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gemduncan

New England / Canada in Sept with Tween

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I’m cruising on Gem on Sept 4-11, 2020 (leaves out of Boston and finishes in Quebec City). This is a special trip that I’m taking my dad (age 73) on for his birthday. He has always wanted to cruise Canada. My husband and daughter (age 11) are coming too. I’m pulling my daughter out of school for a week to do this.

 

I’m worried there will be no kids or maybe only a small handful of very young kids (age 5 and under) on this cruise and my daughter will be bored. We’ve always done beach cruises and she loves cruising. But this will be something completely different since most kids will just be starting their school year and no warm beaches.

 

Should we all still go? Or would it be better if it is only my dad and I (husband and daughter would stay home)?

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11 minutes ago, gemduncan said:

I’m cruising on Gem on Sept 4-11, 2020 (leaves out of Boston and finishes in Quebec City). This is a special trip that I’m taking my dad (age 73) on for his birthday. He has always wanted to cruise Canada. My husband and daughter (age 11) are coming too. I’m pulling my daughter out of school for a week to do this.

 

I’m worried there will be no kids or maybe only a small handful of very young kids (age 5 and under) on this cruise and my daughter will be bored. We’ve always done beach cruises and she loves cruising. But this will be something completely different since most kids will just be starting their school year and no warm beaches.

 

Should we all still go? Or would it be better if it is only my dad and I (husband and daughter would stay home)?

It is not typically a kids cruise. We did this cruise on the Dawn about 3 years ago and the specific demographics for our cruise were as follows. Every cruise is different. 
 

New England/Canada in September (Norwegian Dawn)

Passengers: 1644

Under 21 years old: 16 (1%)

Average Age: 65 years old

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I doubt there are many parents who would take their tweens out of school the first week of school. I’ve had tweens on a few cruises, even with other kids onboard none of them enjoyed the 10 - 12 group. I’d plan on her spending time with you.

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I did some Canadian sailings this September. There were no children (I think I saw a baby somewhere). It was GLORIOUS. 

 

Unless your tween is an old soul, she will be bored to tears. For example, one of the ports is Charlottetown, PEI. The big draw there is house where the author of Anne of Green Gables grew up. 

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I think a lot depends on your daughter's interested.  As an 11 year old, I would've enjoyed a cruise like this - outdoor hiking and sightseeing type stuff.  And I was usually pretty content hanging out with adults and didn't need other kids to play with.  But if that is not her cup of tea, you might want to consider letting her stay home.  There is nothing that will spoil a vacaiton faster than a sullen tween lol

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We are booked on a similar-ish itinerary - RT NYC/Canada/NE on the Breakaway leaving 8/30 and our kiddo will be 9.  We will be traveling with her grandparents who are 75 & 81.   

 

I imagine that the number of kids her age on the cruise will be similar to our Panama Canal cruise last year where there were less than 70 people under the age of 18 on the entire ship. She made one friend, but they had to really try as the other girl didn't speak English and our daughter is zero percent fluent in Ukrainian/Russian. 

 

She knows this is upcoming trip is more about our time together vs. beaches and zip-lines.  We do plan to be indulgent with time at the pool and other kid friendly activities while on the ship.  At port we won't be doing any 6+ hour bus intensive excursions,  She earned the right to say she hated those after our epic ferry ride thru the Panama Canal and then multiple hour drive back to the ship.  You know it's a strong opinion when it pops out not in the moment, but at breakfast a month later.  I think for the Canada/NE trip I'm going to give her a camera and ask her to be our official photographer and let her document the trip thru her eyes.

 

I know there is a world of difference between a tween and a nine year old, but I feel like these experiences can be managed and are worth the effort.  With both you and your husband along you can split up to do kid things and dad things.  Plus, what a wonderful memory for your girl to have - a special cruise with grandpa.   One other idea is to give her an option as to an excursion - maybe there is something she'd like to do and one of the port days can be about her.  We did the water park in Costa Maya just for Lucy, and while it wasn't my cup of tea she's still talking about it.  So..winner winner.  Granted, the Nova Scotia Water Park probably isn't as warm... but maybe there is something available that she'd like to do.

 

Lastly, the kids club even on the Jade with almost no kids my kiddo had a blast.  The staff came up with fun things tailored to the smaller group and she came back to the room exhausted every day.   

 

Go, take the kid, have fun (and let her have the electronics for down time).  

 

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1 hour ago, mjkacmom said:

I doubt there are many parents who would take their tweens out of school the first week of school. I’ve had tweens on a few cruises, even with other kids onboard none of them enjoyed the 10 - 12 group. I’d plan on her spending time with you.

I just had to giggle at the highlighted part.  The kids in our community will already be through week 4 of school by the first full week of September.  This year, their first day of school was August 5th!

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Does she enjoy reading, as many pre-teens do.  Would fresh lobster be a treat for her?

