Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

kitkat343

Members
  • Content Count

    1,967
  • Joined

About kitkat343

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    NYC

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. It's probably a very low risk that your ship would be caught in a quarantine. But those are really tough ages if if happens.
  2. We've done both the Baltics and Norway with small children. All the ports, with the exception of St. Petersburg and possibly Germany if you want to go all the way to Berlin can easily be toured by yourself, thanks to the excellent local public transport system (there is excellent public transport to Berlin, but it's far from the port and there's a lot of travel within Berlin so you'd need to decide yourself if it would be easier with a tour). The cruise line you chose doesn't matter nearly as much as the itinerary. Both are stunning in different ways - Norway has an enormous amount of gorgeous scenery, and the cities of the Baltics are amazing and easily accessible via cruise (except for Berlin).
  3. We did the baltics with a 3 year old in tow. You can absolutely do Tallin and Helsinki on your own (I haven't been to Visby). I'm not sure about your itinerary, but on a traditional Baltic cruise Tallin is usually the day before St. Petersburg. If this is the case, I'd recommend taking a very brief cab ride from the port to the top of Toompea hill and walking down. The beauty in Tallinn is wandering around which you can do going downhill, but just save your energy for St. Petersburg if it is the next day.
  4. I don't think this is what you are looking for now, but when your kids are older (we had car seats): - in Aruba, you can grab a taxi in the port, and go on a tour of the island. Philips animal garden is an amazing rescue center for animals who needed a home (they rescued a bunch from the Venezuela zoos, and you can feed them). Then you can go to a beautiful cave, and then visit a beach. - in Roatan, Bodden adventures can take you all over the island, and you can play with monkeys at Victor Bidden's house. The iguana zoo is excellent, as was the eco walk at south shore adventures (they also have zip lines if you want to send an adult separately). Roatan has gotten a lot safer, but is a port you want to book a tour ahead of time and know exactly where you are going. - in costa maya, native choice adventure runs a wonderful Mayan experience excursion where you visit a pyramid, and then have an authentic lunch cooked by Mayan grandmothers. They're great with kids. It's a long walk to the Native choice office (they recommend taking a cab if you have kids or disabled party members, but there were no cabs available when we exited the port). It is also a drive to the pyramid. - Santo Thomas, Guatemala - we really enjoyed our tour of the Rio Dulce with Go with Gus (they had some mixed reviews though so you might want to check again). We visited a local school, rode on a boat over the beautiful Rio Dulce, got to visit hot springs). - Belize - some kids might like cave tubing, but I wouldn't do that until they are older. The belize zoo is amazing, and great for children of all ages. - Jamaica - in Ocho Rios we went to Dolphin Cove, which is conveniently located right next to Dunns river falls (not great for young children, great for adults). Dolphin's cove is a lovely animal park, where you can swim or touch dolphins, feed lovebirds, swim with stingrays, and touch the animals in a touch tank. Scotchie's is a chain of delicious jerk chicken restaurants that is quite lovely. We had a private tour arranged here, so we didn't experience the vendors, but as you noted they are quite aggressive here if you aren't on a private tour that takes you to private excursions.
  5. If you are traveling on a closed loop cruise and the child is an American citizen and nothing goes wrong, you will be fine with just a birth certificate. If anything happens and you need to fly home, well, that's potentially a very difficulty problem as this family learned: https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/regional/florida/nicole-roman-mejias-florida-cruise-ship-passport/67-5bbe7d14-829e-4b84-8208-90053161bd20 . However, there was nothing preventing them from getting off the ship, getting their child medical attention and then applying for emergency passports so they could fly home.
  6. We were able to easily DIY copenhagen on our own, even with a 3 year old in tow. Public transport is wonderful there. You might want to take a canal cruise, as this is a very pleasant way to see the city. Try to find a warm, dry patch for that if possible.
