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A cruise is most definitely the best option if you have children. They are always well looked after by the various children’s clubs and on some ships of course you have the option of the night nursery. When my children were around the 7-10 age we would barely see them from morning till night. (not because we didn’t want them round us but because we couldn’t get them out of the kids clubs as they loved the activities so much). As they go into the betweens 11-13 it can be a little more difficult as sometimes they find one kids club to babyish and the other a little to old, but always manage to make many new friends and go off and do their own thing. We give them the freedom to go off on their own as they cannot get lost – you know they are on the ship somewhere but always arrange a time to report back and let us know their whereabouts. Take Post it notes to stick in the cabin to leave notes for each other and make good use of the phones in the stairwells to phone cabin.
Try to arrange a spend limit on Sea pass charge card or if you cant; tell them it has a limit of X amount so they don’t run up a huge bill. Buy a Coke or soft drinks package (I think it works out to your advantage if they have more than 3 drinks per day).
Food should be no problem – most lines do the usual kids menu of burgers, chips, pizza and fishy shapes and you usually find basic options off the main Dining menu – Chicken Breast, Steak and Spag Bol. With 24 hour dining they have so much choice. When my kids were young I taught them good table manners and would always take something to keep them occupied when having our evening meal such as a small toy or colouring book. If you are having a starter and soup ask the waiter to bring your childs food when it is ready and not wait for all to be served main courses together as it can be a long time for young children to sit and wait.
We try to balance the shore days with shopping and sightseeing in the morning and beach (or ship) for the kids in the afternoon.
Depends what boat you book.
Would agree with points and tips made by Bradbury. Hardly saw our young son when we have cruised (aged below 12), not threw choice but he was so well catered for by celebrity. Older daughter, not so keen on kids club but met friends and we felt she was safe on a ship to allow her an element of freedom. Post it notes are a great idea. Kids loved the differing elements available on a cruise. Dressing up, family meals, entertainment, friends, kids clubs, differing ports and all they offer. We have only been on 3 cruises but by far they are the family holidays they refer to as their favourite. We found cruising offered us everything in a holiday, children and adults alike.
LOL, took my grandchildren for their 1st cruise last April, they are 4 and 7, they said if we could not afford their babysitting fees for after 10pm they had enought pocket money saved to pay for themselves. They loved the kiddies club. I look after them all the time and felt redundant., I am paranoid about childrens safety, even find myself watching strangers kiddies, had no qualms whatsoever.The 4 year old asked if she could have a caribbean cruise for her 5th birthday. Food wise the staff in our dining room did all they could to please the children, when 1 felt poorly our waiters asked if she liked anything special. I would recommend a cruise.
What cruise line did you sail with.
Royal Caribbean. They were fantastic, cruised with them many times before, but never with our grandchildren. As I said before, our granddaughters LOVED it. Costa also have a fantastic kids club, but we would not sail with them again in the Med during the Italian school holidays!. Too intense and noisy. LOL, love kids, but the Italian children are allowed too much leeway, DH is Italian himself, but even he was suprised by the freedom given to them. I am safety concious(sp) but had no qualms whatsoever once on board.Food wise they will always find something they like, and if you go to dinner the waiters will always help and change the menu to suit little ones. Recommend a cruise for a family holiday, cannot go wrong.
We always look for cruises without children because other peoples children are almost without exception a nightmare. It's child free ships for us. A pity there aren't more of them!!!
Even though kids faciities and clubs may be provided a lot depends on the cruise destinations / region. We sailed to the Med on Fred Olsens Black Watch in Aug 07 and there were about 80 kids on board - a good balance really and not a disruption in any way (about 10% of passengers) but exactly a year later did the Baltic on Fred Olsens Boudicca which is an almost identical ship but there were less than 20 kids on board making similar age company for our two ( age 8 and 9) a bit thin on the ground !! Both cruises were 'Family Friendly' with kids clubs but definately better with more kids on board.
We had a 12yrs old Boy and a 14yr old daughter and her friend (14) with us on Independence of The Seas, They would go out to breakfast and that was virtually the last we saw of them! They spent most of the time in the "Living Room" teen area. We sometimes bumped into them at the pool or Windjammers, but they loved the freedom, We did keep alow key eye on them, just to see that they were behaving etc. They would also ring us now and again on the mobile deck phones we got from Guest relations.. Some children had Walkie Talkies that their parents could keep tabs on them. They had a great time and cant wait to go again...A.
You really can't beat Royal Caribbean for taking children on a cruise, they really have it sewn up. When we went on the Navigator of the Seas around the Carribean, our children ranged from 7 to 17 and they were all catered for. The youngest had such a fantastic time that he begged to stay on for the late night (after 10pm) club and the teenagers still say they had the best holiday ever! The kids club staff are fantastic and obviously enjoy their jobs. Our teenagers were treated as adults with a living room to meet up with friends and late night discos to enjoy. Also with 5 children the soft drinks package kept the costs down and also gave them the freedom to get a drink when they wanted. The self-service Windjammer Cafe gave them the chance to eat when they felt like it and had such a selection that everyone was happy. Saying that, the waiters in the main dining room could not do enough to make sure that the children had food they enjoyed. All-in-all an excellent experience with children.