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My friend will be on Mariner soon... He was wondering... what age is ok for kids to walk around alone safely?  I think his girls are 12 & 14...

Edited by vacationlover_mn

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That is plenty old enough. I believe at age 12 kids are allowed to sign themselves in and out of the kids club without a parent.   That being said there are plenty of 12 - 18 year olds still dumb as a rock. 

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Man, I'm having a issue with this.  I think of the cruise ship as a big confined city (someone on a cruise told me this).  I wouldn't let my 12 year old walk around city by himself.  We are cruising this spring break and I still can't wrap my head around how much freedom to allow him.

 

I will be interested what others say.

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At 12 they defitely sign themselves in and out.  .  At that age my son had a short leash.  I let him be on his own at times, but he had to be exactly where he said he was going.  He could not roam the ship.   He could go to an activity and come back at the end time.  He could go get a snack, etc.  He could not, under any circumstances, go in another cabin.    He knew that if he broke the rules he was stuck with us!   

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Each kid is different and each kid needs to be introduced to society differently. Are you worried about what they'll get into? Or are you worried that they might be too naive and trusting? 

 

Are they home schooled or soccer moms taking them to school? Or are they expected to get themselves up in the morning, catch the bus to the subway and ride across town by themselves to get to school?

 

I gave the 12yo boy freedom to roam. The 14yo daughter wanted nothing to do with freedom to roam.

 

Each kids going to be different.

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We has our 13 & 16 girls make sure they stayed together when they weren't with us. It's like a city and i wouldn't let them wander around a city by themselve, not in this day and age.

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My 13 and 15 year old will have mostly free rein, a few rules of course (like staying away from other people's staterooms, other people aren't allowed in theirs, and checking in from time to time). They tend to split off at amusements parks (either together or with friends) and hang out at the mall or movie theater, etc... at home so it really isn't too different on a ship. They know what is expected of them and as long as they don't break our trust they can enjoy the independence.

Our 9 year old will be with us, her grandmother or possibly with a sibling for a specific activity. I could see her walking from our room to the kids club on her own as that wouldn't be much different than walking to a friends house in the neighborhood or to the bus stop for school. 

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When ours were young, maybe 9 and 10, we not only restricted them from going in a cabin, we restricted them from being in the hallways at all.  They left the cabin in the morning and did whatever they wanted all day as long as it wasn’t away from public areas. They were expected to be back in the cabin by a certain time to get ready for dinner every evening.   They were very good kids so our decision making was somewhat easier than if they were in trouble a lot. 

 

I do do want to mention something we taught them very young.  If they were ever grabbed by a stranger they were taught to scream, “Help!!  This is not my mommy!!”  Or, “This is not my daddy!!”  Too many times we all see screaming kids at the mall or store and what we suspect is a parent carries them right out the door without anyone really even looking at them. Get that screaming kid out of here, right?  Not so fast...

Edited by lifes-a-beach

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There was a similar thread like this recently.  For us it depends on the child.  #1 was an only child for 13 years and very mature.  Letting her roam the ship would never be an issue for us.  #2 tends not to put herself out there to make friends and I wouldn't expect her to stray from us but in December on the Navigator at 12 she had the best time.  She was always with a group and they were so well behaved.  We let her go on her own and she loved it and did great.  #3 may never be able to go off on her own no matter her age, it's just who she is.

 

What it comes down to is you know your child and you also know what experiences they have had.  Navigator was a small ship so we felt fine letting her go off with a group of other teens/tweens.  She had her phone and internet service so she could message or call us if she needed to.

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I agree it depends on the maturiy and experiences of the child in question.

As others have said, 12 and up sign themselves in out of clubs and there is no process onboard to deny them that (ie, you cannot drop them off at the teen club and tell staff not to let them leave until you come for them).

 

My own kids (who did regularly navigate around town on public transit, by bike or by foot alone before age 12) had more or less free reign to go places onboard by age 8.  

Rules were no going into other cabins or non pubic areas, no taking others to their cabin and we needed to be able to find them at any time so they either had to leave a note in the cabin, or use a house phone to call our cabin and tell us where they were going to be when they changed locations.  (plus standard things like under no circumstances ever climbing on any railing or deck furnishing,s etc,  no playing in elevators, no sitting on strairs, etc---basically don't be stupid and don't be a jerk).  I had weird kids, they were about as likely to be playing billiards or singing karoke with a group their own age as they were to be playing scrabble or joining in a trivia game with a group of seniors.  we never had any issues though.  

Edited by xxHadleyxx

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I let my 8 year old go back to our room from dinner (one deck away) to change before adventure ocean alone.

When they were 10 and 6, I let the 10 year old wander with kids club friends in public places only and by telling me where to find him. Also / absolutely no pool without an adult. (Water slides were okay). I also let him sign my 6 year old out of the kids club with my permission (he could also sign himself out starting at age 10).

The 10 and 6 year old were allowed to go some places together - especially the promenade to get pizza or the pool deck for ice cream.

These were on Navigator and Liberty. I love the size of both of these and feel they are perfect size for responsible kids.

I admit - I am less worried about them at ages 8-12 than I am for the 13-18 crowd. There is still respect for my rules at 12....if my teen years are any indication - it’s not going to stay that way!


