Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
elmojessi

Tips/Tricks for sailing with kids

Recommended Posts

We have a group of three families sailing with kids for the first time.  We have all sailed Carnival many times in the past, but not with kids, so we're looking for your best tips and tricks for a successful cruise with our kids.  Kids are ages 5-9 and we plan to have them participate in kids club at least a little bit so the adults can have some adult time.  Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The activities are well structured even allowing the children to dine with their group if the parents want a 'night out'.  Just go with the flow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I would keep in mind if the ages of the kids range from 5-9 that they will be split up at Camp Ocean based on age. Penguins (2 to 5 years), Stingrays (6 to 8 years) and Sharks (9 to 11 years). Night owls is a different story and they will all be together. Personally I think that 5 is a little old for Penguins and am glad our son is moving on to the Stingrays I think he will enjoy it a little more with activities geared more towards his age and other kids more on his level than 2 and 3 yr olds. 

As Ray said they do allow the kids to eat dinner with camp at times just check the activities list but the main thing to remember is that on sea days camp is closed from 5-7pm and you must feed your kids before taking them at 7 or take them to the Kids Only Dinner from 6-6:50. 

Check this link out for all the details about camp --- https://help.carnival.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1063

Our son has loved camp ocean and always asks to go. Take time to check the fun times for family activities like Build-A-Bear and green eggs and ham breakfast. There are many more! 

After our first cruise we bring a few extra sets of clothes more than we think we will need. Unfortunately on two of our cruises our kid has ended up with diarrhea and needed extra undies to change into. It never seems to last long but with that many kids its easy for them to catch something. Be diligent about hand washing and encourage the younger ones not to put anything in there mouths. 

Also we always hit up the Ice Cream machine after we pick our kid up from Night Owls for a late night snack. This gives us some family time before bed to talk to him about how camp was and what they all did. Hope you enjoy!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I brought an umbrella stroller when mine was 5. It was really useful day one bc camp isn't open until 10 pm. We pushed him around and he fell asleep so we enjoyed karaoke while he snoozed. I also pack individual snacks (pb crackers, gold fish etc) and take them off at stops for him to munch. He wasn't big on the dinners and eating late so we ordered him fries and chocolate milk and let him eat while we got ready so he wasn't starving.  I also grab extra milks from breakfast or room service and store them in the fridge for later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Set expectations in advance, and explain to the kids what the cruise and their activities will be like. If you’re planning on dropping them off every night at the kids club after dinner, let the kids know before you go on the cruise what the plans are so that they can look forward to that and so that they are not blindsided at the last minute when they get to the kids club for the first time.
 

Some kids love the kids club but some hate it. It’s always (wrongly) entertaining though to see the one kid screaming at the top of their lungs that they don’t want to stay while clinging to a mortified parent’s leg, who is trying with one hand to pry the kid away from him while holding a cocktail in his other hand. 😂 Don’t be that parent.

 

As far as tips and tricks, add other adults in the group besides you and your spouse to the list of people authorized to check your kids in and out of the kids club. That will make it easier to take turns and send just one adult to get all the kids at once, rather than have every parent individually get their respective kids.

 

Traveling as a group of good friends is, in my opinion, one of the most desirable ways to travel with small children. Everybody helps each other, and the kids are happier to be traveling with other kids that they already know. We did a group cruise in February on the Fantasy and it was great. Kids had a wonderful time. 

Edited by Tapi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Tapi said:

Set expectations in advance, and explain to the kids what the cruise and their activities will be like. If you’re planning on dropping them off every night at the kids club after dinner, let the kids know before you go on the cruise what the plans are so that they can look forward to that and so that they are not blindsided at the last minute when they get to the kids club for the first time.
 

Some kids love the kids club but some hate it. It’s always (wrongly) entertaining though to see the one kid screaming at the top of their lungs that they don’t want to stay while clinging to a mortified parent’s leg, who is trying with one hand to pry the kid away from him while holding a cocktail in his other hand. 😂 Don’t be that parent.

 

As far as tips and tricks, add other adults in the group besides you and your spouse to the list of people authorized to check your kids in and out of the kids club. That will make it easier to take turns and send just one adult to get all the kids at once, rather than have every parent individually get their respective kids.

 

Traveling as a group of good friends is, in my opinion, one of the most desirable ways to travel with small children. Everybody helps each other, and the kids are happier to be traveling with other kids that they already know. We did a group cruise in February on the Fantasy and it was great. Kids had a wonderful time. 

 

I agree with most of that, especially travelling with their friends.

 

I will say that our daughter doesn't like the idea of going to the kids club, but loves it once she's there. We aren't quite prying her off our legs, but we do have to convince her. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done 2 cruises with my boys, most recently this past August on Sunshine, they are 8 and 9.  They love the kids club!  We would look at the schedule each day and decide each day what to participate in.  On shore, we just did beaches which was just fine for them.  They did learn how to snorkel off the beach this past trip and said it was their favorite part of the cruise.  We would eat together each night in the MDR, and used it as a great opportunity to try new foods.  We encouraged them to try something new to eat each day...not just live off pizza and ice cream.

They loved the shows too.  I think the most fun I had was the Dr. Seuss brunch.  It was very well done, and the food was fun.

Enjoy your trip!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't be surprised though if some of the kids don't like the kids clubs.  My kids hated them.  I would have them try at least once on our first couple of cruises  but it never worked so we stopped trying.  But that was okay and cruising still became our favorite type of family vacations.  We started cruising with our kids when they were 4 and 7, they are now 22 and 25 and have been on 10 cruises.  Instead of the kids clubs we took them to the production and family comedy shows.  We ate all our meals together.  DD and I would lay out on the Lido while the boys went and played basketball/soccer.  We mini golfed and played ping pong together.  We did Bingo and trivia games together along with any other activities that interest us.  We went on shore and did excursions together.  We brought card games like Uno, which is a family favorite, and played on the Lido or on the Promenade deck.  Cruises became a wonderful time for us all to reconnect with each other and enjoy each others company which was hard to do at home with our busy sports, work and school schedules.  So enjoy your trip.  I hope your kids like the clubs but if they don't, take the time to enjoy the cruise with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your ideas!  

