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Cruising with kids, balcony room or not?


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First time cruisers. We have got a great offer for cruising with 13 and 6 yo kids, balcony room on 13th floor at MSC Seaside. I'm terrified at the idea that my kids might fall off, or attempt to lean over the balcony in a moment of distraction. They are not the naughtiest kids but sometimes they can play pretty rough (boys). I have asked my agent to change to a seaview cabin (only window, no balcony) and he says it's not worth it (5th floor, not so nice and price just slightly less) and assured me that there is no reason to be concerned as the balcony doors have a safety lock on top (?).  Experienced cruisers, what do you think? 

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My kids started cruising at 13 and 15 months respectively. They are now 7 and 10 years old. I do remember feeling the same concerns as you. The first time we got a balcony with kids, I did so with a lot of trepidation. On the particular ship we sailed on, I remember getting the lowest balcony I could possibly get because it looked down to a promenade just one deck below. My thinking was that, worse case scenario, if someone fell out of the balcony, they wouldn’t fall into the ocean. 🥴

 

Long story short, and after 10 cruises with kids, I can tell you that there is nothing to worry about, and I personally stressed unnecessarily. The railing is high enough to prevent even an adult from falling (they have to by that way by law). The doors have additional locks. Our kids were also prohibited from going out into the balcony by themselves. You can also establish strict rules about rough playing, not only out in the balcony, but any time that they are near a railing anywhere on the ship. But once again they’d need to be playing extremely rough, like “one kid grabbing the other and throwing him over the railing” rough for something tragic to happen. 
 

Don’t allow irrational fears stop you from getting a balcony. You will be extremely glad to have that little piece of private space for some quiet and relaxation where you can get away, specially when traveling with kids. Think of statistical data concerning people falling of cruise ships. They are so extremely rare and low that you’d have a better chance of winning the lottery. 


I say this with the utmost respect, if you believe that your children’s behavior is such that you’ll be in fear that they’ll fall off the cabin’s balcony, you will then be in fear that they’ll fall off anywhere on the ship since the railing is the same height everywhere. Getting a cabin without a balcony won’t make a difference then. 

 

Edited by Tapi
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Thank you all for your replies! It's reassuring to get your views and understand I'm not the only one with such concerns. We will stick with the balcony cabin and set clear rules for kids, I'm also pretty sure that my worries will ease once we will be onboard.  Will be our first time cruising and really looking forward to it! 

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The balconies are specifically designed with railings that make it next to impossible to fall over unless one is intentionally climbing on them or trying to go over on purpose.  Also most staterooms have balcony safety door locks that are high on the inside of the door frame out of reach of small children that can be locked to prevent the door from being opened other than by an adult. 

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4 hours ago, Lara27 said:

Thank you all for your replies! It's reassuring to get your views and understand I'm not the only one with such concerns. We will stick with the balcony cabin and set clear rules for kids, I'm also pretty sure that my worries will ease once we will be onboard.  Will be our first time cruising and really looking forward to it! 

if your kids are neurotypical and will not defiantly climb over the railings, you have nothing to worry about.

We've been in balcony cabins since DS was 5 - at that age he wasn't allowed on the balcony alone, and he is to follow the rules.

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I agree with all of the above opinions.  We've cruised with up to 7 grandkids; have clear rules especially no balcony without an adult present, but it would be really, really difficult if not impossible to 'fall' off a balcony or almost anywhere else on the ship without trying really hard (by climbing on furniture, for instance) or doing it on purpose--or possibly stupid drunk behavior.

 

Really, for normal people or kids it is not going to happen.  Also, all the balcony cabins I have been in have either a high glass barrier or a solid metal barrier--not rails that could be climbed.

 

 

Edited by Nebr.cruiser
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Actually, studies show that kids are that stupid to climb over railings.

 

The way they go over railings is playing and jumping on furniture and flipping over railings.

 

BTW, the international standard for household railing is only 36" high.  Ship railings are somewhere around 48" or higher.

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1 hour ago, SRF said:

Actually, studies show that kids are that stupid to climb over railings.

We’ve all watched videos of kids (and adults) going over cruise ship railings. But what most, if not all, have in common is a self inflicted factor, like daredevil immaturity (stupidity), drunkenness, a psychological disorder, etc. 


The vast majority of passengers shouldn’t be concerned or be led to conclude that falling off a cruise ship is a serious problem. The extremely rare cases and low statistics should speak for themselves.

 

To the OP,  have a nice chat with your kids before going on the cruise, and address safety concerns as well as what behavior you expect of them. You don’t want to find out a little too late that one of your kids was daring the other to do something stupid. 
 

