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  #21  
Old January 19th, 2013, 05:55 PM
mjkacmom mjkacmom is offline
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As a mom to many (five between the ages of 10- 16), I'd say the best ages are 4 - 10. They can use the pools and the kids clubs, and still LOVE hanging with the parents, and really love the novelty of eating out at every meal. I've found that the 10 - 12 year old kids clubs are a little boring. On our last cruise, our oldest was 14, and she had a blast. However, mostly with her new found crowd of other teens. She did come on excursions with us (reluctantly), and some meals, but they were getting fewer by the end of the cruise.

I admit they really don't remember much from vacations when they're younger. Sure, a 4 year old will remember, with great detail, vacations from the past year or so, but by the time that child is 10, there is little left (unless you talk about it often, but it's really not their memories). So what.
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  #22  
Old January 19th, 2013, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MissMeggieMurphy View Post
age 12, maybe 10 if they are mature enough. i'm definitely the odd person out but i think that that a cruise is for enjoyment and not constant baby sitting. preschoolers won't remember a thing about their cruises, elementary kids get bored very easily and rest and relaxation isn't part of their lexicon. by the time a kid is twelve they know enough about life to be easy on a ship and can find tons of things to do and usually really enjoy all the new experiences and are somewhat mature enough to know how to behave. with a 12 year old it becomes easier to pick excursions, to allow them some free time without constant supervision.

young kids are a joy but they are a lot of work and most won't really understand the experience and usually aren't real comfortable with strange places and new experiences. by their tweens they are ready to grasp all of it and then the experience is great for both kids and adults.
This has not been my experience. My kids started cruising when DD was 4 and DS was 7 which was the right age to start for us. I have found vacationing with my children to be enjoyment for all of us and I do not consider it babysitting. Both of my kids remember their first cruise and they are now 16 and 18 and have been on 9 cruises with our 10th coming up this summer. Neither of my kids were bored on this cruise or the ones that followed. Both of my kids knew how to behave from their very first cruise. They could sit through long dinners without whining or complaint and they enjoyed the experience, especially with the waiters doting on them.

Both my kids enjoyed our first cruise so much that when we asked them 3 years later if they wanted to do a cruise or Disney World they chose a cruise immediately. DD even entered a talent show on her second cruise when she was 7 doing a tap number (she is a competitive dancer). They were on 5 cruises before DD turned 10 and they enjoyed every one of them. We had ports where we had beach days, we rode jet boats, went snorkling, visited a pirate museum, rode on glass bottom boats and semi submarines, and swam with the stingrays...all before DD was 10. My kids have always enjoyed the production and comedy shows, playing bingo and trivia games, relaxing on the Lido deck, playing mini-golf, basketball or soccer and playing card games on the Promenada or on the Lido deck with DH and myself and eating ICE CREAM. One of the things they never got into was the kids clubs. They tried them but they were always in different age groups so they preferred to hang with each other and with us.....which was not a burden to us. These were family vacations meant to spend time together and we had a blast.

IMHO the right age depends on your kids. I would have taken DS on a cruise at 2 or younger in a heartbeat. He only cried when he was hungry or needed a change and that was always an easy fix. If he was tired he just fell asleep...no matter where he was or what we were doing. DD was a different story. Before she could talk she was constantly crying. It was almost impossible to find the problem and resolve it for her. We refrained from taking her anywhere and when we did we were prepared to leave in a hurry. Once she could communicate with us the crying stopped. We were able to start taking her out without any outbursts. Each kid is different. Parents need to be parents and know their children and their limitations. Some kids can handle vacations and cruises earlier than others....only you know if that child that can handle it is yours or not. Some parents can not handle vacationing with their kids. I find this a shame for the kids but we are not all the same. You all have to do what is right for your family.
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  #23  
Old January 19th, 2013, 06:07 PM
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Amen to that! For the record, before we had kids, we swore we would NEVER fall for all the Disney stuff, yet we found ourselves planning our first Disney trip when our son was 2 (and my wife was almost 8 months pregnant with baby #2).

