So much for my idea of telling the kids "close your eyes and pretend you're in the back of dads truck" for sea sickness releif. I saw a little boy getting sick on my last cruise. After I told him that, he was fine for the rest of the cruise. I guess if your child gets sick in the car . . . . .
You will only spend lots of money on extras if you want to. We decided on ONE tour out of 3 ports. That worked out great. Give the kids a budget for goodies. That way they can shop all day and it's not as tough on your wallet. While in port, find a snorkeling spot for them at a local beach. A quick taxi ride and they're having fun for hours.
The kids generally enjoy the kids programs. Don't worry about dumping them off. Take 2-way radios! They work fantastic when the kids are trying to find you.
My daughter always gets motion sickness too. Flying, driving, doesn't matter. the first cruise I took her on I got the patch for her. It worked great! She was 20 at the time. Don't know if you can give it at your daughters age. I would call the doctor about it.
Can't answer the second question as my kids are grown.
You can spend as much or as little as you want. Don't get caught up in all the hype and buy tons of ship board pics. They are expensive and you can take your own. Drinks are up to you. Bar tabs can get high. Spa services can really add to your bill too.
I just returned from a cruise and the only thing on my bill besides tips was my bar bill and a book I bought ! With little ones I imagine you will want t-shirts. Buy off the ship. Alot less expensive.
You don't have to book any excursions if you don't want too. Many people just walk around the ports or maybe grab a cab to a beach. If you book excursions through the ship they will be higher priced than if you did it on your own. But as a first time cruiser you may feel more comfortable booking through the ship. Most ports have shopping within walking distance of the ship. If you do book through the ship remember that it goes on your card and that can make your final bill seem higher too.
Relax and have a great time! There's nothing more relaxing!
"Yougest VERY prone to motion sickness". Speak to your pediatrician and follow their advice. I can tell you that two of my grandchildren are very prone to motion sickness
and Sea Bands work fairly well for them. They are elastic bands with small "bumps" built in that press down lightly on the pulse points on the wrist. They come in childrens sizes and are purchased at any large drug/pharmacy chain in the same place as the dramamine and bonine. They work as much psycologically as physically. When the kids first got them, they were told they were the "majic" bands to keep them from getting sick. I honestly don't care how as much as that they seem to work.
All kids are different. Kids will probably fair a bit better in childrens program if they are used to organized play (Gymboree) or organized day care. Can't speak for every kid but most parents experience the separation problem as much or more than the kids. Often the kids are so entertained they don't want to leave.
Extras are up to you. In places like Cozumel and Caymans , get in a cab and head for the beach. Get beach towels onboard, bring some snacks for the kids and maybe some water off the ship.
I am not personally a large fan of going ashore in Jamaica, but that said it is a beautiful island and there are plenty of low cost options. Vendors on the beaches and around the shops can be VERY aggressive and may make younger kids apprehensive.
In some ports the bst thing you can do is walk around and shop a bit to experience the flavor of the port , then, reboard the ship and enjoy the peace and quiet and almost exclusive use of the pool and facilities.
If you give her Bonine, I would start a day or two BEFORE the trip to port, even. It worked very well for my son with no side effects (13 at the time).
I've heard most folks say that their kids didn't want to LEAVE the kids programs, so I expect you won't be feeling too guilty but able to enjoy your adult time while your kids are enjoying their new friends.
We didn't buy a shore excursion in every port, but picked the ones we really thought sounded best.
We have consistently spent between $50-$60 per person/per day (this included shore excursion, tips, casino, drinks, souvenirs, taxis, parking at the port and any other expenses other than the cost of the cruise iteself) on both our cruises.
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
If Bonine works, just go ahead and use it !!! She'll be bound to get
some reaction to sea motion if she's that prone to car sickness; might as
well " deal with it " and keep on enjoying life as you've done so far.
The R C C L 's kids programs are among the best in the industry. Odds are
You will be looking for your kids before THEY do. 2 way radios are also great..
Cruise ships also offer " babysitter " service,over and above their kids program.
Shore excursions: You do not HAVE to purchase anything you do not want.
Only pre-book a shore excursion which, to you, is an absolute must,come what
may,the sort that you would feel terribly guilty the rest of your life if you have not
taken it...Otherwise, go with the flow....The last thing you want is be stuck with a
non-refundable pre-booked excursion voucher on a morning with lousy weather,
or/and after a particularly tough night,or/and with1 or 2 kids sick, or/and....you get
the idea. There is also a slight little matter called $$$$$ : set an upper limit and
work around it as you go along; this is the best way to avoid anxiety...
Cruise companies brochures are designed to make you WANT to pre-book....
resist the glitter but store the information.
I don't think there's any reason for guilt when it comes to dumping your kids with the counselors. Odds are they'll have an absolute ball and won't miss you a bit. Plus, you'll still see them plenty--at meals and on shore days.
A good way to save money on sightseeing is to do a little homework. There are many resources on the internet and in bookstores that will give you info on sightseeing opportunities at each port. If you have a good agent, they can help with this too. Our agent just delivered our tickets for our February cruise, and with it came a comprehensive printout for each port, including history, sightseeing lowdown, restaurant recommendations and the like.
Beyond that, like everybody says, you only have to spend what you want to spend. There are generally no high pressure tactics used at all, except maybe for a pushy bar waiter here and there hustling umbrella drinks. And that's mostly just in fun. Also, many ships have a feature on the TV system that lets you look at your running onboard tab on the screen anytime you want to. Checking this every couple days will keep you in touch with reality, so there'll be no surprises when the final total is shoved under your door on the last morning.