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Old March 13th, 2005, 07:37 PM
NaturallyMeRhondaV
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Default Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

I'm new to these boards but have been following the Disney Cruise Line discussions for many years. I have cruised with Disney 5 times in the past but have never cruised with Royal Caribbean. This year we have decided to do something different and are booked on the April 30th - Voyager. My husband and I have decided to take our 17 month old granddaughter with us. Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping that 7days won't be too long. Also, advice on whether to take a backpack carrier or stroller on our cruise. We hope to enjoy a few excursions and thought maybe the backpack would be more practical.

I appreciate any feedback....

Thanks in advance.

Rhonda
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Old March 14th, 2005, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Rhonda,
I have done over a dozen cruises, 2 when my youngest was 4 y/o then 5 y/o, I also had a day care for under 3 year olds for 14 years and I am a grandmother of a 20 month old grandson. That said....in my humblest opinion only, I can tell you this is something I would not attempt at her young age. But of course, that is not what you asked.

I have read that because she is not your child, you will need a notorized letter signed by both her parents allowing you to have custody to get on the ship. You will also need her birth certificate with the raised seal. You could bring the backpack carrier for tours and I would recommend an umbrella stroller because it can get crowded in the Windjammer and various places on the ship. I have heard that children have to be 3 and potty trained to be in the children's program but it could be 2, also she would not be allowed in the pools because she is not potty trained and swimmer diapers are not allowed. As for childcare, you might want to check the RCI website to see if they offer it on the ship you plan to sail and for what ages. It will be a lot of work for you and you will be one tired grandma.

I know there are many parents who have cruised with toddlers, so I'm sure they will post wonderful advice. Have a wonderful cruise.

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Old March 14th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Weve taken our son on 3 7 day New Years cruises at 11 mos, 23 mos, and 35 mos. Weve enjoyed every one of them, but I will say it was easier the first time since he could sit still. We took an umbrella stroller the first 2 cruises, but really only used it in port. Our son was walking at 9 mos, so he had fun exploring the ship, plus it wore him out. We did use the stroller the first trip at dinner time since by then he was tired (even though he napped) and it made it easier on us to get him back to the cabin when he fell asleep (usually during the shows). You wont want anything bigger than an umbrella stroller as the halls, elevators and tenders can get pretty crowded. Its nice to have something lightweight to fold up and carry (like up stairs when the elevators are jammed).

As for excursions, we have yet to do any (almost went snorkeling but it filled up). They are too long and boring for small kids, and if they act out, youre sort of stuck until you get back to the ship. Instead, we walk around port and shop, then head to the beach. Our son loves the beach. We bring some small beach toys (ie trucks) and his lifejacket (cant use the ones from the ship), rent some loungers and an umbrella and he has a blast. Plus, we are relaxed and at ease since hes not stressing out!

Your granddaughter will not be able to use the pools on board unless shes potty trained. This is enforced. Also, the kids club is out (must be 3 and potty trained), but they are starting a new Aquatots program for small kids and parents. So what did we do on board? We ate, walked around, people watched, accidently discovered the arcade (so spent a lot of time in there pretending to play games), went to the musicals after dinner, and the ice show (dont miss it-get your tickets early to get the time you want). Our son liked the shows with upbeat music and flashy lights, costumes, etc. The sun and sea air wore us all out, so we usually headed back to our balcony cabin for a nap. If we didnt sleep, we sat out on the balcony talking, reading, watching storms roll in to port, etc (saw a great rainbow twice) while our son slept peacefully in the cabin.

What did we bring: the stroller on the first two trips, plenty of diapers, wipes, ointment, lots of sunscreen, a hat, a body suit that he can swim in and keeps the UV off, his favorite snacks (hes a picky eater), a few sippy cups, dish soap & brush to wash them out, set of small utensils, first aid supplies (child size bandaids, etc), Tylenol, Motrin (we made two trips to the ship dr-both separate cruises for a burn and ear infection with fever, so Ive learned to bring it all!), his favorite blankie and small stuffed animal, a ready bed (inflatable sleeping bag that we can stand up out of the way during the day), shoes (for the beach-hot sand and walking around), his lifejacket, beach toys, portable dvd player and movies (for the trip down and home, and in the cabin to calm him down)and clothes.

For meals, he ordered off the menu and the waiters would bring it during our first course. We brought some small toys (this last time wrapped and new) to keep him occupied. Sometimes we did have to take him out and walk around inbetween courses, and one night he was so sick and uncomfy we had to leave. The waiters are great-they packed up my food so I could take it back to the room. They also entertained our son when they had a chance. At breakfast, we fill up one sippy cup with juice and water for the day, and grab some milk (our son likes chocolate and they didnt put it out. If you want something and dont see it, ask and they will try to track it down/make it for you). We also grab some bananas and other items to take back to the cabin and eat later on since our son is a snacker. We had a fridge in our cabin every time, so we had the attendant empty it out and we stored stuff in there.