As we flew to Orlando, we kept asking ourselves if we were insane, what had we done, etc, etc. That is until we walked through the gates of the Magic Kingdom and saw our son's eyes light up and started jumping in amazement. My tough as nails, never shed a tear wife couldn't hold it any longer and just started crying tears of joy. I'll admit I joined in.

To all the people who say "don't take a child on vacation because they won't remember" think about YOUR memories. They may not remember, but YOU will!
My absolute favorite cruise memory was from our first cruise. We did 4 night Disney World/3 night Disney Wonder. DD who was 4 at the time had just seen Tinkerbell fly down from a castle in Disney World and was convinced she was real. The production show showed Tinkerbell on the screen flying over our ship sprinkling pixie dust as the ceiling twinkled. DD looked up at me with wonder in her eyes and asked "Does this mean we can fly?" That alone made everything worth while.
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  #24  
Old January 19th, 2013, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Warm Breezes View Post
My absolute favorite cruise memory was from our first cruise. We did 4 night Disney World/3 night Disney Wonder. DD who was 4 at the time had just seen Tinkerbell fly down from a castle in Disney World and was convinced she was real. The production show showed Tinkerbell on the screen flying over our ship sprinkling pixie dust as the ceiling twinkled. DD looked up at me with wonder in her eyes and asked "Does this mean we can fly?" That alone made everything worth while.
Love it! Always good to have a vacation sprinkled with pixie dust.
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  #25  
Old January 19th, 2013, 09:59 PM
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I find it odd that "a cruise is meant for enjoyment", was used to persuade someone NOT to take their child. That's the very reason why I want to take mine. Perhaps not everyone enjoys the company if their babies.
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  #26  
Old January 19th, 2013, 10:24 PM
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We started cruising with our DD when she was 2 years old. In fact she did two cruises at the age of two. There were grandparents along on both of the trips. We had a blast. At age 3 we started using the kids centers. She loved it. In fact once she hit 4 she wanted nothing to do with us on the ships. She was all about playing with the kids. It was great being able to take a break and sit by the pool. I have no regrets starting that early with DD. Oh and yes we did our one Disney cruise when she was in 3rd grade. DH who doesn't like Disney said he enjoyed the cruise. She will be taking her 13th cruise over Spring Break!
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  #27  
Old January 19th, 2013, 10:24 PM
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I find it odd that "a cruise is meant for enjoyment", was used to persuade someone NOT to take their child. That's the very reason why I want to take mine. Perhaps not everyone enjoys the company if their babies.
I thought the same thing. One of my greatest joys is seeing everything through their eyes and sharing the experiences with them. We do take vacations without kids to reconnect with each other but IMHO a vacation with kids is priceless and a priority at least once a year and more if we can swing it.
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  #28  
Old January 20th, 2013, 08:30 AM
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We took our eleven month old on a cruise with just the two of us on Norwegian and I can't say I recommend that.
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  #29  
Old January 20th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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We stopped cruising until our child was old enough to apreciate it. Could not see spending the $ on a young child who it meant nothing to. Then we choose where to go which would be good for her ( no owned islands which are just beaches). We waited untill she was about 7.
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  #30  
Old January 20th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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The best age to start cruising for us was: as soon as I wanted a vacation where someone else was doing all the cooking and cleaning so I could just spend time with my kids. Resorts are more expensive and condos are MUCH more work, so cruising was the best vacation for us. I'm only sorry I waited until 13 months since that first cruise was the best time I'd had with my kids up to that point. My girls are eight and don't remember most of the trips we've been on, but I don't consider that a waste. The memories for me are priceless. Since I have to work full time, I want to spend my vacations with my kids - even if we aren't together every minute of the vacation. Of course, if my kids weren't easy travelers, it would be different - we would wait for my sanity and for the sake of other passengers.

