Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Sign in to follow this  
Jeremiah On a Cruise

Lots of Questions about the Fun Factory

Recommended Posts

We have done a handful of cruises, but our first cruise with our kids (six and eight) is coming up in a few weeks for an Alaskan Cruise on the Eclipse - and we are running into a lot of questions but not a lot of information about cruising with kids.  We plan to strongly encourage the Fun Factory early in the cruise, and then let them dictate where to go after that.

 

I welcome any thoughts you have on these questions:

 

1 - What do we need to do in advance to get the kids enrolled in Fun Factory?  Is that automatically done based on age? 

2 - I'm pretty confused on Kids VIP pass.  Is that basically a pass that lets you use the kids club without worrying about the hourly rate?  Does it cover things like the slumber party?  Is that purchased on board?

3 - Will the kids club facilitate the kids 6 and 8 going to the basketball court?  The arcade?  Shows?  Pools?

4 - The X website cites "family events" such as archery tournaments, cupcake decorating, etc.  Are these family events included in the patter?  If so, does the patter call them out as a family event?   Does the Fun Factory have their own schedule that is available?

5 - With the VIP pass and signing up in advance (or with additional charges), my read is that the Kids club is open 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM and is only closed 12-2 on sea days.  Is this correct?

6- Our kids are social, but occasionally need some quiet time to draw or watch TV.  Does the Fun Factory facilitate this, or should we pack drawing supplies/movies/etc?

7- Does the kids space have access to a balcony or railing? 

8- Do you find any of the production shows inappropriate for young kids (6-8)? 

9- What's the etiquette in the MDR?  Our kids are normally good in restaurants, but we also pick kid-friendly restaurants at home.  I don't think of MDRs as especially kid-friendly and it's very important to me that we not disrupt other passengers.  If they start to get riled up, is leaving early and having the ordered food delivered to our room an option?  

10 - Does the ship offer pool toys such as kick boards or anything like that?  If not, is it common or accepted for us to bring them?  On a related note, does Celebrity offer lifeguards at any of the pools?

11 - What else should I know, or can I do to help our kids have an awesome time?  I've heard the first night is vital as an icebreaker, but anything else that we can do to help our kids have the time of their lives?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last summer we had 2 kids, 7 and 10 years old, on the Solstice in Alaska. I can answer some of your questions based on that trip.

 

1 - What do we need to do in advance to get the kids enrolled in Fun Factory?  Is that automatically done based on age? 

 

Go to the Fun Factory on the first day in the afternoon after boarding and fill out a form. You can do it later but they're all set up for sign ups at that time.

 

2 - I'm pretty confused on Kids VIP pass.  Is that basically a pass that lets you use the kids club without worrying about the hourly rate?  Does it cover things like the slumber party?  Is that purchased on board?

 

The VIP pass basically gets you all the meal time care and late night (slumber party) care that you want for a discounted price. You purchase it on board. There is never a charge for the kids club from opening-12pm, 2-5pm, and 7-10pm. There is never a charge for dinner on sea days or when you sail before 5pm. Unless you plan to leave your kids for every lunch and late night time, it's probably not worth it!

 

3 - Will the kids club facilitate the kids 6 and 8 going to the basketball court?  The arcade?  Shows?  Pools?

 

The 6-8 year old group did not leave the kids club except for meals and afternoon ice cream at the buffet. They do not escort your kids to or supervise them at any of the places you named.

 

4 - The X website cites "family events" such as archery tournaments, cupcake decorating, etc.  Are these family events included in the patter?  If so, does the patter call them out as a family event?   Does the Fun Factory have their own schedule that is available?

 

Nothing that exciting happened on our cruise! There were events like family games listed on the schedule and yes, the Fun Factory has it's own schedule that they will give you when you sign up on the first day.

 

5 - With the VIP pass and signing up in advance (or with additional charges), my read is that the Kids club is open 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM and is only closed 12-2 on sea days.  Is this correct?

 

Basically. The actual kids club space is closed and locked every day from 12-2 and 5-7, you cannot drop off or pick up during those hours as they are in the buffet eating. Also, you are not allowed to leave your kids for more than 6 hours before taking them away for at least 1 hour.

 

6- Our kids are social, but occasionally need some quiet time to draw or watch TV.  Does the Fun Factory facilitate this, or should we pack drawing supplies/movies/etc?

 

According to the 7 year old, if there was a special activity scheduled they had to do that activity. When no special activity was scheduled, they could choose what to do (read, color, play board games or video games, watch tv). She doesn't think they could choose what was on the tv. 

 

7- Does the kids space have access to a balcony or railing? 

 

Not on the Solstice.

 

8- Do you find any of the production shows inappropriate for young kids (6-8)? 

 

We only went to the naturalist talks which the 7 year old loved but the 9 year old was bored!

 

9- What's the etiquette in the MDR?  Our kids are normally good in restaurants, but we also pick kid-friendly restaurants at home.  I don't think of MDRs as especially kid-friendly and it's very important to me that we not disrupt other passengers.  If they start to get riled up, is leaving early and having the ordered food delivered to our room an option?  

