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babytraveler
April 4th, 2006, 12:33 PM
We're going on a non-Disney cruise with a large family group.

The kids who are 5-11 pack up and run free together at family gatherings. The older ones do watch out and guide the younger. These are well behaved kids who won't do anything to fellow passengers.

I'm trying to estimate how okay it would be to let them have a kind of free run onboard the ship (or to watch movies as a group in a cabin for example). I tend to be way, way conservative on safety things, so my initial reaction would be "not at all" but since I know this is what they will be inclined to do, trying to figure from you experienced cruisers how okay/not okay running free is onboard would be.

Signed, Stick in the mud

scubagirrl
April 4th, 2006, 12:52 PM
We're going on a non-Disney cruise with a large family group.

The kids who are 5-11 pack up and run free together at family gatherings. The older ones do watch out and guide the younger. These are well behaved kids who won't do anything to fellow passengers.

I'm trying to estimate how okay it would be to let them have a kind of free run onboard the ship (or to watch movies as a group in a cabin for example). I tend to be way, way conservative on safety things, so my initial reaction would be "not at all" but since I know this is what they will be inclined to do, trying to figure from you experienced cruisers how okay/not okay running free is onboard would be.

Signed, Stick in the mud

No way would I allow my 5 and 7 year old grandsons out of my sight, or off without another adult. An 11 year old is not mature enough to watch out for others.

Would you allow them to roam the mall?? There are creeps everywhere, even on cruiseships. Young children shouldn't roam freely. They should have a desination and parents should know where they are heading and when they'll be back.

slhh
April 4th, 2006, 01:23 PM
A family gathering on land, is way different. There are so many places on a ship to get into trouble, places that aren't safe, not to mention the water.
I think of it this way, in our state, it is against the law for a child under 12 to stay home alone. It isn't enforced all the time, but the law is there. If you wouldn't go out for the evening at home and leave an 11 year old in charge, why do it on a ship in the middle of an ocean, where your cell doesn't work, and it will be difficult to find you?
Also, you didn't mention the number of kids this involves, it might be overwhelming, in this situation, for the 11 year old.
I am right with you, don't think it is a good idea. Stick to your guns.

sunline2000
April 5th, 2006, 06:26 AM
Boy...did you open a can of worms...w/this topic.....5-11 should be monitoered and the person who said strange people are everywhere is right. Have the kids use the cruise camps and the 10 and ups should have a destination and check in times..;)

chriscruise
April 5th, 2006, 10:23 AM
I too would suggest using the kids program. I don't know which line your are sailing, but most of them are excellent. We let our 10 year old check himself out, but he had to come straight to us. He could go get a snack at the buffet or grill and come right back. Wandering alone without a destination would seem unsafe to me.

imacruzinma
April 5th, 2006, 10:37 AM
Let's take out the preditor factor and assume all the kids stay together and are "safe"...

Run free is a good choice of words. Do you really expect a group of kids not to RUN when not attended by adults? Running, loud voices, general kid excitement are not bad things on a playground or at a family party...but there are public areas on any ship where it is not socially acceptable. I stress to my children that they should not run in hallways in hotels, etc - but low and behold, when they think I"m not watching, the very loud pitterpatter of feet can be heard! Kids squeel, giggle, cheer (again, not bad things) - but even well behaved kids get loud. It's just disrespectful of other passengers to assume that a group of 5-11 year olds can self monitor these behaviors.

Kids clubs are great, your group of kids will be able to interact with each other and with new friends...I suggest for your sanity and for the sake of the other passengers you take full advantage of the programs available...and when they are not at the programs they should be supervised by an adult in your group.

SqueakyDust
April 5th, 2006, 07:16 PM
My two were 9 and nearly 11 on our last cruise and were only allowed to go to/from the kids club on their own (well together - NEVER alone). One day we missed eachother and I was beside myself. Not only worrying that some 'bad person' was about but that they were upsetting others.

