Going on the 10 Southern Caribbean cruise with 2 moms (70+ and 80+) husband and 5 year old son. Will appreciate any advice on keeping everyone happy. Do the kids eat with the adults in the main dining room? Any excursions a "must do" for kids? Thanks.
I'm the family cruise editor here at CruiseMates.com.
Yes, the children will eat with the adults in the main dining room but there should be kids' menu.
If you advise me of your itinerary, I can suggest things to do in port that would interest your son. (My 8 year old daughter has been on nine cruises so we've tested many Caribbean shore excursions out ourselves!)
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Thank you for your kind offer-- I'll take you up on it. Our itinerary will include leaving from Ft. Lauderdale
at sea (first two days)
Half Moon Cay
I haven't been on all the Southern Caribbean ports of call that you listed in your itinerary. However, I can give you a few suggestions for St. Lucia and St. Thomas.
St. Lucia: Both your son and grandparents would enjoy the "drive-through" volcano: Sulphur Springs Volcano Mount Soufriere. Cars and busses can enter the large crater area. It is a short walk to the viewing platform to see the bubbling parts of the volcano. The cruise line will probably offer a shore excursion there. Other main attractions include Diamond Falls & Mineral Baths, which are in a lovely botanical garden setting; and St. Lucia Nat'l Rain Forest, where exotic plant and bird life abounds. Because of the volcano, some of the beaches have black sand. Ask the shore excursions desk to recommend beaches that have bathroom facilities and that you can reach by taxi.
St. Thomas: Both your child and grandparents will enjoy Coral World Marine Park & Underwater Observatory, which is best reached through a shore excursion sold through the cruise line. This is one of the largest underwater observatories in the Caribbean. If you prefer the beach, you can reach Magen's Bay by taxi -- this beach is very pretty and sometimes crowded. Or if you'd like to explore on your own, Charlotte Amalie offers some historic sites including Fort Christian, which was built in the 1600's. Lastly, a side trip to St. John's (purchase the line's shore excursion to Trunk Bay) is very memorable. First you take a 45 minute ferry ride from St. Thomas to St. John's and then a jitney ride from the harbor to Trunk Bay. This skinny beach is really beautiful and offers great snorkeling.
When is your cruise? Let me know how your son enjoys the youth program and time in port.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
We are scheduled to sail on the Volendam on Saturday, March 16th. 10 day Southern Caribbean cruise- I have high hopes for the HAL program- especially on the 'days at sea'. I don't know the disposition of your daughter, but our 5 year old son is very, very active.... I've thought about getting a set of walkie-talkies to help keep communications with him when he is in the club HAL room & I'm on another part of the ship. Would something like that have been helpful for you & your daughter?
I'll be happy to give you feedback on our experience upon our return. Thanks again Luisa.
While I'm contemplating getting walkie talkies in a few years when my eight year old is in that independent age, I think that the youth counselors wouldn't want your son to have the walkie talkies because all the kids will want to play with them. If you were thinking of getting them in order to give to the youth counselors to communicate to you if there's a problem with your son, then they might not be a bad idea. Some lines like Princess and Disney give parents of kids five and under beepers but I don't think HAL does that.
Have a great time!