  7. At 2.5, how well this will go really depends upon your kid. Some kids love to explore, and are really flexible about nap times and bedtimes, and separate easily from their parents. That's going to be a completely different experience than taking a 2.5 year old whose sleep routine gets disrupted if they are late for a nap and they become really cranky, or a child who can't be dropped off at the kids club. It might be too late for this, but if possible, please try to sail during the school year. The emptier the kids clubs are, the less overwhelming they will be and the more time the counselors should have for your kids. Princess allows children under 3 to attend the kids clubs under parental supervision, so that might be a nice compromise if a parent is fairly certain their child won't separate and needs a vacation and doesn't have grandparents to leave the children with. It's less of a break than a drop off program, but it was pretty easy in the kids club since the staff did the work of watching my son and I could just read a book. The kids club staff on Princess was great at helping my 2 year old son, bringing him art supplies or helping him with whatever activities he wanted to do. The staff on Cunard wasn't great with his younger sibling we we sailed when he was 2 years old, and they were really unmotivated to do their job, despite the kids clubs being nearly empty since we sailed during the school year and there were fewer than 10 kids on board. That 2 year old was used to daycare, so we just needed them to play with him for 5 minutes or so until he adjusted to the kids club. The staff initially tried to argue they were too busy to help him (at the time they argued they were busy there were two counselors and three children, which consisted of two older kids happily playing a game together and my 2 year old.) After we insisted they'd need to help our child, they did a better job, but it's stressful if the counselors are unmotivated. However, we've sailed Princess, HAL and NCL with kids, and the counselors on all the other lines were really motivated and helpful. But the quality of the counselors is hard to predict ahead of time, and will make an enormous difference in terms of whether a young child is likely to stay at the kids club (we were at Beaches Turks and Caicos when my oldest was 4, and the counselors were really struggling. A kid had gotten lost from the kids club a few weeks before we visited, and as I observed the kids club staff I immediately realized how that happened - when they led the older kids to lunch and other activities on the grounds outside of the kids club they had one counselor at the front of the line, and no adult in the back, so it was easy for a kid to get distracted by the beautiful grounds and exciting water rides and Sesame Street characters walking around.) My oldest was a very social kid, so he was just happy at the kids club playing with the other kids, but everywhere I went I met parents whose kids were happy in daycare but refused to stay in the kids clubs at Beaches because the counselors weren't very good. At 2.5 you have to be prepared for that possibility, and it sounds like you have the right attitude towards this. We needed a stroller, and used it to get around the ship/on excursions. You might want to scout out the location of the steward carts before heading out, since a stroller usually can't pass those in the hallway and sometimes you need to go different directions to have a clear path to the elevators. We found that private excursions for just our family worked better than ship ones, since we controlled the itinerary and could return to the ship if our kids melted down (which thankfully never happened). But if you're going to the beach, a ship excursion might be fine (we were doing a lot of city exploring, so the ability to stop and give our kid a break/stay longer where they were interested saved us a bunch of times). If you ship still uses cardboard cereal boxes, get a bunch of those for snacks in your room/on excursions in the buffet during breakfast. You can keep fruit and yogurt in your room, but I'm not sure if you are allowed to take sealed yogurt containers off the ship and you cannot take fruit off.
  8. People who have done ship tours in St. Petersburg have generally reported on these forums that they were happy with the quality of their tours. But you will be able to maximize your time at the amazing sights in a smaller group that has more flexibility. There are several private tour groups that all have very strong reviews, and you are likely to be very happy if you choose one of them. I wouldn't personally recommend a newer tour company in St. Petersburg, since they are responsible for obtaining your visa waiver but felt no concerns about using one of the major tour companies for our visit, even with our 3 year old.
  9. I'm sorry - it is extremely unlikely that a cruise line would allow a 12.5 year old into the teen club, because teen clubs often have less supervision than younger age kids clubs and if anything happened to her they'd be liable. It is possible they'd let the 14 year old age down, but it the 14 year old probably wouldn't be too happy being with preteens. How do the parents feel about letting the children go around the ship together?
