View Full Version : Very disappointed withe the kid's programming
11-14-2001, 12:23 AM
First, we are as much Disney fanatics as most anyone out there. So we were really looking forward to the 4 night cruise on the Wonder. But as hard as it is to believe, the kid's programming (we have a 5 year old and an 8 year old) is very lame. They had 3 - 4 true activities each day lasting about an hour each. The rest of the day, we and our kids felt it was glorified babysitting - the kids got the run of the 2 rooms dedicated to the kids, but there was no structure or leadership. And as much as Disney says there's almost an entire deck for the kids, they seemed compelled to move them all over the ship for most events and meals. Between taking roll call before and after the moves and the actual moving of dozens of kids several decks for each event, there was barely any time for the few interesting programs. For example, the kids rooms are on deck 5. They have to get them up to deck 9 for meals and then back again. Why not bring the food to the kids?! And many of the programs they talk about on their website are for the 7 night cruise only. We were on the 4 night and rather than have those interesting programs, the kids had the chance to watch movies. Wow!
I have heard that Royal Caribbean has a very good program. We didn't have any friends that went on the Disney cruise yet, but we figured they had to be the best. We learned a lesson and will be trying RC on next year's cruise. If you and your kids are looking for an intensive program that will keep your kids active and interested, our experience with the Disney program (our first cruise) shows you'll be disappointed.
11-14-2001, 12:37 AM
Hi dmdeitz, and welcome to the Cruise Board. :)
I'm sorry you were disappointed with the children's programming. You're right that there are less activities on the 4-night cruise than the 7-night; with the 7-night there are three sea days so they beef up the programming.
My 8-year-old will be taking her 4th cruise with Disney in December and she absolutely loves the programming. The "free time" to just play with the toys, games, computers, etc. is actually just as important (and fun!) to her as the structured activities. We literally have to drag her out of the kid's clubs. :)
They do move the kids around quite a bit to give them variety, and because of food handling and safety issues they have to feed them in the buffet (the kid's clubs don't have the proper food handling equipment).
Overall we continue to choose Disney in large part due to the extensive kid's programming and hours that it is offered. You won't find many cruise lines with programs open from 9:00 am till midnight or 1:00 am, or that will feed kids in the program.
To each their own, though, and good luck with your future cruises! :)
11-14-2001, 10:20 AM
THE DISNEY KIDS Program is terrible on the 3 day Wonder for older kids 7-12yrs old (our 2nd cruise) . My kids DD 8 and dd10 hated it. (Both times) They loved the RCL kids program and have many memories. No memories of the DCL kids program..... I't lame
Case in point lots of FREE time, meal time, and going to and from activities. No real substance.
Whats up with that DISNEY?
I really like DCL but did not want this to hamper things, besides
It is really a babysitter service. Kids this age want activities.
the girls are getting older and don't really need to be monitored full time. We bought the Family radios and let the girls have the run of the ship. They would turn off the radios in the movies and call us when it was over. Actually we spent a lot of time with them and found they got tired by 9:30 or 10:00pm and they went to sleep in the cabin. We would go sit up on deck and if they needed something they would use the radio. We ran into the herds of kids from the clubs going to and from their activities. Most looked really tired!
On RCL they encouraged the kids to attend and even gave prizes for attendance. It was more personal and smaller groups. DCL is a mass herd, case in point the line out of beach balnket of kids spans from deck 9 to deck 5 going to and from dinner on the stair case. Many people drop their kids off full time in the program and go off and have their own time. During the day I found I wanted to spend time with my kids. Aside from SPA time it did not seem necessary for the kids to be in the program although it appeared full!.
6yr to 12. Toddlers are a whole different story. Movies and videos and most of them are happy with that! Mom and Dad usually need the break!.
Bottom line the kids are the judge of this and these are their comments. I had wished they would have enjoyed the program more and given us more free time... but I was not going to force them into the program.
11-14-2001, 12:17 PM
I don't know about Disney cruises yet. But we sailed on the RCCL Voyager last November and were very unhappy with the kids program on that ship. Because the Voyager was so large there were hundreds of kids. The Voyager's kids area is pretty to look at but very small in space. And the counselors were unmotivated and whenever I went in to check on my kids they were all seated up front talking while the kids played in the rear of the room. They did have some fun activities around the ship and the younger kids (5 to 8) really seemed to enjoy the dress-up and singing activities. But my 10 year old was bored.
I think that the 10 to 12 year old crowd is a hard sell. They are not old enough to really explore the ship unattended but they are too old to be happy with movies, singing and make-believe play time.
11-14-2001, 12:32 PM
My son sailed at ages 10 and 12.
He was happier as a 10 yr old but enjoyed it both trips.
He liked the free time to play on the computers and other activities! We let him decide when he wanted to be in the lab and he was there almost all the time! We made him come to a couple of dinners but he chose to stay with the kids for most meals!
We also had to make him come with us to the islands. I felt seeing Nassau, St Thomas, and St Martin were learning experiences he shouldn't miss but given his choice he would have stayed on board. We all hated Nassau but he agrees that he was glad he saw St Thomas and St Martin.
We were very pleased with the DCL kids program.
