Posted February 25th, 2013, 05:17 PM
We're talking about doing a family cruise this coming December. Our son will be 18 months, and our nephews will be 4, 5, and 6. It will be a first cruise for everyone except my husband and myself. We're looking at the Carnival Conquest for a Western Caribbean cruise.
Can you share your experiences on cruising with children at that age? I'm trying to sell the idea to my family as well as know what to expect for myself. What is there to do for my nephews besides be dropped off at Camp Carnival? What activities were you able to do as a family while in port? Did you feel like your children enjoyed themselves on the trip?
Its a wonderful age to start cruising as a family; my sons were 2 and 8 on their first cruise. Because your sone is 18 months, however, there won't be any programs for him...so for that reason I might wait 6 more month. The reason is that I think crusing offers the perfect balance between family and adult time...due to the availability of camp.
My sons both loved camp and were wanting to do everything, including pass on family dinner to have dinner with camp carnival....that was reserved as a treat though, and mostly mom made them eat with the family!
If they are potty trained, there is the pool. Plus putt putt, basketball and just general wandering the ship. There are games to be found in the library.
We found that on port days, we generally kept them with us. Grand Caymen has island tours, sting ray encounters etc that are all appropriate for kids. Cozumel has a wonderful park (Chankanaab) that not only has a beach, a pool, a play ground, a lagoon surrounded by iguanas, but also a dolphin experience for kids of all ages. They have been snorkeling and kayaking in Belize, as well as on a tour of the ruins followed by an amazing river boat ride with tons of animals. There is also the zoo. In Roatan - that is their FAVORTIE port - Victor Boden tours - wonderful! Played with all kinds of animals, and went zip lining.
You will never lack for anything to do on a port day. And since we are together all day ashore, we don't mind sending them to camp for a few hours in the evenings while we catch a show or go to the casino. And when they do have a couple of sea days at the front and back of the cruise, they are more than happy to spend big chunks of time in camp.
All in all a perfect balance IMHO. Far more relaxing for all than say Disney. And much more to do that being on a land based resort at one location.
Royal Caribbean February 2000 (Eastern)
Carnival Valor March 2007 (Western)
Carnival Legend March 2008 (Western)
Carnival Fascination March 2009 (Key West/Nassau)
Carnival Glory August 2009 (Eastern)
Carnival Glory June 2010 (Canada)
Carnival Fascination December 2010 (Bahamas)
Carnival Legend March 2012 (Western)
Caribbean Princess March 2013 (Southern)
Carnival Victory January 2014 (Western)
Carnival Fantasy March 2014 (Eastern)
Grand Princess May 2014 (Alaska)
Carnival Sunshine February 2015 (Western)
Carnival Conquest December 2015 (Western)
Carnival Sunshine October 2016 (Canada)
Carnival Magic December 2016 (Eastern)