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-   -   My recommended suggestions when cruisng with children (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/all-things-cruising/388642-my-recommended-suggestions-when-cruisng-children.html)

Kuki April 4th, 2012 01:47 PM

My recommended suggestions when cruisng with children
 
Cruisemates Blog My Recommended Suggestions When Cruising With Kids – Kuki

That's the topic of my blog this week.... bombs away :)

Queen of Oakville April 4th, 2012 02:56 PM

okay Kuki - you got me! I expected to open this up and see "leave them at home".

off to read your blog!

Queen of Oakville April 4th, 2012 03:07 PM

on second thought, I wasn't that far off the mark!

You may be surprised to know that some of us actually enjoy cruising with our kids :mrgreen:

Mike M April 4th, 2012 03:20 PM

Since my blog responses still don't show up I'll have to defeat the purpose of the blog and respond here. Listening IB?????????

I've enjoyed cruising with the grandkids and the "adult kids". It's a fun, family vacation but not one I want to do all the time.

There is nothing I love more than Betty and I exploring the world on our own and not worrying about someone else or having to come to a compromise with others on what we are going to do. Many people do not want to go to out of the way places or eat in small, local restaurants with strange foods or strike up a conversation with locals.

When we cruise with the "kids" we consider it their vacation and take a back seat when it comes to what we want to do. It is fun to see them enjoying themselves and we usually do too. But we enjoy it even more when we do our own thing.

Take care,
Mike

Queen of Oakville April 4th, 2012 03:34 PM

My kids are stll young (4 and 6) - so childcare will often cost me more than bringing them along on our holiday.

What I like about cruising is that it forces us to turn off the cell phones and laptops and spend time together as a family.

We still get our private time when the kids are in the kid's club.

green_rd April 4th, 2012 03:51 PM

Kuki - are "recommended suggestions" different from "non-recommended suggestions"? I'm not English major but I think that phrase is repetitively redundant.

Kuki April 4th, 2012 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by green_rd (Post 1423335)
Kuki - are "recommended suggestions" different from "non-recommended suggestions"? I'm not English major but I think that phrase is repetitively redundant.

Yes, it certainly is!!! rofl That was intentional to be a part of the overall "vibe" of the "piece" rofl

Sometimes the point of writing the blog is just to entertain myself :)

MercedMike April 6th, 2012 12:20 PM

My Recommended suggestions
 
It has been a long time since we cruised with our kid. Of course in the meantime we have observed many families with kids on many ships.

Here are MY suggestions:

#1 -- kids under 6 stay home with Grandma! You will like it better, the kids will like it better, and grandma will like it better. Kids 6 to 12 are in the optional class. You have to consider their behaviour and experiences.

#2 -- you have to give a lot of thought to your kid's dining habits. If their idea of going out to dinner is Mickey D's, let them say home with somebody who will take them to Mickey D's every night! They will like it better and so will you.

BUT -- if your kids, like ours, are accustomed to nice restaurants and able to sit through an hour and a half of dining and try new and interesting foods, then they will LOVE the MDR and share a family experience with you. So many times I have observed families in the MDR and felt impelled to go over afterwards and compliment the parents.

#3 -- The kids programs are great. Make sure they participate fully.

#4 -- Leave video games and cell phones home. Don't let them use the DVD in the cabin except for very special treats. Cruising is an old fashioned laid back lifestyle and there is no reason kids can't experience it too.

#5 -- Be sure they do their homework before the cruise. Every single port, whether it is St. Thomas or St. Petersburg, has a history and an important relation to trade. The more they know about the port in advance the more they can learn why they are there. Disguise the schooling as a vacation and they will love it.

