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Family Cruising Discuss family cruising - kids programs, babysitting, infant care, etc.

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Old February 14th, 2002, 03:53 PM
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Default Help, have disabled 5 year old and typical teen.

Help, I get a free cruise and just have to pay for my kids...One is 13 girl and the other 5 boy. The choices are RCL's Enchantment, Carnival's Victory or Destiny. Celebrity's Century. Disney( 7 day and $200 more per kid). I want a cruise that has it all, and I have read mixed reviews on all ( except celebrity but seems more adult oriented so I did not read to many). My son is high function autistic and I have doubts that he will warm up to a kids program. The only way he may is if the program less educational and more physical. What I mean is... climbing, running , swimming. He will participate with painting and playdo and things like this but requires one on one to stay on these tasks...i don't care if does not particpate but would best suit us if the program had alot of opportunity for free play. He does really like disney and the characters hold his attention and he likes interacting with them. He has trouble socially and does not make friends but likes to be aroung kids once he is feeling safe. I plan to try to get a video, pictures, a ship tour and as much prep as possible. Doing this will really help in the fear area. I could take him on a less child oriented cruise with a small play area to blow off steam, and keep him more with us, but then my 13 year old will need to make friends right away and have activity's that suit her age, for her to consider a cruise a good time. you know she is at that age. I am almost ready to scrap the whole idea....but than again I have never tried. You don't know how many times i thought my son might not adjust and than he suprises me. His progress has been a miracle and we keep giving him oportunities to do more. OK sorry to get so involved but i need help making a desision. loVE MEL
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Old February 14th, 2002, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Help, have disabled 5 year old and typical tee

Maybe its my misconceptions, but Celebrity does seem more "adult" oriented, and I am very hesitant to try it with my children. I've gone on 3 cruises with my boys, now 5 and 3. My oldest on the Paradise did NOT warm up to the children's program and was with us all except for one night. My youngest last year on the Grand, only went to the children's room 2 nights out of the 7. I would pick out the ships that seem to have the best children's program in the event that your son surprises you. The children's deck space and amenities are something to look at too. We spent a lot of family time on the children's decks of the Ecstacy, Paradise, and Grand.

I loved Carnival, and if your son can swim, the water slides on the big ships would probably facinate him. We are going on the RCCL Explorer in April, and may book the Enchantment for Oct or early next year. I don't know how RCCL's kids program is personally, but I've heard wonderful things.

I'm going with the expectation that my sons will spend "some" time in program, but not a whole lot. My 3yo is very shy and takes some time to warm up to new situations. My oldest can be shy too, but doesn't have the intensity of the 3yo. I'm happy though that the 3yo has adjusted very well to preschool and enjoys going even though he doesn't talk much IN school (talks PLENTY at home). I'm somewhat hopeful that he'll have great time in the Explorer's kids room.

Out of the choices you listed, if I had to choose I would say the Destiny or Victory is your best bet for everyone having a great time. Enjoy your cruise!

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Old February 15th, 2002, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Help, have disabled 5 year old and typical tee

Thanks, i read a few of your back postings and see you have some experience with this topic.......Thank you and I am still undecided... Kevin loves to swim and slide....so does his big sister so I think I am leaning to look at who has the funist play areas. Even if he wont use the program , he will if one of us attends with him and will have a blast..who knows maybe by the last days he may feel less overwhelmed and stay on his own . If not ...oh well, there will be a fun swimming area. Thanks you, Mel
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Old February 17th, 2002, 01:22 PM
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Default Re: Help, have disabled 5 year old and typical tee

I'm the family cruise editor here at CruiseMates.com. Yes, I agree that one of the ships with a big water slide might be best to keep your active son busy and happy. Both Carnival ships have the large spiral slides and the Disney ships have a water slide for kids as well as a kids' splash pool. Disney also has a pirate ship slide in its playroom for your son's age group. If he likes the Disney characters, he may enjoy their program. Generally Snow White teaches the kids to dance each cruise and Captain Hook tells them stories. There is also a great stage show "Disney Dreams" that has all the favorite Disney movie characters in it, which he might enjoy. Disney, like Carnival, tends to have large numbers of kids in their youth programs however. (Much more than Celebrity would.) Thus, you would have to judge whether the large groups would overwhelm him or if he'd feel comfortable participating in some of the more active programming.
Both Disney and Carnival have teen programs for your 13 year old. Disney even has a teens-only beach on their private island with beach games and they offer a few teens-only shore excursions during the seven-day cruises. Thus, there's plenty to keep her happy too.
Keep me posted on what you decide and how it eventually works out.
Smooth Sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
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Old February 24th, 2002, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Help, have disabled 5 year old and typical tee

I started crusing when i was 6, and though i'm not a special needs child, im super shy...All the cruises I've been on have been celebrity and personally I htink they have the best children's program out there. Many people may say that the ships are adult oriented and i'm not one to disagree but there are huge area's that are Kid oriented too. I think that a celebrity cruise would be the best for you and your children because there are tons of teen things, great kids stuff (def. not education...lots of swimming and playing on slides etc.) and also mom gets a chance to relax! If you have any questions let me know
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