planning family cruise summer2005, grandchildren 5,8,11, and 12. boy is 5, others girls. also our daughters and husbands are in early 30s. i read a lot of these messages saying the partying is awsome on carnival and nightclubs etc. i am wondering though, about the kids. is their enough on board ship at night and three days at sea ,on a seven day cruise, for these ages to do. also how free can we be with letting have freedom to go places on the ship alone.? of course the 5 year old girl and 8 year old boy will have constant supervision, but 11 and 13 year old the most freedom i assume. will they enjoy the shows? can the older ones be left alone at the pools? i know this is a stupid question, but what about safety in regards to accidents on outer decks? i have heard these horror stories about people falling overboard. also and to be blunt about this, the safety issue with two pre-teen girls and crew and other passengers. everyone who has cruised on carnival says they let their kids really go on their own lots of times. anyone know of any problems in these areas of concern. thank s patty
Patty: My two boys started cruising with Carnival when they were 5 and 8. They love it. (They are now 12 and 15 and have been on 9 cruises....all with Carnival)
First, let me say that there will be plenty to do at Camp Carnival from 9AM - 12AM (you pick them up for lunch) 2PM - 5PM (you pick them up for dinner on the first and last night...the other nights they can eat with their group if they want to) 7PM-10PM. The days you are at port...Camp Carnival is basically open all day....to give you a chance to enjoy the islands without kids. I am extremely overprotective and I have always been very pleased with the care given my children by these counselors. Usually, when we are at a port...we do a tour with the kids in the morning and then drop them back at the ship (settle them into Camp Carnival) and then do back onto the island for "adult" time. I have never felt uncomfortable going ashore while the kids are on the ship at Camp Carnival.
The 5 and 8 year old will have to be signed in and out of Camp Carnival by the SAME person. (example - if Mom signs them in..then Mom has to sign them out...not Dad, Uncle, Aunt or Grandparents)
From the age of 11, the kids sign themselves in and out. If you do not want your grand daughters to do this....then it has to be an agreement between them and yourselves. Our sons were never allowed to sign themselves in or out. But it was an agreement between us. They knew the rules...IF they wanted to cruise and they never broke them. As for allowing preteen girls to "roam", you have to understand these ships are still the size of a small town. Would you allow them to "roam" around alone in town? Depending on which ship you are on, there could be as many as 4,000 people on board that you do not know. Common sense should prevail.
Camp Carnival will have enough to keep them busy until 10PM. After that, my sons were always in bed by 10pm....until they got older. The oldest is almost 16 and 6' tall, so he has more priviledges than the 12 year old.
The 11 ans 12 year old will do a few group activities that carry them around the ship (like a scavenger hunt) without a counselor. All activities will be listed in detail for your age group in a Camp Carnival Caper for the entire cruise. This will be given to you on the first night when you sign up. (Sometimes these meetings are before dinner...sometimes after...depending on the ship.) When and where will be in your Adult Caper.
As far as I know, the scavenger hunts will be the only time the 11 and 12 year old will be without a counselor...but they will be in a group of about 6. The only other time they will be "alone" is if they sign themselves out. Now their activities do take them all over the ship...but the time and location is printed in their Camp Carnival Caper. For example....they may have Game Time in the disco at 2pm. Then move to the Lido Deck for Ice Cream Sundries at 3pm and then move to the Library for board games at 4pm At no time will they be without a counselor...no matter how many times they move. And you will always know where to find them.
Of course, how much freedom you give them depends on their individual level of maturity. Again, I have boys...but I have never felt uncomfortable letting them have some measure of "freedom" as they have matured. Our 12 year old is now allowed to go play in the arcade without us and then come check back in with us or we check in with him during the afternoon. But he is very mature for his age and very well behaved. And he is an experienced cruiser. He is still required to be at Camp Carnival or with us after 6pm. Both my boys know that I had better be able to hear a pin drop while they are in the cabin. They both know the cabin (and cabin hallways) are a NO PLAY ZONE, out of respect for other cruisers. Now if we could just teach some drunk adults that rule of courtsey at 2AM in the morning. But that is another lecture.
Hope this helps. I can not speak for other cruise lines...since we have only cruised Carnival. But they have always done an excellent job with our children.
my boys were 9 & 10 on the first cruise. we were 3 days into a 5 day before I felt comfortable letting them go get an ice cream or something alone and then it was only to go to point "A" and be back at a certain time.
the Camp Carnival is great and always supervised. most activities are free, but my kids, who originally said this was for babies, wanted to go to the slumber party and play hide and seek in the lounge one night. They even bring the kids back to your room like 2 in the morning so you don't have to go get them. It's usually the night you are in port at your most major stop.
They loved it and i'm sure yours will have a wonderful time.