 

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12 hours ago, Lara27 said:

First time cruisers. We have got a great offer for cruising with 13 and 6 yo kids, balcony room on 13th floor at MSC Seaside. I'm terrified at the idea that my kids might fall off, or attempt to lean over the balcony in a moment of distraction. They are not the naughtiest kids but sometimes they can play pretty rough (boys). I have asked my agent to change to a seaview cabin (only window, no balcony) and he says it's not worth it (5th floor, not so nice and price just slightly less) and assured me that there is no reason to be concerned as the balcony doors have a safety lock on top (?).  Experienced cruisers, what do you think? 

Welcome to cruise critic, There is nothing to worry about in terms of falling off, your child would need to climb up on the railing, if you feel they are likely to do this, then cruising may not be for them.

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We have cruised with kids on a balcony and agree that it would be very difficult to fall over the balcony.

 

But in the end it’s up to how much anxiety you have and will you fret about it all through the cruise.

 

If you learn how to deal with it, go for the balcony

If you can’t deal with it, get rid of the balcony as it sounds like it would ruin your enjoyment with your constant worrying 

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I've sailed inside, balcony and had my toddlers walking with me on the open deck.   IMHO take the balcony and enjoy the cruise. 

 

Be a smart parent and discuss overall safety for the cruise for the older, and watch the younger like a hawk.  You know your children best, but also never under estimate how stupid the young are.   Many studies have show their brains simply haven't completed the necessary wiring to understand the impact of actions till much older, till then you are that wisdom.  That doesn't mean you can have fun, do things that on the surface have risk, just be smart and have a good time.    Trust darwin and also be wary of darwin, LOL

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A balcony will give YOU someplace "to be" when the kids are in bed.  It's virtually impossible to "fall" off the ship...unless you're being stupid and reckless.  Kids have a HUGE survival instinct.....and they LISTEN to you....don't they?  Give them rules.  ENFORCE them.....start enforcing rules BEFORE you get on the ship, so they know you mean business.  I'd have NO issues with a balcony at all.  My kids have never "fallen" off our deck or over the stair railings.....don't know why it would be different anywhere else!

 

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We always cruised with a balcony, and when  we became parents, we still got one, but were much more watchful.  Your kids are old enough that there should not be any problem.  Anyone travelling with younger kids should take into account how active their kids are.

The worst problem we had with a balcony was when our son was 3 1/2.  He was a veteran cruiser by then,  so I wasn't expecting him to move a chair next to railing and test me. :eek: As soon as he did that,  I  pulled him inside!  He was giving me that daredevil smile that meant trouble. 
The next day, we were in port, and the pier was on our side of the ship.  Our family was on the balcony, and everyone was looking down.  My son asked to see what was happening, so I let him stand on a chair, with me holding on tight.  There was an ambulance with a man on a gurney nearby.  My son asked what happened, and I did what you are never supposed to do, I lied to my kid.  I said the man jumped. My son asked what was going to happen, and I told him they were going to take the man to the hospital. He asked if he was going to be ok, and I said I didn't know, that's why they were taking him to the hospital.
After that, he didn't try or pretend to jump any more.

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We have been cruising with my son since he was 3 and he is now 8. We have always had a balcony room. The rule is he can't go on the balcony without an adult. Also, the balcony door is pretty heavy and he still can't open it with out our assistance.

As others have said the railing is high also. I am 5"1" and I would not easily "fall over"

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  • 7 months later...

Most ships have a very high bolt on the patio doors leading to the balcony so no children can wake up and decide to go out there.  If you are on the balcony with children and need to go inside, kids in first then all return to balcony kids last.

 

More likely to fall off ship from promenade deck in my experience but very rare, again close parental supervision on the deck required.

 

Regards John

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  • 2 months later...

I know this is an older thread but would like to post my suggestions.  My youngest son is autistic and not afraid of water.  In fact (not on a cruise ship) he has bolted and jumped into water on various occasions. Fortunately this behavior seems to have passed.

 

Our last cruise we had a balcony, and I booked an obstructed view.  it was above the life boats, so should he decide to climb the rail, he would probably bounce off the boats, and/or land on the deck below. Obviously he was never allowed out on his own, and the thought never crossed his mind.

 

Secondly, I was looking at the website for Autism on the Seas.  They had a very cheap and effective alarm system for the sliding door.  Bought it just in case he decided to wake up and check out the view.  Never happened but it was peace of mind.

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My children are freakishly strong, and my 2 year old ( a few days past his second birthday) was able to open our balcony door on the Coral Princess.  The rule was that he could not go on the balcony alone, and that he could not climb balcony furniture ever.  A balcony is a really good thing to have with kids for you to have a place to relax while your child naps, but you do want to ensure you have kids you can trust to follow those rules.

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