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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-31-2007, 09:02 PM
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I have not cruised with infant before, so any advise will be greatly appreciated.

I am thinking booking a cruise on board of Golden Princess out of Los Angeles this December. We have a 1 year old boy that we would like to bring with us. I have the following questions:

1. Will my 1 year old be charge a regular 3rd person fee?

2. Will my 1 year old be allowed in the formal restaurant and speciality restaurant when we dine there or we are only allow in the lido buffet?

Thanks to all in advance.

Steve
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-01-2007, 08:49 AM
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Steve, I do not know the answers to these questions, but an easy call to Princess will give you answers to both of them.
Ellie
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 08-01-2007, 10:07 AM
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You're a brave soul sc. My relatives are faced with this same dilemma for next summer: Whether to take a 1 year old on a cruise. They decided against it completely as they figured that they wouldn't be able to do a lot of the things that they would want to do while on the cruise. Their entire trip would be dependent completely on the toddler. I have another friend who did do this when his kids were that age, but he could afford to bring a nanny on with them. So they had a great time. I'm certainly not trying to talk you out of cruising, but I would think a cruise just wouldn't be as enjoyable with a child that young. Any other opinions on that from anyone else?
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:06 PM
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To answer your questions;
Yes, your child will be charged the regular 3rd person fare.

Yes, you will be allowed in the dining rooms, regular and specialty.

But all too often I have seen one or both parents have to get up during their meal to remove a fussing child.

I understand your desire to do a family vacation, but without a nanny or, as I see more and more these days, a grandparent or grandparents to help take care of the child, it isin't going to be much of a vacation for you.
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Old 08-04-2007, 09:08 PM
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My Husband and I just went on a cruise for our 10 year anniversary... and left our 5 and 8 year old children at home with my parents (This was our first experience away from them for more than 2 nights... don't want you to think we ditch them frequently!)
We loved our cruise.. but it would have been a completly different experience with our children along. Now that I have vacationed without my children, I realize parents don't get a vacation if their children are with them! I'm not recommending you leave your 1 year old at home... I'm recommending you find a vacation more suitable for a family with a young child (and increase the chances you will get some R&R too!).
Your 1 year old is too young to participate in any of the children's activities on board. While I'm sure you love your child, you may want a break after spending a week cramped up with them in a SMALL cabin! The activities you and your spouse can participate in are limited by your son's sleep/nap scheule. One of you will be "stuck" in the cabin at any given time and missing out on the late night shows/ casinos/ night life. The excursions you can go on are limited by your son's age. Forget scuba diving. There were families with young children on our cruise... but the parents looked anything but relaxed. Often I saw them getting up and leaving in the middle of dinner.
I think my children are nearing the perfect cruise age (and I'm looking forward to taking them in a couple years.) They are old enough to participate in the youth activities, able to sit down (and behave) though a formal dinner, and hopefully able to appreciate and remember the beautiful places we visit on our cruise. Cruises can be expensive...especially after you factor in the excursions. I would be really upset if I spent the majority of the time stuck in my cabin, missed the shows and had to eat (the not so great buffet food) because my child couldn't sit though the 2 hour formal dinner. I'm sorry to sound so negative... but now that my children are getting older it is so much easier to take them places. Traveling with an active toddler is hard... and yes, they are charged as a third person.
K
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Old 08-04-2007, 09:16 PM
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Krysta, you don't sound negative at all; you are just telling it like it is. You stated much more graphically and thoroughly what I was trying to get across.

I hope sc6103 and anyone else thinking of cruising with small children and without a nanny or grandparent will heed your very sound advice.
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:42 AM
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And, now for a few words from the other side...

Our son started cruising with us when he was 11 months old, and took his second cruise at 20 months. My husband and I had cruised a few times previously.

It's very true that cruising with a baby or toddler is a different kind of vacation, but it is still a vacation. For one week, we didn't have to cook, clean, shop for groceries, or go to work. All we had to do was take care of our son, which was our obligation anyway, and something we would have to do wherever we vacationed.

We still went to shows -- we just sat in the back with him in his stroller in case he started to fuss (there's plenty of room there), and he usually fell asleep, anyway. We still went to the dining room -- chose early seating, and prepared in advance by going to restaurants at home. We still enjoyed time on shore -- exploring a port by foot rather than by snorkeling. My husband and I each got a break by doing things separately while the other watched our son. For example, getting a massage, going to a wine-tasting clinic, or attending a lecture.

Not once did either of us feel cooped up in our cabin.

All that said, it was still our responsibility to make sure that he did not disrupt the vacations of other pax. That responsibility does not go away as a child ages. Yes, there were perhaps one or two times we had to take him out of the dining room, but I've also seen parents do that with 4- or 5-year-olds. We did not take him to extra-pay restaurants. And, we did not allow him to crawl around the public spaces (he was not yet walking at 11 months). We were careful of other pax when we used the stroller. And, diapering needs were taken care of in our cabin...nowhere else.