11-14-2001, 01:55 PM
Just returned from the 11/4 Wonder and I think that weather or not your kids enjoy the programming has to do with their age and maturity level.
My 3 yr old loved hanging around with the "big kids". The counselors made a big fuss over her and while she didn't spend alot of time there-she really liked it.
My son, 7 was a different story. He was the oldest age they have in the club, and he normally plays with kids a little older than him, so he wasn't real happy to get his picture taked hugging Tigger. With him we were more careful to send him when there was an activity he would enjoy or if they were going to the lab were he could make Flubber or play on the computer.
My daughter 10 liked the lab and just hanging out and playing board games with the kids she met. Some events that looked like fun, like the pool party one evening were cancelled because of the bad weather which was dissappointing, but she kept busy doing things with us or going to movies, etc.
Not every kid is going to love the clubs, but they have a very friendly staff and took good care fo the kids.
11-26-2001, 04:24 PM
The facilities were incredible, as were the size of the space. But, from listening to my DS(8) the planned activities were not that interesting. We sailed on Royal Caribbean over the summer and while the space was quite small, they had a lot of interesting activities - pillow case coloring, "sleepovers", pirate night etc.
11-26-2001, 05:02 PM
Unfortunatly I have to agree with the childrens programming for the 10-12s. My DD has been in the 6-8's in 99, 8-9 in 00 and in the 10-12s in 01. She loved the club but when she moved up to the lab she did not enjoy it nearly as much. It is good thing that every time we cruise my SIL's family and the twiceasnice twins have gone!
When DD was in club they did really neat activities such as have a pajama party and decorate pillow cases that they got to take with them- Tigger and lots of characters showed up without waiting in lines- took pics with each child and the child would decorate the frame and got to take the pic and frame home- they got really cute lunch bags and sports bottles, etc. There was always something neat going on- I did let her pick and choose what activities she wanted to do- she didn't go all day and night!
When she moved up to the lab, they had much more free time to play computers, listen to music, play with legos, etc. That is fine BUT she can do that at home. The activities that they did plan were cancelled or did not go as planned. The private pool party was in the Mickey pool where you really can't swim- I know the slide is fun but not at night when it is cool and you are wearing a bathing suit waiting for a turn! She and my DN and the twins played on their own most of the time. AND how many times can one kid make flubber!
We are going on #4 May 25, 2002 but I have no plans for her to go to the lab unless they make some changes.
I went on the four day cruise in April and My 10 year and 12 year old ( girl) had a blast. They never ate with us because they were too busy in the lab doing activities or playing. My kids are bugging us on when we will go on the next cruise. They also meet alot of friends that they still stay in contact with by e-mail. I thienk the activities for the kids on the DISNEY CRUISE are great. JP:bounce: :pinkbounc ;) :D :cool:
12-12-2001, 10:01 AM
Yes, the ships are beautiful. It's how they run the ship / kid's program that I take issue with. I'd love to know if those that said their kid's enjoyed the club and lab - would you say your kids need / want / like an intensive program or are they more independent? i.e. Put them in that well stocked, very interesting room with other kids and they are in heaven? Or do they prefer / need / want a structured environment with activities, leadership, goals, etc. I feel the cruise provides the former and my kids (and others that took issue with the program) seem to want the latter.
I say that the cruise could do both - the desks are staffed all the time. Let the kids that want to read, watch TV, hack on the PCs and climb on the pirate ship do that. And also offer a more intensive program for those that want that! And why do I keep reading that the Magic has a better (more intensive / filled with activities) program than the Wonder? On any given day, both ships, I would think, should have the same programs?
12-12-2001, 10:35 AM
We were on the 7 night over thanksgiving and my 6 and 8 year old did not overly enjoy the kids area.
The first night my 6 year old was dying to go, but the next day he seemd bored with it. My 8 year old (who loves these types of programs) said she was bored.
It got better the last couple of nights, as they made friends. A couple of observations.
1 - A lot of families have other family and freinds with them, so if you are traveling alone, it may be difficult for your child to make a friend. I think Disney should start out the activities with something to get the kids talking.
2 - They hated the moving around, as they would have them sit for 15 minutes as they did role call. We started trying to time it so we would get there before they lined em up and giving them the option to come with us.
3 - I was very un-impressed with the consulers. My kids were probably in the programs for at least 12 hours over the time and I am not sure they every knew the name of a consuler or if the consulers knew who they were. Usually in a program like this the kids idolize the consulers.
4 - lastly, the activities need to be more focused and age appropriate.
12-12-2001, 10:53 AM
It's nice to read that I'm not expecting too much. Look at the navigators (people post them on the web if you didn't keep them like I did). They leave 15 - 30 minutes to move the kids around! On a ship that was designed from the ground up for kids!? The lab / club are on the 5th deck. And the food is on the 9th?! Up and down 2 times a day just for that! Hopefully the 3rd ship (someone said Michael Eisner said he'd like a fleet of 10!) they'll move the club / lab closer or make provisions for feeding the kids on the 5th deck? And with an entire deck for kids, why move the kids to the lounge on the 3rd deck, then back up again?! Do the math (we started to) - they spend 30% taking roll call, being moved and then roll call again to make sure they didn't loose anyone. What a waste. Hmmm, I just wrote a letter to Matt Ouimet (the president of the cruise line) and George Parker, a manager in guest relations. Post it here?
