When we cruise, my daughter will be almost 10 - I know that Carnival allows that age to sign themselves out of their camp. My daughter is responsible and respectful, so I would trust her to leave camp and meet up with us, but how secure is the ship. Is it safe to let your kids come meet you (either on deck or at your cabin).
Great question -- in fact I was recently thinking that I should ask parents the same thing and write up the answers in a future article for the family section of this site since I'm the family cruise editor here.
My daughter is 9-1/2 and she began signing herself out at age 8-1/2 years (she's been on 13 cruises!) She's responsible and finds her way easily around ships. I feel that ships are a safe environment to give kids a bit more freedom than at home. Actually, I would never let her on her own like that when we are home -- we live in NJ near NYC. We usually set up a time and place for her to meet or leave a pad in the cabin to leave notes to each other about where we are. I'm thinking of getting walkie talkies for future cruises so that we can contact each other instantly.
It's not easy being a kid these days but I feel that when we're cruising, my daughter gets to be a bit more "free and easy" like we were when we were kids way back when! Obviously you know your child best so do what you feel most comfortable with.
Let me know how it works out.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
i think that since you describe your daughter as "responsible & respectful" you should not have a problem. Agree to meet at a specific place and time. You might want to consider the walkie talkie idea that Luisa mentioned. Cruise ships are very safe, and the crew is always available to help out.
Thanks! I also live in the NYC area and may be somewhat paranoid. I feel more comfortable knowing that other parents allow their children to sign themselves out of camp and meet them elsewhere on the ship. Once my daughter found out this was a possibility, she has been very excited (well, she's been excited anyway, but this added to it).
I've been thinking about walkie-talkies, but the only place I would use them would be on the ship, and I'm not sure how well they work... I'm afraid to spend the money and find out they aren't really helpful... (are they expensive? what kind of range do they have?)
Cath, check with Carnival or your TA-- you might be able to rent the walkie-talkies for the week. You might even be able to rent a pair from your local rental store. I know we use ours all the time, when we go camping and skiing. Watch your local discount stores for sales, you can pick-up a pair fairly cheaply.
We were just on Victory and found the ship safe. My 7 yr old son wondered around quite a bit. Most of the time with a 10 year boy that he played with in the pool. We had no problems with him wondering around on his own. Now my 4 yr old was another story...he wasn't allowed to wonder. As my 7 yr old said when asked didn't he get lost, "I just learned my way around the ship and where everything was".
We didn't have walkie-talkies but will get them for next time. They had some they were renting on the boat...but a limited supply. Just check the ads in the papers - you might be able to find an inexpensive pair. I think someplace (possibly Office Depot) had one on sale for around $40.