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Old March 3rd, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Default Western or Eastern Caribbean w/toddler?

I'm planning a cruise for Dec '07 and am trying to decide between the Eastern Caribbean ports (San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau) vs. the Western ports (Cozumel, Belize, Costa Maya, Grand Cayman). My daughter will be two, and I'd appreciate input from anyone who's cruised the caribbean with kids, especially a toddler. Are either the eastern or western ports more toddler friendly or does it matter? What would you recommend?
Thanks.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 04:32 PM
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I would suggest doing an Eastern, more water activities on a Western that a 2 year old just wouldn't be able to do or enjoy. More shopping on an Eastern, and still some nice beaches that you could all go to.
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 06:34 PM
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I would pick more by the ship/line than the destination. Your child will be pretty indifferent I would think to any choice. My opinion would be to mostly just hang out on the ship and let your kid play in the pool. My top choices would be:

RCCL - any ship with kids pool area
Disney - the best with small kids but more expensive
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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:49 PM
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I agree with Donna -- more accessible shore options that little ones would be interested in on the Eastern Caribbean itineraries. You can read my article "Back to the Beach" listed on the main family cruise page here for ideas on kid friendly beaches for the ports you're visiting.

Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
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Old March 5th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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Thanks for the input, I appreciate it. I have decided on Carnival due to their kids program accepting ages 2 and up whether or not they're potty trained. DD will have just turned two, so I don't know if she'll still be in diapers. Now I'm trying to decide between the Glory or the new Freedom. I'm sure we'll have a great time no matter what.
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Old March 17th, 2007, 11:14 PM
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Default Eastern or western w/a toddler

Hello! We were just on Glory from 10 Feb -17 Feb 2007 Western Caribbean, with our two yr old. She loved it!! She wanted to go to Camp Carnival! The staff was AWESOME!! We can say enough good things about them. Phyllis was especially awesome. I don't know where she gets her energy. I wished that I could them home with me, so they could watch Tori while I worked. If you do go with the Glory...Please tell Phyllis that Tori said Hi! (The Tori that was blind in one eye.)
We can't wait for our next cruise.

Have good time on your trip!
Cathy.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 06:43 PM
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Cathy, I'm glad to hear that you and your daughter enjoyed the Glory so much. That's the ship we've decided to cruise on in December, and as of now, we'll be doing the western itinerary. I'll tell Phyllis hi for Tori. I hope my DD will love it just as much. My sister watches her while I'm at work, so Camp Carnival will be her 1st experience in a "daycare" type of setting, but she's really outgoing and social, so I'm hoping she'll enjoy it.

What kind of activities did you end up doing on port days? I'm thinking we'll probably end up haning out at a few beaches. I'd love to hear any additional details you're willing to share.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 10:57 PM
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Hello! Here are the excursions that we did…I wish that we wouldn't have done an excursion at every port…Just my lessoned learned from this cruise.

Belize
Our port days we did the dolphin encounter...big waste of money! I would have rathered used the money for the Discovery park (I think it's called) in FL where you actually get to swim with the dolphins. The description says that it is just "an encounter"…The whole experience just wasn't what I wanted it to be. To be honest, part of the problem was my daughter she was crying, wanting to be with me. I had wanted to leave her in the Camp Carnival, but my husband, thought she would enjoy seeing the dolphins. It's in a lagoon like setting, so she couldn't get as close to the dolphins, as she could of if they were in a "Sea world environment"

In Cozumel we Visited Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park, one of the most important natural theme parks in the Americas. That was pretty neat! Tori liked it too! I recommend this excursion, if you like zoos.

In Costa Maya we went to Chacchoben Mayan Ruins situated in a secluded jungle setting near the border of Belize. This has a long bus ride, so we left Tori on the boat. She was fine. I was apprehensive, because they would not have been able to get a hold of us, if something had happened. MY DH really likes ruins, so we went because he likes this. I thought it was interesting too.

In Nassau we did the Pirates of Nassau & Historical Highlights Tour. I really enjoyed this one. I like seeing how the "locals" live in foreign countries. Tori fell asleep, while we seeing the sights around the city. We brought an umbrella stroller with us, which worked perfectly. The van that you ride in is small and our big Graco stroller would not have fit.

Some things that I learned (you may or may not find these useful)…
*Do not bring a big stroller. We almost did, and I'm soooo glad that we didn't.
*I brought way toooo many clothes!
*Try to bring some books/toys that your little one has not seen before.
*I really don't know why, but the Carnival doesn't seem to understand that little ones need lids on their cups. They will hand your child a drink in a glass, with a straw. Tori was okay drinking out of the glass with a straw, but it made me really nervous. We brought some plastic cups with a straw that folds down. (For example…You can get some Rubbermaid ones at Wal-Mart, the straw folds down and it has a rubberized sleeve, which keeps it colder for a little longer and helps them hold it.)
* Also, if you want your toddler using kid-sized forks and spoons, bring them with you.

In Belize…They really recommend that you go on an excursion while in that port. Apparently, the crime rate is really high. We heard that there is a sign on the dock, not to leave the dock, unless you were going with an excursion.

I hope this information helps you…I didn't want you to think that just because you have a toddler that you can only visit the beaches!

Sorry, I didn't mean to sooo long winded!
Cathy
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Old March 19th, 2007, 11:02 PM
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Hello again...I forgot to suggest to ask for a crib and a high chair. I don't know how fast they go.
Cathy going to do some laundry! Ugh!
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Old March 20th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Just call the cruise line res # soon and they should be able to ensure that they'll be a crib on board. Usually the dining room staff grabs a high chair for your child the first night at dinner and sets it up nightly for you.

