Originally Posted by KDGodwin
I agree with the 6-12 age range being perfect...
I am a strong believer that it is not the kids that are the problem. Parents need to be a better judge of what their kids can handle.
What I said was that 6-12 was optional. Kids that age can be wonderful. They can also be obnoxious! It depends very much on your kids and your family structure, as KD points out.
If Mom (or Dad) is Stay At Home, and boxed up with those kids 24/7, the most important part of a vacation for her might just be a little adult time! The kids are still at the age that staying at home can be a treat for them ... with Grandma, with a special babysitter, or even inflicting them on some other kid's mom and letting them stay with a friend!
OTOH a cruise is a great opportunity to send the kids off to the children's programs, which most kids love, and have your adult time and your family time too. But if your kid is so clingy that they will not head off to "day camp" then you are going to wind up trying to entertain them all day. After three hours in the pool, what else do you do with them? Plopping them down in the cabin to watch DVDs is not my idea of quality time.
So that is why I say 6-12 is "optional." Think about the cruising program, think about your kids and the family relationships, and figure out what works for you. Frankly I would suggest that your first cruise be without the kids so you get an idea of what it's all about. Then if you think it will work for the family, go for it! But if the cruising experience is not something you think your kids would like, don't feel guilty about leaving them to adventure at home.
When I was that age, our family used to take driving vacations cross country, camping out every night in an Army Surplus tent. Tempers got rather frayed at times! Looking back I don't think it was much of a vacation for Mom!