12-12-2001, 11:03 AM
Mr. Ouimet (Matt.email@example.com) & Mr. Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) :
Things always seem to come in waves - we were starting to put our experience with the cruise of November 4th behind us as the questions from friends asking 'how was the trip' have abated, being that we're back home just about a month now and we had already posted notes on message boards:
here and (http://www.themeparks.com/msgboard9.mv?parm_func=showmsg+parm_msgnum=1000142 )
But then Monday I got the letter from Mr. Parker acknowledging our complaints with the kids program, but not saying ours was an unusual trip or that Disney feels anything was really wrong with the program. And today I got an email saying Mr. Ouimet will be in a chat room tonight. I felt a need to write.
I am a Disney shareholder as an investment, my kids are shareholders for the novelty of the stock certificate hanging in their rooms and for the love of the whole Disney experience and, overall, we like to think (and our friends all know) that we are a good example of how the word 'fan' is a derivative of the word FANATIC, when it concerns anything Disney. So it's really upsetting to have to warn others about your Cruise line on the web and to friends. And It's very frustrating to want to take a cruise again next November but have to look elsewhere. Very good friends said that the kids' program was the highlight of their Royal Caribbean cruise recently. I cite that feeling when I tell friends and family that the kids' program was the LOW point of OUR cruise. And of course, that is met with disbelief - how can that be?! Not Disney! Sad but true.
I keep feeling that by pointing out that something that we feel is broke, you will fix it. But both my wife and I, speaking to the kid's program manager on the boat, the activities director in Celebration and in Mr. Parker's letter are met with apologies, but a defense that the system is not broke. I know - on those message boards where I posted my notes, you'll find people that are as much fans of the kids program as we are disaffected. You can't cater to everyone all the time? I met someone on the ship - the grandmother of a 3 generation family on the cruise. Her Key to the World was gold... ours was (plain) blue and said she had been on 22 cruises and this was the worst. Some of the things she took issue with were the quality of the food (while we felt it was the best we've had in a long time, even on land) and not being escorted to their stateroom (we wouldn't have wanted that - we knew to head right to the buffet! And the rooms weren't ready anyway). So can you cater to everyone? Maybe yes, for the kids program? I think - if you want glorified babysitting most of the day, the desks in the lab and club are always staffed - let those kids that want to just hang out, do that. And those that want a more intense / stimulating program can still have that!? And with smaller groups taking part in the participation activities, it'll be kids that really want to be in there. I think the level of attentiveness, motivation and enjoyment of the kids in both programs will be greater. And with less kids in the more intensive program, there will be less lost time taking roll call and moving them around the ship. Which is another issue we had - how much time is lost taking roll call, reminding the kids about the rules - no check in / out during transitions, then the actual move up and down 4 decks!? So much for a ship that was designed with kids in mind, with (almost) an entire deck dedicated to kids, I think the marketing materials say!
Our trip, as nice as the ship was, as friendly, overall, as the castmembers were, will be remembered mostly for how the last night typified the entire cruise - my kids (and us) were so displeased with the kids program that they didn't want to go in there again (and I couldn't blame them). So do we keep our reservation at Palo? Do we take the kids with us (we were told we can't)? In the end, while my wife and I ate dinner at Palo, we set our 5 & 8 year olds loose on the ship. They wander the ship with a Quartermasters card, room key and a ham radio to call us if they needed us / got into trouble. A magical Disney experience?! I don't think so. It's experiences like ours that, along with the rocky economy, will drive the number of guest on Disney ships even lower than the 2,048 (73%) on our trip. ANd we all lose
12-12-2001, 12:28 PM
As posted before our kids did not like the kids program. 11/1/2001
I just did not go as dmdeitz and try to change the program... but not a bad idea. The program is Broken and the judge and jury are the kids which don't want to return night after night.
To me it's a cattle call of kids. Now keep in mind that RCL charges for kids after a certain hour. like 10pm and it's about $4-5 an hour. So there is motivation for them to keep your kids in the program. Who do you think get's that money!! (The counselors)
On RCL,we would show up at 10pm to pick up the kids and they refused to leave. We paid the money and had fun knowing the kids were having fun!! On DCL the kids were mad we were not there earlier!!
The staff is not MOTIVATED Thus we suffer.
Mr. Ouimet & Mr. Parker : Go on RCL and see what I mean. the rest of the boat is uncomparible to DCL but how has DCL failed in the area of a kids program. It trivial!
Last year on the Wonder 12/00 our younger DD was in the room where they plop kids in from of videos! she was 6 and the staff paged you for the littlest thing. I'll put money on it. Less kids less hassle. NO MOTIVATION to do better. It only takes one staff member!
We love DCL and plan to go 10/02. LEt's fix the kids program.
DCL 12/00, 11/01
12-12-2001, 01:05 PM
I have been reading this thread as an observer because we haven't cruised yet so I don't have any first hand experience with the clubs. My question is, and this is probably rhetorical, if the stance is taken that the kids programming is BROKEN, and HAS to be fixed, what happens to all the children who enjoy the program the way it is now. I know there are more than a few children that adore the program as it stands. So if it changes, won't THEY think it's broken then? I think and endless cycle would be started, with never having everybody happy.