#6 -- be sure they have a good lesson in elevator etiquette. On one cruise, we had two kids push past us and say, "Get out of our way, old farts." Well, lo and behold, a couple of days later the elevator doors opened and one of the kids got into the elevator with his parents! He froze up, refused to even look at us, and got to ride 6 floors in anticipation. As we left the elevator, I turned to him and said, "thank you, young man." I hope and trust his parents asked him what I was saying "thank you" for!! ;)

#7 -- DON'T FORGET THE SUNBLOCK!

Mike M April 6th, 2012 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MercedMike (Post 1423670)
It has been a long time since we cruised with our kid. Of course in the meantime we have observed many families with kids on many ships.

Here are MY suggestions:

#1 -- kids under 6 stay home with Grandma! You will like it better, the kids will like it better, and grandma will like it better. Kids 6 to 12 are in the optional class. You have to consider their behavior and experiences.

I have to disagree with you on this one. 6 to 12 is the perfect time for kids to do a cruise. Especially for the shipboard atmosphere. They are old enough to truly enjoy the kids programs and enjoy themselves on the water slides and kids pools. The "tweeners" 12 - 16 are the hardest. There seems to be less for them to do.

#2 -- you have to give a lot of thought to your kid's dining habits. If their idea of going out to dinner is Mickey D's, let them say home with somebody who will take them to Mickey D's every night! They will like it better and so will you.

The MDR will accommodate kids and do a pretty good job of offering things that kids like even if they don't want to try things new. My granddaughter wanted to try everything while my grandson only wanted the cheeseburger and French fries for dinner. His quote: "This is the best cheeseburger and fries I've ever had.

BUT -- if your kids, like ours, are accustomed to nice restaurants and able to sit through an hour and a half of dining and try new and interesting foods, then they will LOVE the MDR and share a family experience with you. So many times I have observed families in the MDR and felt impelled to go over afterward and compliment the parents.

#3 -- The kids programs are great. Make sure they participate fully.

I agree: Don't make it a full time babysitter but the kids will enjoy spending time with other kids and the activities are great.

#4 -- Leave video games and cell phones home. Don't let them use the DVD in the cabin except for very special treats. Cruising is an old fashioned laid back lifestyle and there is no reason kids can't experience it too.

#5 -- Be sure they do their homework before the cruise. Every single port, whether it is St. Thomas or St. Petersburg, has a history and an important relation to trade. The more they know about the port in advance the more they can learn why they are there. Disguise the schooling as a vacation and they will love it.

Agree!

#6 -- be sure they have a good lesson in elevator etiquette. On one cruise, we had two kids push past us and say, "Get out of our way, old farts." Well, lo and behold, a couple of days later the elevator doors opened and one of the kids got into the elevator with his parents! He froze up, refused to even look at us, and got to ride 6 floors in anticipation. As we left the elevator, I turned to him and said, "thank you, young man." I hope and trust his parents asked him what I was saying "thank you" for!! ;)

Manners are something that should be taught long before the cruise. This goes for kids as well as adults and Seniors.

#7 -- DON'T FORGET THE SUNBLOCK!

Overall I agree but on a couple of things I have a different opinion. Note my responses above.

Take care,
Mike

Doug S April 6th, 2012 01:45 PM

Kuki,

Great minds think alike... even if you were a bit tongue in cheek.

Let me say up front, I love kids (especially my 3), but lets be real about it.
The most frazzled, unrested, worn out looking people I've seen on cruises were always the young parents carrying babies, or pushing their tots around in strollers (but maybe sleep deprivation has just become a way of life for them). To me, if you can't totally relax on a cruise and recharge your batteries, you might as well stay home and watch the travel channel from the couch. And from what I've seen, the kids don't appear to be having the time of their lives either. Only exception I have seen is if the GPs (or a nanny) come on the cruise too, allowing the parents to relax now and then.

I'm a firm believer in your point 1. We found other vacation venues that fit better when the kiddoes were really young. On one occasion we did leave them with the GPs and enjoyed some adult time on a cruise. However, I do think that from 5-6 on up, a cruise was an excellent fit for our sons.