My point is that cruising can still be a family vacation -- even with a baby or toddler -- if you adjust your expectations. If you want a romantic cruise, I agree that finding a reliable sitter at home is the best bet. But, that is not what the OP is asking.

sc6103, I am happy to offer any advice, having been there a few times. Would this be the Mexican Riviera cruise? We did that itinerary as well on Diamond Princess (although our son was 11 years old at the time), so I may be able to offer advice there, too.
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:57 AM
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Lisa - I'm sure others will appreciate your real life experience traveling with a young child. Returning from our first vacation without our children, I think my post really reflected how much more relaxing a vacation is without children! It was our first vacation alone since having children 8 years ago... It was a long time since I felt that relaxed!

With that being said, your correct, the poster didn't ask if taking his 1 year old on a cruise would be relaxing... I guess I just assumed no one would book a vacation they knew would be stressful! (Note: my opinion) The focus here should be on planning family vacations.

So many factors come into play... the ages of our children, the temperments of the children (and parents!) and having realistic expectations. I always take other's opinions and advice with a grain of salt - simply because it is based on that person's experience and the personalities, temperments and expectations of that family. My experience could be totally different - and being that we are each the "expert" on our own family, we know what is the right fit for our family. I hope the original poster realizes this when making the decision to book his cruise.

Having children changes life as we know it... and our expectations shift as we include children in our lives. Do we stop doing the things we love once we have children? No. We adapt and make compromises. Your post gives a great example on how a couple can adjust their cruising experience to include their young child. I agree, a week without cooking, cleaning and everyday obligations sounds wonderful! It is great that you and your Husband have found a way to continue doing something that you love.

I hope that it was clear that I don't have any personal experience cruising with an infant... my comments were based on observations/ comments made from fellow passengers traveling with children. My opinion also factored in the temperments/ personalities of my own children. Cruising with my oldest child may have been possible when she was an infant. She was easy going, her schedule was some-what predictable and she was content staying in her stroller for any length of time. She would take naps in her stroller so it was easy to bring her along to many events. It was also easy to bring her out to dinner. She was a happy baby and rarely fussed. Then came along my Son. He is loud, intense and VERY active. I thought parenting was a breeze until he came along! He would only stay in a stroller for a few minutes at a time and was on the go from day one. He would only sleep in his bed (and therefore wouldn't fall asleep in a stroller.) Taking him to restaurants was a challenge. He was a screamer and always wanted to crawl under the table. I was always on edge because I was afraid we were disrupting other patrons. Thankfully, at age 5 he is not as intense and his behavior is a little more predictable (or have we adapted as parents and adjusted our expectations?

In a nut shell, these would be my concerns with traveling with a young infant: (and would love to hear from others why I shouldn't worry as I would like to book a family cruise soon!)

1) In my experience, many cruise activities are on a schedule such as the time you attend dinner. What if your child is having a melt down at that hour?
2) My son in particular was a very active infant and would have been miserable in a stroller for any length of time. We were on the Sea Princess and I can't identify any areas were infants could crawl around safely (I guess by the pool/ deck area maybe?)
3) The cabins are small. It is the reason why I prefer to stay in 2 room suites (ex; Embassy Suites)when traveling with our children. We can put them to bed in one room and stay up in the other room. Are we the only parents that have to turn off all of the lights in the room to get our kids to sleep in one room?)
4) I was a nursing mother when my children were young. Therefore, the responsibility of feeding was mine. I was the one they wanted at bedtime (and in general the first 2 years especially.) I guess this is where the "cooped up in the cabin" comment came in. Putting my children to bed in unfamiliar terratory was a challenge - and it usually fell on me. As the kids got older (and weaned), my Husband could help out more.
5) I go on vacation to reconnect with my family - especailly my spouse. It would bother me if the activities we could do together on vacation were limited... but now that I'm thinking back... that is the only way we could do it when our children were small! I think Princess Cruises realizes parents want (and need) time to themselves to relax. I can only hope my children love and participate in their children's programs.

Sorry for the long post!
K
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 08-19-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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We have been on more than 50 cruises and seen more than our share of toddlers on ships. The cases where it seems to work best are when the babies are with an extended family (can rotate care-giving) or nannies. We have seen some couples have a good time with their babies, but have seen many more that are even more miserable than their child. The cruise lines do not have any programs for 1 year olds and you are not permitted to take them into any of the pools or hottubs (there is actually a government regulation that prohibits taking any non-potty trained child into pools for health reasons). I have also witnessed cases where babies get seasick and pretty much cry their way through an entire cruise..and others that seem to be quite happy. AT one time some of the cruise lines even prohibited children under 2 and that was probably for good cause. Its no fun being in the next cabin to a screaming baby (or a screaming adult).

Hank
 
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