My family will be taking our first cruise this summer on RCCL's Radiance to Alaska. I have a 5 1/2 year old and a 2 year old. I am trying to sort out what options are available for my 2yo. He is too young to be dropped off in their activity programs. I am fine with that. I cannot get a clear answer, however, as to if he will be allowed to play in the play areas with our supervision. Are these areas really only for drop-off? It seems insane to me to have wonderful play areas and not allow parents to play there with their children. We have not been told we cannot, but they will also not tell me we can. I have been told it is up to the staff when we are on the ship. I don't understand why this is even an issue?? Also, why is private babysitting offered in the cabin only? It seems to me that if I am paying a babysitter, I should be able to tell her that it is okay to take my children for an ice cream. Liability issues seem to be decreased if a babysitter is in public areas. I can thus only imagine using a babysitter after the children's bedtime. this is not a huge deal, since it is a family vacation, but it's a bit of an annoyance. I would be nice to maybe have a couple of hours with my husband during the day at some point. :-)
One last question...Are they firm on their age restrictions? This is in reference to my 5 1/2 year old. She will be nearly 6 and will have completed kindergarten by our cruise. I'm sure she would fit in much better with the 6-8yr age group. Do they allow this sort of thing? Fibbing about her age is not an option for me due to the message it would give my daughter.
Here is the information on the RCCL's kids program, hopefully it will help answer some questions:
ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL "ADVENTURE OCEAN PROGRAM"
Ships: Adventure of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, Nordic Empress, Radiance of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Sovereign of the Seas, Splendor of the Seas, Viking Serenade, Vision of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas
Destinations: Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska, Europe, Hawaii, Australia/New Zealand, South America
Hours: For 3-11 year olds: 9:30 a.m.-Noon; 2-5 p.m.; 7-10 p.m. For 12-14 year olds: Times vary for day activities; evening hours 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. For 15-17 year olds: Times vary for day activities; evening hours 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Cool Teen Stuff: Teen discos/private clubs featured on all ships except Nordic Empress, Sovereign of the Seas, Viking Serenade. An Adventure Ocean Potion card allows children up to 18 to buy 12 non-alcoholic drinks, including mocktails, for $24.95 at the teen bar. Supervised activities are available on RCI's private islands, Labadee and CocoCay.
Parent Savers: Parents can leave their children at Adventure Ocean while they take shore excursions. For this purpose, the facilities open 30 minutes ahead of morning shore excursion departures. Group babysitting is available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $5 an hour per child. Individual babysitting offered from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. for children six months to 10 years; fee is $8 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Cribs: Limited, request at booking time. On three nights during a seven-day cruise, children can eat with counselors from 6 to 7 p.m.
Not available: Strollers
Kids' Shore Excursions: Supervised activities available in Labadee and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island.
Rates: Third- and fourth-passenger occupancy rates range from $449 to $999 and are applicable to children sharing a cabin with two adults.
Noteworthy Features: Adventure, Enchantment, Explorer, Grandeur, Legend, Radiance, Splendor, Vision, and Voyager of the Seas have the largest cabins in RCI's fleet, plus family suites. All ships offer Adventure Science, which is a fun, hands-on learning program.
Wow! Factor: On the Adventure, Explorer, Radiance and Voyager of the Seas, unique Send this Article to a Friend
kid-friendly activities include rock climbing, ice skating rink, basketball courts, roller-blading and a Johnny Rocket's concession at no extra cost. Extensive kids' pool and slide area (Adventure Beach) on Explorer, Voyager and Radiance of the Seas. Explorer of the Seas has an atmospheric and oceanographic lab where parents and children can tour and participate in interactive sessions with scientists aboard ship.
We were on Enchantment of the Seas three years ago, my children were 3 and 2.
We were allowed to take our two year old to the children's play area as long as we stayed and supervised. We were there one day, our son was in the ball pit, they had supervised activities for the 3-5 year olds, when the counselors told them it was ball pit time, the children of course, ran for the ball pit, my husband barely had enough time to pull our two year old out. (Yes, the counselors knew we were there and that he was in the ball pit.) So, while we were never told we couldn't bring him, they didn't always make it easy.
We met a family who reserved a baby sitter the moment they got on the ship, she was wonderful with their daughter (1 1/2 year old). She took her for walks in the stroller, we saw her feeding her at the buffet. We were only able to find a private baby-sitter who was able to come at night. So perhaps if you ask as soon as you board the ship, you will get lucky as this family did.
I am the family cruise editor here and I've asked Royal Caribbean to get back to me regarding whether your two year old can visit the kids' room as well as the babysitter situation. I'll let you know once I get an answer.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
My contacts at Royal Caribbean said that it's no problem for you to take the three year old to the youth room as long as you stay with them during that time. Also, they do confirm that baby sitters must stay in the cabin with the child -- they didn't specify why, but I assume it's a liability thing. We'll be cruising Royal Caribbean in June and plan to use a private babysitter for our infant.
Lastly, most youth counselors are very strict about children staying in their age group for youth activities. Thus, your 5-1/2 year old will probably be with the 5 group and not 6 year group.
Hope this helps!
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
I recall reading somewhere that if a child is within a certain number of months of being able to move up to the next age group, they will allow the child to attend the older group. Not sure where I read it, but I remember because I went back to check the age groups. We will be traveling with an almost-10 year old, and I rechecked the groupings to see if I would need to put him at another age level.
If I come across where I found the info, I will post it here.
Was on the EOS April 20 and wanted to let you know that the ball pit was a completely diaper/pull up free zone. If your child is in diapers or pull ups, he or she will NOT be allowed in the ball pit with or without your supervision, nor will he or she be allowed in the group babysitting. If you can possibly change to Carnival or Princess at this point try! We LOVED the EOS, but felt so bad for all the families there whose kids could not enjoy all they had to offer. One mom said her 1 1/2 yo saw the ball pit and cried for an hour at not being able to go in it, and kept saying "ball ball" all night. She had an older child who was in the program. We took our sons on Carnival actually a couple times, each with 1 under age of eligibility. We had a great time, we could let the younger one play as long as we stayed and it was during "free time." The group babysitting was terrific! On Princess, they youngest was 2, and eligible. We also had a great time and appreciated the group babysitting greatly. I also don't like the idea of sticking my child alone in a small room with only toys from home with a stranger. Again, if you can possibly switch lines at this point, try, but definately do RCI when your kids are both over 3.