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I have also heard of people saying they give their kids a walkie talkie too (if you are not doing cell phones and internet).  Along with the other guidelines on staying in public areas that might also help both parent and child to know they had a means of communication while out of sight

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1 hour ago, mom2two2 said:

I have also heard of people saying they give their kids a walkie talkie too (if you are not doing cell phones and internet).  Along with the other guidelines on staying in public areas that might also help both parent and child to know they had a means of communication while out of sight

 

Lots of threads on walk-in talkies. They do no work well - too much metal for signal. Also they are very annoying to other passengers as they tend to squawk.  Would not recommend - cruise critic search will reveal numerous technical explanations.  

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For my 12 y-o daughter, for the most part I am happy to take her to different things on the ship but obviously that isn't always possible.  So we have a few guidelines: 

 

Always tell me where she intends on going (kids club, pool, back of the ship for activities, etc.).  Never go down stateroom hallways and never to anybody else's stateroom.  Always stay in public areas of the ship.  If she is concerned at all head to the top of the ship and the pool areas or to the shopping area or stay near a bank of elevators. 

 

Most importantly, we have a safe word.  So she cannot go with anybody (even crew or security) that don't know the safe word.  If there is a problem then she's instructed to have them page me.   

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Here is an old thread with lots of suggestions on rules for kids.  Some may be a bit outdated but most are still very relevant.  We never actually did the contract with our kids but went over the rules before each cruise.  We found cruising to be a great family vacation.

 

 

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This is a topic I am watching ! My son, and only child, is going to just be 12 on our cruise in April.  I want him to have a good time and hang out with kids he meets... but I want him to be safe. I am getting the wifi package so we can communicate with cell phones. We have talked about no reason to go into another's cabin.

 

we are directly 1 floor below teen club and wipeout café...

 

How much freedom do I really give him ?

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Depends on the kids.  I let my 14, 12, and 10 year old kids roam the ship with the understanding that no one was allowed in their state room (the 14 and 12 year old had their own) and they were not allowed in anyone else's stateroom.  Public area's only.  Most of the kids that age were also roaming the ship parent free and in packs. We also have another child who was 7 at the time and I let my 14 year old take him at times as well.  My 10 year old is a boy and I have to say that now that he is 13--I am actually MORE concerned for our upcoming trip.  At first it was a little nerve wracking but after everyone was accountable and in good health after 24hrs it got better : )  Oh...and no swimming without us present.

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My 12 year old will be driving a car in 3 short years!!  I do not want that to be the first time he is out in the big bad world alone.  We do lots of things to build independence.  I walk into the warehouse store and had each kid $5 and tell them I expect them to be done with lunch before I finish the shopping.  There is a store not far from our suburban home at 10 and 12 I send them for milk.  I honestly don't think the world is more dangerous than ever before, I just think we know more and that gives us more to worry about.  

 

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My 12 year old will be driving a car in 3 short years!!  I do not want that to be the first time he is out in the big bad world alone.  We do lots of things to build independence.  I walk into the warehouse store and had each kid $5 and tell them I expect them to be done with lunch before I finish the shopping.  There is a store not far from our suburban home at 10 and 12 I send them for milk.  I honestly don't think the world is more dangerous than ever before, I just think we know more and that gives us more to worry about.  
 


There are no like buttons right now and I just want to say that I LIKE THIS POST - A LOT!! Developing Capable People is so important!!

...mom if a 12 and 8 year old who is tying so hard to do the same thing! These kids are going to have to make real world decisions without us by there sides REALY soon - middle school is a really crazy place with many chances to make really bad decisions...the more they understand the process of being responsible and accountable and the benefits of keeping that trust (especially knowing when and how to get help) - the better off I believe they will be.


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At 9 years old, kids are allowed to sign in and out of the clubs.  It's up to YOU!  If you "bubble wrap" your snowflake, you might want to hold their hand the entire trip.  Listen...the point of "raising kids" is to make responsible ADULTS.  You have to give the the tools to make good decisions, and learn to trust them.  But, if you haven't been giving them the tools, then maybe "trust" is too early for you.

 

Honestly...I was BABYSITTING other people's kids when I was 12.  No one died, no one disappeared....not one of my "charges" turned out  to be mass-murders.  Relax...life is  flexible.....and you need to learn to RAISE your children to trust themselves and their decisions!  NO bubble-wrap!

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We've let our now 13 yo son sign himself out since he was 10.  We get the Vroom package so he can text us.  We have a couple of rules:

1.  No going to anyone else's room ever, for any reason.  

2. No running around the ship.  He has to have an actual activity or destination.

3. He must text us when he arrives and departs any destination.  He has to receive a text in response to know we got his text before he goes.  For example, he wants to leave the teen club and go get pizza, he texts and we say OK you can go, text when you arrive.

 

He is an only child and has always gone to Ocean Adventure and then the Teen Club.  I feel like when you go every day from the beginning of the cruise it is helpful as well because the staff gets to know the kids.  Even with the Teen Club, I've made it a point to go with him and meet the staff members on the first day.  In our experience the OA and Teen staff have been fantastic.

 

 

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Our kids are 12 and 15 now and have been on their own on the ship for 4-5 years easily, maybe more.  We sometimes only see them once or twice a day, usually up at the buffet or basketball court or arcade.  they've almost always had their own room.

 

Of course they're always welcome to hang with us and sometimes they do, but mostly we're just boring parents

Edited by heckofagator

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