When should I take my daughter on her first cruise?
Hi guys, long time no see. Well, my wife and I finally had a baby girl on May 29. I am curious as to your thoughts when she would be old enough to take her on a cruise. I've been thinking about a Disney cruise for her fifth birthday, which corresponds to our tenth anniversery (we were married on June 3). What do you think?
I'm TomS, and I approved this message.
Hey Tom! Great to see you and congratulations on the birth of your daughter! She shares a birthday with some great people like: John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope and ME!
Answering this question is hard but my experience is that around five or six is a good time for a kid's first cruise. They are old enough to truly enjoy and remember the experience and also they can participate in activities and things like water slides. Very young children (1 - 4) may enjoy the experience but will have little memory of it later in life and they are limited on what they can do.
Then again, if Mom and Dad want the experience then bring em with.
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How exciting! Congrats! Thanks for asking, I was wondering the same thing! Mine are now 2 and 4 and I don't feel like they are ready yet. For the cost, I want them to be able to enjoy all the kids activities and know better than to climb on the rails!! 5 does sound like a good time. My 4 year old is close to ready. As soon as he learns to control his volume! Gotta love them!!
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Well, we didn't take our daughter on her first cruise until she was 10. Of course, that was 27 years ago!
The thing about younger kids is that they enjoy all sorts of fun and games that are arranged for them. But in fact, they will have just as much fun staying home with Grandma and going to the day camp at the city park. The relative value of things is not important to young kids. A see saw or swing is as much fun to them as a huge water slide or a ride at Disneyland!
With a younger child it seems to me that you are severely limiting your own activities. How are you going to dance the night away in the disco if the 5 y o goes to bed at 8? What are you going to do for shore excursions? No walking tour of ghostly sites in Old San Juan. No all day bus ride through scenic coastlines to a little fishing village. Planning nothing but kid friendly shore excursions doesn't seem much fun to me.
What about shows? Are you going to sit in the cabin watching cartoons instead of going to the big production shows?
Anyhow the conclusion we came to was that at about 10, our daughter was ready to be a "big kid" and truly appreciate cruising.
Mike touched on my main issue above. Remember it is your vacation too. As new parents, don't think you can no longer have adult time or anadult only trip. Kids are fantastic (congrats, by the way), but don't let life be so much about them that you forget about each other.
Everytime I've seen young parents on a cruise with infants, I feel really sorry for them. They seem to be the least relaxed, most frazzled, unrested people on the entire ship. Think about how disrupted the child's life is by the cruise schedule and how your 'vacation' becomes an adventure in babysitting. And forget about having an enjoyable, uninterupted dinner in the MDR, a night out dancing, or taking that zip-line excursion you heard about. I think no sooner than 5 (or even a little older) is the right kinda mindset. Younger than that and I'd opt for something else like Disney World, or a separate outing for the kiddos to the grandparents house.
And when our kids were old enough and it was practical to do so, we always arranged to have a separate / adjacent room for them to bed down in. Yes, its a bit more $, but jamming mom, dad, and a couple of kids in a stateroom is truly a cruel form of hell in my opinion. With their own space they can be messy, watch their own tv programs/music, order room service instead of MDR if they chose, and we had our privacy. Our 3 boys enjoyed the experience much more that way and learned to love cruising as much as their parents. I have friends who hated their one cruise, but they sardine canned the whole family in a stateroom, then couldn't wait to get off the ship...
We took ours along when she was 4. It was a Disney Land /Sea cruise. She remembers everything. Yes, we had to alter our routine a bit, but we had already been on 14 cruises previously.
Booking a balcony room, we just retired a little earlier, and sat on the balcony.
She has been with us 8 additional times, and is always bugging me to book another.
Past Cruises: Explorer of the Seas 2008 Explorer of the Seas 2007 Carnival Victory 2007 Explorer of the Seas 2006 Legend 2005 Miracle 2004 Disney Wonder 2004; Pride 2003 Legend 2002 Disney Wonder 2002 Destiny 2001 Victory 2000 Triumph 1999 Jubilee 1998 Imagination 1997 Imagination 1996 Fascination 1995 Ecstasy 1993 Fantasy 1990 Jubilee 1990 NCL Seaward 1989 Jubilee 1988