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Excursions and taking our children to AO while we are out?


doulaamy

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Hello folks,

We are sailing on the EOS 9nighter in June. (Bermuda, San Juan, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas)

Our children are 4 and 6.

My husband and I have narrowed down the excursions we are taking however there are some that they cannot do because of age, etc.

Here are my questions:

1.Is it ok to leave them in AO during the couple of hours we'd be gone?

2. Have you done this before?

3. If so, what was your experience?

4. Did they have lunch?

5. How does staff contact us in case of an emergency and we are on our excursion?

 

Any help with this would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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there was a case last year where the parents went off shopping after they were dropped off on time from the ship sponsored excursion and the parents missed the ship. The kids had been left on the ship and were left alone with the AO for 2 days until the parents could catch up with the ship. Frankly unless your tour ends several hours before the ship leaves I wouldn't even consider it.

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there was a case last year where the parents went off shopping after they were dropped off on time from the ship sponsored excursion and the parents missed the ship. The kids had been left on the ship and were left alone with the AO for 2 days until the parents could catch up with the ship. Frankly unless your tour ends several hours before the ship leaves I wouldn't even consider it.

Fabulous example of "you never know." Thanks for sharing that.

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We recently cruised with our grandchild on Freedom, but we have also observed AO on other ships as well. In general, it is an excellent program with many positives. HOWEVER, you may wish to VERIFY that the advertised program will go on as scheduled even if there is a limited number of children in the age group. We were distressed to discover that our grandchild was just wandering around the AO area while we observed a staff member lying down for an extended period of time. We quickly reclaimed our grandchild and followed up with a discussion with the AO supervisor who was very appropriate with her concern. This was an isolated incident, thankfully, and most of our contact with AO was impressive.

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We did this!!!

 

Everyone from my family (exclude my DH & DS) got off the ship, before I got off I put my son in the AO. DH was in bed sick with the flu! So he was useless. We got off in Ocho Rios, son was fine! When we were in Cozumel, all the adults got off the ship...the kids stayed in the AO while we went in did our excursions. Kids were fine! My son is 7 1/2 yrs old & my nephew is 6 1/2 yrs old. We had no problems, they ate lunch while they were in AO on port days!

 

You have to watch when you are in Labadee!! We ran into a problem there! The kids club closes from 12-1. We booked WaveRunners for all the adults for 12pm, then realized that the kids club was closed! We were able to move the excursion to 2pm. The kids were fine!

 

I was a bit concerned if we got stuck on the island. But the only day that the weather wasn't perfect, my son was off the ship with me!! When we did our first cruise, we took our son back on the ship after our excursion. Then got back off to do walk around the shops! I'd be more concerned not getting back to the ship if we were tendered. Because for us, being docked, we made sure we were back in plenty of time to walk to the ship. The tender can get iffy. The weather gets bad and the ship can't stay where it is, you don't make it back before that last tender. Others will disagree with me I'm sure! But I felt fine leaving my son in AO while I got off the ship in Ocho Rios & Cozumel!

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I am not being judgemental, because you know your kids best, but we checked on our kids frequently in the kids club. If we went and they weren't having fun, they came with us. To be fair, they usually were having fun!

 

I know we couldn't get off the ship and leave the kids on the ship. Even on this cruise, there are several shore excursions that you have to be 12 to participate, one of our sons is 11, so we chose other excursions. Also, on Coco Key they had the kids club available. We considered letting our youngest hang out there because he wanted to...but when we talked with the employees, they said hardly any kids attend. We looked when we were there and there were a small handful of kids.

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there was a case last year where the parents went off shopping after they were dropped off on time from the ship sponsored excursion and the parents missed the ship. The kids had been left on the ship and were left alone with the AO for 2 days until the parents could catch up with the ship. Frankly unless your tour ends several hours before the ship leaves I wouldn't even consider it.

 

Do a ship excursion instead of a private one. They won't leave you and they can contact you almost immediately. We have done it with kids the same age and had no problems.

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The advise about tendering versus docking is good, and that should be your major deciding factor when you decide to leave them with AO. Tenders can be delayed, and there are frequently long lines, so I would have a hard time enjoying myself if I was concerned about possible tender problems. Weather and sea conditions can have a lot to do with it.

 

Docking is much more relaxed, because you can walk on and off the ship.

 

As mentioned above, go with ship sponsored shore excursions, too. I remember the thread about the couple that missed the ship, and their children were on the ship by themselves for 2 days. Not a good vacation!!

 

Have a Plan B, which is someone assigned to check on the kids if you have any friends or family traveling with you. If they get bored, tired, or sick, then someone else can take them back to your cabin.

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I would not leave my children that age on a cruise ship. I would just plan excursions that the children are able to do.

 

 

I second this opinion. Do excursions that everyone can enjoy as a family together. Would never think of leaving DS, on ship while we went and played. Been on 2 cruises with him and enjoyed every minute.

 

Thanks for asking.

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Do a ship excursion instead of a private one. They won't leave you and they can contact you almost immediately. We have done it with kids the same age and had no problems.

 

 

It was a ships tour but the ships responsibility ends at drop off and the people chose to do some extra shopping.

