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Children on X- 12 day Europe- Experiences and advice


WineDown17

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Would love to hear any advice on how to get the most out of Celebrity for a 12 night European sailing we just booked for 5/09.... I know we will have a great time, but I need to plan ahead to be sure I maximize the experience for my DSs who will be 12 and 2.5 YO at sailing time....

 

Anyone have any experience with babysitting on X? Do you trust them with a 2 YO? Costs? (not that it will deter me, but nice to plan for)

 

What shore excursions would you recommend (or tell me to avoid at all costs) in:

-Nice

-Naples

-Rome

-Santorini

-Florence

-Athens

-Dubrovnik

 

Should we divide and conquer in any ports- I am OK with that too...

 

I have heard that they will let the 2.5YO join kids activities at night if he is potty trained- is that true?

 

Any recommendations on best strollers to handle this type of trip?

 

Early dinner with all? Or Late seating and get babysitter? (I am NOT a night owl..so I am afraid I will fall asleep in my salad.. but others have said you need all the time you can get in the ports)

 

There are a million things I probably need to be thinking of and am not.. So i will take ANY and ALL sage pieces of wisdom from anyone willing to be so kind and share... I had started another thread when this was just an idea/before we booked, and was not very specific, so i am trying to be more specific on this one!!!

 

Thank you so much in advance everyone!!

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I'm not of much use yet, but we leave for a 16 day TA on May 3 with DS, age 8, and will be at several of the ports you mention - Nice, Florence and Rome. I'll keep your questions in mind, do a bit of research and let you know when we get back!:)

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... booked for 5/09.... DSs who will be 12 and 2.5 YO at sailing time....

 

... any experience with babysitting on X? Do you trust them with a 2 YO? Costs? (not that it will deter me, but nice to plan for)

 

What shore excursions would you recommend (or tell me to avoid at all costs) in:

-Nice

-Naples

-Rome

-Santorini

-Florence

-Athens

-Dubrovnik

 

Should we divide and conquer in any ports- I am OK with that too...

 

...

 

Early dinner with all? Or Late seating and get babysitter? (I am NOT a night owl..so I am afraid I will fall asleep in my salad.. but others have said you need all the time you can get in the ports)

 

 

1) 5/9 - this should make for nice weather as the summer heat will still be a bit off.

 

2) No experience with X babysitting but I would expect it would be fine. Are you planning on this for the evening or during the day when you are off the ship? Rules may require that you have a phone if you leave the ship. This should be OK if you have a GSM phone that will work in Europe.

 

3) Destinations

 

Nice - great place for the beach if the weather cooperates. Might consider taking the train to Monte Carlo as a simple outing. Lunch in a cafe by the water sounds good.

 

Naples - Pompeiitour. Good outdoor activity that isn't too far from the ship. You can take the train or the ships tour.

 

Rome - this is a hard core day regardless of approach. The travel time from the ship is an hour+. This may be a day to split up. If you aren't comfortable navigating on your I would suggest one of the all day highlights tour.

 

Santorini - Great stop. A trip up the cable car from the tender port to Fira is fun for all. Nice to shop in a relaxed atmosphere and have lunch. You can take the buses all over the island (e.g., Oia) for not too much money.

 

Florence - another possible day to split up. The trip from Livorno to Florence is even longer than the trip to Rome. The crowds can be heavy but the city is quite compact. The Boboli gardens, part of the Pitti Palace is a nice outdoor activity for kids away from the main crowds. You can also get some nice views into the central city. Shopping in the city is also fun. I wouldn't recommend trying to do too many of the museums unless you are on a private tour.

 

Athens - a hike up the parthenon might be nice. It could be tough on the little one.

 

Dubrovnick - no experience

 

4) Early dinner. This starts around 6:30 and almost all if not all the ships tours are scheduled to be back by this time.

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Again- thanks!

 

babysitting would be for dinner- we will bring him with us into the ports. My in laws will be with us as well, so that will be a help- although I want them to get as much out of this trip as possible without worrying about helping us!

 

Rome and Naples sound like the most challenging.. What are the port cities like? Are they worthwhile just exploring them on their own? Are there towns nearby that are neat to see but maybe not the typical tourise areas?

 

I lived in Dijon France for a bit, and enjoyed just spending time off the beaten path- so I am hoping we can do some of that as well.. I am not a big museum goer, and having been in France so many times (i was a French major), I feel I have seen what I need to see there! But would like to get too Eze if possible.. I love that town.

 

Italy is another story- as is Greece..never been but cant wait!

 

Thank you again. I so appreciate your willingness to provide suggestions and share experiences.

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Again- thanks!

 

Rome and Naples sound like the most challenging.. What are the port cities like? Are they worthwhile just exploring them on their own? Are there towns nearby that are neat to see but maybe not the typical tourise areas?

 

Thank you again. I so appreciate your willingness to provide suggestions and share experiences.

 

Civitavecchia (Rome) and Livorno (Naples) are both largely industrial/port cities. I am sure they have things to see but we didn't stay. You may try posting on the European forum and see what comes up. One relatively easy trip is to go to Pisa from Livorno and visit the miracle square and see the tower. My kids liked this on one visit to the region.

 

Private tours can also help out in visting these "hard to reach" locations - especially with a big group. It may be that arranging private tours for Rome and Livorno would be the best answer for your group. The Europe forum has links to these services.

 

BTW - some kind of gameboy is great for your older child for times when you are waiting around or riding between locations.