Best,
Luisa
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Old March 20th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Thanks for the useful info. I appreciate every last detail. Xcaret sounds like a good possibility, and I'll remember the tip about the cups/silverware.

As to the cribs, are they full-sized or more like pack-n-plays? My daughter is tall for her age now, so I'm worried that by the time she's two she might be too big for the crib.

Also, how about a car seat? Did you bring one and were you able to use it in ports on excursions?
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Old March 20th, 2007, 10:14 PM
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Hello!
>As to the cribs, are they full-sized or more like pack-n-plays? My
>daughter is tall for her age now, so I'm worried that by the time she's
>two she might be too big for the crib.

My daughter is tall for her age as well...So you have something objective to go by she is 33 inches tall and she was okay for their cribs. They are small and squareish. Kind of like a pack-n-play but with legs, like a crib. I hope that makes sense. I heard that sometimes, the ships put too much starch in their sheets (so, I brought some), but I didn't find that the case.

>Also, how about a car seat? Did you bring one and were you able to use it in >ports on excursions?
I can't believe I forgot to say anything about car seats! We didn't bring one. I was real apprehensive about this. I did find one that you can use like in taxis and such. (I'm a safety nut!) As it turns out, we would not have been able to use it anyway. She went on three excursions, one we were either in a boat or walking on land and the second, a small van for the sight-seeing tour around Nassau. There was not room on the van for a car seat. The third one, Xcaret, I don't think (I could be wrong), but I don't think there were seat belts. It was a mini bus thing, with captain seats. There was a fair amount of walking to and from the bus, not including the boat ride. You don't have to pay for ticket for under 4 yr olds for Xcaret, so if the van is full, your daughter will be sitting on your laps.

In case you want info about the trip down…Are you flying or driving? We drove…the trip down was really, really, really easy…We left at night and drove all night. We got Orlando about 1 or 2 pm. We have a portable DVD player in the car…I know that some don't like those, but I think they are worth it! Those are a godsend for trips! The trip back wasn't as fun! But, oh well!

I hope that this helps you…Let me know if you have any more questions.
Take care,
Cathy
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Old March 21st, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Great info. I'll be sure to reserve a crib and highchair.

We are going to fly to Orlando, and it will be my DD's 1st flight. I'm planning on using the CARES restraint system on the plane because it is very lightweight and portable, but it is not for use in vehicles. She is very active and energetic, so I'm planning to buy a portable DVD player to use for her on the plane to help keep her content about having to stay in one place for 2 1/2 hours. Do you use headphones for your daughter when she's using the van DVD player? If so, do they make special ones for kids so they're not too big?
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Old March 27th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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I use headphones for my son on the plane. He's five years old. I use the basic adult sized ones (not the ones that go in the ears -- use the ones that go over the ears) and check the volume before your child listens to it.
Best,
Luisa
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Old March 31st, 2007, 10:27 AM
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My daughter has flown many times from Canada to Texas. (long flights)
I use a portable DVD player without headphones, but turned down low so only she can hear. With the noise from the plane, others can't hear it. We charge it at the airport inbetween connecting flights. I always go to the dollar store and get lots of little toys she hasn't seen before. We bring crayons and coloring pages, many different snacks, juice, milk, and our portable magna-doodle. All of these things make a pleasant flight nfor the whole family.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by As You Wish
Great info. I'll be sure to reserve a crib and highchair.

We are going to fly to Orlando, and it will be my DD's 1st flight. I'm planning on using the CARES restraint system on the plane because it is very lightweight and portable, but it is not for use in vehicles. She is very active and energetic, so I'm planning to buy a portable DVD player to use for her on the plane to help keep her content about having to stay in one place for 2 1/2 hours. Do you use headphones for your daughter when she's using the van DVD player? If so, do they make special ones for kids so they're not too big?
Hello! Sorry that it taken me sooo long to repond to this!
No, we don't use headphones at all. I'm too worried about the sound being too loud and damaging her hearing.

I wish you luck on your cruise and flight. We are thinking of taking a cruise off of Western Mexico in Sept/Oct timeframe. We are goiing to fly to San Diego (sp?)...Talk about a long flight!
Take care,
Cathy
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Old May 24th, 2007, 02:59 PM
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Hi Donna, we took our 2 year old on the Liberty last year. She loved it and camp carinbal was great. I would forget about getting a crib and what we did at night was make a bed rail using our pillows and a suitcase. I don't know how they would fit a crib in the cabin unless it was a suite.
Have fun.
Lisa
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Old May 24th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljosberg
Hi Donna, we took our 2 year old on the Liberty last year. She loved it and camp carinbal was great. I would forget about getting a crib and what we did at night was make a bed rail using our pillows and a suitcase. I don't know how they would fit a crib in the cabin unless it was a suite.
Have fun.
Lisa
Hello!
We had a oceanview stateroom. We used a crib. It was cramped, but okay. My DH is a big guy (6'2) and I know our DD sleeps better in her own space. Besides all that, my hubby works nights, so we don't get to sleep with each often!

Have a great time!
Cathy
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Old May 27th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Western or Eastern Caribbean w/toddler?

Eastern gets my vote as I have BTDT when kiddo was one. Waited a bit until he was older for the Western cruises. 8) Don't forget to bring Goldfish or the kiddo's other favorite snacks as they may not be aboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by As You Wish
I'm planning a cruise for Dec '07 and am trying to decide between the Eastern Caribbean ports (San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau) vs. the Western ports (Cozumel, Belize, Costa Maya, Grand Cayman). My daughter will be two, and I'd appreciate input from anyone who's cruised the caribbean with kids, especially a toddler. Are either the eastern or western ports more toddler friendly or does it matter? What would you recommend?
Thanks.
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