Greetings from the family cruise editor here at CruiseMates.com!
I was hoping to get some parental feedback on your preferences for group versus private babysitting aboard cruise ships. The trend over the past few years has been that fewer and fewer cruise lines offer private babysitting, primarily for liability reasons. Instead, many offer group babysitting by the youth counselors in the youth room starting a 10 pm. (fee req'd) Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are two of the few lines with large kids programs which still offer private babysitting.
Norwegian Cruise Line recently joined the bandwagon and no longer offers private babysitting. According to president and CEO Colin Veitch, the line trains its employees to be stewardesses, waitresses, etc. and not babysitters. He'd prefer to leave the babysitting to the youth counselors in group settings.
As a parent of a child who was always early-to-rise and early-to-bed, we took advantage of private babysitting when my daughter was little. She never even lasted until 10 p.m. for group babysitting. We had all very positive experiences with babysitters and one even left my daughter a present for when she woke up in the morning.
I was wondering if other parents will miss the private babysitting as I will. It'd be great to hear your opinions.
Thanks for your input,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Getting ready to take my first cruise on Carnival with my eight year old. They have the group babysitting thing after 10:00 for the kids, and that's OK with me. My son being 8, he'd rather be around other kids than on his own in a room with a babysitter, so it doesn't bother me they don't have private babysitting. I can see, however, where parents of younger ones might want that, when my son was littler 10:00 was definitely hard for him to stay awake until. Hope this helps.
Thanks for your input Julie! Let me know how your son likes the Carnival youth program. My daughter was six when we went and she enjoyed it. Make sure you participate in some of the family activities (name that tune, disco party, deck games, etc.). They were the highlight of our cruise.
Luisa Frey Gayno
I am in the middle of planning for my first cruise and I have to say that one of the major factors in choosing a cruise line has been the different activities for children as well as the babysitting options onboard.
I have a four year old who I'm sure would want to try to stay up late in a group sitting environment, but will more than likely not make it to far. I also think that with all of the activities that go on during the day to be put into a group sitting in the evening would just create a sensory overload for her which would only cause an unhappy child. Whereas a quiet evening maybe watching a movie in the stateroom and going to bed in keeping with her normal schedule might keep her disposition more even. I know that in my situation, I would much rather have the option of in-room sitting. Maybe when my daughter is older the group sitting would be more appropriate but not at this point in time.
GROUP BABYSITTING ALL THE WAY!! One of the nicest things about this is that we get to spend time ALONE in the cabin, impossible with a sitter and the kids. There is also safety in numbers in case a sicko should get past security screening and get hired as a sitter. Kids get to play with other children in a room full of toys instead of a small cabin with only toys from home. We stayed away from any ships offering private babysitting when we cruised with children too young for the programs. Group babysitting is a win win situation for everybody.
I will look foward to answering this question after we return next month from the Voyager of the Seas. I have checked up on thier babysitting and see we do have private room sitting available. My kids are 5 and 6 and they also have 'programmed' bedtimes. I'd be hard pressed for them to make it to 10PM for group sitting. We plan on using the group activities for during the day play, and calling on the private/room sitting for 9pm on (so that my husband and I can enjoy OUR time!!!). Depending on what excursions we choose, I may also use the group sitting when at port.
Just returned from the 11 dayh Granduer of the Seas with my 18 month old. I can honestly say that the private baby sitting was a godsend. Shortly before we left my son decided he did not want to sit in a high chair for any reason (or a booster for that matter). We hired a babysitter for each evening from 6-10(we had gotten early seating just for him ). It worked out FANTASTIC!! We went to the pursers desk the 1st day and they were able to arrange for the same lady every night. She was great and my son would just run to her and wave bye bye to us when she showed up!! She would take him around the ship and all the staff knew who he was!! They treated him wonderfully and help to make it a good trip for everyone.
I must say that my son, even though I stay home with him, really loves to be around people and has never met a stranger so I knew his personallity would handle a new sitter.
I can say I was disapponted that they wouldn't even let him in the Kids Club since he wasn't potty trained. I got the impression as long as we were there he could be in there but that was not the case.
Try Carnival and Princess. You won't be sorry. Both lines take children in at age 2, and allow you to come back to change diapers if needed, at least we had no problem doing so. The Grand in particular has a SUPERB area for toddlers. It's group babysitting, but personal choice dining is IDEAL with kids.