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Livorno is for Pisa and Florence, not Naples. If you don't want to take the long trip into Florence, which would be a mistake IMHO, because it's a fabulous city, you can do a less tiring trip to Pisa and the surrounding Tuscany region. Have you considered a private tour? I do that for Rome and Florence because I can return to the ship whenever I'm tired and need a break. When you do a ship's tour, you're at the mercy of all the others on the bus. On my very first Med cruise, I took the ship's tour to Florence and there was a family who had their two under age 3 kids with them, and after about 3 hours, the kids did nothing but scream---they were terribly hot and tired. Not a pleasant experience for the parents and the other tourists. But if you did a private car, once you and the kids pooped out, you can return to the ship. Same for Rome.

 

Dubrovnik's port is right in the city, and you can easily walk from the ship to the sites. Very easy port. Naples is another where the port is within an easy distance of the city, and it's an easy walking town.

 

Santorini is a very difficult town to get around with a stroller, and unless you have arms stronger than a weightlifter, I would not advise it. The streets are very uneven, paved with volcanic rock, and lots of stairs every few yards. It's a beautiful city, with very breathtaking scenery and well worth your time. This would probably be a good port to split up for a while. And if you love jewelry, this stop has some of the most fantastic gold inset with real gemstones.

 

In Athens, I would stick securely with the ship's tours. OMG, the drivers in Athens will give you a heart attack. They don't stop for lights or stop signs and they drive like maniacs. The sites in Acient Athens will be difficult for the younger child but the older one will love seeing them. The ruins can be a difficult walk with a stroller.

 

As for the 2 1/2 year old, the kid's club will not take the child even if he/she's out of diapers, during regular operating hours of the kid's camp. What they mean by that is they have group sitting after 10pm, for an hourly charge. The child has to be 3 on Celebrity to be in the kid's program.

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LOL...

 

That makes it easy.. DH stays on ship in Santorini while I shop for jewelry unbeknownst to him!!

 

Private tours we are definitely considering.. my ILs will be with us, so 6 in total.. Hoping to get some good recommendations from the boards over the next 413 days or so!!

 

We will be getting a private sitter in our cabin some nights I am certain for the 2 YO. That way he can sleep, etc which we enjoy oursleves, and no worry of any melt downs that would detract from other's experiences.

 

 

Thank you for all of the great details!

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In terms of the stroller - I definitely recommend investing in a Maclaren stroller. We bought A volo before our first cruise with our one year old and it was the best decision. It is very meneuverable, light and folds very compact and even has a strap so you can carry on your shoulder. We were initially going to take out larger (still lightweight) stroller but that does not fold as compact and with very little extra space in the cabin you don't need any extras.

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Anyone have any experience with babysitting on X? Do you trust them with a 2 YO? Costs? (not that it will deter me, but nice to plan for)

 

Yes I would trust Celebrity with my kids. I have done so in the past with a toddler. He was in good hands. As for night-time sitting... sometimes they will babysit in the Fun Zone if there aren't many kids onboard. Don't bank on that though. Also there is no sitting on the night of embarkation and sitters are subject to availability. So make your requests on Day one at the front desk.

What shore excursions would you recommend (or tell me to avoid at all costs) in:

I did the same cruise last year on Millenium

-Nice: Do Monte Carlo on the train. There are amusement rides in the summer by the waterfront and little kids love trains. If you have the stamina walk up to Monaco. It think this is a good excursion. Make sure the return train stops in Villefranche (if that is the port).

-Naples

Pompeii. Take your own taxi. The tour was boring for my then 6 year old. Read up. Get a book at the entrance with before and after pictures. Great place for the 2 year old to run around. Take plenty of water and umbrellas for shade if it hot that day.

-Rome: Take the bus from the ship "Rome on Your Own". Then do the hop-on-hop-off bus. The Colluseum would be better than the Vatican with a 2 year old but do both.-Santorini:

Buy the cable car tickets onboard the ship. Helps with lines. It is great for kids- no cars in the shopping area at the top. Lovely place for kids to run around. I bought many nice trinkets here and had them shipped home.-

Florence: This is one port where I would tag team. We did the 9 hour tour of the Cinque Terre and it was fantastic! If one parent did that excursion with the 10 year old I highly recommend it. Best experience on our cruise.-Athens: Can't speak from Experience. It was too hot the day we were in Athens and we made it a "sea day".

-Dubrovnik: Great for kids. Level shopping area. You may only want to take the older child on the walk around the walled fortress. Many steps and if you have a fear of heights- not a good idea. I liked it but would have been scared to take a 2 year old.

Should we divide and conquer in any ports- I am OK with that too...

 

 

Any recommendations on best strollers to handle this type of trip? I used an umbrella stroller- works great onboard. My son stayed in there until he was three and he was big!

 

Early dinner with all? Or Late seating and get babysitter? Do the early seating and take them if there is no babysitting for the little one. I can't eat at 8:30- too hungry by then. If you want to do an intimate dinner sans kids- do the specialty restaurant- FANTASTIC!

 

There are a million things I probably need to be thinking of and am not.. So i will take ANY and ALL sage pieces of wisdom from anyone willing to be so kind and share... I had started another thread when this was just an idea/before we booked, and was not very specific, so i am trying to be more specific on this one!!!

 

Thank you so much in advance everyone!!

 

Really you will have a great time. Just remember to pace yourself. As for the ports I think all of them are good with kids. Somethings you might want to do with just the 10 year old. Like shopping in Santorini. It is easy for the other parent to take the baby back to the ship if you want to shop with just the 10 year old. Have fun!

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Thank you for all of the details!!

 

I agree on lae seating.. I think I will fall asleep myself.. I am not big on nightlife...But I also want to be as considerate as possible of other cruisers in the dining room.. No way to tell today what my 1 year old will be like when he is two.. except.. that he will be tow.. and we all know what that can mean!!!

 

Can I call you for moral support over the next 400 days as I question my sanity!?!?

 

It is so reassuring to hear about experiences such as yours.. I know it will be great!!!!

 

THANK YOU!!!! :)

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