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  #31  
Old January 20th, 2013, 06:56 PM
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We started cruising with DD at age 3. She loved it!! She even remembers the name of the waiter we had. She has been on 2 cruises and we are planing the 3rd June 2013. We chose Carnival when she was 3 so we could use Camp Carnival! Every child is different. DS is 17 and has been on several cruises and traveled Europe. Both kids enjoy cruising and it's an easy way to accommodate both kids and the parents.
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  #32  
Old January 20th, 2013, 07:50 PM
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My girls started cruising as infants because MY memories are priceless not theirs

I don't care how much they remember - its how much *I* can remember. I could be dead next week. Do I really want to wait to start living life with my kids? Nope - not really.

And actually - my girls can remember the cruises starting at around age 2.
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  #33  
Old January 20th, 2013, 08:05 PM
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I think 3.5 is about right. At least for me- I knew he was completely potty trained and could enjoy the youth program and the pool. I did sail with him before that though and it worked out ok- not great.

So again I think between 3-4 is the best time.

I have raised two boys (ages 25 and 12) and I can tell you that the best years are between 3-13. After that they are less interested in spending time with their parents. So take advantage of the time when they want to be with you. It's fleeting (pun intended)
Once again I agree with Rebeccalouiseagain. We started cruising when our youngest was 4. I think that people are overly hung up on whether or not the kid will "remember" the cruise. Whether or not they remember it isn't as important as: did everyone enjoy it at the time? I like what Cruisinmama06 said: MY memories are priceless, not theirs.

And Rebeccalouiseagain makes a very important point about the fact that, as your kids hit the teenage years, they may be less enthusiastic about spending time with mom and dad. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from some "empty nester" friends of ours about 6 years ago. They said: "take those trips NOW with your kids, because when they are older teens, they won't appreciate it and may even resent you for taking time away from their friends." Our 16 year old DD is a great kid, but we are already starting to feel the push back. Part of her knows that she should be "grateful" that we want to take her on a cruise, but another part of her would rather just hang out at home with her friends. So I'm paying forward the advice that I got, and saying do it now.
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  #34  
Old January 20th, 2013, 09:51 PM
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Once again I agree with Rebeccalouiseagain. We started cruising when our youngest was 4. I think that people are overly hung up on whether or not the kid will "remember" the cruise. Whether or not they remember it isn't as important as: did everyone enjoy it at the time? I like what Cruisinmama06 said: MY memories are priceless, not theirs.

And Rebeccalouiseagain makes a very important point about the fact that, as your kids hit the teenage years, they may be less enthusiastic about spending time with mom and dad. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from some "empty nester" friends of ours about 6 years ago. They said: "take those trips NOW with your kids, because when they are older teens, they won't appreciate it and may even resent you for taking time away from their friends." Our 16 year old DD is a great kid, but we are already starting to feel the push back. Part of her knows that she should be "grateful" that we want to take her on a cruise, but another part of her would rather just hang out at home with her friends. So I'm paying forward the advice that I got, and saying do it now.


I was about to disagree with you, but then I remembered that when I was 16 I decided to stay with a friend instead of going on a trip with my parents and part of the extended family. My grandparents even offered to pay for said friend to come on the trip with us if I'd gone.

Many people outgrow that stage though. I went on quite a few great trips with my parents throughout my 20's, and now in my early 30's I have two more planned for this year. A mother/daughter cruise with my Mom, Aunt, and early 20's cousin in March as well as a couple of weeks at the beach with my parents in August with my husband joining us for the part he can get off work.

So I definitely think enjoying family trips while they're young is important, and if you're lucky you'll be able to enjoy them when the kids are older too
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  #35  
Old January 20th, 2013, 09:59 PM
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Gymbomb: I hope and think you're right, that it's a phase. For our recent Christmas cruise, DD was wishing we could take along her boyfriend -- that is so NOT HAPPENING. So for those of you with younger kids, enjoy cruising with them.
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  #36  
Old January 20th, 2013, 11:07 PM
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Our DD's were 3 & 6 for their 1st cruise and it was great. We picked a 5 night destiny to Grand Turk, HMC and Nassau b/c they love the beach. We enjoyed beach days at the 1st 2 stops and then took them to the zoo in Nassau. We gave them down time every day in our cabin to just relax, unwind or take a nap. We only ate in MDR on 1 formal night and stuck to buffets the rest of the time. DH and I also had them back in the cabin by 9pm every night. We moved at their pace the whole trip and it was every enjoyable. They still talk about that cruise and in 2 weeks, they will be on their 3rd cruise. Last years cruise was much different at ages 5 & 8. They loved the MDR and ate there every night. They are addicted to cruising and DH and I love hearing them say "when are we cruising again"
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  #37  
Old January 21st, 2013, 09:16 AM
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Gymbomb: I hope and think you're right, that it's a phase. For our recent Christmas cruise, DD was wishing we could take along her boyfriend -- that is so NOT HAPPENING. So for those of you with younger kids, enjoy cruising with them.

