Will be cruising this summer with a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old. The 5 is a cruise veteran but this will be my toddlers first. Since he is too young for the RCI youth program any ideas as to what to do with him on board? I heard that the indoor heated pool has resticted use for children. Any help would be appreciated.
I'm the family cruise editor here. Which Royal Caribbean ship will you be sailing on?
Yes, the two year old is too young for RCI's youth program (must be 3 as you know). Many readers have also asked me about the swimming pool restrictions for kids with diapers. While most lines say they don't want kids in swim diapers in the pool, I have yet to see any type of life guard on a ship saying that you can't bring your little one into the pool. So I guess I would advise to do what you feel comfortable with, whether that's bringing the toddler into pool even though the sign posted says you shouldn't, or not bothering to. Frankly, it might be too cool in Alaska for much swimming anyway. (My older daughter went in the pool on our Alaska trip but she's very warm blooded!)
I have a 1-1/2 year old who we just brought on a Caribbean cruise. We had three sea days and he enjoyed walking/running down the long corridors and public rooms of the ship -- basically exploring. Actually, it sounds funny but little ones love riding in glass elevators too! Royal Caribbean is one of the few lines which offers private baby sitting, so maybe you want to treat yourself to some down time and hire a baby sitter. Check availability at the guest relations desk early on during the cruise.
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more Q's.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Luisa, we will be sailing on Vision of the seas. My children are willing to swim at all times as long as the pool is heated which I believe these are.We come equipped with authorized swim pants which we purchased through swim school, far superior to over the counter swim diapers.Do you have any suggestions re taking the 2 yr old on shore? We are taking the roundtrip hubbard glacier/inside passage cruise. We did not plan on any formal shore excursions, thanks
Does your family like to hike or walk? If so, there are a lot of great ways to explore the ports with your kids. Try to get a hold of the book "Inside Passage Walking Tours" (by Julianne Chase, published by Sasquatch Books in Seattle -- last I heard, you can find it on Amazon.com). This book is really helpful on guiding you from the cruise ship piers to main sites in the towns. We particularly liked the "Getting out of Town" sidebars for each port which described hikes that you can do right from town. We've done some of them so if this might be an option for you, let me know and I'll suggest some.
In Juneau, go on the Mt. Roberts tram ride -- you can get tickets right by the cruise ship pier at a little Mt. Roberts house. The view is fabulous from the top and there are very easy walking, hiking trails up top. Don't miss it!
In Skagway, check out the Klondike Gold Rush Nat'l Park Visitor Center. This small museum has cool artifacts from the gold rush period and a 30 minute film on the rigors the gold seekers encountered. My daughter was 4-1/2 then and she sat through it. You'll have to probably split up with your husband and one can walk the toddler around outside while the other watches the movie with your five year old. Stop at the main desk on your way to get an activities booklet so that your 5 year old can earn a junior ranger badge.
In Ketchikan, you can take the funicular from town to the Westmark Lodge for good views of town and the Tongass Narrows. You can also have lunch at this nice hotel. A little farther walk in town brings you to the Deer Mt. Hatchery and Eagle Center. The kids will like seeing this salmon rearing facility. You will also get close up views of bald eagles here too. Take the footbridge from there to the Totem Heritage Center to see a nice collection of new and old totem poles. There's even people working on a totem while you watch.
I'd love to hear how your cruise went especially with the toddler. (We're taking my 9 year old and 1-1/2 year old to Hawaii for a cruise this summer and have our eyes on Alaska next year if the toddler does well this summer with the long flights from the east coast!)
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Luisa, thank you so much. You are a wealth of information. I decided to throw caution to the wind and booked this cruise. I figure I cab chase him at home or I can chase him in Alaska. Seriously though he has a great attention span and has good behavior so I thought I'd give it a shot. I have been traveling with him since he was 5 months old. He loves to hike and be outdoors so I think we will have fun. Now if I can just find a large hotel room for our post cruise stay in vancouver. Will be there for 4 days. All the hotels seem to have either two twins or two doubles and no cribs.
Glad to hear I was of help and that you did book the cruise! Like you said, you can chase them at home or in beautiful Alaska! We're cruising with our toddler this summer to HAwaii and I was a little concerned about being tired from being woken up very, very early due to the time changes. But like you, I figured I can be tired at home or I can be tired in paradise!
Vancouver is a great city for kids and adults! While I don't have hotel help for you, I can suggest some things to do during your stay. Let me know if you'd like some tips.
Luisa, since you seem to be a wealth of information i'd love to hear your comments re: Vancouver. I got a helpful hint from another boarder and was able to book four nights at the hyatt for a measley 48.00 per night. Now I have some spending money .
Re" time changes we cruised the southern caribbean with a three year old and she did just fine given the fact that we live in California and at times we were 5 hours behind our port. Kids are resiliant.
Now I'm concerned because of another breakout of the norwalk virus this week on an Alaskan sailing. I forgot all about last years problems in alaska and i hope i did not make a wrong decision to go. Little ones touch everything and seem to catch everything. Any comments? Anne
Glad to hear you'll be cruising and having lots of time in Vancouver. We love that city! I wouldn't worry about norwalk virus -- if you think about all the potential problems one could potentially encounter too much, I think we would all just sit alone in our houses all day! Cruise lines are very much on top of the situation and they don't want it on their ships any more than you do!
As for what to do with kids in Vancouver, here goes:
* Stanley Park: You could spend a whole day there. There are playgrounds, small beaches, hiking trails, horse and carriage rides, mini golf, and even an aquarium. It's a huge and lovely park -- don't miss it!
* Science World British Columbia: While some parts may be above your kids' heads, there will be plenty of buttons to push and things to touch!
* UBC Museum of Anthropology: THere are lots of totem poles, a long house, and many other Native American artifacts that will fascinate your kids.
* Capilano Suspension Bridge: Just outside the city (15 minute ride or so by rental car) is this neat high-rise suspension bridge to walk over. It sways when you walk -- very exciting!
* Grouse Mtn: Near Capilano is the tram ride to Grouse Mtn. In addition to great views from the top, there's logging shows, hiking trails, etc. A fun spot.
* Walk around Gas Town or China Town during dinner time for good eats, shopping, and people watching. (Both are very touristy however don't walk from one of these two areas to the other -- it was a bit "seedy".)
Let me know how your trip was upon your return!