Do you really think that the 11 year old won't think it funny to get the 5 year old to do something naughty? or that the 5 year old won't try and impress the rest? The chances of misbehaving/getting in trouble are just too great and IMO it's not fair to even put the children in that situation. :)
The kids will think they're grown up enough getting small boundries - like going/coming from the Kids Club. You'll also find that the attention span/sleepiness with vary between the ages.

If you're talking cousins as opposed to brothers/sisters I hope you all 'sing off the same hymn sheet' with the rules too.

Enjoy your cruise.

caribbean dreams
April 5th, 2006, 08:09 PM
I totally agree with all the above posts.
My daughter is 11 and can only go directly to the arcade alone and i am 2 min. behind making sure she is there and stays, i usually sit and have a coffee right outside on one of the couches. She gets mad because other kids are running around crazy with no supervision, but i stick to my guns.
I was up at 2am helping with a search of a lost teen and i could not believe how many kids (10 or 12 yr old) were up and wondering the ship, alone. The parents have no clue where they are but think they are safe because they are on a ship. The teen was found, in a room with a bunch of other teens (13 & 14 yr olds) and they had been drinking all night, there was puck all over the cabin, the parents were in the cabin right across the hall and had no idea the children where having a party.
The parent complained to the cruiseline because her kids were able to get alcohol, turned out they stold most of it from her mini bar.

please keep an eye on your kids.

Cruisin' Chick
April 5th, 2006, 09:47 PM
Personally, I wouldn't want my daughter running around the ship even with a few other kids without adult supervision. That's why she's either in the kids' area or with us.

On our last cruise, there was a group of kids from an extended family who were running around loose. They were causing problems right and left. I even written Princess about it. And many passengers complained to the Captain at a luncheon about this "gang". I would guess your kids wouldn't be like these kids (rich brats apparently -- their parents were dropping a ton of money in the casinos) but a group of unsupervised kids may be looked upon with suspicion.

crusinmama06
April 6th, 2006, 12:19 AM
Nope, you aren't a "stick in the mud" just a concerned parent. I would say to stay with your gut and don't let the kids out of your sight. That age is too young to need any freedom on board.

Send them to the kids club and keep your peace of mind intact.

The ships are floating cities with the possibility of sickos on board, just like a real city. They arrested a child pornographer as he was getting off a ship less than 2 weeks ago.

Keep the kids safe. Always watch them.

sunline2000
April 6th, 2006, 06:42 AM
Hey...this post went better than expected....cruisers have kept their heads about them..To add thank you to all those who think responsibly w/kids...This makes for a better cruise for all....Parents w/kids its, nice to remember your not the only ones on vacation.I'm a parent w/ 2teen DS'S and mostly well behaved and polite...but things can always happen when your w/a group consider the child who really just went along and did nothing"But I only watched I didn't say anything" Group in trouble you're there there are consquences teach them young.Have a happy cruise:cool: :)

bplazo
April 6th, 2006, 05:52 PM
On our last cruise my daughter and I had a couple disagreements because she wanted to run off and do what she wanted. I finally gave in and I would let her on occasion go off on her own. She was seventeen at the time, noway would I even consider an eleven year old with younger children. Children that age need supervision 24/7 for the good of the children and other passengers.

larie
April 6th, 2006, 06:02 PM
Ok....I have been watching and reading this thread. I am a fairly strict and what I thought controlling parent. But after reading some of these posts, I am not as controlling as I thought. A seventeen year old only allowed to go off on occasion? We have been annoyed by other adults on cruises and no, these were not kids. Some of you act like the kids should be seen and not heard! By no means do I let my kids run wild and yes we have been practicing table manners and our etiquette. But cruise lines do allow kids on their ships....I am sure I will get blasted for this post but some of you do need to lighten up a little.

bplazo
April 6th, 2006, 06:24 PM
Where my daughter's safety is concerned I will never lighten up. There are alot of dangers for a young girl on her own on a ship and I would never forgive myself if something happened to her. I have heard of underage drinking, crew members making advances, drugs in drinks, etc. A young girl a few months ago somehow went overboard on a cruise ship.