Point 2 hits home as well. We always got our 3 boys a room to themselves (and as such, we had a room to ourselves - yeah!). We felt a bit guilty, though, and usually broke down and told them where we were (right across the hall). I believe it's the best situation for parents and kids.

If I told you sharing a room was a great thing, it would have to be that I was rationalizing a financial concern, or maybe I was just unwilling to let go and trust my kids in their own room. I don't personally consider crowding in a small space, sharing a single bathroom, or tip-toeing around while others are trying to sleep quality family time. Who wouldn't want the extra space if they had the option? My kids got just a bit of independence in their own cabin, and yet we were always right there if needed. We don't sleep in the same room at home, why on earth would we want to on a cruise ship?

I've been flamed before for saying it, but for the wife and I, taking a diaper baby on a cruise, or sharing a cabin with our 3 sons would easily qualify as my vacation from hell. I love my sons, and they are very well behaved, but we still all appreciate our own space. Allows for more privacy, as well as different bed times, music and tv preferences, and levels of cleanliness.

Enjoyed the blog...

DWS

KDGodwin April 7th, 2012 03:54 AM

I agree with most of what Mike and Mike said! My children are 3 and 5. We cruise to have a vacation away from the stress of little ones. However, I agree that once they are old enough to appreciate what they are doing and can behave they can go.

My children eat just about anything and go out to dinner with us regularly. We were never the type to drop them off with Grandma just to go to dinner (other than special occasions), so they sit and eat like big kids. I agree with the 6-12 age range being perfect. Once they are BOTH in that range we'll plan one for them. My first cruise was when I was 13, and I was a little bored, but I think the activities have gotten much better since then.

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. If they need to be by your side the entire time to be "watched" then either do so, or leave them home. If your child can't sit and eat a nice dinner out at home, don't expect them to on vacation. Some people are meant to cruise some aren't. Kids are no different.

Funny article as usual Kuki! :)

MercedMike April 7th, 2012 08:43 AM

6-12?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KDGodwin (Post 1423794)
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! ;)

Queen of Oakville April 10th, 2012 04:57 PM

I am the lone stander here!

Of course, much varies by child.

When we went on Carnival Dream, my daughter had just turned 4 and my son was 2.5. They fell in love with cruising. Granted, when we did that cruise, we brought along their nanny. We had a cabin for us and a cabin for the 3 of them. It made life a whole lot easier for us, but we were intent to try it on our own to see if we could cruise with our children (without a caregiver) and still enjoy our holiday.

The following year, when we sailed Eurodam, my daughter had just turned 5 and my sun was 3.5. They had a blast. This was their second cruise. Since then, they have been on another 2 cruises. They love cruising, they love the MDR, they loved formal nights, they love the shows.

Now, I have great kids who are well-behaved and very mature, and my experience is that 3.5 is not too young for a cruise. And I am very lucky in that whether on a cruise, in an airport, church or a restaurant, strangers are always complementing me on how well-behaved my kids are.

The one caution about kid's clubs is that all kid's clubs are not created equally. My kid's HATED camp carnival. At 2.5, my son had never been to daycare, so it was unreasonable for us to expect that he might love being at the kid's club without us. By our next cruise (Eurodam), he was 3.5 and he loved it, and was always begging to go. I think parents need to be prepared for the possibility that their children may not want to go to the kid's club and if that will ruin one's holiday, then they should be prepared to leave their kids at home. For us, we enjoy spending time with our kids, and there is plenty for a family to do together on a cruiseship.

I would not want someone in the family cruising section to read this and potentially be turned off of cruising with young children. If that is what happens, then I think this thread may be doing a disservice to the members of this site. Today's cruises are designed for families, and families with young kids. Cruising is our preferred vacation option, with or without the children.

Parent know their children best and are in the best position to decide whether their children are ready to cruise. There are no blanket age groups to determine a good age or a bad age for cruising.


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