Hi - I'm wondering if I should talk hubby into going on another cruise and taking our young kids ages 2 and 4. Hubby & I went on the NCL Dream alone late October 2005 and even though we didn't make it to ANY of the scheduled port stops due to hurricanes galore, we still had a good time. Does anyone have experience taking children that young on cruises and what are the pros/cons? I can see the cons being that we'd be limited to activities. Any info/suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!
I am going on a cruise in April with Children. You do have the babysitting option if you want it. Some restaurnts on the cruise don't allow children (so I have heard). I would check out the ports before you go as well. I don't feel limited at all.
GROUP SITTING HOURS
Sea days: 10 pm – 1 am (Sign up by noon on the same day)
Port days: 9 am – 5 pm (Sign up by 5 pm on the previous day); 10 pm – 1 am (Sign up by noon on the same day)
GROUP SITTING COST
$5 per child per hour, $3 per child per hour for additional children in the same family
We just returned from an NCL cruise. Although our children are older (12 years), we did notice other families with younger children, although there were only a few families with children as young as 2 years old. Our ship (NCL Dawn) has a Kids Corral in the Garden Cafe - it is a well designed area just for young kids. The buffet bar is shorter, allowing the smaller ones to help themselves to the never-ending supply of hambergers, hot dogs, french fries, etc. You can sit down with them, or sit in the adult section nearby and still watch closely. There is only one entry/exit, giving you assurance that your kids can't wander off unnoticed.
NCL has a kids-first policy for boarding the shuttle boats that take you to and from shore (when the ship doesn't dock at a warf). Any families with young kids go straight to the front of the line.
We saw families with young kids at beach excursions, and they seemed to have no problems. I would stay away from the more adventurous excursions, or even the bus tours. Keep in mind that once on a beach, you may have to be self-sufficient - it is unlikely you will find a source of diapers, baby food, etc.
We went a few years ago with our children. (Ages 3 & 5) We had a great time! The children loved it, as did we. Our day was focused around our children interests, but they were our interests as well. We spents days on board at the pool, and and days on shore at the beach and shopping. Our children new that every afternoon they would be going back to the cabin for a nap, (which is a favorite for me too)this allowed us to reenergize and to have a very enjoyable evening too. We did not do the kids program because our children are shy and did not want to do this although if your child is comfortable with the camp/daycare I think it looks like a great program. They did offer family activites after dinner that we did participate in as a family ( arts & crafts). We are going on another cruise in 2 weeks and now our kids are talking about participating in the programs and are excited about the activites offered.
[We were on the Dawn last year and our kid got two years on the cruise. I can really recommend it. She loved the kidz club and everybody treated her like a princess. The only negative point was that they wouldn't let her go to the kidz club before her 2nd birthday. The kids pool area is beautiful and we really enjoyed our cruise. The babysitter-service is not available in the cabin. You have to bring them to the club, which we didn't do. But theygive a beeper and as soon as something is wrong they call you.Of course there are some excursions you can naot book with toddlers, but this wasn't that important for us. We went to the beaches and had a round trip with a taxi in Aruba.
I've never brought young ones on an NCL cruise, but have on Carnival cruises. They have Camp Carnival for the kids and break them into different age groups that do age appropriate activities. And like the other replys stated, if you want, there is baby sitting available. You will have to pay for the baby sitting services if you want a lot of time along or if you want sitting after camp carnival closes, but it still makes for a good family vacation.
I say go for it. You could try a short cruise ( like a 3 or 4 day cruise) to see how they handle it before taking on longer cruises. But my kids are older now (10 and 12) and they love cruising... we are off to Alaska this summer and then doing the carribean in the fall.