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OhioScubaGirl

Advice for cruising with young kids

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My kids are 2, 5, and 7 and we are cruising on Paradise next month.  We are crazy enough to all be staying in one ocean view room with two uppers and a trundle.  😉 

 

Five in a room kind of scares me but since they are so young it makes the most sense with sleeping arrangements.  Any room organization or packing advice? 

 

What are your thoughts on the dining room with kids this age?   I don't remember seeing kids there my last cruise.   We are thinking the buffet might be better and then let them stay in childcare while we eat.  What do you think of the care for young children in Camp Ocean?  My youngest is potty trained but still needs taken on a regular basis - can the staff handle that or should I just put him in pull ups? 

 

Can Carnival provide a cup with a lid and straw for my 2 year old or is that something I should bring?  

 

Sorry for so many questions!  I do appreciate any feedback and advice about making our cruise a success.  

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DISNEY Cruise Line is what you want!

 

They have lovely ships, specially for kids !

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I can't really comment of the 2 year old, but we started taking our kids when they were 4 & 6. For us, the kids club is what makes this a great family vacation. My kids have always loved it and want to spend more time there than with us. Best part is at night, they can eat dinner in the buffet with their friends  and you can go enjoy a great dinner kid free (again, not sure about the 2Y) As far as the room goes, I always spent time looking for bigger or odd shaped room that are in the same category but just a little more space,  we've never been in an O/V but I find it best to give each kids their own space for clothes and shoes. And try to start the cabin out organized, and hopefully things go smoother. Also, maybe buy a shoe organizer that has many compartments and hangs and then each kids has a couple spaces that they can access themselves. When I pack, each person has one suitcase and then we have one maybe two carry ons, makes unpacking and repacking easier on me. Cruising Carnival is so amazing with kids, no need to spend the extra money on Disney... every employee loves to see the kids and interact with them, and remember there will be so much for the kids to do, you won't really be in your cabin that much. Hope you guys have an amazing time. 

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She already said she has booked Paradise. Disney isn't in everyone's budget.  

For the OP- #1 thing I bring and pack on every single cruise and it lives in my luggage year round--buy a see through plastic over the door shoe organizer. Hang it on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom door. Anything that is needed in a bathroom on land that does NOT require a sink, put in there. Sunglasses, sunscreen(out of reach of the little one), medications, hair brushes and hair ties, band aids and other first aid stuff... Then, if one person is showering or using the toilet, it doesn't prevent others from getting ready.

A battery powered alarm clock. My DHs phone kept changing time zones on us and made us late getting up on embarkation day. Never again. 

Suitcases are stored under the beds. Designate one for dirty laundry. Pull it out each night and load it up. 

Because I am paranoid and have heard about luggage falling into the ocean when being loaded, I always be sure to mix up our clothing in every suitcase. That way no one person is left high and dry with nothing but the clothes they board with. 

With littles, you may consider putting each day's clothes in a ziplock with their names. "Monday Joe" "Tuesday Susie". Helps alleviate the hassle of dressing each day. 

Dining room with the kids- you know your kids best. We went with my kids when they were 5 and 6 for their first cruise. They have always been adventerous eaters, so they LOVED eating the "adult food." If the 2 year old is hard to handle, maybe using kids club for that time would provide a break for you and your husband. 

 

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Disney is overpriced. pass.

 

I did a cruise last spring break with my sons (ages at the time: almost 3, almost 5, and 6.5). The younger two were in the same camp ocean group and loved it. the older one was alone in the next age group and loved it. we did not use it a lot, but we did for small events, or specific activities they wanted to do that were on the agenda. We used it sometimes if my wife and I wanted to do something alone, like a show, or a workout, or hot tub without kids jumping on us. We would use after dinner until the 10pm cutoff before they charged for night owls (so I can't comment on that yet).

 

We were in conjoining rooms with my in-laws that were balconies, so we had a little more space. but they all slept in our room, and we put two boys on the pull down upper beds. they loved being up there and it was a fight who got it! we are going again in 3 weeks and have a family harbor suite (cove balcony) on the vista and are all 5 in one room (no in laws this time). 

 

If 2 of your kids can sleep in a twin together, I think you might be better off without the trundle in the room. we put the kids on opposite sides of the bed, so their feet touched, but it was no big deal.

 

we plan on using the night owls once this next cruise, since it is a perk of the family harbor area. we will see if it is good for us, but with 3 kids, not sure if we would have paid extra for it (i know we paid for it in our cruise fair).

