I have a question about the Camp Carnival program. Our family will be taking a cruise on the Carnival Pride next August. We have three children, one who will be 8 years old during our cruise and twins who will be 10 years old. We will be traveling with friends who also have nine and ten year old children.
We noticed that the camp carnival childrenís groups are divided into 6-8 year olds and 9-11 year olds. Does anyone know how strict Carnival is about keeping children in their age groups? Our youngest son will not be 9 until two months after our cruise and will be heartbroken if he has to be separated from his brothers and friends who will all be in the 9-11 year olds group. I canít seem to get a definitive answer from Carnival, although it sounds like they may insist that the children be separated. This could cause a real problem for us. Any information you can provide will be really appreciate. Thanks!
My children were 5 and 2 on the Triumph. Carnival let the boys stay together. I was worried about that also but I think they'd rather have the kids feel comfortable then to be miserable because they can't be with their sibling. Camp Carnival is awesome for the kids. They are usually open from 9am to about 12pm. They close two hours for lunch. Open back up around 2pm then close again around 5pm. I believe they open back up in the evening but we never put our kids in there after that time. On formal nights they have things for the kids to do such as a pizza party. So my husband and I enjoyed a nice dinner without the kids. They'll have a wonderful time. Enjoy.
My son was 8, almost nine, on our first cruise and was "stuck" with the younger group. He really felt too old to be doing some of the things they were doing in that age group. But, he did not have friends or siblings in the older group, or we probably would have insisted he go with the older group.
On our second cruise, our son was 10 and loved the older group activities. They even had two "sleepover parties" which he said were a blast. The sleepovers are on formal nights and they even walk them back to their rooms at 3:00am. to make sure they get in okay. Again, he had no friends on board but made many new ones.
The first evening there is a meeting for all Camp Carnival kids and their families. They will introduce all of the Camp Carnival Counselors and give you an overview of what to expect from each age group. They told us, "Please try to keep your kids in the appropriate age groups. It's better for them to stay with kids their own age." But, they don't check ID's! lol And only you, as their parent, know what is appropriate for your child. And, since he will know some of the older kids, go for it!!!! I wouldn't dare separate one child from the rest when they are so close in age anyway. What's two months? ----Don't ask don't tell!!!--- Also, at this first meeting, there is a form to be filled out for each child participating in Camp Carnival. I believe they ask for ages and possibly birth dates. Just fudge a little.
Plus, the only safety issue is them being separated from their parents if there is an emergency. All children, up to age 12, must wear "muster bracelets" at all times. These will be attached to your childrens' wrists at the first meeting. These bracelets help Carnival staff members deliver children to the proper muster station (where their parents will be) in case of a ship emergency.
And, if you don't feel comfortable with any of my suggestions, just speak with the Camp Carnival Head Counselor at that first meeting. Explain the circumstances. I'm almost positive they will be more than happy to accomodate you.
Thanks so much for your answer. I assumed that they would check birth certificates, but if they don't that will be a relief. My son will definitely fit in better with the older kids........six year old activities just won't work for him anymore.
The camp counselors will have a manifest with everyones age on it. They are usually very strict with the age groups, but, as others have said, they sometimes make exceptions. You won't know until you are on the ship and talk to the counselors. When we sailed the Elation, the counselors were very strict and no exceptions were made. My boys were 11 and 13 and a little disappointed because they would be in different groups, but it all worked out in the end. They made friends their own age in camp and then, when they had time to hang out together by the pool, etc., they both brought their new friends and had a great time merging both groups together. I know it's a little different in your situation, having friends coming with you, but, somehow, it will work out. Be sure to let the kids know what might happen so they won't be caught off guard if they have to be separated. And, remember, your 8 year old won't be the only 8 year old in the group. In each age group, the older kids tend to gravitate towards each other and the counselors are very good about having age appropriate activities for everyone in the group. I know it's stressful for you thinking about it, but try to be very positive when talking to your 8 year old about camp. (When we were on the Elation, the first nights get together was for 11 and under and parents; a huge age range! We went to the party and it was mostly small children and they were doing the "hokey-pokey"! Instead of walking away, we decided to just give it a try. Well, the counselors were great and gave my son a prize for doing the "twist". And, he met a friend, also 11, who he spent the rest of the cruise with. Something that seemed too babyish turned out to be fun.)