Like I said, I haven't gone yet, but from what I read, and knowing my child, I think that she WILL like the clubs as they are. I'm sure there is a chance she won't like it or there are problems, but my daughter has always been very social, and also has never been a child that needed to have entertainment provided for her 24 hours a day, so I think the mix of her personality will mix well with DCL.
I'm sorry for those that have children that didn't enjoy the programming. I know I would be frustrated as it's one of the draws to DCL for us.
The program is NOT broken for LOTS and LOTS of kids. (ChiTownZee) But maybe there IS a personality type that it does not do well for. (dmdietz)
That said, do I think it needs to be 'fixed'? Not in the same sense that dmdietz thinks.
Are some counselors better than others? Yes -- they are human. Do I wish they were more attentive and knew my DDs names and were idolized by them? Yes, but that's very unrealistic unless I had planned on leaving my kids in the clubs the entire cruise. The kids are free to be checked in/out as you, the parent/family, decide based on ALL the activities on the ship.
I was actually pleased with the coordination of the activities so that we did not have to always struggle between doing a family activity outside of the club and DDs wanting to stay in the club. (This is just an ancedotal observance, but someone may want to compare some of the Navigators to see if they really do seem to be coordinated....)
I don't know if dual activities for the different personalities would work, though. My DD8 loved the club and enjoyed both the structured activities AND the free time. We found it to be a great balance.
One thing to remember, and it may be magnified to those that come to the ship from a visit to WDW: The cruise is an entirely different atmosphere. Much more laid back. The pace is "Island Time" and not every moment SHOULD be structured, IMO. I think the free time is valuable/necessary in the kids clubs just like it is for the adults.
If your kids don't like an activity (or lack of a structured activity), the parents should take them out of the club and do something else. We did this with our 3yr old DD who did not like the STRUCTURED activities. She liked the free time much better. And we arranged our Palos/adult activities around her schedule.
(What I'm about to say is NOT an attack on you personally, dmdietz, or anyone else here, but rather a warning for future cruisers so they will not be disappointed. Please don't be offended. I can't think of a warm/fuzzy way to say this.....)
Disney does not market "Child-free vacations". They market "Family vacations". While you may find that your child LOVES the kids programs and you are left with LOTS of adult time, do not EXPECT that. EXPECT a family vacation where you will not be accosted by masses of drunken "adults", you will not be barred from enjoying a majority of the ship due to casinos/bars, and you will not be unable to share a dance with your kids. When we were on Carnival and the kids did not want to go to the kids club, we were left with virtually NOTHING to do. No family bingo, no Studio Seas, no family pool (the 6" deep turtle pool was the only one not overrun with hormones!), no family board game tournament, etc. With Disney, there are LOTS of alternatives to the clubs.
Disney is a great Family vacation, IMO, during which you may luck out and get some great adult time. We knew DD3 would be better in the free time, so we checked out the Club schedule and did our Palo ressies for during one of those times. We might have been mistaken and had to cancel our ressies, but it still would be a great FAMILY vacation. JMHO.
12-12-2001, 05:05 PM
I don't know if the whole program is broken but I do know that the 10-12 year old program is. My DD enjoyed the 5-8 program the best. I let her pick and choose her own activities and when those were over I would go to the club and pick her up- sometimes she was ready to leave and sometimes she was not. Some days it seemed like she stayed almost the entire day and some days she only went for an houtr or two. I did not force her to go and it was the most wonderful feeling I had felt since I gave birth to her! Seriously- I was a stay at home mom until she started school and for the first time I felt secure that when she was in the club that I did not have to worry about her not having a good time or getting sick, etc. I was totally relaxed for the first time in seven years. I knew and she knew that if she was ready to leave or she was sick, tired, etc all she had to do was beep me and I would be there in a flash. She NEVER beeped me the whole cruise!
The next year we went and she was in the 8-9 program in the LAB. She did not care for the lab as much as she liked the club. We still did the pick your own activities but she was not excited to go hence I was not nearly as relaxed. My DNephew went on this cruise and she had him to play with so things were ok.
We went on our 3rd cruise this past Labor Day week and she moved to the 10-12 program. This program was a JOKE. Everyday they stormed the lab which in lay terms means that there are no structured activities going on you just come in and listen tomusic, play the computers, etc. She does not enjoy doing these things at home and I can tell you she refused to go! On the second night she found an activity that she thought she would enjoy so I took her up to area that the activity was supposed to take place in and they had cancelled it so the kids could....you guessed it- Storm the lab AGAIN.
I also sent an e-mail and complained but never got a response. I did however receive a survey asking how my last trip went and I did send it back. I really hope that DCL changes this program.
12-12-2001, 06:07 PM
Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in. My son has cruised twice utilizing both the lab and the club. Both times he loved it. We literally had to drag him out to go on excursions and eat dinner with us. Every evening we would ask him if he wanted to attend the show with us (and we really tried to sell it) or if he wanted to go back to the kids club. He has never attended a show on board with us and we offered every single night. He loves the kids program and we would not be in favor of changing it.
