We've seen a lot of interest/controversy regarding how much control the cruise line/parents shoud have over kids/teens during a cruise. Whose responsibility is it? Does anyone have a story about a behavioral crisis or how the behavior of your kids or someone elses' kids adversely affected someone's cruise experience????
There is the story Fran Golden tells of her cruise on Voyager of the Seas where the teens got so rowdy they took over the ship and started throwing chair overboard. Finally, the captain got so exasperated he got on the PA system and lectured the parents about taking responsibility for their kids. Apparently the kids were drinking even though they were underage.
It depends on the cruise line and when you go. My kids ( ages 7 & 8) will be going on their 4th cruise this March 2000. We're doing the Voyager and I expect it to be full of kids running everywhere since it's Spring Break and such an adventurous boat. We did the American Hawaiian Independce last spring and the Celebrity Galaxy the year before. There were a few kids on each boat, but they have a wonderful kids program to keep them entertained throughout the day and the price of both cruises might be a bit prohibitive for a lot of families, so the kids were all very well behaved.
If you don't want to be bothered by kids, I would suggest going on a more upscale cruise line! With more and more families traveling to places that used to be considered "exotic" destinations, we find traveling at times when most kids are in school gets us away from them.
Thanks for the input, Connie. It sounds like your kids are seasoned cruisers, and that they've learned good behavior from their parents. Please keep us posted on their experiences on these boards--we'd love to hear some first-person stories. Especially when the hit those double-digit numbers!
We also have a very well-cruised 14 y/o daughter who has been cruising since she was about 6. Are there kids on cruises who misbehave? You betcha'! BUT, there are also kids at resorts who misbehave, in school who misbehave, in your neighborhood who misbehave... there's just no getting away from them. My daughter is granted the freedom to check herself in and out of the teen programs offered. And she knows the rule... When you check yourself OUT with them you immediately find Mom and check yourself IN with her. And whoa betide the poor child who is NOT where she says she will be when I go to check up on her!!
I have seen my daughter roll her eyes at kids who are out of control. One night at dinner, at the next table, a young boy was talking back fiercely, rudely, and loudly to his parents. My daughter (the only child at our table of ten) was asked what she thought about his behavior by one of our table mates. She laughed and said "I was just thinking... gee, my Mom would rip my head off if I spoke to her like that, and then I was picturing what would happen to me if I dared..." It cracked everyone at our table up!
If you travel with your children from the time they are very young, and if you teach them how to behave in public, towards their elders, and to have manners, you will very seldom find yourself ashamed of their behavior when they are out of your sight!
My son is 21 now, wonderful son I might add. Never had the opportunity to cruise with him. Nor is he able to accompany us in April 2001. However, when he was young, he was never, and I mean never, allowed to run around and disturb other people in public places and he was taught not to stand in his seat at a restaurant and stare at the other party in the next booth. Further more, he was always my responsibility regardless of where we were etc. I would have been mortified if someone felt it necessary to point out the error of my child's ways! If for some reason he did become upset, I immediately removed him from the room. It would have been unconscionable to remain with a child who was upset and thereby disrupting the others!
He's always been asked back wherever we went because he was very well behaved! I read to him the article regarding the behavior of the teens last April on the Voyager, he was appalled!
It all boils down to common courtesy and thinking of others.
Let me start by revealing my prejudices. I'm 49, single, and have a low tolerance for children. I don't blame kids for being kids, and I understand there is only so much parents can do. I also realize that most of the time kids are as well or better behaved than a lot of adults, I also have a low tolerance for adults who act like jerks. In the case of the adults I'm less forgiving. Because of my sensitivity to the special; needs of children and families, I try to schedule my vacations for times and places there won't be very many children around. Having said that, I've never had a single bad incident aboard a cruise ship involving a child and there have always been some children on every cruise I've sailed.
I read the feature article about the incident onboard Voyager. The first thing that occurred to me is that it shouldn't surprise anyone who has seen RCCL's advertisements for this ship. The ads, with the reckless skateboarder and loud driving music, seem to appeal directly to people who want to "lose control." Maybe RCCL should reconsider who they are directing their marketing to.