Mom1977
April 6th, 2006, 06:26 PM
Where my daughter's safety is concerned I will never lighten up. There are alot of dangers for a young girl on her own on a ship and I would never forgive myself if something happened to her. I have heard of underage drinking, crew members making advances, drugs in drinks, etc. A young girl a few months ago somehow went overboard on a cruise ship.

I'm assuming at 17 she's either a junior or senior. Good thing she's not planning to go to college.

bplazo
April 6th, 2006, 06:36 PM
I'm assuming at 17 she's either a junior or senior. Good thing she's not planning to go to college.

She is a senior and she IS going away to college in September. I am worried already. I guess I should of had more children and maybe I would be be a little more lenient. Maybe I should be on the Dr. Phil show

Mom1977
April 6th, 2006, 06:54 PM
She is a senior and she IS going away to college in September. I am worried already. I guess I should of had more children and maybe I would be be a little more lenient. Maybe I should be on the Dr. Phil show

LOL...I've got 6...and it's not any easier!!

She's getting to the age that you simply have to have faith that you have taught her well, and let go. And until she goes off to college in the fall, use these times as learning opportunities. Let her have a little freedom here and there, and talk, talk, talk!

SqueakyDust
April 6th, 2006, 06:56 PM
Brenda, if you don't worry about your daughter, who's going to?
You can only do your best and hope it's good enough.
The idea of my kids leaving home at 17/18 scares me too. I remember being that age, and now realise I knew nothing (of course at the time you think you're so grown up).

Larie, I'd be interested to hear what boundries you give your kids. :)

SqueakyDust
April 6th, 2006, 06:59 PM
Mom 1977, you are a glutton for punishment having 6 kids ;)

Doesn't it get easier with each child? Don't you learn from mistakes you make with the oldest ones?

larie
April 6th, 2006, 08:14 PM
Squeakydust, you were wondering about the bounderies I set with my kids. In what areas are you referring to?

babytraveler
April 6th, 2006, 08:45 PM
I thank you all for your wise insights and comments.

Yes, this tread was much calmer than many others on less hot topics! I didn't ask the question to stir things up. This issue will come up onboard with different families and different child raising theories all hanging out together and having different views on what is okay and what isn't and to what degree. I just wanted to check my reality against experienced family cruisers. So thank you.

Michelle, do you have a reference/link for that arrest of a child pornographer?

crusinmama06
April 7th, 2006, 12:25 AM
I thank you all for your wise insights and comments.

Yes, this tread was much calmer than many others on less hot topics! I didn't ask the question to stir things up. This issue will come up onboard with different families and different child raising theories all hanging out together and having different views on what is okay and what isn't and to what degree. I just wanted to check my reality against experienced family cruisers. So thank you.

Michelle, do you have a reference/link for that arrest of a child pornographer?

Yes I do...
http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBYO5T80LE.html

SqueakyDust
April 11th, 2006, 06:23 PM
Hi Larie, Sorry to not get back to you before, but we were away on a long-weekend break (sadly not on a cruiseship!)

I was wondering at what age you allow(ed) your brood to go off on their own, and was interested to hear if the younger ones get more freedom than the older ones?
I have a friend who has a 17 year old daughter, and she was given quite extensive freedom from age 14/15. Therefore she got up to allsorts. I know times change, but when I was that age I didn't even think about half of the things kids do/expect now.

Thanks.

kayguz
April 11th, 2006, 09:03 PM
As a mother of 5 with my oldest approaching 11, I know it is so tempting to leave her "in charge" while they are watching a movie. However, I would never do it in a hotel room or even in my own home while I'm at a neighbors as she is not responsible enough to handle it. There are too many creeps- other passengers, crew members, etc... that are there and waiting. I think many get a false sense of security since cruises have the feeling of all of us being "family" and therefore "safe". Well, I don't feel all that safe walking down a long, quiet, hallway to my cabin by myself- I could easily disappear, much less a child.