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2 hours ago, mjkacmom said:

I doubt there are many parents who would take their tweens out of school the first week of school. I’ve had tweens on a few cruises, even with other kids onboard none of them enjoyed the 10 - 12 group. I’d plan on her spending time with you.

 

This is not the first week of school for her.  She starts school Aug 12, so this will be the 4th week of school for her.  The trip falls over Labor Day weekend so she would only miss 4 days of school.

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1 hour ago, PortFees45 said:

I did some Canadian sailings this September. There were no children (I think I saw a baby somewhere). It was GLORIOUS. 

 

Unless your tween is an old soul, she will be bored to tears. For example, one of the ports is Charlottetown, PEI. The big draw there is house where the author of Anne of Green Gables grew up. 

 

No, she is not an Old Soul.  I've never read Anne of Green Gables so that doesn't interest me either. 

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1 hour ago, laurabegorrah said:

I think a lot depends on your daughter's interested.  As an 11 year old, I would've enjoyed a cruise like this - outdoor hiking and sightseeing type stuff.  And I was usually pretty content hanging out with adults and didn't need other kids to play with.  But if that is not her cup of tea, you might want to consider letting her stay home.  There is nothing that will spoil a vacaiton faster than a sullen tween lol

Laura - yes, this is totally my kid! She loves outdoor stuff and hanging out with adults. She's an only child ;)  

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1 minute ago, gemduncan said:

 

This is not the first week of school for her.  She starts school Aug 12, so this will be the 4th week of school for her.  The trip falls over Labor Day weekend so she would only miss 4 days of school.

I had New England on my brain (since that is where you are sailing). Kids in the NE usually go back to school a couple of days after Labor Day, so you aren’t going to see many kids from states here.

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32 minutes ago, TPgal said:

We are booked on a similar-ish itinerary - RT NYC/Canada/NE on the Breakaway leaving 8/30 and our kiddo will be 9.  We will be traveling with her grandparents who are 75 & 81.   

 

 

 

 

Hi TPgal  - thank you for your supportive feedback!  My daughter is an only child and she is quick to make new friends. She really enjoys playing with younger kids....I think because she wants a younger sibling but will never get one. I agree that the only excursions are definitely a "no-go" for her.   What were some of the fun excursions you chose to do in Canada with your kiddo?  Also, that is reassuring to know that your kid still had fun in the Kids Club even with a smaller group.  Yes, electronics on the ship are a must for her!

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8 minutes ago, mjkacmom said:

I had New England on my brain (since that is where you are sailing). Kids in the NE usually go back to school a couple of days after Labor Day, so you aren’t going to see many kids from states here.

 

Yes, I'm aware. I grew up in NJ.  

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This past September we did the Escape from New York to New England and Canada. As big as that ship is there were hardly any kids on it. It was a much older cruise.

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I would take her if only for making family memories. Bet your father would enjoy the extra time with his granddaughter too.

 

We have done two Canada/NE cruises with our kids. The first time our son was about the same age as your daughter. He enjoyed the historical aspects of the cruise. The second cruise was during our fall break and we actually ran into his homeroom teacher at Arcadia National Park, who was doing a land trip in celebration of her 25th anniversary.

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As another member pointed out - the answer lies with your daughter and what she likes and dislikes. We did the same cruise on the Dawn in 2016 we had my wife's 81yr old mother along with us in a 2br suite. The cruise is so port intensive (we had two sea days on the 14 day cruise) that it seemed like we were constantly on the move. A couple of things that helped us was the use of small taxi tours and DIY touring in a rental car. The taxi tours worked on a flat rate system and were about a push with the ship tours - the advantage is that there were only three of us, we could stop when and wherever we wanted to and the drivers tried to work around the large tour buses - sometimes doing the same route in reverse. I also ordered tourist brochures from the towns/states/provinces so we could figure out what we wanted to do and how to do it. I also called some of the vendors to see exactly what the covered. 

 

BTW PEI is way more than Anne of Green Gables - yes the house is there - but there are also lots of interesting coastline and lighthouses - there is even a toy factory that makes wooded toys. There is also lots to do in Halifax. In Sydney there is the AG Bell Museum that is well worth a few hours ( my FIL worked for Ma Bell so my MIL had to see this). 

 

However if you daughter is not into this kind of stuff - she will be bored. 

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5 hours ago, bonvoyagie said:

As another member pointed out - the answer lies with your daughter and what she likes and dislikes. We did the same cruise on the Dawn in 2016 we had my wife's 81yr old mother along with us in a 2br suite. The cruise is so port intensive (we had two sea days on the 14 day cruise) that it seemed like we were constantly on the move. A couple of things that helped us was the use of small taxi tours and DIY touring in a rental car. The taxi tours worked on a flat rate system and were about a push with the ship tours - the advantage is that there were only three of us, we could stop when and wherever we wanted to and the drivers tried to work around the large tour buses - sometimes doing the same route in reverse. I also ordered tourist brochures from the towns/states/provinces so we could figure out what we wanted to do and how to do it. I also called some of the vendors to see exactly what the covered. 