Take lots of pictures, and take advantage of the ships portrait times, and other shots. Weve gotten some great portraits of our son and us which are great for Christmas cards, etc. Our son loves to look through his photo album and it helps him remember his trips. Now every time he sees a commercial for a cruise, he informs us that we have to go back on the ship. Also, just be respectful of others around you. If your gd acts up, remove her from the situation. Dont let her run around the ship, especially in crowded areas. Wouldnt want to have anyone trip over her! Be sure to get naps in or she will not be happy by dinner time. That sun and sea air is powerful stuff! We are scheduled to do a 10 day Panama trip this coming Christmas and New Years with our now 3 yr old, and our new baby who will be ~ 6 mos by then. Thats should be interesting! Have a great time, and dont let the negative posts and looks scare you away!

alison

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Old March 14th, 2005, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Sounds like a lot of work and will she enjoy it?
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Old March 14th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

alison,
I'm sorry if you thought my post was negative. While I too enjoyed cruising with 3 sons, we waited till our youngest was 4 so he could take part in age appropriate activities. We, too, have wonderful pictures, my personal favorite is of him shaking the Captain's hand at the Captain's Party.

He is now a wonderful 20 y/o USMC, who just returned from serving 6 months in Iraq. He can still tell you the 2 cabin stewards names and both sets of wait staff we had. He still has the origami frog, ring and bow tie Robert (waiter) made for him out of dollar bills. He wore the bow tie for the Farewell Formal night with his suit. He, too, was entertained, danced and carried around during the dinner hour by the waiters.

He has since cruised with us on 3 more sailing but as a teenager, again enjoying age appropriate activities and has been dating a young girl he meet in 1999 on the Elation when he was only 14!! He also is in contact with a few others via email from the various cruises.

Yes we have wonderful memories and many family Formal pictures. But remember, we are the "parents" of these young children and we are use to the daily care of a very young, very active child. Now, I am a "young" () grandmother with no young children in the house. I stopped my day care business 7 years ago, work a full time job outside the home and babysit my GS as often as I can. It can be a tiring experience and one I don't think I would be up to do again 24/7. While it would be a wonderful experience and great memories for grandma and grandpa, it will be a very tiring time.

Again I wasn't trying to be negative just realistic. In doing so I was stating my humble opinion.

Have a wonderful Panama Cruise and congratulations on the new baby. That is on our list to do. So many cruises, so little time.

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#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
Retirement Celebration

#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean

#38-Celebrity Solstice 4/8/13
17 night Tahiti -- Sydney-Honolulu
40th Anniversary Celebration

270 days at see; soon to be 302
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Old March 15th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Sorry- I didnt think you sounded negative. I was just recounting our experiences, and Ive read numerous other posts about positive experiences. I guess its really up to the parents/guardians as they know their own kids, but at the same time, they should know what theyre getting into before boarding.

Im a stay at home mom, so Im used to being around my son 24/7. Im one who doesnt want to miss a thing my son does at this point (although Im now at the point where I cant wait for preschool to start!). We recently took our first weekend away sans son and all we did was talk about him! It was a nice break though.

I shouldve also mentioned that my dad and brother also come along on the cruises. My dad loves to drive and since he is only a few hours from FL, he often hauls all the extra cargo for the little one when we fly. It does make it a bit easier on the transportation end of things. My dad and brother always offer to watch our son to give us a break (ie go to a nice dinner on board ie Portofinos), but weve only taken them up on it once or twice. The only time we really have to be a family is on the weekends since my husband works late, and even then its tough as theres a ton of things around the house that need to be done. So for us, a cruise means family time, time to relax and to have fun since there are no excuses not to do so!

alison

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Old March 15th, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

I admire your spunk!! Yow... You should get a meddle for bringing a toddler. Of course, both my kids are now grown-ups so it really sounds like a lot of work.

I'm sure when they were young I wouldn't have thought twice!

Mary

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Old March 15th, 2005, 02:51 PM
R. Ellingsen
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Bringing a 17 month old on a cruise is a lot of work but can be very rewarding. A lot would depend on the individual child though. On my last cruise my son was not quite 17 months and had a fantastic time. He is a real good kid and it was absolutely problem free. That was his second cruise, his first was when he was only 10 months old.

I would say a stroller is a absolute must. Hauling around a child in a backpack may be more work then you can endure. It will also help in the lugging of all the other misc. stuff like diaper bags, juice, snacks, purchases on shore etc. It is also nice to have a stroller that has a hood and reclines in case the child needs a nap while you are out on a longer day.

Packing is a lot harder though. I always bring everything that he could possibly need including swim diapers, medicines, sunblocks, toys, juices, snacks etc. That stuff usually fills a suitcase all by itself.

I am sorry to hear that RCCL does not allow kids in the pools unless they are potty trained. My last 2 trips with him were on Carnival and I don't think they had such a policy. If they did, it was clearly not enforced as my son was in the kids pool about 6-8 times on 2 separate ships. I just use the special swim diapers that you can buy just about anywhere.

