated!
(Only 20 days until we sail!)
9-16 OCT 2005 - Carnival Conquest (out of Galveston)
We have been crusing with our kids since the first was 2 months and she's now 17. Our youngest is 9. Our last cruise ended 2 weeks ago on R.C. The 9 yr old was not allowed on scavenger hunts around the ship with a group even though they had to check in every 10 minutes to the camp leader. They had activities in the camp for those whose parents would not sign off. Once they were in camp, at that age and the form said who can sign them off to return, all was fine. The older ones are 17 and 14 and in 2 different age brackets in the camp. They opted to dine with us and would not eat with their group and told us which activities they would participate in the night before so that we knew where or what activity they would be in the next day.
We took our tweens on the Celebration for zmas break last year They where 11 and 9 at the time.
They did not want to go Camp C. so we gave them
some freedom. We tend to be protective too.. Who wouldn't. With that said we invested in two pairs of high quality Two way radios. We were able to check up on them anytime we wanted to yetgive them some freedom.
We have a set of (supposedly) 5 mile FRS (the top-of-the-line 32 channel jobs) that we are hoping will punch through the decks but we are not holding our breathg...although it sounds like jeff had good luck with his - THAT is reassuring!
We are thinking along the same lines - camp carnival is OK but we do want to see your faces now and then
Thanks again folks! As the date for our first cruise gets closer we find there are a lot of questions that we did not get adequate answers for - thanks again for solving this one area!
9-16 OCT 2005 - Carnival Conquest (out of Galveston)
My kids are 15, 13, 11 and 7 and we just took a 7 day cruise on Elation (departed August 14th). After the first day my 11 year old was on his own (I think it is clear how appropriate that is when you consider that CC won't allow you to sign your kid in and out, even if you wanted to). I was pretty sure I would be okay with it before we cruised, but after one day I was completely secure about it. In fact, he didn't want to go to Cozumel, so we left him on board by himself (again, CC said he could come and go as HE pleased, so I think that should be your guide- if they are willing to take the liability, you should as well). Come to think of it, I also left the 7 year old on board, but he was at CC.
Keep in mind that before you go your head is full of missing newlyweds, people falling off the ship, etc. Once you are on board your comfort level will rise, especially when your child shows you where to go almost immediately!
My 7 year old either stayed with one of us or was in CC until the last two days, when he was cruising to the cabin by himself (and of course anywhere on Lido deck when we were hanging out by the pool). I met a woman on another cruise site who was on the same cruise, and she was a regular cruiser with kids 11 and 7, and I kind of followed her guide with my 7 year old (the two kids became friends immediately). Her kid was keying himself in and out of the cabin all day, so... but I kept an eye on the time and if he was gone for more than 20 minutes or so I sent an older kid to find him. Basically he would just go back to get his goggles or something- on some kind of mission.
My older kids were completely on their own with the only requirement being to show up at dinner dressed appropriately. They came in at 2 am most nights. The thing is that my kids are always glued to me anyway. They would go off on their own but come back every hour at the most. Kids are always traveling about, right? It isn't like they are going to go somewhere and sit there for three hours. The best thing about the cruise was seeing them go off and then pop back to tell me what was going on all the time. My 11 year old stayed out pretty late at night as well, but then again, he was always in the process of being ditched by the older kids and trying to find them, which involved checking in at the cabin every twenty minutes to see if they magically came back there.
Just follow your own comfort level and try to go into it open minded. If there is one thing NOT to think about ahead of time, that is it. Just go with what feels right, which will be 180 degrees different by day three.
Oh, and by the way, I did not bring walkie talkies. Some kids had them, although very few. I had read about how annoying they are, and although I didn't find them to be loud, I did find that when kids are using them they are making a straight beeline somewhere and they tend to crash into you because they are paying attention to the kid on the other end.
The thing about kids is that they are endless messengers, right? So if you want to know where someone is, send the kid to find him. Isn't that what we do all the time, anyway, just to get them out of our hair?
My experience was kind of like Carlena's too. My kids would check back in with me often so I felt fairly secure they were fine. I did not leave them on board the ship on port days but I was dying to watch them experience another country.
They really wanted to go to the pajama party that lasted unitl 2am so we paid for them to do and CC walked them back to their rooms. My 8 yo said he was TOO tired so he went to bed instead.
Carnival Freedom June 2009
Crown Princess March 2009
Carnival Glory January 2008
Naviagator of the Seas Mar 07
Sovereign of Seas Oct 06
Carnival Glory March 2005
Nordic Empress 1996
In Feb 05 we took our children ond grandchildren on a cruise. The GC ranged from 5 to 15. It was a big concern before we boarded the ship about safety. Once we were at sea there was a level of trust. The 5yo did not want to go to Camp Carnival to my surprise. He preferred to stay with us at the pool during the day. We tested the waters at dinner. If he was good he could dine with us and if not he would go to Camp Carnival so that not only we could enjoy the dining experience but the other passengers could too. No one wants bad behaved kids ruining their cruise. I can say he was a perfect little gentlemen and joined us every night. He loved wearing his tuxedo! The waiters were wonderful with him. Even passengers enjoyed seeing him all dressed up and dancing with the waiters. We did put him in Camp Carnival in the evenings and paid for him to stay after 10pm. I believe it was 5 or 6 dollars an hr. The others were 2 girls 10, 1 girl 13 and 1 boy 15. They are very strict on age groups. The 13 yo wanted stay with the 15 yo but they were 2 different groups. We all ate breakfast and dinner together but after that the kids were free to go where they wanted. We did have walkie talkies and I highly recommend it. We could find them at any time. Without them we would have constantly been wondering where they were. They enjoyed ordering room service in the evenings. A plate of chocolate chip cookies or brownies. You know your children better than anyone. This is a decision you will have to make. Many people let their kids run rampid and some kids ruin the cruise for others. Be responsible. If you know your kids tend to get into trouble then keep them closer to you. If they are well behaved then give them more freedom. Do have a long talk with them about rules...be polite, do not run or yell, no playing in the elevators, hot tubs are for adults, signs are posted yet kids fill them up. Where are the parents? Stay away from the ledges (my biggest concern). Remember that your kids will have a sign and sail card which opens your cabin room. They will also be able to charge. Make sure the rules are set BEFORE the cruise starts. Since this was a Valentines cruise there were not a lot of kids on this cruise. Only about 12 teenagers. For the first day or two we were concerned about our 15 yo grandson being bored. He finally met other kids his age about the second or third day and had a blast. He has already said he wants his familly to take him on a cruise for his HS graduation. The three grandaughters had fun on their own. We had a balcony for this cruise and the others had an oceanview. It is very easy for someone to climb over the balcony or any ledge. Some kids will mess around. This would be my biggest fear. I even had a chat with my 25 and 27 yo kids. When people drink they do things they might not do when they are sober. Also daring others. I am surprised we have not had more people overboard. As for the groom who went overboard, was he pushed or did he go over on his own? If you have a balcony room this may concern you. Set the RULES beforehand! Have a GREAT time. I am sure your children will.