We're going to have similar dilemas on this May cruise. Friends (a surprise to our kids) are going to join us and they let their children have more "freedom" in going and coming- 10.5, 9, and 7.5. I know it will cause issues with my 10.5, 9, and twins that are 6.5. "just going to the arcade", etc.... There are enough adults that one can be spared to be the "chaperone". The only exception will be going up to a grill or snack bar sort of thing and bringing food right back.

Sometimes I feel quite paranoid, but it's a different world than what we grew up in. The children are allowed limited "freedoms"- on a ship there are way too many dangerous areas and you should be more strict than you would be in your home environment. IMHO.

Kay

Cruisin' Chick
April 12th, 2006, 12:27 AM
You may try to have a talk with the friends and explain that the ship can still be iffy when it comes to other passengers and crew and that maybe they might want to follow your lead. Show them this thread if it will help. Good luck.

the4ofusandallourfriends
April 13th, 2006, 09:30 PM
We usually travel in a big family group with kids of all ages and rules. So it can get pretty tough to say no you have to stay with us.

Personally we don't feel comfortable leaving our kids alone or supervised by someone other than an adult. It's not that I don't trust my kids, in fact they are really good kids, but I know how carried away they can get if something seems really funny to them (ie..pressing multiple elevator buttons, etc...) , lapses in judgement, that could annoy other passengers around. So typically my son stays with hubby and daughter stays with me.

With that said, on my last cruise, my 11 yr. old daughter started to want to leave the pool, and let's say, go to the room alone before us to have a shower or whatever. We're talking like, maybe a half hour at the most. I got the feeling that I was too strict and that really the ship feels like a safe haven. So reluctantly, I would let her.

Now, there's an interesting thread out there, something like, Would you leave your 12 yr. old alone in the room for an evening to watch a movie quietly?, and some really good points were made. There are many good reasons not to, but the most important one that has made me reconsider having my daughter anywhere without adult supervision, is what if there is a fire or emergency on board? Just think of the Princess Fire recently. These ships are huge and time could be of the essence.

So, I think that this is a good guage.

Is your child (really teenager, as I don't think any "child or young teenager is) old enough that you would without a doubt know they could get their life jacket, handle the chaos and meet you at the muster station in the case of an alarm? Is the caregiver in a position to do so?

Atleast in the kids programs you know there is a procedure in place to reunite kids and parents.

It is a really important topic. One that made me rethink my position, however strict it was to begin with.

SqueakyDust
April 14th, 2006, 07:26 PM
That is an excellent point, thank you.

It's a good one to discuss with the kids too, if they feel we're being too strict.

jetskier
April 14th, 2006, 09:25 PM
Boy my parents must have been insane. I walked to work from school until I could buy a bike and then a car when I was 15 years old. I used to drive between Houston and Baton Rouge when I was 16 all alone to visit my Mom. I joined the Marines when I was 17 and was taught how to kill people. I lived in foreign countries when I was 18-20 and would wander around exploring these new cultures without supervision.

For me it would depend on the maturity/responsibility of the child. That being said, my daughter's probably will not have the freedoms that I had when I was growing up. On our second to last cruise, we would not allow our 10 year old to self-sign out. She could not go wandering around without one of us being present. She will be 12 on our next cruise, so we will have to decide on how much to loosen the rope.

Dave

webecruisen
April 15th, 2006, 01:16 AM
My daughter is 10 and will be taking her second cruise. Wether on a cruise ship or in general, my rule of thumb is to never let her or any child go anywhere by herself. She is always supervised by another adult or in kids camp. We practice the buddy system with multiple kids when it comes to walking from place to place. The kids have to be taught to stick together, look out for each other and come right back. We also take walkie talkies for the kids to communicate with us on the ship. They love using them.

kgfam
April 19th, 2006, 11:45 AM
Our kids are 6,9, and almost 12 and we have never considered letting them have free run of the ship. We didn't even allow our oldest to sign herself in and out of the Fun Zone and she actually preferred it that way. Our oldest is very mature beyond her years and trustworthy but we are not going to allow her or the younger ones to roam the ship amongst a bunch of strangers. You just don't know who or what is lurking out there and our kids are too precious to risk it.