You are correct with regards to the marketing, I want to know why everyone is so quick to blame the children for not acting responsibly without looking to the parents. How about making the parents responsibile for their children!
Until my son reached 18, he knew that his behavior was a DIRECT reflection on me and my husband and that any inappropriate behavior would not be tolerated and he would bear the consequences. It's a shame that parents have abdicated their parental responsibilities, and it's not necessarily just on vacations!
We were on the Voyager in Jan. and our cruise was ruined by a large group of unruly kids (ages 8-14). RCI did nothing to try to control these kids, they were in the bars, casinos, hot tubs, shows, bingo, spa, etc. everywhere they should not have been. Dinner was like being at McDonaldland. We have always cruised late Jan, because kids should be in school, but a large group of schools in NY were off for the week. What a disaster!!! One night the comedian just walked off the stage, we saw him later and he said he just couldn't concentrate on his act, these kids were throwing things on the stage and mouthing off continually to him. I confronted one of the "parents" and she wagged her finger in my face and said, "my child is on vacation and he can do anything he wants to!" and they did. I've been on 24 cruises and RCI will be my last pick from now on.
I'm so sorry that you encountered this. I can just imagine how you felt with that response. What a sorry excuse, but as a parent, my parenting obligations were never on vacation and children's behaviors should never be on vacation.
I am appalled that RCI did NOTHING to stop this behavior! This has me very concerned as I will be traveling 4/7 thru 4/21 on their new Radiance of the Seas, and I can tell you that I'll find the captain or be in someone's "space" if the children become unruly!
This will be a 10 year + dream come true to go on this cruise and I'll be sadly disappointed if it is ruined because parents can't control their children.
If RCI isn't going to control the number of children who come on board, they should certainly take charge when it is obvious that the parents aren't going to do anything about it!
I don't have a story about rowdy youths on a ship because I intentionally avoid cruising at those times. However, I was very impressed by Maria Sastre's skill at not answering your questions in your posted article.
When we complained to the staff on the Voyager we were told, "security has talked with the parents of these children and they do not wish to co-operate."
When I suggested then it was time for RCI staff to step in she thought for a moment and replied, "they paid". What did she think I did, stow-away for free?
When we got home we did write letters, but the reply was not too encouraging - more or less that it was up to the parents and they would talk to the parents but if they did not want to co-operate too bad for the rest of us. RCI is low on my choices of cruises to go on for awhile.
We were on the Triumph in May, let me tell you the kids were not too bad compared to some of the older teenagers, while we were sitting out on our deck, a couple of guys were pouring beer over the sides, throwing cigarettes over the side, we yelled at them and they just laugh at us, then threw the bottles over the side. It is very upsetting when we abide by all the rules and these young people don't have too. This cruise in November will be my children's first cruise and I have been talking to them since we booked the cruise about behavior. Of course they know better but just in case, I will not put up with my children being rude during dinner or at shows or on the whole cruise.
I can't believe that RCI had no idea what to do. As a parent, I have to be consistent with my discipline. Which means that if "x" is done then "y" is the consequence. If I don't follow through, the rules mean NOTHING! So these people knew the RCI wouldn't follow through. Very very discourteous to the rest of the passengers!
I keep reading about children on the ships being served alcohol. Don't the cruise lines have some age guidelines to follow and why are the children/teens allowed in the lounges without their parents when alcohol is being served? I'm sailing on the Norwegian Sea on New Year's Eve with my three teens (13, 15 and 17) and this problem has me concerned.
Your children will have "sign and sail" cards which indicate that they are minors, either by the color, or a line, or a whole punched in the card, whatever. As long as you make them use their own cards (and don't let them borrow yours or hubby's) they should not be served alcohol while on the ship. We had no problem with this on NCL in the past, but my (then) 15 y/o WAS served a "real" strawberry daquiri on Carnival's Fantasy in the past. She ordered it "virgin", but when it came she had me taste it and sure enough the booze was inside.
Just try to keep up with what your kids are signing for (and where - and who they are with when they are doing so) and you shouldn't have any problems. Of course, teens these days look like adults, so you can't blame the cruise staff too much if the kids have their parents' cards and order alcohol (which DOES happen).
