Hello; My Wife and I are considering our first cruise in late May...My Wife has a concern about cruising with our kids (3 1/2, and 8months). Her big concern is the safety of the kids when away from their us, the type of attention/care they would get during the babysitting hours, and the screening process of the child care workers on the cruise lines. We can't help but be a bit paranoid....all you have to do is watch the evening news!!! Could someone fill us in on the pros and cons of cruising with children on Carnival. All responses are greatly appreciated-as we need to make our decision quickly
Well I can only share our experiences. We were very impressed with the quality of care our 2 and 4 year old recieved while in Camp Carnival. They had lots of projects for both kids to do. They had so much fun they didn't want to leave camp most days. Also, they are extremely vigilant with regard to the childrens safety and security. The entire staff was comprised of young women who were very good at interacting with the children. I even saw them rocking one child, which I thought was sweet. We had no problems what so ever. Our kids were well cared for. You probably already know this but, I will offer this info just in case you don't. Your 3.5 year old can participate fully in Camp Carnival. For your 8 month old they will have group babysitting available on port days until noon and in the evenings from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. for a fee ($6 hourly for one child - $10 hourly for two)
Do they allow 8 Month olds onboard ship? I really don't know myself but at one time I thought they said 18 month olds and above. In any case you may want to reconsider and think about the lack of main emergency facilities and pediactric services. If something should happen treatment is limited on ship and ashore in these other nations emergency treatment is not like the USA at all. Something you may wish to think about anyway in making your decision. Do check on the age limit though.
our family has had great success with the kids programs & babysitting on carnival ships....but we've never had that young a baby. I do know they have cribs, but i think you have to arrange that ahead of time. our kids always loved the camp counselors and i was told they are screened and criminal background checks are done.
My 3 year old niece and 8 year old nephew had a great time at Camp Carnival on our first cruise. My 6 year old daughter is anticipating the fun she will have when we go April 2nd on the Triumph. From the virtual tour of the playroom on Carnival's website, it looks like they have lots for the kids to do. I'll let you know how we make out.
Hey Mark. Sorry it took me a week to get back to you after our cruise but we're still playing catch up. I haven't got my land legs back yet either.
The Camp Carnival staff are qualified in early childhood education and very conscientious when it comes to the kids' safety. Only the parent that signs the child in can pick them up. My daughter is 6 so her activities differ from what your kids will be doing. They did have specific times when only children under two would be allowed in Camp Carnival. On the Triumph they had a kiddie pool where I would imagine those children spent their free play time.
As soon as you get to your cabin, you should find an invitation for the Camp Carnival reception that night. It is there where they will have you sign up your kids and receive a daily activity guide for the whole cruise for their specific age group.
Our daughter didn't go every day but when she did, she had a really great time. I'm sure your kids will too. It gives you and your wife time to reconnect and be alone. We went to the casino a couple of times and also were able to enjoy the shows without worrying about her. We actually were able to watch her with her Camp Carnival friends at one of the shows as well and she seemed to be really enjoying herself.
I can only give our experiences too with Camp Carnival. Our daughter was much older then your two little ones (she was 10) but I have to say she had an awesome time! We never saw her except for dinner and bedtime cause she was always doing the stuff with the counselors and with her new found friends. You can go to the orientation and meet all the counselors yourself and you can always check in on the kids as you want. We loved the carnival program so much we're going back on the Carnival Glory next spring break (march 2006) with our daughter (who will be 12 then).
I have been taking my grandson on cruises since he was very young and have never enrolled him in any camp or babysitting services while on a cruise. If I wanted to get rid of him as soon as I arrived on board, I would have left him home. A cruise is just like any other vacation I go on with my daughter and grandson, we spend time together as a family and share fun things together, if that means I can't participate in some of the "adult" activities, that's exactly what I want.....quality time with my family, going on wonderful adventures together, sharing different experiences as a family. I'm amazed that people are so concerned about babysitting for their children on a cruise so they can grab a few hours alone. Maybe small children should be left at home, they're not spending quality time with their parents anyway.
I'm going on the Destiny on 18 May - first cruise with my two children ( aged 3 and 5). I love my children dearly and I love their father dearly too. He works very long hours and these faily vacations are for ALL of us. The children will most certainly be spending some time in Camp Carnival and indeed with babysitting services, so that my DH and I can have some "quality" time too. Our Family will be all the better for Mom and Dad reconnecting as "adults". We will also be spending time with our kids on the wonderful islands of the Caribbean, but I really feel Camp Carnival can only enhance our family holiday, it certainly doesn't have to be a choice between "leave them at home" or spend every waking moment together. Everything I've read about Camp Carnival puts my mind at ease about leaving my children in their care.
You are entitled to your opinion. But there is a huge difference between allowing your child to go to Camp Carnival for a few hours daily (which my children absolutely loved and enjoyed, it was one of the highlights of their vacation) and leaving them at home entirely just because they are not spending 100% of their time with their parents (I really don't get your rationale on this). Children not only crave interaction with their parents, they also enjoy being able to play with other children and enjoy activities tailored to their age group. It is also wonderful because they offer a slumber party and the children get to watch movies until they fall asleep and the parents get to enjoy a late night doing grown up things then pick up the kids and take them back to the cabin (this is time that you would be sitting in your cabin watching your children saw logs and watching TV). I used Camp Carnival as a reward. I know if we had deprived our children of going to Camp, they would have missed out on so much. My son made a friend who actually lives just a few hours from us, his mother and grandparents have actually written to us. I have lovely projects and crafts my kids made in camp that they gave to my husband and I.
My husband and I work hard and since we had not taken a vacation in 4 Years (I have a nearly 5 year old and a two and a half year old) we feel that we all earned a nice getaway. Cruising provides us the perfect solution. It has everything we were looking for...family activities, kid activities, and grown up activities.
I spend quality time with my family everyday and would not trade that time for the world, however I rarely get to take in a show, go to a wine tasting, an art auction, sit and have an uninterupted conversation with my husband. I am certainly not buying into the guilt trip that I am somehow short changing my children because I am not with them 100% of the time while we are on our cruise. I feel that the most important thing is that we all come away from it feeling revived, refreshed and recharged (now that makes me a better mom) and that we all had a great time as a family and as individuals. Sorry if you feel I should have left my kids at home since I allowed them to go enjoy Camp Carnival, I am sure they would disagree with you.
I'm not trying to lay a guilt trip on you....if you're comfortable leaving your children in Camp Carnival so you can have some quality time with your husband, more power to you. For myself personally, I would never leave my grandson in the care of total strangers on a huge cruise ship where, if by any slim chance, he gets separated from the group, he will be very confused and helpless. The only people I am comfortable leaving him with is family members, other than that, no way.