We were in the same situation on a couple of past Carnival cruises traveling with my children and their cousins. On the first cruise my son was just a couple months shy of 9 and they wanted to put him in the 6-8 year old group, whereas his cousins would all be in the 9-11 year old group. To make matters worse, on this particular cruise, almost all of the other kids in the 6-8 year old group were only 6 (including my younger son), which would leave my almost-9-year-old bored out of his mind in that group. When we said that we wanted theim to be together, they easily said that we could move the older kids down, but since two of them were 11 and almost all of the other kids in the younger group were closer to 6, that did not seem appropriate to us. We were very persistent and they finally relented and let us move my son up a group.
The second time was basically the same thing except now my son really was 9 and one of his cousins was only 8. Again, they seemed to have no problem with us moving all the kids down, but did not want to move the 8 year old up. Again, we were very persistent and they finally gave in.
So it seems like if you are persistent, they will give you what you want. I'm not talking about yelling and screaming and making a big scene, just firmly and persistently keep going up the chain calmly explaining your situation until you get someone who can/will bend the rules. Of course your request has to be reasonable. Requesting to move an almost-9-year-old up to the 9-11 year old group is reasonable. Requesting to move a 6 year old into the 9-11 year old group is not (which is why we did not make the request regarding my 6 year old even though he would have preferred to be with his brother and cousins too.)
I really appreciate everyone who has responded so far. I'm glad to hear that Carnival will sometimes make exceptions and I really hope we qualify for one. Thank you all so much for taking your time to respond to my concerns. I am definitely stressed over the situation.
Dearest Cruise mom
Well, ma'am. I have some info to share for you. Firstly I work for Camp Carnival and am familiar with their policies. The Youth Staff have a list of all the children under 21, which includes cabin numbers, birthdates and nationality (plus much more). What I recommend, is simply talk to the Youth Director. He/she is normally open minded. Do keep in mind, that a lot of the times, some of the age groups do activities together. Hope this helps. Enjoy your cruise.
My 10 year old is not only very shy, but an only child. He has had very little "manly influence" in his short life, so he tends to cling. Now that you have the gist of the problem, here is the question:
Is it possible to allow the parent to "mingle" with the child until he is reassured enough to be on his own? It's the Stranger thing that effects him so bad, and i would hate to leave him where he is very uncomfortable so I can enjoy my quiet time and not worry about him.
TexasFyre.......on the first night, in addition to the Camp Carnival sign-up/information meeting, there will be a family get-together/party for the younger campers (when my kids were younger, it was for 11 and under). This would be the time for you to help your son mingle with other kids his age and meet his counselors so he'll be comfortable going to the camp activities the next day. Ideally, it would be great if he could make a friend or two that night and make "plans" to meet at camp the next day. It's been a while since my kids were that age, but, I remember the family party not having many older kids there---but a lot of little ones. Well, we went in anyway and gave it a try. I saw a boy, about my son's age, with his parents and just introduced myself and my son to them. That's all it took----they were best friends for the rest of the week. Of course, they added more friends to the group during the week, but it really helped to have made a friend right away. It might take you to make the first introductions.
The counselors are real good about helping everyone have fun and fitting in. I'm sure they'll let you hang out for a little bit, but, hopefully, by the 2nd day, he'll be ready to go! When my son was 11, he just loved camp and participated in almost every activity. Sometimes, he'd ask to leave dinner before dessert because he had "plans"---he always carried around his camp schedule to make sure he didn't miss anything! We'd arrange to meet out on deck at 10pm (when camp usually shuts down for the night, except for paid babysitting), grab a snack and then head back to the cabin. It was a great cruise for all of us, as they've all been!
Try to find out as much as you can about camp and pass it on to your son (I'm sure somebody has a link to the camp activities for his age group). That should get him excited. And, you might want to bring along walkie talkies so he can find you easily when he leaves camp (he'll be able to sign in/sign out on his own) or just needs to talk to you.
I did print out the activities and he has those, pluse a picture of the ship, pinned to his wall to help him. I am sure once he gets over the innitial fear of the whole thing I may miss him and want to go play with him!