  10. Concerns have also been raised that the crew isn't really in quarantine, which means that the virus could (and has been) spreading. I'd rather be in quarantine in military barracks where there is a better chance that the clock doesn't keep getting reset because the virus keeps spreading, with access to strong medical care (there is strong medical care available in Japan, but passengers from this ship have reported not being happy with their care. I don't know how valid this concern is)
  11. This was an interview with an American passenger whose wife tested positive. Thankfully, she seems okay and hopefully they will be reunited soon: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/quarantined-cruise-ship-american-diagnosed-with-coronavirus.html#comments And best wishes to kip6 and all the others onboard with you!
  12. I'd need to hold off booking for awhile, because we travel with our 9, 4 and 1 year old, and if we were quarantined in our room for weeks things would not go very well. And I hope that there are no small children on this sailing. But if I didn't have kids, I'd be fine with cruising right now to the Caribbean or Europe.
  13. Sorry - should have been clear - in general Princess ships don't have as many splashy kids activities like bumper cars, but when I said they have strong onboard activities I meant that in Alaska they bring a lot of interesting experiences on board for people to experience (playing with puppies on board, in the past bringing naturalists to the kids club to teach them about the animals of Alaska). If you have a preteen who is fascinated by Alaska, it might be enough. If they aren't fascinated by Alaska, you might want to consider more preteen friendly lines. My children are younger, so Princess has been great so far but I can see a day where they might be happier on a new RC/NCL ship with all the fancy kids amenities.
  14. I hate to move you again, but if you don't get a lot of responses here you might want to consider also posting your question in the Alaska forum. In general, I believe that HAL and Princess have historically been the two strongest lines for Alaska. Princess, although not your favorite, is a very good choice for young children, since they have an excellent kids club and strong onboard activities (playing with puppies on board, in the past bring naturalist to the kids club to teach them about the animals of Alaska.) 10 is a tough age, since it is getting closer to where you want to be on a newer RC/NCL ship with things like rock climbing, bumper cars and other exciting amenities. But you know your grandchild - are they excited by the thought of visiting Alaska? Everyone told us we were insane to bring a 3 year old on a Baltic cruise, and he loved every minute of it. The highlights of the cruise for him were the Vasa and St. Petersburg (and we took a standard tour to all the museums in St. Petersburg) so it depends on your kid. IF you have a child who is genuinely excited about Alaska, I'd recommend HAL or Princess but if the child isn't that excited about this vacation, I'd look for a more preteen friendly line. I visited Alaska 10 years ago, so the other lines (RC or NCL) might have more experience and people might be happier with them now. 10 years ago, the general consensus on the Alaska board was to go for HAL or Princess because they had the Panamax ships that could get closer to the glaciers, and did a good job there. But you might want to get more up to date recommendations on that board. There were a ton of kids on the Princess sailing which left in mid May even in the shoulder season prior to schools letting out, so I wouldn't worry about a lack of kids on the ship.
  15. It's no guarantee, but if you sail during the school year on an itinerary that doesn't normally attract a lot of children, all the youngish kids are likely to be grouped together. We sailed to the Panama Canal leaving on January 10th, sailed to Norway from Southampton in mid-May (the British schools heavily fine parents for missing school, and British schools were still in session at that point) and traveled to Guatemala and Honduras and Costa Maya on HAL in late January. On those three cruises which were each different lines (Princess, Cunard and HAL) all of the children under 13 were grouped together since there were about 10 kids on each of those sailings. There is no guarantee, but I believe that it is unlikely that there would be strict age grouping if there were only 2 or 3 kids in each age range. On our summer cruises when schools were out (Baltics, Alaska) there was strict age grouping and a ton of kids. It might be possible for your 7 year old to be moved down to a 3-6 year old group, but they might find that really boring and resent being the oldest child in that group. Your best bet is to ask the kids club staff politely when there are no other parents around, and they may choose to accommodate you, but there is no guarantee that a child will be moved to a different age group (you are more likely to get permission for a kid go down than up)
×
×
  • Create New...