12-12-2001, 07:41 PM
I think DCL offers a great "family oriented" vacation.
My DD4 LOVED the club!
12-12-2001, 09:31 PM
While I appreciate your comments on the children's programs onboard DCL ( we will be taking our 1st cruise in January), I
have to say that it was upsetting to read of two children ages
5 & 8 turned loose on the ship while you dined at Palo.....????
Surely your concern over your children's enjoyment of the cruise must have lapsed during your "adult only" dinner on the last night??? A family vacation is a family vacation........I think I would have chosen one of the family dining rooms for my "farewell dinner" and maybe forged some good memories of the last night on board..........
I hate to sound judgemental, but 2 children so young should be supervised, especially on a cruise ship.... JMHO
12-12-2001, 10:03 PM
Just attended chat with Matt Ouimet (president of DCL) and he said that 20 new children's programs would be added!!! But he did not specify when this would occur.
12-12-2001, 10:11 PM
first, whether or not a kid or adult likes an activity is largely due to his or her own individual preferences. And I have heard many many wonderful things about the kids program, just as I have read people's comments that their kids didn't like them. If it was broken no one would like it at all. Anyway, just because your kids didn't like the program, doesn't mean the entire program is bad, just wasn't in line with your kids interests and needs. I HATED summer camp as a kid, doesn't mean the camp I went to was necessarily bad, just not for me.
But, if you ARE using the kids programs for babysitting, while you go to adult only pools, or adult only dinners at Palo's, then why are you expecting anything else? And if it is what you are using it for, your kids can tell, and its exactly how they are going to perceive it.
And maybe another cruise line might have more structured kids programs, but from my understanding and reading up on them, they have little to no family programs and activities, while the Disney Cruise is full of fun things the family can do together. To me THAT is why one should choose to do the DCL. I mean, isn't that why the DCL was designed, to make a Cruise line for families? There just seems to be more balance on the Disney Cruise, stuff for families, adults and kids, and I think that is how they market it.
12-12-2001, 11:41 PM
We went on the 7 night cruise in June and my 6 year and 12 year loved the clubs and the programs, so I think it varies by child. My 12 year enjoyed the free time best where he could play board games with other boys (risk, monopoly) into the wee hours of the night. My 6 year who usually clings to us, actually ditched us for the program. She also liked to go when there were not organized activities so she could play with the counselors. So for my kids, the club is not broken.
12-13-2001, 07:49 AM
I agree with the person who said the childs personality has a lot to do with how they handle the club. My DD (5) is the type who makes friends when we're out shopping, so I had no doubt she would do so on the ship - and I was not disappointed. By the end of the cruise she new her counselors names, and they all knew hers (and she wasn't in the club that often!) The only thing she didn't like was eating with the club, but since it's just the two of us normally, I wasn't surprised. She even wanted to have her counselors sign her autograph book before we left!
Now I'm faced with the task of choosing what we want to do for our next cruise - we really want to try one of the RCCL ships with an ice rink (DD skates), but just last night she came to me and asked if we could go on Disney again - she wants to go to the club again, but she only wants to cruise again if she can go for 2 weeks!
12-13-2001, 08:06 AM
I have two kids ages 5 and 8 when we sailed, the youngest went to the club and the oldest to the lab, the youngest absolutely LOVED it, we had to drag her out of the club every day for other activities such as pool time and such, the oldest the only complain she had was that there was very little "free time" to do whatever they wanted but she LOVED it too, they are both looking forward to the next cruise. I loved them having such a blast at their clubs because it gave me and dh a chance to relax and do whatever we wanted, now THAT'S what I call vacation!
I am to a stock holder and member of the DVC club at Vero and Old Key West, i am surprised at your comments concerning the activities in the lab. My kids knew all the counslors in the lab and they never paged me for liitle things either. My kids meet a lot of new friends who would join us for dinner and breakfast, they went swimming together at the pools and castway cay. They even went on the banana boats too. Also both of my kids are a little shy and they still managed to meet alot of great friends during the four day cruise. JP:bounce: :rolleyes: :)
12-13-2001, 07:14 PM
The first trip when my DD loved the club was on a 4 night also. I really think alot of getting to know the counselors are when the ships are not full. When DD went to the club the ship wasn't but about 1/2 full. They really interacted individually with the children as well as made sure all of the kids fit in. On our 1st 7 night the boat was completely full. It was sold out on the web site about 4 weeks before we left on our cruise. This last cruise wasn't full but the childrens programs did not offer much interaction with others- it was come in and do whatever. My DD is quiet and isn't one to go up to others that she doesn't know and initiate conversation.
I just feel that if they are going to offer programming they should have actual activities for the children to particiapte in. I do NOT use the lab/club as babysitting, I let her choose what she wants to do and what she doesn't. DCL should have awesome programs- they do target families and specifically children.
12-14-2001, 12:35 AM
All my children, 7,9,10 (we had three different groups involved) loved their programs. Were they there every second of the day? No. Did they love every activity? No. But they had fun and it really enhanced their trip.
Before the cruise, we made it perfectly clear to them that there would be times they would be expected to be in the club but other than that, they could decide what they wanted to do and when they wanted to be there. My 9 year old spent no time at all there one day and then spent the whooooole day the next day. MY ten year old was especially happy, thrilled that he could stay there till midnight every night, like the games and made several friends.