 

I think the camp ocean also does dinner for the kids in the buffet if you want to drop them off and the counselors feed them (i know they do lunches). we brought our kids to MDR every night. they loved it, we tried a bunch of new food, the waiters loved the kids, they loved the dancing, the waiters brought a little "appetizer" to help get them food quicker. it was great. we wont trade that time for anything, it is a special time for our family to just talk and decompress about the day and the night. i think it made the kids appreciate the trip more than they would have otherwise.

 

i think camp ocean will take your kid potty alot, they are pretty well trained with young kids, we thought they were great.

 

you will have a great time! and dont worry about anyone giving you dirty looks. for every dirty look (which the above poster about disney probably is one that gives them), you will get a nice smile from a stranger that wishes they had their grandkids or something like that. you guys do you, and have fun!

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We did the Fantasy class ships including the Paradise ( when it was smoke free) 

with  3 kids about OP ages , years ago .

Very , very tight with that rollaway bed out . Folded during day.

They never participated in Camp Carnival and hung with us .

Only OP knows behavior in a dinning room but our behaved fine 

or they stayed home with grandma next time .

 

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Just a quick comment on the dining room with a small child... we took my very energetic four year old on his first cruise last year and we were very hesitant about the dining room. All of our fears were relieved when the dining room staff went out of their way to dance and sing and make each night memorable for him. He very quickly picked out a ‘girlfriend’ among the servers and he rushed us each night to get to the dining room to get a hug or a bit of attention. It was a great first experience for him and we'll be back in 88 days on the Breeze.

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39 minutes ago, Aplmac said:

 

DISNEY Cruise Line is what you want!

 

 

 

This is the 2nd post today concerning children where you left nonsense, negative, snarky remarks. You have over 29,000 posts/comments here on Cruise Critic, you should know better. What are you trying to accomplish?? An increase in your post count??

 

Sheesh!!!!!

 

 

🤔

 

 

Edited by ObstructedView2

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12 minutes ago, ObstructedView2 said:

 

What are you trying to accomplish?? An increase in your post count??

 

Lol while I agree- i find it more humorous that you posted identical comments to maybe increase your post count 🤣

 

He had better comments to make in the topic, I don't know why people can't express their concerns with advice. It is fine to say there are challenges, but to tell them only to go to Dosney is silly.

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Disney Cruise Line is awesome with kids, but that does not mean that you won't have a fantastic time with your kids on the Paradise! We had 5 people in our room on our Disney Cruise last summer, and it was totally doable. (Note: our kids will never do one again because it was ridiculously expensive at like $8500 for the 5 of us...) Our kids were a little older though- 7, 9, 12.

 

The biggest thing is try hard not to overpack! The rooms are tiny and you will have a lot of stuff with that many people. Also, limit the number of shoes everyone can bring. I limited everyone to only 3 pairs on our trip (flip flop, casual sandal and dressy sandal), because just think about it 5 people each bringing 3 pairs- you are already up to 15 pairs of shoes!  

 

We cruised with all of my nieces and nephews (7 kids, 3-12) and we opted to have them all eat with us each night and the kids (even the 3 year old) did great. Try it out with your kids- if they all love having dinner in a fancy dining room, let them. If it is an utter disaster and causing you to not enjoy your dinner and they are okay with going to the kids club, then drop them off and eat your dinner in peace and quiet!

 

We always travel with a sound machine (or sound machine app) when we are in a hotel room, because it just helps drown out some of the noise. Even in your room, you may hear doors slam, people talking in the hallways, etc. 

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Can anyone comment if Carnival provides cups with lids for toddlers?   I'd rather not have to bring and wash sippy cups but of course I will if they don't provide them.  

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1 hour ago, MCC retired said:

We did the Fantasy class ships including the Paradise ( when it was smoke free) 

with  3 kids about OP ages , years ago .

Very , very tight with that rollaway bed out . Folded during day.

They never participated in Camp Carnival and hung with us .

Only OP knows behavior in a dinning room but our behaved fine 

or they stayed home with grandma next time .

 

Four generations just returned from a 5 night Elation cruise.  This was to introduce a 5year old to cruising.  We also tied this in with a few days at Orlando parks.  Concerning the Disney comment - we had discussed all of our options and decided the cost difference, which was significant, couldn't be justified because the bottom line was my grandson wouldn't know the difference between Carnival and Disney and the adults simply weren't  interested in the Disney experience.

I had apprehensions about the 5 year old in the MDR but I was pleasantly surprised that he enjoyed it and was well behaved.  Two nights he had the choice to go to the buffet or have dinner with my husband and myself in the MDR and he wanted to go with us.

He never went to Camp Carnival - he had a great time with the adults. He was sad to leave the ship and told us he want to go again.