 

The MDR is not kid friendly in the sense that they are expected to have proper dining manners and not be a disruption. There is a good kids menu and they can always order off the regular menu, too. I'm not sure if they can deliver the food on the table to your room, but room service is always an option. Our kids are used to dining with adults and had no problem with behavior but we did make sure to have books or electronics to keep them occupied since it was well over an hour before we got to dessert!

 

10 - Does the ship offer pool toys such as kick boards or anything like that?  If not, is it common or accepted for us to bring them?  On a related note, does Celebrity offer lifeguards at any of the pools?

 

Sorry, we did not use the pool. I don't remember seeing pool toys.

 

11 - What else should I know, or can I do to help our kids have an awesome time?  I've heard the first night is vital as an icebreaker, but anything else that we can do to help our kids have the time of their lives?

 

Our kids loved the cruise and can't wait to go again. However, they are the sort that don't need (or in the case of the 7 year old, don't want) large, loud groups of kids playing on water slides or running amok. One of the highlights for the 7 year old was sitting in the observation lounge looking out at the ocean while reading or playing handheld video games and occasionally spotting orcas. The 9 year old spent A LOT of time in the kids club. Depending on your kids personalities, my only advice is to let them decide if they want to stay in the kids club or relax with you in other locations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

I can't answer anything specific about Fun Factory, since my kid's haven't attended in a few years. However, we cruised a lot with our kids and I can give you some general advice.

 

1 - What do we need to do in advance to get the kids enrolled in Fun Factory?  Is that automatically done based on age? 

Your kids will get special wrist bands with their muster station as you come onto the ship and information about when/where to do the signup will be there - and also in the daily schedule. You won't miss it!

 

2 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

 

4 - The X website cites "family events" such as archery tournaments, cupcake decorating, etc.  Are these family events included in the patter?  If so, does the patter call them out as a family event?   Does the Fun Factory have their own schedule that is available?

In my experience, every cruise line not only has the events for the day posted at the club, but also there is a separate list of events for kids that gets delivered to your cabin in addition to your daily schedule. I think the events vary depending on the number of kids in the club but my kids have done everything from "talent" shows to scavenger hunts to video game competitions. 

 

2 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

 

8- Do you find any of the production shows inappropriate for young kids (6-8)? 

One of my kids never liked the shows so he would go to the club. But the other loved the shows and thought it was a treat to go with us. I have never seen a production show that was inappropriate for a child that age except the comedian. However, if your kid is not a sit-still kind of kid the people around you might get annoyed - so sit in the back.

 

2 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

9- What's the etiquette in the MDR?  Our kids are normally good in restaurants, but we also pick kid-friendly restaurants at home.  I don't think of MDRs as especially kid-friendly and it's very important to me that we not disrupt other passengers.  If they start to get riled up, is leaving early and having the ordered food delivered to our room an option?  

The MDR is loud, so unless your child is a screamer most people won't be too annoyed. However, it's so crowded and busy kids have to remain seated. One of the last cruises I was on a family let their 3-4 year old wander and the waiters were none too happy. However, we found that the waiters are very kind to children and really look out for them. They bring the kid's food right away to accommodate them. Because dinner service lasts a long time, we would do early dining, let the kids eat off the the kid's menu, and then one of us would take them up to the club when it opened at 7 and come back and finish. Sometimes the kids preferred that. Also, at least once every cruise we would take them to the buffet early and have dinner at a specialty restaurant once they were in the club.

 

2 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

10 - Does the ship offer pool toys such as kick boards or anything like that?  If not, is it common or accepted for us to bring them?  On a related note, does Celebrity offer lifeguards at any of the pools?

On RCCL they have racks of swim vests for kids. I don't remember seeing that when I was on the Infinity earlier this year. And I doubt that they offer any pool toys. The pools just aren't big enough.

 

2 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

11 - What else should I know, or can I do to help our kids have an awesome time?  I've heard the first night is vital as an icebreaker, but anything else that we can do to help our kids have the time of their lives?

Remember that the staff in the club are paid to keep your kids happy and treat them well. We never had an issue (except once on HAL) with the staff in a club. My kids always felt special. They work hard to include everyone and keep them engaged. My kids are not "joiners" and were always pretty shy with other kids, but they loved going to the club. Expect that after a few days the kids might want to take some time off and not go every hour that it's open. We also never left them while we went ashore - I am admittedly overprotective and never felt comfortable doing that. But I always trusted the staff - even when they went on an adventure around the ship or up to the buffet they were very careful with the kids safety. Your kids are the perfect age to enjoy the cruise and the best part is you get some alone time too. Best of all worlds! Have fun!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

We have done a handful of cruises, but our first cruise with our kids (six and eight) is coming up in a few weeks for an Alaskan Cruise on the Eclipse - and we are running into a lot of questions but not a lot of information about cruising with kids... 

 

For more information about cruising with your kids, you may want to research the Family Cruises forum at https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/28-family-cruises/.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, the VIP thing will give them a few special field trips. When mine had it, they spent time in the theater backstage, got to go visit the bridge, and one more.  Also, if there is a special event, the fun factory will take them too.  For example, we had a “kiss the fish” party as we crossed into the arctic circle and the kids went with kids club instead of us (we were not as cool to hang out with as the fun factory girls). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...