I happen to think it's ok to use the club as a babysitter OCCASIONALLY. What the heck are they there for anyway? It's OK for parents to want some time away. I think it's unacceptable to let a 5 and 8 year old wander around by themselves. Be the parents, and say this is the way it's going to be for an hour or so. It's not like they were being tortured in there and they would have found something fun to do. Learning how to initiate free play, to make friends, to entertain yourself is an important part of life. But there were organized activities too, which were varied and interesting. I think my children were happy because it reminded them of the routine of school, of being part of a group.
You have to have roll call, you have to go through the rules for safety reasons. ANd I'm glad that they move around the ship, especially to the top deck. Do you really want your kids to spend all their time in one room all day? Talk about boring...
12-16-2001, 10:25 PM
There's lots of different opinions here! I have to say that ship, staff and food was GREAT. But making sure the kids were having fun was the most critical concern for my husband and I (and our children themselves). Disney failed for sure. We were not looking for babysitters, but that was really what we got. Someone said it is good that they move the groups around the ship to add variety. Unfortunately, that was the only variety they had. Given the chance, most kids will veg out and watch the movie or play video games. We wanted more than that and the lab and club certainly did NOT provide it. Our kids wanted to partake in activies and there were very few things they could do as a group. Our family had great times together, but we all envisioned the opportunity to be apart. Unfortunately, the children's program was so non-descript that our children (and other guests we got to know) simply didn't want to be part of marches around the ship or watching Disney classic movies they have on DVD at home. The cruise concept was great. We'll just need to travel with a different cruise line next time.
12-16-2001, 10:37 PM
Which cruise did you take and how old were your kids, MinnieManiac? Did you read the schedule of activities and try to have them there for the group activities? I'm not sure what you meant by programs are non -descript or there were few things they could do as a group? I've been reading a bunch of parenting magazines and cruise line review, and Disney Line is rated best for children activities. I'm not sure another cruise line will be much better.
12-17-2001, 11:00 AM
I just got back and I agree the kids program is terrible, they gave 8 yr olds the option of signing themselves out and and they give you a pager and they told me they would page me and let me know when my dd left and where she was headed, I told them I was very worried with this , they assured me they would page me, so I gave in and the one time I let my dd go,they were going up to deck 9 to eat and she didn't want to go so they just let her walk out!!!!!!! No page no call no asking her where she was going they let her just wander around the ship, what is the good of having a beeper if you don't use it? and what is the good of having a meeting place if you don't know your kid is there?My kid wandered the ship crying asking people to help her, I was waiting for her to page me to let me know if I should pick her up for dinner.......anyway the kids program knew nothing ,,,,they accepted no blame, they showed no concern they didn't help me look for her,,,,,,finally someone showed her the way to the rest. we were eating at the head server gabor finally paged me and waited with her till I got there.....I think it is appalling, they should be more concerned about the welfare of kids than how clean the ship is
12-17-2001, 11:06 AM
they gave 8 yr olds the option of signing themselves out
Surely they don't give 8 year olds the option to sign themselves out of the clubs, is this true? I figured the option of older kids signing themselves out of the clubs would be up to the parent.
12-17-2001, 11:39 AM
they do give them that option I thought it was a misprint, so I asked the girl , and she assured me that I would be paged!!!!!!!!! My daughter wanted to try to be a big kid and I was assured that they would page me , the beeper would go off and I would scroll down and see what time she left and where she was going, I trusted them,,,they are disney after all, I am so sorry I did
12-17-2001, 12:07 PM
My DD is 9 and I told them I didn't want her to have the option of signing herself out. She has her mother's incredible sense of direction (NOT) and I knew she would get lost and be frightened. It worked out, we were always close when the paged and just jetted up to get her.
She did get lost one night when she left Triton's early to go to the Club...against my better judgement, I let her go alone....yep, she was lost about the second she got off the elevator...she wandered until she found a CM who BROUGHT her back to Triton's to our table (she remember the table number, bless her heart). Later we laughed, if you're going to get lost.....The Disney Wonder is certainly better than Walmart :D :D
I'm sorry things didn't go well with your kiddo. Trust your instincts as a parent, if you don't think they're ready to check themselves in and out, don't give them the option!!
12-17-2001, 12:08 PM
Wow, I'm really suprised they leave the decision up to the child and not the parent. I don't think a child thinking about how mature they are and if they are capable of handling the responsibility would always have the same opinion as their parents! Gosh knows pagers aren't the most reliable things in the world, there are a lot of other factors that a child would not think of.
I guess I'm glad I don't have to worry about that for a while.
12-17-2001, 12:25 PM
When you register your kiddos in the clubs remember to ask for the paper to NOT allow your kids sign in/out privledges. Also, make it clear to your child to NOT leave the clubs until you are paged and come to pick them up. Another option is to take along a pair of those two way radios - one for your child and one for you to keep - if you decide to give your child sign in/out privledges, you can keep in contact with them.
Just know that the option is there for you to refuse the sign in/out privledges, but you may have to insist on it.
12-17-2001, 12:28 PM
if you decide to give your child sign in/out privledges,
So it IS up to the parents?