 

The cruise is a complete surprise for all of the kids...they don't even know they'll be on airplanes tomorrow evening, much less that they're going on a cruise!  Should be such a fun surprise for them!

 

I'm hoping that since they should all be in kids club with at least on other kid (based on age) that they will have fun with it, but we certainly aren't the type to just dump them off and not see them again all day.  The whole point of taking them with is to have a good time as family and friends, so we'll definitely get our fair share of family time.  I'm just hoping to balance that out with a little bit of Serenity time too!  😊

 

Thanks again for all the tips!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make sure you bring stuff to entertain them if you are doing the MDR. I made the mistake last cruise and our dinner took forever. By dinner #2 we'd adjusted and brought their kindles to dinner and skipped appetizers to bring dinner down to a normal amount of time and it went much smoother. Our youngest didn't like Camp Ocean (granted he was 4 and promptly took a nap when he got there so I don't know what he didn't like about it). This cruise he'll be 6 so I am hoping he gets more into it, especially being into an older age group.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look on the Special Interest- Family Board for more info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, M2LR said:

Make sure you bring stuff to entertain them if you are doing the MDR. I made the mistake last cruise and our dinner took forever. By dinner #2 we'd adjusted and brought their kindles to dinner and skipped appetizers to bring dinner down to a normal amount of time and it went much smoother. Our youngest didn't like Camp Ocean (granted he was 4 and promptly took a nap when he got there so I don't know what he didn't like about it). This cruise he'll be 6 so I am hoping he gets more into it, especially being into an older age group.   

One of my favorite things about sit down dinners is the conversations. This is a great way to bond with children. I would never bring devices to dinner. We never allowed coloring at the table at restaurants. We wanted our children present. Unfortunately, conversation is becoming a lost art.

Edited by trummy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, trummy said:

One of my favorite things about sit down dinners is the conversations. This is a great way to bond with children. I would never bring devices to dinner. We never allowed coloring at the table at restaurants. We wanted our children present. Unfortunately, conversation is becoming a lost art.

 

 

That is great for you but plenty of people skip MDR altogether or send their kids to Kids Club so they can enjoy a nice relaxing dinner, we do what works for our family. If your kids can sit through a hour and 45 minute dinner that is impressive. Mine are young and still working their way up to it. Rather than forgoing the experience altogether we make them go, entertain them with devices until the food arrives then they get put away to enjoy food and conversation. Hopefully we won't need that crutch in a few years. Trust me conversation is not a lost art, my 5 year old talks basically from the moment he wakes up until the moment he crashes. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pay attention to the activities in the Fun Times (or Hub app). There are a lot for the kids. On certain ships there is an hour per day where the arcade is half off. The Build-A-Bear was another popular activity as was the Michael's craft activity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

be sure to go over the rules with them before and after you board. Like you're not allowed to go into anyone else's cabin (other than those in your group) and no one else is allowed in yours. There's lots to pick from at the mdr, and since you can order multiple appetizers and entrees, you can sometimes get them to try something new as an extra plate to the one they pick out (also fun for the whole group if anyone is wondering what frog legs or escargot tastes like).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Figure out what you're doing as far as spending money/souvenirs both on board and in ports.  Different families may have different plans and some ports can have vendors who show the kids stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our last cruise was our first ever with kids.  They were our best friends' kids, ages 8 and 10.  We had early dining in the MDR (another first for us, we've always done late dinner.)  The first night the 8-year-old ordered off the kids menu and after that ordered from the adult menu.  They were willing to try some of the more unusual items, usually tasting off of an adult's plate.  We chose shore excursions that were mostly beach visits, nothing with a long bus ride or historical-based.  On ship they went to kids club a few times during the day and were excited to participate in the shows at night.  The adults went to the steakhouse one night, planned in advance, and we told the kids they'd be eating at kids club.  They enjoyed it so much they asked to eat there again the next night.  They enjoyed the pool and slide.  The best part for all of us was eating breakfast and lunch in the lido.  Everyone could get whatever they wanted--there wasn't any argument about wanting burgers over tacos over a sandwich.  This was that family's first ever cruise, and we'll be doing it again in a couple of years.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/14/2019 at 7:52 AM, elmojessi said:

We have a group of three families sailing with kids for the first time.  We have all sailed Carnival many times in the past, but not with kids, so we're looking for your best tips and tricks for a successful cruise with our kids.  Kids are ages 5-9 and we plan to have them participate in kids club at least a little bit so the adults can have some adult time.  Thanks in advance!

 

 

On 10/17/2019 at 12:12 PM, elmojessi said:

Thank you all for your ideas!  

 

The cruise is a complete surprise for all of the kids...they don't even know they'll be on airplanes tomorrow evening, much less that they're going on a cruise!  Should be such a fun surprise for them!

 

I'm hoping that since they should all be in kids club with at least on other kid (based on age) that they will have fun with it, but we certainly aren't the type to just dump them off and not see them again all day.  The whole point of taking them with is to have a good time as family and friends, so we'll definitely get our fair share of family time.  I'm just hoping to balance that out with a little bit of Serenity time too!  😊

 

Thanks again for all the tips!

 

So do come back and tell us what went well, what didn't 

 

What expectations were met, what weren't

 

We found vacation as couple, with kids and then with different families an interesting set of possible outcomes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...