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  1. There is no one answer that covers all children and all families. Sometimes you don't have that many opportunities, and you just have to jump when one comes up. Our son's first cruise was when he was 16 months old, and it was easier in some ways than when he was 3 years old. The most important thing we did was gear excursions to him. That sometimes took a bit of research, but it made the cruise much more memorable.
  2. I live about halfway between Galveston and Downtown Houston, and I would recommend trying to stay in Galveston, even though your little one will be tired. Traffic gets crazy on Sundays with cruise traffic to Galveston, so being there when you wake up saves you the headache of worrying about that. Also, once you wake up and figure out what you need to get that you forgot to pack, you will have time to run to the WalMart or supermarket to fill in what you need. There are several car services/ airport shuttles that go to Galveston, including Galveston Limo. You will need to get in touch with which ever service you use to find out if they have car seats. If you would prefer a car rental, check out Enterprise. In the past, they would provide transportation to the pier when you would drop the car off at their office in Galveston. And RC does have a transportation option back to the airport, but you need it to be after noon or 1 pm. (I think) When our son was that age, he was too big to sit in our lap, so he sat in a car seat in the plane cabin. If that's not an option for you, the airline will gate check a car seat and a stroller for free.
  3. Sthrngary, I can't disagree with you - untended children can be a menace! I can picture my son wanting to build a fort with lounge chairs - and me going apoplectic! I'm so glad that idea never occurred to him - probably because we are always nearby.
  4. I'm going to have to disagree, but only because I think bringing kids on a cruise is OK, as long as the kids don't run amok. Uncontrolled kids would be an issue for me on any cruise. We bring our young son on our trips, and while he drives me crazy, he charms everyone else he meets. Someone suggested sending families with kids to Disney. We have stayed away from that line because they don't have a casino! Royal Caribbean has a great kids program. Carnival has a good program on paper, but there is no kids area, so kids see lots of activities that they should be sheltered from.
  5. Kids make messes. They are as much work as an adult for the cabin crew, and sometimes the dining crew. That said, the crew usually goes out of their way to make children happy! We started cruising with our son when he was a toddler. It wasn't always easy, but I think it was a good experience for him, and we did have fun.
  6. I want to thank you all for your info and insights. I knew that Star didn't have a Haven, but we picked the cruise for its itinerary. The more I hear about the Haven, the more I want to cruise on a ship with one!!
  7. I am so glad I found this thread! I love planning vacations, and planning for cruises is heaven for me. Lots of places to learn about, plus the ship and deciding how to manage pre- and post - cruise arrangements. I rarely use a spreadsheet, because the squares are too small for most of my planning. But I did use one years ago when I did a Mediterranean cruise, so I would have the words for yes, no, please, thank you, Hello, good bye, excuse me, mens, womens, where is the bathroom?, and Help in all the languages we would encounter. I did cruise with a woman who used a spreadsheet to plan her outfits for each day. I was envious! For packing lists, I start with lists that are already online, and make adjustments that fit me and my family better. CruiseDiva is one that I use when going to the Caribbean. But I love multipocket folders! I have a pocket for each of our flights, each of our hotels, and each of our ports, as well as one for our ship. My husband used to complain that I planned too much, until I explained that when we have 7-8 hours in a busy port, you want to make sure you don't wait until the last minute to decide what you want to do there, and find out that all the tours are booked. To compensate, I always make sure we have a couple of days off during a cruise, even if it means staying on the ship while we are in port if the itinerary is very busy. Looking forward to more tips and ideas!
  8. Children left in day care or camp while parents are ashore is certainly allowed. If you would leave your child with a babysitter or at day care while you go to dinner or work at home, this is the same thing. Parents are expected to make it back to the ship on time. If they can't, they call the ship's agent on land, and arrangements are made. If any extra charges are incurred, I'm guessing those are covered by the family.
  9. I really appreciate all the info on this thread! I know it's been months, but in case anyone is still around, I was wondering if any of you had used your travel agent to do the advance bookings. My TA has offered to do that, and I wondered how NCL treated those requests. I was intrigued by all the snacks that Bird Travels mentioned! Is there a list anywhere of which ones are available on board?
  10. I want to thank all of you. We will be on Norwegian Star, with no Haven. MNCruisingCouple mentioned the incabin coffee maker. Do you remember what kind of machine it was? If it's a single serve machine, I'd like to bring some of favorite coffee with us.
  11. Years ago I cruised on NCL, and it was a different cruiseline! Next year I'll be going with my family, and we are excited about our suite, but I'd like to know more about what to expect. I know there will be a concierge, but where would I find her or him? Other cruiselines have suite lounge, but I have not found one on the deck plan. Does the concierge have a office on board? I know there will be a butler, which will be a totally new experience for us. How many suites does a butler normally have to take care of? Beyond the larger room and the extra staff, what other amenities are suite entitled to? (I know that COVID could change things, so my question is based what things were pre-COVID, as a starting point.)
  12. I'm guessing you didn't use a travel agent, but if you did, ask them to work on this. Otherwise, I would call my state consumer affairs office to ask for help. Another avenue would be a travel advocacy group like the Christopher Elliot's. (www dot elliot dot org) I wish you luck!
  13. I never thought to do that before we paid in full. And now that I think about it, I never saw anything written about the earliest you could apply, just that it had to get it in 2-3 weeks (depending on which line) prior to your sailing date. Thank you - I learned something!
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