12-17-2001, 12:29 PM
they don't leave it up to the child, the put it on the form you fill out, my daughter was filling it out with me and wanted me to say she could sign herself out, when I questioned the form I was told I would be given a pager and if she could sign herself out they would page me and let me know she had done so and where she was going, I would N have said yes if I had known they didn't take this serious, you can say no they can't sign themselves out and I would urge people to say no!!!no matter what they say you can't trust them, just because no child has been raped or thrown over board doesn't mean it can 't happen, you are on a ship with thousands of people crew from all over the world, people are lulled into a feeling of false security , thinking well "where can they go", I don't think that is a way to think, anything can happen
12-17-2001, 12:40 PM
they don't leave it up to the child, the put it on the form you fill out,
Thanks for clarifying that it's up to the parents, you had said before they gave 8 year olds the option to sign themselves out.
no matter what they say you can't trust them, just because no child has been raped or thrown over board doesn't mean it can 't happen, you are on a ship with thousands of people crew from all over the world, people are lulled into a feeling of false security , thinking well "where can they go", I don't think that is a way to think, anything can happen
Did you feel this way BEFORE you allowed your eight year old sign out privledges and enabled her to walk the ship alone??
We're just back from our second 3-day cruise. We wanted to do a longer one, but we just couldn't make it fit in the schedule.
DS (6) loved the kid's club. I thought he might be bored, because there really weren't that many activitites planned. Not. We had to drag him out every night. He was there the last night until 11:30 pm. I think what he liked best was being able to play on the computers in the lab.
This time we were on the Wonder and I thought the counselors weren't nearly as friendly. Although, DS didn't have any complaints about them.
We're hoping to do a 7-night sometime next year. Three days is just too short.
12-17-2001, 01:21 PM
If your child is old enough to follow directions and wear a watch, you really don't need to worry about the kids club IF YOU COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CHILD AND KNOW WHERE THEY ARE. I can't imagine going to dinner without first communicating with my child whether they were to meet me for dinner or eat with the club. We just returned form the Magic and I had kids in 3 age groups. My 9 year old had sign out priviliges, but never used them. She liked it when we picked her up. My 11 year old wore a watch and we told her when to sign out and where to meet us. She followed directions and we had absolutely no problems. My 11 year old loved the club and made lasting friendships, my 9 year old loved the club, but didn't go as much beacuse she is a little shy and sometimes uncomfortable around people she doesn't know. She loved her time there, though. My son, age 5, loved the club and the activities and spent a few hours a day (off and on) there. None of my kids ate meals with the club, we arranged to pick them up or meet them at mealtimes. I kept 3 differents kids activities and locations straight by carrying a daily list of where they were. I checked on them often enough to be sure they were happy, but not so often that they didn't have a chance to do the activity. I loved the program! We were never paged for any reason and the kids had a blast. Almost all of the cast members were wonderful and my kids loved playing with them!! Don't expect the kids to stay in all day long. A couple of hours a day is enough for them to enjoy it and for you to enjoy a family vacation!!
12-17-2001, 02:04 PM
Anyone else see that the most common complaint about DCL is their children's program? I did see where Matt Ouimet did say in his chat last week that 20 new programs were being introduced soon. This may help the situation. Maybe DCL's one size fits all program will be changed. Not all children's (or adults for that matter) personalities are the same and there needs to be a choice of activites at each of the age groups. Some kids are happy to be on their own, while some need more structure.
I feel one reason for all of the complaints is that DCL creates an environment where children have to use the club. In our case, my child was denied use of the club for over half our cruise. Seems like they keep track of pages and will eject children of the parents who have been paged 3 times (we counted 2). They will also not be allowed back the rest of the day after each page. This is something you won't find in the brochure or hear discussed in the orientation onboard. It is just too 'un-Mickey' like to be mentioned I guess. You will be told in orientation that everyone will have a great time and the pager is for your convienence and not for the overworked counselors who will page you if your child needs any kind of extra attention they are not able to provide as a result. The program treated our children as a number compared to the more personal program on NCL. The pagers were a way for the counselors to more manage the number of children they had to deal with. They aren't tipped, so why should they care to try to go out if their way to spend extra time with your children should they need it. It was the feeling we got anyway.
Disney does not really create a kid-friendly ship at night. I really can't put blame on dmdeitz for his actions. Children are not permitted in Palos and if your children doesn't fit into DCL's one size fit all program, you really have few places to go as a family. I don't know of any other line that has this strict policy for their alternative dining or clubs for that matter. I think that is why you see a high approval rating among adults without children on DCL. DCL has zero tolerance for children in the evenings in many of their public areas. Sorry, but the sight of a child with their parents in the evening is not going to make me uptight. I can understand about children running loose without their parents disturbing others, but Disney takes their no children areas too far compared to the other lines. It is like they are desperately trying to make their ships attractive for adults who don't want to be in the company of children very much.
That is why the other cruise lines fit our style more. We do not have anything that restricts us as where we can and can't go as a family. I will say the ESPN club was the most kid friendly club on the ship though! DCL is not as family oriented as their advertising leads you to believe.
