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Carnival kids clubs and keeping siblings together

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On 12/20/2020 at 10:42 AM, cb at sea said:

It's not as if they will NEVER see each other, you know!  The activities are really quite "age appropriate".

Its more of a comfort thing especially for day 1 or 2.  New kids on a massive big boat barely knowing their way around yet.  It will be my family's first ever cruise as well.  Its a lot us to wrap our heads around.  As well, my wife will be worrying her pretty head and thinking the worst possible thoughts while her 2 babies are out of sight.


I imagine that experience will be similar like being on the high dive until you build up the nerve to jump in and realize your fears were overblown. And its a lot of fun.

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It will be up to the youth staff, and they may say no.  Or the age distribution of the kids on your cruise may work out perfectly for your request.  Please try to keep in mind that from another parent's point of view it may be scary to have their 11 year old around a teenager and they would be unhappy if the rules that they are expecting the staff to follow were bent for your family.   While you (your wife?) can find unpleasant stories about children on cruise ships if you look, try to focus on the fact that thousands and thousands of kids have had a blast with the youth staff and other kids on hundreds of cruise ships, and cruise lines are not in the business of letting bad things happen to kids.  There is some really good advice on this board about setting limits for teens and pre teens on cruise vacations, (please try to not focus on the handful of "how dare you abandon your babies on the ship there is a predator around every corner" folk), trust your gut, talk to your boys, and have a great time!

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A child moving age groups is entirely at the discretion of the kid's club staff.  If this is a dealbreaker for your family (and I can understand that depending upon your children's personalities in some rare instances it can be since you might have a child who would refuse to go to the kids club if a sibling can't help them) then you need to cancel your cruise.  


For others reading this forum, Disney has the widest age grouping, as they will group children ages 3-10 together.  The downside to having that large an age gap is that some younger children are scared by the unstructured kids clubs and much older kids and refuse to go.  


If you are trying to get the kids club to make an exception to age limits, the most important factor in trying to make this happen is to sail during the school year/at times when there are very few children sailing and on cruises/lines that tend to attract very few kids.  When the kids clubs are emptier, it will be easier for the staff to handle this kind of an exception to age limits.  When kids clubs are extremely empty (as they have been on almost all of our cruises, since we tend to sail during the school year and on cruises that attract few children) the kids clubs are just combined anyway up until teenagers.  On our first cruise, there were only 9 children on board total, and two of them (including my son) were too young for drop off kids club programing.  This was on Princess, and we sailed January 7th.  The previous week there had been over 100 kids, and the kids club staff told us how happy they were we hadn't sailed earlier since they wouldn't have any time to help our son.  They were great, and saved arts and craft activities for him and helped him with it while we stayed in the kids club (kids under 3 were allowed in their kids clubs under parental supervision).  All the children were grouped together due to the small numbers.  


The other thing you should do is go to the open house and ask the staff for the accommodation when there aren't a lot of other parents around.  But again the most important thing to note is that it is possible this request will be denied, and if it will ruin your entire cruise, please don't go.  There are reviews posted from people who felt that this ruined their whole cruise, so parents need to decide if their family can handle this risk prior to travel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reading their policy, I’m going to say it’s a hard no. The teen clubs work differently than kids clubs, they are move of a place to gather and then roam. I’m familar with NCL and they won’t move kids even if they are a day away from the cutoff. I’m guessing parents of 9 year olds wouldn’t be happy having a teenager move down. I have 5 kids and our first cruise they ranged from 4 - 11, so some have always been in different groups. They all loved the teen group the best.

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Unless they're twins, most kids are going alone into the group they're assigned.  Everyone is brand new and feeling awkward and the staff is masterful at making everyone feel comfortable and have fun.  I have seen counselors allow an older sibling on the edge of the age group age down, but only in the younger groups, not with a teen (unless maybe they just had a birthday).  You can understand parents not wanting a teenager with the younger kids and a non-teen is rarely, if ever, allowed to age up because then none of the other teenagers will want to be in the group if younger kids are there.  Best thing is to have them try for a short period of time or two.  If they don't enjoy the clubs, there's plenty else they can do - you can drop them at the basketball court or mini golf etc for awhile together.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/14/2020 at 11:56 PM, Prairiefrozen said:

What is your experience with keeping siblings together in carnival kids clubs?


Per the carnival site, it seems to be hard no on allowing an age up/down to allow siblings to be together.


2 boys, 11 and 13 at time of sail. 18 months apart.


I'll answer from a different angle and ask why you think they would even want to be in the kids clubs?  Carnival does a great job with much younger kids (i.e Camp Carnival, Camp Ocean), but once kids age out of those, the older kids aren't really in "Kids Clubs" as such.  Circle C and Club O2 are more of a meeting place than a destination.  Older kids meet up there and then splinter off on their own to do things around the ship (yup, unsupervised).


So your youngest is the upper end of Camp Carnival/Ocean and your oldest is mid age range of Circle C.  You state that this is your first cruise.  Rather than worry about what club they should be in, why not just stay together?  Between the comedy, production shows, Hasbro, Waterworks, unlimited ice cream, etc, Carnival has a ton to do on their ships.  Your boys might very well be happiest not going to any kids club at all.

Edited by sarmat1
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  • 2 months later...

I am going to repeat some of what was said, then add. First, my sons are just over a year apart and on our first cruise one was on the upper limit of one age group while the other was the youngest age in the other. We had asked about letting them be together and were told no. Now, this is Princess, and admittedly my kids are now 22 and 21, so things may have changed since 2007. It should be noted, however, that neither one was eligible for the teen center and they still didn't allow it.


Also, the kid's camps supervisor (if in their discretion) may make that decision solely based on the number of kids booked on the sailing since, I believe, they can only have so many in at one time. If they have over a certain number of perspective kids in an age group, I can't see them allowing a child from a different age group (teen in this instance) take another kids place.

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