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"kid friendly" activities on cruises with few children

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My family is going no the Breakaway repo cruise at the end of October. My sons are 9 and 11 and we have done a variety of sailings in their lives. On the WBPC with Disney there were about 80 children on board and it was amazing. But the entire ship was aimed at families and children. Does anyone have experience with sailings on NCL where there are few children (long, during school, REPO types). Will the kid friendly activies (rock wall, ropes course, bungee tramp, spider climb come to mind) be open as much as they generally are? or will hours be more limited?

 

Any thoughts about flexibility in the kids club? If there are just a few kids, do they have to use the schedule or could it be more flexible? My youngest is not a huge fan of the structured nature of the kids club (ironic since it is about the only part of the ship that is not freestyle). Perhaps, he may go a few times in 15 days if there are more options.

 

Any experience or thoughts?

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We’ve been on several cruises where there were fewer than 10 kids, although our only experience on ncl was during the summer with lots of kids. They combine all ages and are very flexible about what the kids can do. On princess they’ll lead one main activity for the group, but let children do alternative activities if that’s what makes them happy ( there might be a dance party or video game but my son wanted to do arts and crafts and they were happy to set that up for him and let him do that). If your kids have been on cruises before, ask them what they liked best and talk to the counselors about their preferences. My kids always liked small (and large) kids clubs but they’re younger - sailed at 2,3 and 6.

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It has been our experience that the schedule kind of goes out the window. Lots of things get cancelled and the kids area becomes more of a place for the kids to entertain themselves.

 

 

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We were on an early June cruise on Sun with only 50 kids. Not much for kids on that ship - luckily they met kids next door exact same age.

 

They combined many things at the kids club across the age groups. BA is much bigger and things to do so not as bad.

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On the Epic TA we were on, there were probably less than 10 children on board -- I have no idea what the parents did with them as I never saw them at the shows or anywhere at night -- I saw them at the children's pool during the day.

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My kids go to a project based learning school that recognized the opportunity to learn outside the classroom. We will take math with us, they will write about the trip each day. We take a world map and map where we have met people from. Long repo trips are great because ethe crea generally is less busy and they are from ALL OVER. They are more than happy to talk about where they are from and what makes it special, if you ask. So they will have a social studies project on board.

 

And my DH has been deployed for 6 months. This is his reintergration trip. We NEED this as a family. So to be honest, I would not care what the school had to say for this one.

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Do you home school? How do your kids deal with being out of school for 2 weeks?

 

Mine just turned 4, so missing 6 days of preschool is not a big deal. He attends a play based Spanish immersion school anyway - so will get just as much education on the ship.

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My family is going no the Breakaway repo cruise at the end of October. My sons are 9 and 11 and we have done a variety of sailings in their lives. On the WBPC with Disney there were about 80 children on board and it was amazing. But the entire ship was aimed at families and children. Does anyone have experience with sailings on NCL where there are few children (long, during school, REPO types). Will the kid friendly activies (rock wall, ropes course, bungee tramp, spider climb come to mind) be open as much as they generally are? or will hours be more limited?

 

Any thoughts about flexibility in the kids club? If there are just a few kids, do they have to use the schedule or could it be more flexible? My youngest is not a huge fan of the structured nature of the kids club (ironic since it is about the only part of the ship that is not freestyle). Perhaps, he may go a few times in 15 days if there are more options.

 

Any experience or thoughts?

Let me start with the negative: remember you are not sailing Disney and the ships will not be geared to kids activities.

 

Just had to throw that in, so no one will be shocked or disappointed.

 

Now the positives: the kids activities will not change just because ther will be fewer kids and do remember, a lot of kids get school breaks in Oct so there may be more on than you think. Rarely have I heard a negative about NCL's kids program. In fact I have known a few families who say their kids like NCL better than Disney as the kids reach the age of your boys. You don't have to worry, they will have a great time and the Breakaway is a fantastic ship for families. Not all that great for some of us old folks, but for kids, yes.

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We took a cruise to Cuba at the end of the summer. Granted, it was short (only 4 days), but there weren't many kids at all. They ended up combining all the kids into one group instead of separating them into three groups by age. Our older one, 9, didn't care for that and hung out with us most the time. Our younger one, 7, would go to the opening of an envelope, so she didn't care as long as she got to go to the kids' camp.

 

The kids' camp had the schedule pre-planned prior to the cruise, and they stuck to it. Your kids should be fine and not bored at all!

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We were on a 2 week cruise in Feb earlier this year. Very few kids on board, but I think they had all the normal kids and family activities scheduled. It was nice because none of them were crowded!

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Thank you all for you thoughts. We have been on NCL before. For clarity, my in the past my son has HATED the ncl kids club. He just doesn't like competitive games and there are a lot of them. We were on escape last year during Irma, so I know we can make 12 days with no planning work, so this should be easy!!

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My kids go to a project based learning school that recognized the opportunity to learn outside the classroom. We will take math with us, they will write about the trip each day. We take a world map and map where we have met people from. Long repo trips are great because ethe crea generally is less busy and they are from ALL OVER. They are more than happy to talk about where they are from and what makes it special, if you ask. So they will have a social studies project on board.

 

And my DH has been deployed for 6 months. This is his reintergration trip. We NEED this as a family. So to be honest, I would not care what the school had to say for this one.

 

Bravo! You do what you need to for your family! I take my kids out of school for similar family needs and yes, I've been "shamed" for it. Like your kids, mine too bring their math with them, they read. Zero electronics be it on a ship or at home. Kids can learn, travel AND keep up their grades and honestly, its the parents' choices to decide what works and not work for their kids. Its not for others to assume judgement.

 

With your questions, my kids have been sailing NCL since 6 months and been going to the Kids club as soon are they were old enough. So the kids club is a hit or miss. Usually a hit. Please dont quote me on the exact times. But the day typically starts at 9am with "free play". Based on the number of kids, they can mix the age groups but they are mindful of not putting the oldest group with say the youngest. After the an hour of free play, then comes the "scheduled activity". If there aren't enough kids AND the kids are having fun as they are, then they may push the timing back or cancel it completely. Often it can come to the kids voting. They close for lunch and then repeat for the afternoon and break for dinner and then again for the evening. Most often, the evening activity doesn't get cancelled as more effort was put towards this one. e.g. a pirate party.. or game night etc.

 

Personally speaking, my kids have always liked kids club and the only thing that may make them dislike it - are the other kids. If there is a rough kid or something that makes them uncomfortable, then obviously that would affect their experience. The counselors can also be occupied trying to settle a child or children down so the others may get bored - this is where I'm sure you'll notice the staff to passenger ratio.

 

I did notice that if a child - or a number of children want to do something else - within reason like wanting to color they are happy to accommodate.

 

I hope this helped.

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We have done two repo cruises the last two October’s and there were always a few kids. First was through royal and they didn’t have as much going on. Last year on ncl. They had Halloween for them, saw kids at the pool, etc I believe they said there was about 60 kids on board last oct. families we spoke to said there kids still loved the programs as the staff ratios were so low

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I believe they said there was about 60 kids on board last oct. families we spoke to said there kids still loved the programs as the staff ratios were so low

We once took a 10-day cruise in mid-October where the kids club staff told us there were fewer than 20 children aboard - and they count anyone under 18 as a child. The kids had practically one-to-one attention as the staffing was the same as for the Christmas cruise - when they were expecting over 600 children.

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