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mklions

Advice travelling with children and a toddler

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Hi All,

 

My wife and I are cruising with our two children their partners and our three grandchildren as a party of nine next month. Sailing on Jewel of the Seas around the Emirates for a week.

 

On booking we requested 3 balcony rooms together, only to find we have been assigned 3 balcony cabins on three different decks!.

 

Spoke to our TA today and they have said because we booked on a "guarantee basis" they have no control on cabin selections. So a bit disappointed in this, as it would be nice to have joining cabins and feel a bit annoyed that our request has been overlooked.

 

My other questions is about dinning with children in the MDR do they have a area for families in the MDR? Our grandchildren are 6,4 and 18 months and although relatively well behaved in general they do get fidgety after a while, and I would hate them to disrupt other dinners.

 

It is our first cruise with children and any advice would be very much appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Mklions...

 

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1 minute ago, mklions said:

So a bit disappointed in this, as it would be nice to have joining cabins and feel a bit annoyed that our request has been overlooked.

You can't request, nor should you expect to EVER get cabins next to each other on a GTY booking.

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We cruised last week with a one and a half year old and a four year old. We ended up doing all but one meal in the windjammer. The one night we did in the dining room went fine and my kids are used to going out to dinner so weren’t as antsy as I was afraid they’d be but overall I still preferred being able to set my own pace (i.e. fast) at the windjammer. As for the main dining room the waiter was wonderful and brought out fruit for the kids immediately without me even having to ask which kept them occupied until the next course. I also feel like they moved quicker then they did the previous month when it was just Dh and I. I think in general they know what to expect with kids and try to do what they can to make things go as seamless as possible for the benefit of all the diners however at the end of the day the parents need to take the responsibility and be able to judge if the kid maybe needs an added distraction or needs to be excused early. Maybe do dinner there and dessert at the windjammer to shorten the sitting time and break it up for the kids.

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Usually a Family Main Dining is offered. It's Early, they bring food sooner to kids but set up mainly for kids going to kids program sooner. Single Dad raised 3 kids(2-8) and up. Took them on several Cruises by myself always had good time on Royal, kids were offered good selections. Now do it again I'd probably take them to Wind Jammer instead, great selection there for Dinner's. 

Edited by ONECRUISER

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Your TA should’ve explained guarantee to you, you have no input whatsoever about cabin location. No diapered kids in the pools. Bring a blow up tub if the toddler doesn’t do showers.

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54 minutes ago, mjkacmom said:

Your TA should’ve explained guarantee to you, you have no input whatsoever about cabin location. No diapered kids in the pools. Bring a blow up tub if the toddler doesn’t do showers.

Some ships have a little something for the diapered ones. Anthem had a little ankle deep area with a fountain type thing in it for kids in swim diapers.

 

 

 

edit: ignore me. I missed that op stated the ship.

Edited by CruiseBride926

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1 hour ago, mklions said:

Hi All,

 

My wife and I are cruising with our two children their partners and our three grandchildren as a party of nine next month. Sailing on Jewel of the Seas around the Emirates for a week.

 

On booking we requested 3 balcony rooms together, only to find we have been assigned 3 balcony cabins on three different decks!.

 

Spoke to our TA today and they have said because we booked on a "guarantee basis" they have no control on cabin selections. So a bit disappointed in this, as it would be nice to have joining cabins and feel a bit annoyed that our request has been overlooked.

 

My other questions is about dinning with children in the MDR do they have a area for families in the MDR? Our grandchildren are 6,4 and 18 months and although relatively well behaved in general they do get fidgety after a while, and I would hate them to disrupt other dinners.

 

It is our first cruise with children and any advice would be very much appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Mklions...

 

 

Sounds like you are not getting good advice from your travel agent. A guarantee cabin can be anywhere - pretty much the leftovers that no one has booked - that’s why they are cheaper. TA should have explained. 

 

Again, TA should have booked you in to first or second seating for dinner in the MDR; or My Time Dining.  Would recommend first seating if you have young children; second seating is usually too late for kids.  There is no special section in the dining room, but you can request your own table. My Time Dining you can eat at different times each evening and make a reservation, or just show up.  

 

 

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We have done two family cruises with 20 month old and up grandchildren.  We just booked Thanksgiving 2021 on Oasis for 15.  My advice is "be flexible" and don't stress it.  It's all about the memories and the best ones are watching the little ones being exposed to travel and different experiences.  

