How Much Freedom For Kids?

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166 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Hi! This will be our first cruise - I have a 16 yr old son and 11 yr old daughter. We’re thinking about purchasing walkie talkies and I know that I want to be sure I know where they are at all times (just like at home). I’m curious - how much freedom do you give your kids on the ship – I’m especially wondering how much freedom to give the 16 yr and what his curfew should be?
953 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
For our first cruise, DD was ~12 1/2. She really didn't go to the kids club much, she prefered to stay with us or in the cabin.

Second cruise, DD was ~15 1/2 . She went to the teen club the first day and met some other teens. She really did not go back to the teen club. Instead she and her new friends decided to hang-out together. We required her to meet us for dinner (except one night, her group ate together). After dinner, she could meet up with them again. I think we set her curfew at 10 pm. During port days, we scheduled early excursions and this curfew made life much easier for waking up.

Upcoming cruise, DD will be 17 1/2. I'm pretty confident her curfew will be similiar to last time.

Actually, even at home, her curfew is 10 pm - occassionally 10:30 (and she's a college freshman).
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198 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I will tell you that I will be 17 1/2 on my next cruise. My parents trust that I will make smart decisions and not do dumb things and as long as that stays the norm I will have the freedom I have. All they ask is that I go into the ports and have dinner with them. During the day I go to different things that are happening on the ship, hang out with my new friends from the camp, go swimming or have a bite to eat. I always go to the teen events and some dont end until 1 or 2 in the morning so thats when I go to bed. I have never had an issue with waking up for our shore excursions. In the end it is your decision but from my point of view I think that if your son makes good decisions and stays out of trouble then you shouldn't worry.
In the Valley, CA
23,004 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
We were talking about the incident on the Diamond on Floataway and also on another cruising board. Parents do need to keep tabs on their kids. It may be a closed society onboard but you don't know all the other 2000-to-3000 passengers and crew members. My hubby says he wouldn't even trust kids on a "buddy system." Teens present an even more complex challenge as many feel they can be on their own. Unfortunately, many feel they are mature, but most of those really aren't. If you have any doubt, check out a frat party at your local college. Or check out many of the My Space pages.
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11,688 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
My 17 year old had a midnight curfew or whenever we went to our cabin for the night she would have to also.
My 11 year old, when not doing camp things, got to go to the arcade until 11pm but we would not let her leave and would pick her up from there.
we would have our older daughter check in with us once an hour.
You would be suprised how many kids are just wondering the ship all night, i ofter wonder if the parents don't care or think they are sound asleep in their cabin.
I gave up on the walkie talkie thing after the first time we used them there is so many people that have them, you just can't figure out who's who, "mom, mom, where are you" or "meet you by the pool" after awhile all the kids screaming over them sound like your own.
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166 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I really appreciate your advice...and it was especially interesting to hear a teens perspective! Since this is new to us we will have to just see how it goes. We know that for the 11 yr old won't ever be left unsupervised and for the 16 yr old...we'll probably give him similiar freedom/restrictions as at home. I'm really unsure about the walkie talkies - at home he has a cell phone and has to check in but I don't know if the walkie talkie idea will work well on the ship. We'll probably bring them and see how it goes.
182 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
We brought walkie-talkies this past ?August and the metal in the ship prevented them from working very well. They were only useful sometimes. We allowed our allmost-13 yr old and her 9 yr old sister to go to and from activiities together, but we needed to know at all times where they were headed. If there werer any plan changes, they had to find us (we always let them know where we were headed also). We had to meet for meals, even if it was just to touch base and let each other know where we were going next. Bad things happen, even on cruise ships, and it is very importatnt to let your kids know some basics...
just because someone is in a uniform, does not make them safe--
if they are lost, or in trouble, safest thing is to ask a woman for help....much more likely that a woman will help a child, and be a "safer" risk as a stranger, than a man
don't talk to strangers, even on a cruise ship (except for the above, if lost, ask a woman)
don't go into empty areas, empty corriders, etc.
Salem, Oregon
8,469 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
An alternative to those annoying (at times) walkie talkies is using the ship's phone system. There are phones throughout the ship and they can be used to call the cabin. I think most ships have voice mail for the cabins.

Also, they can leave a note in the cabin for you. Post-it notes on the mirror work for us.
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