I will add that it was the specific itinerary and combination of family members that I wanted to avoid as it just sounded dreadfully boring -- I happily went to the beach for a week with my parents at that age. So for anyone encountering that problem, just consider the teens preferences a bit when planning the trip, and if that doesn't work have hope that they will outgrow it

No kids for me right now, but if/when I have one I am definitely looking forward to cruising with them!
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  #38  
Old January 21st, 2013, 09:08 PM
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I'm not sure I understand the question.

We're a family, we vacation together. It's a question of whether we're vacationing on a cruise ship or at a land-based resort. It's not a question of whether we'd leave our son behind while we vacationed. That's not why we take time off work to vacation.

There are big advantages to a cruise ship when vacationing with little ones. Being close to your room at all times, and having room stewards who can learn the nap schedule and clear out without a hassle if they happen to be in the room when you need it (amazing how hard it is to get the cleaning staff out of a room when you have a cranky, tired toddler, in an ordinary resort). No elaborate plans for meals and entertainment that get ruined by a child's changeable mood - there's always another option a staircase or elevator away. If you plan well, no need for car seats on your entire trip. Etc.
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  #39  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 11:09 AM
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DD's first cruise was at 15 months. She had just started walking, though I was hoping she'd be a bit better before we left, but you can't predict that when you book a cruise months in advanced! We cruised on DCL and are going again next week. DD will be almost 2 on this cruise. She can't go to kids clubs alone but we will go to open house and use the nursery sparingly and have grandparents with us this time to help.

Dinners were a little long, but manageable at 15 months. She is a really good eater, and tried everything we ordered. She loved meeting new people and the characters. She LOVED the nursery (toys!). She watched most of the shows with us at night. She dressed up as a pirate with us and did well with taking photos.

Our DD is generally good, eats anything, and therefore I had a feeling she would do well on the cruise. The only downside, for us, is that she needs a nap each afternoon. The upside is that you can take turns babysitting the nap, if there is an activity someone wants to go to. Also, if it was a port day, I sometimes needed a nap too, so it all worked out well.

EDIT: I wanted to add that we got a couple of the BEST photos of her at that age while on the first cruise. The best part about them is that we were both able to be in the photo with her because it was taken by the ship photographers. It was also nice to get photos of us all dressed up.


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Past Sailings

CCL Triumph - 7N E Carib - 12/2006
NCL POA - 7N Hawaii - 3/2010
Disney Magic - 4N Bahamas - 5/2012 - Trip Report
Disney Wonder - 5N W Carib - 1/2013 - CC Review - Trip Report
CCL Dream - 7N W Carib - 6/22/13 - Port Reviews- CC Review -
CCL Inspiration - 4N Baja Mexico - 12/2013
- CC Review

Booked Sailings

Crown Princess - 7N California Coastal - 10/2014


Last edited by redxpanda; January 22nd, 2013 at 11:16 AM.
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  #40  
Old January 22nd, 2013, 02:59 PM
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fungirl76 fungirl76 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: nj
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Took my dd on her first cruise at age 2. She loved every minute of it and as a result so did we. We ate dinner every nite in the MDR without a problem. Yes, it is a different type of fun when taking kids along and you may not get any alone time but we cruise or land vacation as a family to be together. We are taking dd on her second cruise next month; she is now 3. She also went to Disney world at age 2 and like others have said....my memories of our family vacations are priceless. My personal opinion is the younger they start to travel, the better they travel. We started traveling with DD at 9 months and she is a pleasure to travel with.
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