Questions from first time cruisers with 2 year old
We are planning on sailing the Carnival Fascination April 16-21 2007. I was wondering, is this a busy time of year for Camp Carnival? We are trying to miss spring and Easter break and are hoping our son would receive a little extra attention from a less frazzled staff. Also, has anyone ever used the group babysitting from 10PM-3AM for a toddler? Is it crazy with over-tired kids or calm with sleeping ones? I was hoping to drop him off already asleep so the husband and I could do a little dancing or something. Any advice regarding cruising with a toddler is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Our first cruise with our then 2 and 4 year olds was on the Carnival Sensation, which is very similar to the Fascination. I think your timing is good. It will be after most of the spring breaks, and its a short enough cruise you can try it out and see how you like it.
Things that came in handy was a lightweight umbrella stroller. You will make it through embarcation so much faster if the kiddo is in the stroller. They'll often rush you through and send you up the elevator in a hurry to try and keep you and the kiddo from getting fussy. Also I often found my kids asleep when I went to pick them up from Camp Carnival and it is amazing how heavy a sleeping child weighs when you have to carry them to the other end of the ship. Pack a bag of extra clothes, underpants, pull-ups, diapers etc... just in case to leave at Camp. If the child is potty trained let them know, if kiddo naps with a pull up or diaper on, let them know that too. Don't forget comfort items like that favorite blanket, extra pacifiers, a sippy cup etc... It can be a very long night if the kiddo can't sleep without his wubby. Bring childrens tylenol, motrin, and lots of baby sunscreen.
That ship has a great kids pool in back. Its much larger than the kids pools on Carnival's new ships. We did dine at early seating with the kids in the dining room and it went off without a hitch. We take our kids out to nice restaurants frequently so for the most part they knew the behavior we expected out of them. We also had a blast dressing them up for formal nights and got some great pictures.
With regard to the late night babysitting. Its a wonderful thing. The staff treats it as a slumber party and the kids get a pillow and blanket so they can lay down on the floor and watch movies. Generally they fall asleep very quickly. It is uncommon for us to ever leave the kids past midnight on any of our cruises (because we are not able to stay awake that late either lol) and in most cases all the kids at Camp are asleep when we come to pick up the kids. The only exception was when we were on RCCL Enchantment and it was like they somehow had the ability to keep the kids awake all night long. (thats why we love their in-cabin sitting)
I think Carnival is an excellent choice for people with young kids. I know you'll have a ball.