Could some of you seasoned travelers share how you've kept track of your kids on board?
I want to give DS and his buddy some freedom, but not too much.
What have you done? I realize that in a new environment a meeting place will present itself.
A note in the cabin etc...
I'd just like to hear some ideas that have worked.
NUMBER 1 RULE - STAY ONLY IN THE PUBLIC AREAS (this means, nobody else's room, no employee only areas, etc)
Also, we always eat our meals together - breakfast is easy because we get the kids up when we get up (they hate it, but you don't want them wasting their cruise by sleeping the whole time). Then we usually meet at a specific time on the Lido deck for lunch, and we always eat in the dining room for dinner. I figure, it is still a family vacation, and although they have their freedom during the day and in the evenings, they still have to eat with us.
My biggest problem is getting them to turn in at night, but we have never had a problem with finding them if we need to - there are only so many places on the ship and they usually are in the same few places, so we know where to look first.
Everything that Lharry said is on the money. We were on Explorer of the Seas a few years back with our boys (teens) and it is a large ship 138000 tons. The boys hung out in the teen lounge, in the disco - it was open only up to a certain time 10 maybe for kids or where the pizza was located. We made sure they went on tours with us when we hit the islands. Really it was only at night that they hung out with friends after dinner type of thing. We made sure they ate dinner with us in the dining room every morning and we let them socialize with friends for breakfast. We carried large post it notes with us and used the mirror in our stateroom to communicate with them. When we had sea days, we always made sure that they knew where we would be sitting. That way they know they could pass by and say hello which they did. The rule was absolutely no entering friends' cabins. They also hung out a lot on the top deck with the miniature golf and the rock climbing needed a parent signature I believe to climb and I think they could only do it once per hour. There is a great basketball court too and they spent a fair amount of time there. I told them no going outside on deck on the high decks at night however when it was windy. Have a great trip.
Me and my fiance are attached to the hips so when we started cruising I didnt want to let him do his own thing. I know he isnt a kid but I mother him a bit :X So we did a similar thing with meeting for breakfast (easy since we woke up together) Lunch and dinner. Then we would do our own thing in between. Ports of call obviously we spent together but sea days we used a dry erase board to tell each other where we were. We were a bit all over compared to kids but same idea.
When I went on a cruise with my daughter we brought walkey talkeys (not sure how to spell) but we never used them because it was easy to locate one another. I ended up returning them when I got home. I have seen other families use them & think it's a great idea.
Hey Dave good advise...that is my main concern. We are first time cruisers with 2 teen-aged boys...one 13 (not very mature for his age..naeve) and our 17 year (he is very mature for his age) the problem is there are about 5 years apart...they do get along but our 17 year old likes to hang-out with kids his age and so does the 13 year old. My fear is that would leave our 13 year old with us and I want him to be able to socialize with kids his age as well. We are all on vacation and I want all of us to have a good time. I am a worry wart. I am very protective of my children...my husband is worst. Unfortunately its the world that we are living in now. It just scares me to death not knowing where they are...I or my husband won't be able to enjoy our selves because we would be worrying are they okay.
My advice to you is to sign the 13 year old up in the kids camp group for his age. And at his age he can come and go as he wants without you having to sign him in and out of camp. They will have gatherings and have semi-supervised activities he can enjoy without feeling he is being "watched" all the time. That gives him the socialization and gives you free time. The 17 year old will most likely be hanging with a different crowd anyway.
You may find that you can let go more easily when you know the 13 year old is with a group and not alone. You can use a system of notes in the cabin along with the daily activity news paper to plan and track where he is at a given time. Its fairly easy to find them if you know that the 13 year olds are "on Lido deck aft at the ice cream Sunday making party" or whatever