He loved every part of the trip from the airport to the excursions. He loved playing in the sand on the beach and playing in the ocean. A couple pics below of him on a lounge chair on the boat after just getting out of the pool and one on the beach in the Mayan ruins in Tulum on a excursion out of Cozumel. He escaped after we were trying to get him out of his wet, sandy, ocean water soaked suit and in to some clean dry cloths. There are a few other misc. pictures of Tulum in the directory below.

http://pages.prodigy.net/ellingsen1/Tulum/



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Old March 15th, 2005, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

The point of taking a 17month old on a cruise would be??????
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Old March 15th, 2005, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Jimbo,
The point of taking a 17 month old on a cruise is so that you can enjoy your vacation with a little person that you love most in the world and not spend your time pining away for them or worrying about them missing you while you are away. Its also about making beautiful family memories with your child. Capturing moments in time. Hopefully not missing out on hearing that first word etc... They may not remember the experience as they grow up, but mom and dad will. The pictures will be priceless.
Yes its a lot of work. But anything worth having usually requires lots of effort.
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Old March 16th, 2005, 10:43 AM
newmexicoNita
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

R.Ellingson, It isn't just RCI, chldren not potty trained are not allowed in any ship pool even in swimmy diapers: this has just recently been enforced. Now, that said, I would not consider taking my 17 month old grand child. She may have a good time, but will never remember a thing, it is work for everyone involved and will limit the activities available. No night time shows as you will have to put him to bed, dinner will be rushed: a 17 month old is not going to be able to sit through an hour or so dinner experience and shore excursions will be very tiring for you and her. It seems there would be many years ahead to enjoy a cruise with her. We love cruising with our grand children, but not the little one yet. That being said, you asked about the backpack versus the stroller. I would opt for the stroller. I think it will be less tiring for you and easier to manouver though a little harder to get on the ship. Because she will not be allowed in the pools you may want to bring a small inflatable pool for her. I know others who have done that. It works really well. Other than that just remember to get that notorized letter from both her parents. Otherwise you will not be allowed to board. Good luck, you are braver than many of us. Cruising with a child versus a grandchild are 2 different things. NMnita
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Old March 16th, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Thank you NMnita for sharing my thoughts of child vs grandchild. It would be a working vacation. I think it would be so cool to take along a grandchild but I would wait until they were at least 4 or older. Small children react different with parents vs grandparents and a week is a very long time in the little ones mind. Have fun if you choose to do it and take lots of pictures, maybe making a special memory book to give to her when she is old enough to appreciate it. I too have seen others bring small inflatable pools and other mothers with infants joined in.



Post Edited (03-16-05 13:30)
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7 night Mexican Riviera
Retirement Celebration

#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean

#38-Celebrity Solstice 4/8/13
17 night Tahiti -- Sydney-Honolulu
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Old March 17th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Nicely put beenie! And to add- having kids is a lot of work to begin with. Any vacation will be extra work since you have to haul a lot of stuff. But the memories and experiences are priceless! They may not remember at that age, but our son did remember his second cruise taken at 23 mos and begged us to go back again, as he has since our last trip in Jan. Not being able to use the pools the first two trips wasnt an issue for us since the water was too cold anyways (hardly anyone was swimming, but the hot tubs were jammed). This last trip our son jumped into the pool, and once again it was cold. He never bothered to try that again event though he loves to swim (these were New Years cruises)!

alison

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Old March 17th, 2005, 07:27 AM
Emm
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

YOu must be trustworthy grandparents. I would freak if my child was in a non baby proof facility like a cruise ship --- without me!
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Old March 17th, 2005, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: Advice on cruising with a 17 month old

Alison Thanks! It is hard work to be a parent of small children. I think it is really great to see these grandparents posting here that want to take their grandkids with them on a cruise. My parents hardly ever spend an entire day with the kids, let alone take them on a trip. I really have to work at making sure that my kids and their grandparents spend time together and things aren't put off until tomorrow. Because sometimes tomorrow never comes.
I want my kids to have great memories of their grandparents. Since I had my children later in life, My mother is 67 and my dad will be 80 this year. It is a reality that especially with my Dad time is limited and as much as I would like, he won't live forever. My mother is battling short term memory problems right now and I'm scared it may be the beginning of Alzheimers, so I really see how important it is that my kids get to be with their Grandparents right now! Some things just can't wait.
My kids love to cruise, They are 2 and 4 and fortunately Carnvial has a great kids club for both of them, which makes it a lot easier to take them on a cruise and have a more relaxing time (Mom and Dad get a little break while kids are there) .
But I would not hesitate to take the kids when they are younger. D/s who will be five next month went with us to an all inclusive vacation in cancun when he was about a year old and it was a lot of work, but a good time was had by all and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I think the best memory I had on that vacation was when we went to the lobby of the hotel for happy hour. They always had like chicken nuggets (d/s's favorite) and other tasty tidbits sitting out to nibble on for the guests. There was a huge family (like 20 or 30 people) that came for vacation from Mexico City. Well many of the women were grandma's who were away from their kids and grandkids and needed a baby fix and they all passed d/s around the room and just held him and played with him. By the time he made it full circle and back to me the kids entire cute little face was covered with lipstick prints from all the kisses he got from these gals. He was in his glory.
But honestly I think its lovely that these Grandparents want to share their vacation with their grandkids. How fortunate these kids are!
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