We will be sailing Nov 10 on the Explore and would like your input and recommendations regarding traveling with children on this ship.
We will be traveling with 2 kids ,3 and 11. Does anyone have any past experiences with their kids program. Did you feel comfortable leaving the children with the counselors and how was the sitting services. Can they attend the night shows or should we make sitting arrangements for them. We have gone on several ships but never taken the children so I am very nervous about this whole idea of leaving children with strangers.
I can totally relate to being nervous about leaving children with strangers. I swear I stay home way too much because I'm so picky. We sailed Explorer in July and we have a 4-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. Our daughter obviously is old enough that we didn't have to worry about a sitter (just walkie talkie to keep in touch). But we used the kids program for our son. It was fabulous! It is free (included in the cost) until 10:00 and after that it is only $5 per hour (and by the way they don't freak out if you are 5 minutes late and make you pay for the whole next hour). It is well worth it. There is plenty of staff available and all ages of kids. They keep them in separate activities until after 10:00. You can peek in or come check on the kids whenever you want so you can watch what is going on. They did a lot of great activities with the kids ("science" experiments making slime, coloring pillowcases and t-shirts, "pirate" night, "beach" party, building sand castles on Labadee, you name it). I would be nervous about having someone in my cabin to babysit, but that is just how I am. In the group situation there are always parents coming and going, a bunch of kids, etc. My son loved it and kept begging to go back. He didn't even want to go to the ice show - he wanted to go play with the kids. My daughter loved the night shows. I'm not sure the midnight comedian (I think he was the second night) would have been suitable for her but the rest were great. She loved the ice show, Vegas and Broadway style shows, Jim Nabors, and even the other comedian. I think there were some 11-year-olds in the after hours group sitting too so your 11-year-old shouldn't feel out of place if you decide to put him/her in there. There is a great arcade for the kids too. My daughter was in there a lot. Your 11-year-old will most likely find a friend to hang out with too. My daughter made friends with a girl who turned 12 while we were on the cruise. Anyway, my advice is to use the kids program and have a blast. The entertainment is great and you won't want to miss it. Some of it is late and a 3-year-old may not have a good time at the later shows. But he/she will have a blast at Adventure Ocean. And, like I said, I am VERY picky about who stays with my children, to the point that I stay home quite a lot rather than take a chance. Just enjoy yourself and have a great cruise. If you have any other questions, let me know and I'll try to answer as best I can.
Thank you so much for your comments regarding leaving the children. I was really getting worried as the time gets closer. I appreciate your reply so much, I feel much better now and I agree that leaving them in the room alone with a sitter is out of the question. However ,according to your comments leaving my 3 year old for 2/3 hours a day should be okay. Regarding my 11 year old she should be okay and make friends quickly so she is not the one that worries me as much.