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Old June 6th, 2007, 06:23 PM
Rev22:17 Rev22:17 is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 4,770


Originally Posted by You
- What have other people witnessed or experienced from parents that brought along a 2 to 3 year old on a cruise?
All of the major cruise lines are very family friendly, so there's no real problem with bringing young children. Most lines now require children to be at least three (3) years old to participate in the childrens' program, but any responsible adult can bring younger children to the childrens' center to play (provided that the adult remains there to supervise them).

In booking such a trip, the first thing that you need to consider is berthing arrangements for your child. If your child won't be alright sleeping in an upper berth, you need to book a cabin that will provide a satisfactory arrangement. This might mean a "deluxe" (larger than standard) cabin or a minisuite that has a sofa bed rather than upper bunks or it might mean a cabin that's large enough to accommodate a travel bed (again, a "deluxe" cabin or a minisuite). You might want to book such a cabin anyway so that your child will have enough room to play in the cabin.

The second thing to consider is the equipment that you will need to care for your child. All cabins have a desk/vanity that can serve as a changing table if your child is still in diapers, but you probably will want a stroller when you go ashore and perhaps a travel bed if you don't want to put your child in an upper bed. Also, be sure to bring some of your child's favorite books and toys so that your child will have something to do. And if your child is still in diapers, be sure to bring an adequate supply of diapers, wipes, etc., since the ship's shops probably will not carry them. And for travel, I strongly recommend buying them their own seats on the plane and bringing child safety seats for the children who are young enough to require them.

You also need to plan a suitable wardrobe for your children for the cruise. Note that Princess does NOT prescribe different standards of dress for children than for adults, so the norms of social etiquette dictate that children should follow the same dress code as adults -- even on the "formal" evenings. This need not be horiffically expensive, though. You did not say whether the children in your party are boys or girls (or some of each), but there are some very affordable alternatives available for both.

>> For young boys, nearly all tuxedo shops rent tuxedos in small sizes for ring bearers at weddings, etc., at very reasonable prices.

>> Young girls can wear either a nice "party dress" or some of the character costume dresses available very reasonably at Disney stores.

Young children like to act "grown up" so it's quite easy to get them to dress up "just like Mommy" or "just like Daddy." Set a positive example, and they will be quite eager to conform.

Originally Posted by You
Were the parents completely frazzled looking?
No. The ships' staffs are very used to having young children aboard, and they are well prepared to provide basic services. They also have childrens' menus available in the dining rooms. And, again, proper planning and preparation are critical.

- Should kids this age stay home while the parents go?
No. The ships are set up to accommodate children of all ages.

- Is it fair to the other passenger to have to deal with a disruptive toddler during dinner etc?
No, but there's no reason for a toddler to be disruptive. Again, the ship's staff are well accustomed to serving toddlers. If a child starts screaming uncontrollably or otherwise causing disruption, it's time for Mom or Dad to take the child out of the dining room, address the child's problem, and get the child settled down before returning.

What I would recommend, though, is to take the children to progressively nicer restaurants from time to time between now and your cruise so that the experience of going to a nice restaurant for dinner is not novel to them when they enter the main dining room for the first time.

- Will a child this age get anything out of the cruise?
Yes, absolutely! You or another adult obviously will have to explain things to the toddlers in simple language that they can understand, but it's amazing how much they will learn and remember from a visit to a new place.

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