My husband and I usuall take our vacation during the Holiday Season. We were on the Visions of the Seas last Christmas 12/17 to 12/27/99. We had a boat load of children and we had the worst vacation we ever had. The Captain, Cruise Director did not handle our problems at all. We had to write letters to the Cruise Director to try and get some order out of this cruise. The children ranging in age from 6 months to late teenagers. The children had taken over the control of the ship. There parents did not nothing to help the situation, the crew was never around when you need them. There was food fights, yelling, jumping, running down the hallways late at night banging on passengers doors, spilling drinks on passengers, etc. They took over the pool as well as the Whirlpool areas and nothing was done for 5 days until finally we got security on the pool deck. I called this my cruise from hell. I know it was the holidays but we were on other ships with children during the holiday period and this was the first time that the cruise line did nothing until the passengers made complaints. When we got home I wrote a letter of complaint and they sent us a 1/2 off coupon for our next cruise. DO YOU THINK WE WILL TRAVEL WITH THEM AGAIN THINK AGAIN!!
I know how you felt, and we were sailing at a non-kid time of the year. No one knows what a horrible experience it is until it happens to them. I really feel that if the cruise had been ten days it would have become violent. People were really getting upset and RCI didn't do a thing. Right, they sent us a $300 certificate, like I want to have my vacation ruined again, we also called it the cruise from HELL!! and it was. The kids just totally took over the ship, casino, pool, whirlpools, lounges, bars, show lounges, you name it they caused a total riot, even in the Viking Crown Lounge at 1:30am!! I've been on 24 cruises and sailed on all the major lines and some not so major (even Disney and the Big Red Boat) and never saw such behavior and lack of rule enforcement. People knock Carnival, but it was one of our must enjoyable cruises, certainly nothing like the behavior we saw on RCI and we are cruising with them again in Jan.
I sailed on the Norwegian Wind during February week last year with my 17 year old son. The first thing I did was go to the pursars office and tell him that I did not want my 17 year old being served alcohol on the ship. He assured me that young people had to be 18 (which I think is too young) to drink on board and that 2 identifications would be asked of kids. I also told him to make a note on my sons credit card that no alcohol was to be served to him or charged by him. My son normally is a great kid and well-behaved but I was not going to be with him 24 hours a day as my husband and I and son wanted to have a good time on this cruise and parents being glued to a 17 year old would not be fun for him. Part of being on a cruise for a child and my son has been on 8 other cruises is meeting other kids. I of course had no idea what type of teenagers he would meet. I never heard any disruptions on the cruise by the teenagers but when I got my bill on the last day there were several beers charged to my son's credit card. This was the last day and even though I was livid with him I had no time to complain to NCL as we got off the ship very early. My son was punished by my husband and I for this and I wrote to NCL. They wrote me an apologetic letter but essentially said they could do nothing about teenagers buying drinks as many bartenders did sell them to kids and it was difficult to control. They did nothing to accomodate me. I feel the pursurs office had lied to me. I think there is a way by not allowing the charge card to work with under age children. I also feel they should raise the drinking age on ships. Parents are part of the blame for the disruption on the Voyager but I still feel the cruise line has to tighten their rules and I know parents would appreciate it especially about drinking.
Why would you bring very young children on a cruise? A two-year old is not old enough to enjoy or even remember a cruise, and will definitely end up negatively impacting other more responsible adults who are simply trying to relax. I have always wondered how these parents are fine with ruining anyone else's nice dinner or shopping trip, or worse: one vacation of the year.
I took my children on the Fantasy when they were 3&4 years old and we all had a marvellous time. I think the trick to taking young children anywhere is to know their limits and to act as a responsible parent. We fed our children in our room using room service around 5pm, put them in kids club and then we went off the late seating dinner & shows and didn't disturb anyone. The kids had a great time and so did we. When we picked our children up from kids club, we went back to our room with them. I do agree that children running around in lounges at night can be quite annoying. Our children are now 10&11 - we will be cruising on the Victory at Christmas time - and their manners are impeccable. They have been taught, from an early age, that running in halls, slamming doors, screaming etc. is not acceptable. Children will naturally act responsibly if their parents do the same.