My rule is day time we all do whatever we want.  We try to meet for dinner every night or at least every other night in the MDR.  Wait staff has always been phenomenal.  After the first night they had food on the table for the little ones within minutes of sitting down.  When we could we had the little ones eat and then a parent took them to a "holding" facility.   

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if its any consolation, Jewel balcony partitions cannot be opened, so you can chat around the end of the partition, but not open and have connected space/access. 

 

I too thought I would want nearby / adjacent rooms..., but in practice, my one big family cruise ended up with us scattered a fair bit due to upgrades and such. A little separation/space was probably a good thing.  I know my kids appreciated the bit of privacy.  

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15 minutes ago, Doug S said:

A little separation/space was probably a good thing.  I know my kids appreciated the bit of privacy.  

 Been our experience also.  

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We have had great experiences with the dining staff in the MDR. I think we also lucked out and had waiters who also had kids. Some nights it seemed like the kids got more attention than us, which is fine, it allowed us to enjoy our meals. They definitely move quicker with kids at the table and on a rough night they brought out cookies before dinner. (Did ask us first.)
A few nights one of us would leave early, as with most things with young kids, things don’t always work out as planned and you just improvise. 

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Sounds like your travel agent is NOT doing their job in explaining things and providing you with what you need.

Make sure that the travel agent has all your rooms LINKED for dinner together, if that's what you want -- otherwise you'll all be at different tables spread all over the dining room.

Also make sure that the travel agent has all your rooms set up for EARLY SEATING for dinner, unless your grandkids are used to eating at 8:30pm.  

When you get on board, make sure that you're all listed with the same table number (if you linked the reservations to eat together), then go to the dining room early in the day and make sure that the table works for your needs (location, accessiblity, etc.).  Let the Maitre D' know at that time the numbers and ages of the grands and if you need high chairs, booster seats, etc., so the table can be prepared accordingly and you're not scrambling to get things fixed at dinnertime.

Confirm the bed types in each room -- do you need a portable crib for the toddler?  Put in a request through Special Needs now.  Ditto if you need bedrails to keep the older kids from falling out of bed.  If a child will be sleeping in a pullman bed, does that work for that child?  (My son loved his pullman beds at 3yo and 4yo [the room steward put up an additional bedrail] -- other kids would be freaked out by them.)  

Bring some little toys and trinkets for the kids and pull them out if they're getting antsy.  Bubbles are great on balconies or the pool/sun deck.  Cars, coloring books, action figures, glow sticks, activity books -- all kinds of small and inexpensive things can be pulled out of a bag to keep little hands occupied.

Look through the Cruise Compass for each day and take the kids to activities you think they would enjoy, and avoid areas that would not be kid-fun. 

Take lots of pictures and make lots of memories -- they're not going to be little much longer!

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Everyone has given  you good advice about guarantees, you can not request anything but a room type, so if you buy a balcony you may get an obstructed view balcony. You will (almost) never get connecting rooms unless you book a year or so in advance. Your idea of it being nice with family groups is why they are the first to go. The likelihood of getting them last-minute is slime.

 

There is a family message board. Search topics there. Lots of great advice.

 

I will be on the same trip in March, my twins are 7, but traveled a lot including your age ranges. The 18 month old can attend playtime with you with toys to borrow, but the older two (I assume the 4 year old is potty trained) can attend the kids club during opening hours, usually 9-12,2-5, and 7-10pm ( they close for lunch and dinner typically, but do have some additional  pay or sign up in advance( during meal hours) times. Go the first day so it is easier to make friends for the kids. How much they like it depends on how independent ( read attached to mom and dad), and the kids personalities.

 

The rooms are small. Don't let the kids being a lot of toys or toys with small parts which get lost easily.

 

If they hate showers get a small blow up tub from Amazon ( only good for the baby, but he/she may be too big already.

 

If your kids can sit through a restaurant meal at home, they can on the ship. There is no family area. You know the meltdown signs, remove them before or if they start, from the dining room.  I think people worry needlessly about this, kids act up, but unless you let them scream for hours no one else is paying attention to you and your kids.

 

The best advice is DO NOT SKIP THE NAP. The wrath of a tired preschooler or toddler is not pretty. The six year old will benefit from a nap (rest), too. This is a nice time to read on your balcony.  Mine can eat at 10pm on vacation but between 1-3 until the last two years they always ( and recently did on our last trip) took a two hour or more nap. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for all the great advice and tips, you can always rely on cruise critic members to come up trumps when needed.

I now feel confident that our family will have a fantastic cruise.

kind regards,

mklions

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