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Old June 4th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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Default Taking a two and a half year old on an 11 day Cruise

Three families with grandparents are all booked a March 2008 cruise through the Panama Canal on Princess Cruise Lines.

One family (never cruised before) has a then to be 5 year old and a 2 year old. They are planning to bring both kids.

My family (never cruised before) has a then to be 2 1/2 year old. We are completely unsure if we should be bringing him along given what appears to be very restrictive requirements for potty training and possible difficulties obtaining babysitting. If the Grandparents were not booking and paying for this trip, we would have waited another few years before attempting a cruise.

My questions are...

- What have other people witnessed or experienced from parents that brought along a 2 to 3 year old on a cruise? Were the parents completely frazzled looking?

- Should kids this age stay home while the parents go?

- Is it fair to the other passenger to have to deal with a disruptive toddler during dinner etc?

- Will a child this age get anything out of the cruise?
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Old June 5th, 2007, 07:58 PM
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At that age......leave the baby at home....if he was 4 or 5 years old bring him.( its not fair to fellow cruisers with a crying baby). We started our kids at 4 and 5 and never had any problems....( they have since sailed over a dozen cruises.).
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Old June 6th, 2007, 09:07 AM
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It would only be unfair to others if you didn't leave the dining room if your child becomes disruptive. With all the family that will be with you I would think that you should be ok taking your baby.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 04:50 PM
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I am taking my 3 year old daughter on 13 day cruise to Italy, Croatia & Greece. There are a total of 6 adults and my 3 year old going. I have no other choice but to bring her since I am a single parent. At first I was a little apprehensive, but now that I have done my research and have tried my best to prepare for this experience I am excited - as is she!

I say go for it! You only live once.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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Scott123456,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
- What have other people witnessed or experienced from parents that brought along a 2 to 3 year old on a cruise?
All of the major cruise lines are very family friendly, so there's no real problem with bringing young children. Most lines now require children to be at least three (3) years old to participate in the childrens' program, but any responsible adult can bring younger children to the childrens' center to play (provided that the adult remains there to supervise them).

In booking such a trip, the first thing that you need to consider is berthing arrangements for your child. If your child won't be alright sleeping in an upper berth, you need to book a cabin that will provide a satisfactory arrangement. This might mean a "deluxe" (larger than standard) cabin or a minisuite that has a sofa bed rather than upper bunks or it might mean a cabin that's large enough to accommodate a travel bed (again, a "deluxe" cabin or a minisuite). You might want to book such a cabin anyway so that your child will have enough room to play in the cabin.

The second thing to consider is the equipment that you will need to care for your child. All cabins have a desk/vanity that can serve as a changing table if your child is still in diapers, but you probably will want a stroller when you go ashore and perhaps a travel bed if you don't want to put your child in an upper bed. Also, be sure to bring some of your child's favorite books and toys so that your child will have something to do. And if your child is still in diapers, be sure to bring an adequate supply of diapers, wipes, etc., since the ship's shops probably will not carry them. And for travel, I strongly recommend buying them their own seats on the plane and bringing child safety seats for the children who are young enough to require them.

You also need to plan a suitable wardrobe for your children for the cruise. Note that Princess does NOT prescribe different standards of dress for children than for adults, so the norms of social etiquette dictate that children should follow the same dress code as adults -- even on the "formal" evenings. This need not be horiffically expensive, though. You did not say whether the children in your party are boys or girls (or some of each), but there are some very affordable alternatives available for both.

>> For young boys, nearly all tuxedo shops rent tuxedos in small sizes for ring bearers at weddings, etc., at very reasonable prices.

>> Young girls can wear either a nice "party dress" or some of the character costume dresses available very reasonably at Disney stores.

Young children like to act "grown up" so it's quite easy to get them to dress up "just like Mommy" or "just like Daddy." Set a positive example, and they will be quite eager to conform.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Were the parents completely frazzled looking?
No. The ships' staffs are very used to having young children aboard, and they are well prepared to provide basic services. They also have childrens' menus available in the dining rooms. And, again, proper planning and preparation are critical.

Quote:
- Should kids this age stay home while the parents go?
No. The ships are set up to accommodate children of all ages.

Quote:
- Is it fair to the other passenger to have to deal with a disruptive toddler during dinner etc?
No, but there's no reason for a toddler to be disruptive. Again, the ship's staff are well accustomed to serving toddlers. If a child starts screaming uncontrollably or otherwise causing disruption, it's time for Mom or Dad to take the child out of the dining room, address the child's problem, and get the child settled down before returning.

What I would recommend, though, is to take the children to progressively nicer restaurants from time to time between now and your cruise so that the experience of going to a nice restaurant for dinner is not novel to them when they enter the main dining room for the first time.

Quote:
- Will a child this age get anything out of the cruise?
Yes, absolutely! You or another adult obviously will have to explain things to the toddlers in simple language that they can understand, but it's amazing how much they will learn and remember from a visit to a new place.

Norm.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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One thing to think about is that going through the Panama canal it is oppressivly hot and all ages get cranky in that kind of heat. You best know your child. I had one that would have been more work for me than it was worth and two that could go anywhere anytime and very easy. Whatever you decide, have fun, Kris
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Old June 7th, 2007, 05:52 PM
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Kris,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
One thing to think about is that going through the Panama canal it is oppressivly hot and all ages get cranky in that kind of heat. You best know your child. I had one that would have been more work for me than it was worth and two that could go anywhere anytime and very easy. Whatever you decide, have fun,
At least (1) it won't be during the humid season in the northern tropics and (2) the ship is air conditioned, providing plenty of relief if the child needs it.

Norm.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 11:46 PM
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Norm, that is good news. I have heard from so many friends that it is so hot but all of them have traveled in the fall. we have a tentative cruise through the canal in March of 2010 [ yes a while a way I know ] so I am glad to hear that it is better to go in the early spring. :o
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