 

BTW PEI is way more than Anne of Green Gables - yes the house is there - but there are also lots of interesting coastline and lighthouses - there is even a toy factory that makes wooded toys. There is also lots to do in Halifax. In Sydney there is the AG Bell Museum that is well worth a few hours ( my FIL worked for Ma Bell so my MIL had to see this). 

 

However if you daughter is not into this kind of stuff - she will be bored. 


That is a great idea to request tourist brochures. My husband said he was willing to rent a car at each port and drive us all around but my dad (grandpa) said it’s too much of a hassle and doesn’t want to do that.

 

I talked to my daughter the other night and she is excited to go on this cruise. I told her there won’t be many kids and her reaction was “so, I’ll be the cool kid” 😊 Her reaction made me feel so much better. Now I need to do some research on what to do.

 

Bonvoyagie - do you have any specific recommendations on things to see or do besides the one you mentioned above?

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18 hours ago, jdvmd said:

I would take her if only for making family memories. Bet your father would enjoy the extra time with his granddaughter too.

 

We have done two Canada/NE cruises with our kids. The first time our son was about the same age as your daughter. He enjoyed the historical aspects of the cruise. The second cruise was during our fall break and we actually ran into his homeroom teacher at Arcadia National Park, who was doing a land trip in celebration of her 25th anniversary.


JDVMD - that is really cool you ran into his teacher! Was there anything your kid really enjoyed doing on this Canada cruise?

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Car rental is easy - we used Enterprise and they come and pick up one of you to go get the car. We were able to rent a small SUV for around 36.00 CN for the day. 

 

Boston - we flew in from Portland Oregon on Wed and did a GreyLine tour that covered some Boston Highlights and then went out to Lexington and Concord to visit the revolutionary war sites. We were picked up at our hotel in the AM with one of the HOHO trolleys and hauled downtown to where the busses were waiting. The bus dropped us back at the hotel after the tour. We were lucky to get a Boston local as a driver/guide. My only disappointment on this is the fact that many of the historic buildings are on streets that today you can only walk on. The Freedom Trail (all walking) is the only way to see most of them. My MIL did not feel like doing any walking - which is why we did the bus tour. 

 

Bar Harbor - is a tender port my MIL did not feel comfortable doing the tender thing so she stayed on the ship. We went ahead and did Ollie's Trolley on our own. When we got back we walked around the town and ate lunch then took one of the last tenders back.

 

Halifax - we were lucky enough to visit this port twice on our cruise - the first visit we did a taxi tour and went to Peggy's Cove and also visited a Maple Syrup factory/store. We also visited the Titanic grave site and other sites around the city. We were offered a drop off point near the Crystal Factory along the boardwalk. Because we were coming back later we declined - since you will be there once - do it as the walk back down that waterfront boardwalk is great.

 

Sydney - We rented a car here and drove out to the Bell Museum - being on our own we could spend as much time as we wanted. There are also lots of scenic drives that you can take going back to the ship. There are also some now abandoned coal mines where the shafts extend out under the sea. Again with the car we could see/do whatever we wanted. 

 

PEI -  PEI does the best with the tourist brochures - even include tour maps compete with a guide book. We felt very comfortable in renting a car - although there are several taxi tours  they were sold out as there were three ships in town that day. The island is divided into three driving loops each has it's unique features - We took the central loop which does include the Anne of Green Gables stuff. We also found a company that makes fruit preserves as well as a toy factory just across the river from it. The coastlines feature lots of lighthouses. PEI is the breadbasket of Canada and are about a famous as Idaho for their potatoes.

 

LaBaie  - This was my MILs favorite port - they greet you with open arms and a great ceremony with singing and dancing and displays of the area's heritage. I found a small tour company using trip advisor - they use 25 pax buses and local guides - the owner of the company was our driver and our guide was learning English - and we were learning French - it was a very unique and fun tour. 

 

Quebec - will be your dismemberment port so you will have lots of time to explore if you want - or simply go to the airport and home. 

 

I did all the planning and arrangements for the cruise and tours - and after getting all of the tour brochures - we sat down and went over what we wanted to do and where we could do it. From there I used several resources including the various forums here on CC, and trip advisor. BTW this was the second cruise for my MIL and the one she enjoyed the most. 

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Since it is 4th week or school and only 4 days- and it is valuable time with a grandparent- I think its a good idea. I had a family member pull grandchildren one time for a Breakaway cruise- I think its good as a one or two time thing.

I did the Escape to Canada/NE last year and liked a boat excursion all the way around Bar Harbor and Halifax the most.

I like museums, concerts, films etc. and found those two ports better than Portland and St John.

However- I went on the Jewel (simliar to Gem) and disliked it compared to the other mega ships.

 

I would recommend the Breakaway next year to Canada/NE over the GEM- one of the sailings skips St Johns and spends more time in some of the other ports I believe.

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