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

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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Default Hawaii Cruise with a toddler?

Hi all, has anyone here ever taken hawaii cruise with their baby/toddler? There is an intinerary that I am really interested in Jan 2, 06 on Celebrity's Summitt. It is a 13 day cruise, we won't be flying so we will be looking at being gone for around 2 1/2 weeks. At the time of travel, my son will be 2 1/2 years old. I chose Hawaii, because I could not find a short Eastern Cruise (like 5 days) and I am not interested in the Western Cruises.

Do you think this will be too much travelling for him at the time, do you think I should wait until he is a little older? Travelling without him is not an option. DH and I are planning on taking him to Disney World next year and a family cruise in 2006.

Please advise.

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Old August 20th, 2004, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Hawaii Cruise with a toddler?

We went on quite a few cruises when our boys were toddlers, starting when our youngest turned 2, but never longer than 7 days. The concerns I would have are not with the 2.5 year old, but how you and your husband will handle that long of a cruise with a toddler.

Rather than Celebrity you might look for a more family-friendly ship. If you go on Carnival or one of the other lines that accepts 2 YO in their childrens' program (I think maybe NCL does), that would be a big help because the kid's facilities are usually bright and have new/different toys that your toddler would like and it would give you a break.

It's exhausting parenting a toddler, and vacation with little ones can be challenging. We've done it a lot and there are rewards to vacationing when your kids are little, lots of precious moments, and some relaxation, but also lots of stressful moments (when they are cranky, when they won't eat, etc). So, I'd say if you guys are prepared for it, the little one will be fine. My worry was always trying not to disturb other people too much, when my kids were cranky, crying, refusing to eat, etc. I would remove them from whatever public place and try to take them somewhere quieter or back to the cabin. This means that your schedule revolves around the children. It was something I was always willing to do to be able to go on vacation with them, you just have to know that it won't be the most relaxing thing you've ever done.

Things that will help:
Bring a fold-up stroller, the ships are too big for a 2YO to walk all the time plus they can nap in the stroller, sometimes during meals (that's when mine always seemed to wind down) or just when you're walking around the ship.

Bring some familiar toys/games from home, but not too many. Buy a few new things and save them for difficult moments. Wrap them up.

Bring a favorite sleep toy or blanket and familiar PJs.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: Re: Hawaii Cruise with a toddler?

mahirsch, what was the first cruise you went on with your 2 year old? How long was it? Did you get a chance to relax some? Were you nervous before you went?

So do you think we should start off with a short 3-4 day Bahamas type cruise and maybe do a cruise to Hawaii around the age of 4?

DH and I don't get on planes. We live in Georgia, so to get to Hawaii, we would have to either drive, catch a train or bus to San Diego, CA and board the ship from there. That is why it would take us 2 1/2 weeks. I have always dreamed of going to Hawaii and it would be the one treat to myself of surviving the first year of motherhood.

So you think maybe a 3 or 4 day cruise to start with?
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Old August 25th, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Hawaii Cruise with a toddler?


Our first cruise with the kids was when my oldest was 3 yrs,10 months and my youngest had just turned 2. We chose Carnival Elation 7-day cruise out of LA to the Mexican Riviera. We chose Carnival because they accept 2 YO in diapers in their kids program. We chose the LA to Mexico route because we live near LA and wouldn't have the expense nor the challenge of a long plane trip before the cruise. I was excited and not nervous, I figured we would just problem solve as we went along.

We did bring a fold-up stroller for my 2YO. Camp Carnival did not change his diaper nor did they page me to do so. He got diaper rash after 2 days. After that, I checked on him every 2 hours while he was at the camp to change his diaper. The 2YO was happy to go to Camp Carnival because he was with his older brother, who was very gung-ho about the camp. My husband and I weren't interested in excursions, we did a little shopping in the ports, but we weren't away from the ship for long because our kids were so young and we wanted to be available in case there were any problems. We took them to Camp Carnival each morning for a few hours and again in the evening. We spent the middle of each day together and the whole family took a nap every day.

It was a great trip, my husband and I got some much needed alone time and the kids had fun. We also had a lot of family time together, and getting some extra sleep was blissful. There is no housework, the cabin is cleaned/straightened twice a day, and every meal is cooked, served, and cleaned up for you. I mean how bad can that be?

The stressful thing was that hubby and I like to eat in the dining room, but after the first day my 2YO rebelled. That meant we took them to the buffet for breakfast and lunch or sometimes had room service. We did do dinner in the dining room, but had to walk our 2YO around a lot to distract him and took them both up to the Camp Carnival when it opened at 7 then returned and finished our meal.

So it was fun, there was some relaxation. But I really learned that with little ones you have to roll with the punches and kind of figure out what's making them cranky and then adjust your sechedule or desires to keep them happy so the whole family can enjoy the cruise.

If you want to be safe, I would try a 4-day cruise first (less money). I think you could easily do a 7-day on a ship with a kid's program for 2 YOs. Given your location, a Caribbean cruise would be great.

It's just my opinion, but Hawaii is really a better land vacation. We went to Maui when our kids were 3 and 1 and had a pretty good time, no child care like on the cruise ship, but had a great time in the pool with them and walking on the beach. They slept in a double stroller while my husband and I walked around Lahaina and once had a peaceful meal oceanside while the slept. The length of time it takes to cruise from the western coast to Hawaii means you have 4 days at sea, but I can see the attraction if you don't fly that's you're only means of getting there. I would wait until your child is totally into the activities of the ship's children's program before doing that and 4 YO is probably the earliest that will happen. They get more into it as they get older and are less afraid of separation from you.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your cruise planning.

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Old September 9th, 2004, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: Hawaii Cruise with a toddler?

HI there, we are booked on ncl wind 10 day hawaii in march 05. We have a 6yr old son and daughter who will be 2 1/2 then. I picked ncl for the not potty trained yet childs program. We took our son on a 4 day cruise a few months ago, he loved it he wanted to stay for a month. We are planning to go with grandma and grandpa and just hang out on beachs and pool and little shopping. My husband and older son might venture off to do some excursions, but I am planning on relaxing and getting a little break form the kids program. SO I say go for the longer cruise, email me and Let me know when you are going, If it is before us, let us know how it was and vice versa.Happy cruising!!!
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Old September 9th, 2004, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: Hawaii Cruise with a toddler?

Last summer I took my almost two year old to Hawaii on NCL and it was a good experience. He did very well on the long plane rides from the East Coast -- we did invest in a portable DVD player which helped LOTS. He wasn't old enough for the youth program but had fun walking around the public rooms and in the little splash pool. The major problem was the time change for 6 hours for us, which meant that he was about between 4 and 5 a.m. most days. He then needed to take two naps instead of his usual one so we had to work around that. Conversely, my almost 10 year old wasn't as affected by the time change and slept until about 6:30ish most days. We would take turns taking my toddler out to a public room and putting on the DVD player for a while until my daughter woke up. So keep the time change in mind. Where are you traveling from?
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
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