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I would not leave my children that age on a cruise ship. I would just plan excursions that the children are able to do.

 

Let me clarify..

We are booking RCCL excursions only and 3/4 of the excursions we are planning involve all 4 of us. There are maybe 2 during the entire cruise that DH and I can't bring the kids along because of age/height requirements. We may be gone from the ship for a maximum of 3 hours and then come back to get the kids for what we have planned next.

 

I would never leave them in AO for the entire day. Just wanted to make that clear.

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Let me clarify..

We are booking RCCL excursions only and 3/4 of the excursions we are planning involve all 4 of us. There are maybe 2 during the entire cruise that DH and I can't bring the kids along because of age/height requirements. We may be gone from the ship for a maximum of 3 hours and then come back to get the kids for what we have planned next.

 

I would never leave them in AO for the entire day. Just wanted to make that clear.

 

Our kids didn't want to join us on the excursion we did. I think we did ours on the 3rd or 4th day and by then, they didn't even know we were gone. Once you are on the ship, you will know how they do with you leaving for extended periods. AO did feed them lunch and we tried to pick them up just after 2. They did not want to leave but that is the way they are with any cruise ship camp.

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It was a ships tour but the ships responsibility ends at drop off and the people chose to do some extra shopping.

 

I don't think I would recommend that route. Leave the shopping for another port if its close to departure.

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Well I have to say that I DID IT. I spend so much time on these boards trying to help people plan the most family friendly cruise...so this time (my kid's 7th cruise) we ran into a port where the kids wanted to do nothing off of the ship.

 

In Belize, the only option for my kids was cave tubing (they said NO WAY), the jungle boat and zoo (they said, but we have a ZOO here) and then ruins tours (they said, "no thanks we'll be on the ship if you need us")

 

So we decided to do a jungle ATV tour with our CC roll call group. My kids are too young for that (minimum age was 12).

 

So I started off Day 1 in Adventure Ocean grilling the counselors.

 

Here is how the conversation went...

 

Me: We are planning to do an excursion in Belize without the kids...do people leave their kids in Adventure Ocean?

 

AO counselor: Yes, all the time.

 

Me: So IF something happens and you need to contact me, do the AO cell phones work off the ship?

 

AO counselor: Nope

 

Me: So IF something happens, can you take my personal cell phone number and call me on it.

 

AO counselor: Nope. That's why you are signing the release papers today (during registration, everyone does it). In case of emergency, the Adeventure Ocean staff has the right to get emergency care for the kids without you being there.

 

Me: So what happens if there is an emergency, how will I know?

 

AO counselor: In case of emergency, ship's security is alerted. When you check back into the ship, your sea pass will flagged and security will meet you immediatly and update you on the situation.

 

and then the AO counselor added: Don't worry, we haven't lost anyone YET :eek:

 

So, what happened in our case?

 

We got off the ship at 10am for the excursion. We took the kids to Adventure Ocean and told the counselors that we would be OFF the ship.

 

We had an awesome time on the ATV tour. Something we had never done before as a couple because we always take our kids with us.

 

I get back to the ship and I hold my breath as I insert the sea pass card, just certain that something had gone wrong (yes I am a overprotective obsessive mama). Nothing happens with the card, no dire emergency.

 

So I go up to AO, certain the kids would be happy to see me and be waiting for me.

 

I stop for the 4 year old first. She is sitting on a stool, a cookie in one hand, juice box in the other...her feet swinging back and forth without a care in the world. She takes one look at me and says "MOM, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?" :rolleyes:

 

I say "Are you ok?"

 

She says "I just made a spongebob"

 

I said "Do you want to come out with mommy?"

 

She says "Noooooo. I want to stay here. You can go now!" :rolleyes: And she gives me a wave of her hand {like Queen Sheba or something} she waves ME OFF. :eek:

 

So dejected I head over to see my 8 year old, certain she'll want to come out with me. I open the door, she sees me, her face drains. :( She says "I don't have to leave now do I"

 

I said "You've been here all day. Don't you want to come out and go do something?????"

 

She says "Nope, come back in an hour"

 

So after all of my worry. Both of my kids shove me off. :eek:

 

I went back to the cabin and waited the hour to pick them up. So I assure you...YES parents do this all the time. I was one who was VERY concerned about doing it. But everything turned out fine. For my own sanity I had the cell phone numbers of some people who were still on the ship. So I knew if something happened to me, I could get ahold of someone on the ship.

 

So yes, it is possible to do it. The kids had a PIZZA PARTY in the Windjammer for lunch. I can't compete with that...lol. They were fed and very well cared for. Rest assured, the kids will be fine.

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we only went to Margaritaville (you can literally swim to the ship from the beach there if you had to!). We didn't even leave the security area of the pier. My kids REALLY wanted to go to AO instead of the beach. They were fine (they were 4 and 6 at the time and we had them in the same AO group).

 

The only issue is my ds's memory has failed him and he says now "I've never been to Jamaica", and I say "yes you have" and he says "No, you wouldn't let us get off the ship with you!" UGGG! So now when we leave in 5 weeks for AOS they will go on shore with us whether they want to or not!

 

Have fun!

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