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Cruising with 2 small children--accomodations & longer stays in port

Cruising with 2 small children--accomodations & longer stays in port

Jan 18th, 2009, 06:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 15
Cruising with 2 small children--accomodations & longer stays in port

We are looking at cruising with our 2 small kids (toddlers). Are there any cruise lines that are better with kids (besides Disney obviously)?

Our kids are little so we really need accomodations on a ship that allow for a separate bedroom for naps--has anyone stayed in something like this on a ship and which ship/line?

Also we cruised once and pretty much hated it, but want to try it again. We just didn't like being on the boat so much and then having such little time in port. Are there any cruises you have been on that have stayed in port a little longer?

We saw one cruise that goes to the Bahamas (4 day). You leave at night and wake up in the Bahamas. Then you are in the Bahamas all day and leave at night again to wake up in another part of the Bahamas. Then you leave at night again to wake up back in Miami. This sounds more like what we would want. Have you been on anything similar or a cruise that just goes to one destination?

Thanks for your suggestions!
Sommer76 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 08:15 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 79
We recently cruised to the Bahamas on a similar cruise to what you are suggesting and if it hadn't been for poor weather, we would have had more time in port. We missed one island because the waves were too great to tender safely.

We cruise as a family and when the kids were younger, we simply napped together in interior cabins. It is sooo dark that it is very easy to nap. ;-)

We have sailed on both Carnival and Royal Caribbean with kids and both had great activities for kids. Keep in mind that many cruise lines charge extra though for evening care after a certain hour - 10 pm perhaps?
And they prefer that you eat with your child - some of them even close during the dinner hour...

Check with the cruise lines.
explorefamily is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,210
It was explained to us by someone pretending to be knowledgeable (maybe they were) that most cruiselines have port contracts that require them to leave late afternoon/early evening in most ports.

As far as longer in one port - we did a Boston-Bermuda cruise (NCL, also goes from NYC and maybe Charleston) that spent 4 nights in one place in Bermuda. Woudl that work for you?

Regarding "separate bedroom" - even suites, unless they are the massive ones, don't actually have separate bedrooms. You could do 2 connecting cabins - some ships have these, some do not, but you will end up paying almost the cost of 4 adults for that arrangement. Another option is a balcony - the adult in the cabin can park him/herself on the balcony with a book during nap time. Or just take a nap with the kids - one of my favorite cruise activities is napping.
gail is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 02:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
How old are your toddlers? On most lines there is an age they have to be to partake of the 'kid's club'. Depends on the line, that age is usually 2 or 3. They also like then toilet trained but if they're not, a parent has to come change them.I think Disney takes them younger. They don't nap there, you'd have to take them back to your cabin. Baby sitting in the evening is a group slumber party often over by 10pm.
Having connecting cabins would work for naps. Balcony cabins often have a sleeper sofa and one bunk.
I would suggets you also take a stroller for both the ship and going ashore.Would they nap/fall asleep in the stroller? I don't know what kind of excursions ships have that toddlers can go on. Cabs/buses do not have infant seats if you want to go anywhere.You have to put toddlers in your lap.
The Bahamas are very close so you'd get to spend the whole day ashore but there is usually one day at sea. Read a good book, go to the pool games, etc. on those days.
Any chance you could leave the toddlers home? You would enjoy the cruise so much more!
bonniejns is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,150
Actually, NCL has suites that have a separate attached inside cabin (with is own bath and bunk beds). This is an expensive option, but it's an ideal one if you want the kids to have a separate room that is still within yours. Plus, the "adult" areas of these cabins are just fabulous and has a nice balcony. I'd recommend this, but realize that it's more expensive than a regular cabin plus an inside cabin. NCL does cruises to the Bahamas from New Yor, but you still spend just a day in each port, though you stay late in Nassau (and you could do a day at the Atlantis water park by booking a day room at the Comfort Suites, which gives you 4 free passes to use the Atlantis facilities ... not cheap but a good deal for families, though it does not include food/drinks).

I would not recommend a short 3- or 4-night cruise for you because these cruises are actually pretty fast-paced and more party-oriented. They are also generally on smaller, older ships that won't have the "wow" facilities of a big new cruise ship.

One of the giant Royal Caribbean ships might suit you since you'll have many different onboard activities and recreational facilities for the kids.

But only Carnival will changes diapers; most kids programs require parents to be on constant call to do diaper changes if the kids aren't potty trained yet. And small kids in swim diapers can't always use the ship's pools.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,210
Just reread this - especially part about hating past cruise but wanting to try it again.

The way to get to enjoy a cruise is NOT to go with 2 small rugrats. Accomodations are tight, places to crawl and run without annoying others or worrying about them falling overboard limited, formal dinners tough with little ones. And forget shows, bars, napping and reading by the pool - all things many like about cruises.

I might wait until they are old enough to enjoy some time in the kids club arrangement and when they can use the pool.

gail is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 79
I think I would tend to agree with the last poster...

The older kids tend to enjoy the cruises more because they can do their thing while you do yours. On our last cruise, we sat by a large family and they had 3 young children with them and those kids screamed through each and every dinner... because they simply wanted to be down away from the table when they were done with their nuggets and their parents and grandparents wanted to 'enjoy' a lovely meal... all the courses! It made for a very unpleasant atmosphere in the dining room... and for those youngsters.

When our kids were young, we would visit big cities that had a zoo, aquarium, and children's museum as well as parks - like Atlanta, Charlotte, Boston, Raleigh, or Philadelphia. Just stay at a nice hotel! ;-)
explorefamily is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 06:55 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 15
Thank you for the ideas/suggestions. We are definitely rethinking the cruising thing. We thought the kids would really enjoy the boating experience--especially our almost 4 year old, but the accomodations just don't seem suited to our family at this point (unless we pay alot more money). I think they would be great when they get a little older and we can all sleep in one room.
Sommer76 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 351
I am 73 and have several grandchildren. I still remember taking my children to the shore in a small cottage when they were very young. It was pretty grim, sitting in a small room all evening trying to get them settled in. I am not one who feels that young children should always go where adults go. They aren't ready and adults aren't amused by other people's kids, even when being pushed around in massive strollers. Either leave the kids at home or take the cruise when the kids are several years older. I promise you that if you take the cruise with the kids now, you will hate cruises forever. And that would be a shame
Aristotle is offline  
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