 

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The 2 year old will need distractions.   The 5 and 7 year old should be able to sit thru an hour or so of dinner.....if they can't, start working on it!  The dining room is SO much easier than the buffet.....the staff does all the work in the dining room...you simply enjoy.  In the buffet....YOU will be schlepping plates, utensils, drinks, etc....

 

 

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If it’s not too late, you can try to see if you can get 2 connecting rooms instead. We will be cruising with 2 under 2, and booked 2 connecting ocean views, and will put the kids in one room. 

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I would recommend bringing a few things on ship to make your life easier-

 

Kids cups- There are plastic cups on ship (that’s what they use on the lido deck), but you may not find lids. I would just bring one kids cup per child to be covered. You can even get those take and toss ones, if you don’t want to take up a lot of space. Plus, if you spend anytime in your room or alway from the buffets/dining rooms, your child may want something to drink. It is sometimes more convenient to just have it on you. Even as an adult, I bring my own straw cup (for when I’m hanging out on the deck) and water bottle (for in the cabin) because I don’t like to walk back and forth for something to drink all the time. Just don’t forget a small bottle of dish soap and a sponge, which I normally just cut in 1/2, so I can wash my cups off.

 

You’re likely still going to be carrying around a small bag with you, so just toss the cups in there, so you are covered. You may also want to pack a few crayons and coloring books/small toys to help keep the youngest entertained at dinner. When we were on the Disney cruise, they often placed the kids meals first so they didn’t have to wait long. We got to where we ordered a fruit and veggie plate for the kids (even if it wasn’t on the menu) for their appetizer and by the end of the cruise, it was just there without asking.

 

To help organize your room, it may be helpful to bring one of those hanging closet organizers that have 4-5 cubes inside. That way each child has a space for their clothes, and then you have an extra spot for jammies and undies.

 

Oh, another thing that we did every day was we laid out pajamas before we went to dinner and then we laid out the next day’s clothes before we went to bed. It just helped to have everything sorted before we went to our next adventure.

 

Also, you may want to pack a few pre-packaged snacks- goldfish, granola bars, etc. Even my kids just wanted a “normal” snack once in a while, and these were things we kept in our room (or took when we went off for an excursion/in port), because it was more convenient to just pull it out of my bag versus search a store for something.

 

We would often use the 24-hour pizza bar as our afternoon snack. Either DH or myself would head upstairs to grab some pizza slices and veggie slices  and grapes (which we could find easily on the Disney ship), and bring it back to our room. (You could also order room service), but it was a nice way to have some quiet time in the room- we would all eat a snack and watch a movie/show while everyone took turns showering and getting ready for dinner. 

 

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22 hours ago, Aplmac said:

DISNEY Cruise Line is what you want!

 

They have lovely ships, specially for kids !

she wasn't asking for info on which cruise line to sail with. She is already sailing on a particular ship next month.

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20 hours ago, OhioScubaGirl said:

Can anyone comment if Carnival provides cups with lids for toddlers?   I'd rather not have to bring and wash sippy cups but of course I will if they don't provide them.  

we went to the coffee shop onboard and got empty coffee cups with lids.

That way we don't have to wash them (just pitch when you are done) and the kid doesn't spill stuff all over.

 

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19 hours ago, cb at sea said:

The 2 year old will need distractions.   The 5 and 7 year old should be able to sit thru an hour or so of dinner.....if they can't, start working on it!  The dining room is SO much easier than the buffet.....the staff does all the work in the dining room...you simply enjoy.  In the buffet....YOU will be schlepping plates, utensils, drinks, etc....

 

 

DS has been cruising since he was 3, and we've always used a tablet with cartoons or games which guaranteed the most peaceful dinners in MDR! Other people's kids got antsy after 30-40 minutes and were bouncing all over the place.

 

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We love our shoe organizer for various items.  Kids items down low- crayons, etc and anything requiring adult up higher.  Hair brushes, sunscreen, bandaids, medications, charging cords, all go in their own “shoe” compartment.

 

magnetic hooks for the walls.  We hang lanyards, hats, bathing suits, etc on them.

 

we took our own toddler cup, bottle brush, and small container of dish soap.  Brush and soap were kept in organizer.  We washed the cup every night.  
 

we use tablets for downtime at the dinner table in the main dining room.  They have been good in there, but there are still times we needed to entertain them with something.

 

if you aren’t limited on luggage space (driving to port, etc) you may want to pack a small fold-up step stool to help the little one reach the sink for brushing teeth, etc.  And, if the youngest is a boy, he may need it for reaching the potty as well.  Just make sure you are with them while using in just in case of any sudden boat movements.  We never had an issue with that, but I always played it on the safe side.

 

 

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