I am attempting to plan a trip for 9 people and have been trying to gather as much information as I can on cruising with children. I would appreciate any information on traveling with kids on cruises. (This site has the *best* practical information)
What is a typical day like? Are the kids programs as good as the cruise-lines think they are? Can a 21-month-old child participate in anything? Are we insane for wanting to take this trip?
We will be traveling with 4 adults, 4 children (21-months to age 5) and one 71-year-old spread across three rooms. The trip is in August on the NCL Dawn to Bermuda. Help!
I've never traveled with any of my children, but there seem to be a lot of people who do...There are some great kids programs for the 3 year olds and up...I don't think there is much for a 21-month old...What I've seen in my cruising is there are some very nice children and then there are some very bad children...just like the real world...the bad ones can really make it difficult on the parents and the other passengers. Eating seems to be one of the big concerns...do you eat in the main dining room or the buffet...what I've seen is that with little children, the buffet seems to work out much better...the main dining rooms take up to two hours to complete your meal...and most little ones can't sit still that long...with 4 little ones, it will be a challenge I'm sure...but you know your kids and I'm sure will know if they can handle the cruise. The mom's seem to not do so well:-)..of course they are giving the most day to day care and it's challening on a ship...The ships are so big and could be dangerous for little ones. I don't want to scare off the cruise, but it's a fact.... but then again there are little ones on every cruise I've ever been on...Happy cruising....and remember to give yourself some ALONE time.....oh, with my blended families I've had 11 kids..so maybe that's why I never took any on a cruise:-)....
Hi, ThatBrunette, and welcome to cruise-chat.com. Thank you for the kind words regarding the site.
Bermuda is a great destination for families. We did it years ago -- our son was 11 months old the first time and 20 months old the second. It was easy to get around on the buses and ferries. And, there was plenty to do ashore, between beaches, aquarium, and other family-friendly attractions. I do suggest you take a lightweight stroller as the streets can be tough to navigate, particularly if you visit St. George.
Kids programs start at age 24 months, so the youngest will be a few months shy. They do not make exceptions due to liability reasons. But, s/he can certainly attend shows, dinners in the main dining rooms, and most other events. Just use common sense, as you would at home. There are a few areas off-limits, such as the swimming pools. But, as you will be in Bermuda, there are plenty of times for water activities.
NCL's kids program for the youngest kids is grouped from age 2 to 5. So, the other children in your group will be together. And, as it is an August sailing, there will be plenty of other families onboard.
I'm happy to answer any other questions about sailing with kids on NCL. We've been doing it for 13 years!
And, no, you are not insane. You will most likely have an enjoyable family cruise. I do agree with Bob that some alone time is in order, though. Perhaps the adults could take turns watching the kids -- that's what we've done.
Yes on both questions. The kids activities usually start around 7, 7:30 pm. It's perfectly fine to take a 4-year-old to the shows, and most are suitable for kids. (The ones that aren't will tend to be later in the evening, and will be so noted in the ship's activity paper.) One thing they request of kids during the shows is that they not sit in the first few rows of the theatre. Enjoy!
When my girls were ages 7and 8, we took a cruise on the Dawn. I thoroughly checked out the kids program at that time and have continued to check them out on other cruises with NCL. The programs are better for the older children ( elementary and above)
I found that the best time we had was at the kids pool. I could sit there and watch them, have a blast as well as it was much quieter than at the main pool. There were a few families with younger children ( ages toddler to around age 5) and this was where we all decided to hang out.
Now in regards to relaxing...It's hard to find time to relax as a parent. I was the one who watched all the children on our trip. This included the couples that we travelled with. I did find that the drink service was lacking at the kids pool, but the fun of watching the kids and some time for reading paid off! ( Saved my bar bill as well).
I would recommend that if you are travelling with several adults that you each take turns having some quiet time and trading off child watching duty.
Have fun and find time to relax with your spouse as well!
Thank you for your response. Hopefully, my SIL and I will switch off watching the kids. My husband and I are hoping, if my son likes the club, to get a little alone time. I'm a bit paranoid so, I am going to have a tough time letting strangers take care of my son. :-)