Would you pick lots of sea days in off-season?

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#1
Midwest America
600 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
I am wondering if any of you have experienced having an itinerary with many days at sea - in the off-season? Is there such a thing as too many sea days - at least as far as your kids were concerned?

We are considering a 9 day cruise that has 4 days at sea. It's the Norwegian Spirit R/T from Barcelona to Canary Islands. The first two days of the cruise are at sea. Three ports followed by a day at sea, one last port, and final day at sea. The ship doesn't have a rock wall/ ice rink/ water slides, etc. so we're relying on kids programs to stave off boredom. I'm wondering if it might get repetitious for my kids. (Ages 9, 11 & 13 when we sail)

Kids have cruised before and cruised NCL during the off-season. Last year we went on the Jade Mediterranean during the same school break period and there were hardly any other kids onboard. Some of the family activities were cancelled because we were the only ones to show up. They combined ages 5-12 and sometimes didn't even have a dozen kids. It was a fairly port-intensive trip, so it wasn't a huge problem. But for this itinerary, I'm a bit more concerned. My oldest will be in the teen group for the first time, but she still really likes organized activities. I believe I read that they cancel if they don't have enough kids show up.

I have checked the roll call and there's only one person on the roll call for this sailing, there's tons of cabins available and the cruise is less than 4 months away. In other words, I'm not hopeful there will be a lot of kids onboard.
#2
Fredericksburg, va. USA
81,577 Posts
Joined May 2001
They won't cancel the kid's clubs...they may combine some age groups, tho.


I don't mind sea days...hubby hates them. I would imagine that kids would find something to do....with or without organized activities....they stay busy doing stuff at home...why not on a ship?
#3
North Shore of Minnesota
1,070 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Since you asked, I personally would not pick a cruise with numerous sea days for my kid. We ( myself, wife and daughter/age 7 ) cruise for the ports. For each port I make up a packet with questions and things to do or find. We normally try to visit a museum, hiking trail, historic site, orphanage and/or school per port. We want the cruise educational for our daughter since we take her out of school for our annual or bi-annual January cruise.

Sea days she hangs with us ( not being a fan of Camp Carnival), and all 3 of us wish we were in some port. So, few sea days as possible please, atleast for us.
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#4
333 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I would. Dh wouldn't.

It depends on your kids as well. With mine? Sure, no problem. With sil? hell no. Sil and dh get bored. I don't get bored-I have books!

We're going on a 6 night, 2 ports with dd (14 months) in a month. We may get off at ports, or may not. We aren't going for the ports.
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#5
Baltimore, MD
2,741 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
This January is our first time doing a cruise with this many (4) sea days. We are planning on them being at the kids club for 2 and 3 hour spans, but we're packing extra activities just in case. We are calling them monkey packs and they'll have activity books, easy craft projects and what not.
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#6
Frankfurt
647 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by askimdog
Since you asked, I personally would not pick a cruise with numerous sea days for my kid. We ( myself, wife and daughter/age 7 ) cruise for the ports. For each port I make up a packet with questions and things to do or find. We normally try to visit a museum, hiking trail, historic site, orphanage and/or school per port. We want the cruise educational for our daughter since we take her out of school for our annual or bi-annual January cruise.

Sea days she hangs with us ( not being a fan of Camp Carnival), and all 3 of us wish we were in some port. So, few sea days as possible please, atleast for us.
I agree, would not book a cruise with so many sea days, especially off season, when the weather is likely too cool to spend time on the pool deck and the kids club will have limited activities.

Keep in mind that you can end up with even more sea days, as port stops may have to be cancelled because of bad weather. This happened to us in the summer. We had two port days in a row because a port was cancelled and the kids were really bored.
#7
Raleigh NC
24,524 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by askimdog
Since you asked, I personally would not pick a cruise with numerous sea days for my kid. We ( myself, wife and daughter/age 7 ) cruise for the ports. For each port I make up a packet with questions and things to do or find. We normally try to visit a museum, hiking trail, historic site, orphanage and/or school per port. We want the cruise educational for our daughter since we take her out of school for our annual or bi-annual January cruise.

Sea days she hangs with us ( not being a fan of Camp Carnival), and all 3 of us wish we were in some port. So, few sea days as possible please, atleast for us.
I agree, a lot of sea days can be challenging for kids.
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#8
Midwest America
600 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Thanks for the thoughts. Sea days for me are no problem - I'm a voracioius reader with a Kindle. DH would happily sleep the day away. But my kids...well, at least one is a voracious reader as well. I realize that if we do book, I need to pack things for us to do. Teeny, tiny things to do so we don't go over the luggage allowance, or take up too much space in our tiny inside cabins.
#9
2,761 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
For my family, sea days are the days that end up making it feel like a real vacation, since port days can be tiring. Clearly, every family is different. We were on a 15 day cruise with 4 port days and we still weren't ready to be done. When we did the Jade Med cruise, there were very few sea days and we all were exhausted - for us your itinerary would be perfect.

Best,
Mia
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#10
3,722 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I would be a bit concerned with the 13YO. There is considerable difference between the kids club and the teen activities. With the kids clubs they will generally have the club open and something going on no matter how many or few kids are on-board.

Teen clubs are much less structured and unless your 13YO is lucky enough to find a few kids her age, you need to be prepared to be her friend on sea days.

Our family is just the three of us DH, me and DD (now 17YO). We've cruised often and, when she was in Middle School, primarily "off season" and the number of kids her age was always really hit or miss. She also loves to read and to watch old movies and has never minded tagging along with DH and/or me to some of the events on board (she loves trivia) -- so she is easy to travel with even when there are not other kids her age.