We have been on NCL and found their ships to be more family friendly. Never did I feel the need to write a letter to their main office after any of our 4 NCL cruises like I did with DCL. In fact, I continue to write them as their response has been very underwhelming. I can only resort to writing about our experience on various sites and let others know what they might encounter as Celebration could care less after they have your money. Anyway, they are not a premium line worthy of a premium price in our opinion.
First, I respectfully disagree with you, Buschfan. I think DCL is EXCEPTIONAL for alternatives to the kid's clubs! Have you really been on another cruise line that offers a family night club? Or family game shows? A family casino? Evening programs in the theatre that is G-rated? If so, please let me know which one for our experience has been quite the opposite!
IMO, Disney should not try to offer customized kids programs. I think they are doing a great job of providing both free and structured time. However, parents need to be aware of their children's preferences and schedule their (perhaps brief) adult time accordingly. I would fear that adding additional programming for the same age groups would lead to even MORE decisions for kids to have to make. For those that are happy in either type of activity, they would now need to choose between multiple kids activities on top of the other non-club activities. I think it just becomes more stressful over all. Plus, I liked knowing that I could pull out the Navigator (we also kept it with us at all times) and know where DDs age group was. If there were differing activities, how would you know which one your child was in and where to go to check on them? I hope the changes Matt was talking about was for adding new activities (especially with so many returning kid cruisers) rather than to offer additional concurrent activities.
And as far as Palo's -- that is a totally OPTIONAL event. If your kids don't like the clubs and want to be with you, don't do Palo's. That's simple. We found the other dining choices to be very kid friendly.
As for 8 year olds checking in/out, we, too, were offered that option. It was presented to us more as an exception that they allowed if parents wanted rather than the default which you had to insist your child wasn't allowed to have. Actually, we were surprised they would even allow it. These are ELEMENTARY SCHOOL aged children we're talking about. We definitely declined. Not because DD isn't prepared, but because we know she is only 8 and has ABSOLUTELY no business being unsupervised on a floating city.
As for the pagers, one thing we learned was that they are not really used for custom messages. Ours simply stated that "Your child has requested to be picked up from the Oceaneer's Club" or something to that affect. So, I'm not sure whether they are alpha pagers that can only send generic pre-coded messages, or whether they really could page you with details about where your child was headed once they checked themselves out. Perhaps someone can provide better info about the pagers and how they are used.
For our 4-5 pages, it always said the same thing. And half of those times our DD age 3 only wanted to see us to say she was having fun. She didn't really want to leave at all. But for me it was comforting to know that they would page us whenever DD asked for us. Was it awful timing when we had just entered the Rain Forest Room and had to get dressed to go see what she wanted? Sure, but that's not Disney's fault for 'paging us for every little thing'. She's OUR DD and OUR responsibility -- even on vacation.
Knowing that she was happy whether with us or with the clubs is SO much more important than Palo's chocolate souffle, or the dueling pianos, or the 70's Party at Wave Bands. Were we disappointed that we missed out on some fun due to the dreaded pager? Sure! Would we have it any other way? Not on your life!! JMO. :)
12-17-2001, 03:20 PM
We had late seating and I didn't see any of the activities you mentioned after dinner. Maybe you have to be in early-seating to make it to the family activities you mention. The shows on NCL are not offensive. No skimpy Las Vegas like costumes or anything. I had no problem taking my children to them. I don't have any interest in a casino, so that is not a factor either. I did like the fact that we didn't have to walk through a smoke-filled casino on Disney to get to another part of the ship. Disney does have it's strong points. They have the best designed ships in the industry, it just that they almost try too hard to please people who don't want to be around children.
12-17-2001, 03:44 PM
I just wanted to add my 2 cents about the kids programming. I really think that all of this depends on the child's personality, mood, past experiences, etc... There is no way to pigeon hole children, no matter what. My DD3 is very social and totally loves going to her preK program and play groups. She is outgoing and I thought for sure that she would love the club and I was actually concerned that I might be lonely without her.
That is not what happened on our 3 day 12/13-16...first off, we met another wonderful single mom and her DS3. The two children quickly became inseperable. Because, the other boy was slightly shy, my DD decided to be like that as well. She also ended up with a bit of a cold. Because of these factors, she did not like the club at all. I was very surprised, but am sure that it was due to the influence of her new found friend. I didn't mind at all though. They went to the club for a short while so us moms could shop in Nassau and then for about an hour so that I could snorkel at Castaway Cay. Other than that, we all had a WONDERful time together! The CM's seemed great and the programming seemed like fun, but my DD chose not to participate. As I said before, I was very flexible about it and not disappointed at all, just surprised. There are many factors that play into all of it. I think that Disney does a spectacular job for kids and adults, but they won't ever be able to please everybody all of the time....can anyone really do that?? It is all personal preference and influenced by many things.....JUST MY OPINION!!!!
Buschfan: We've not been on NCL. On DCL, we also had late seating. The activities mentioned were BEFORE dinner. DH and DD age 8 were able to play in (and won!) Mickey Mania, there was bingo, the shows, photo ops, etc. all before late seating. We did not expect there to be much in the way of scheduled family activities at 10pm (after dinner).
We were actually a bit bummed when the party on Nassau night featured the characters and was so family friendly, yet we had checked the girls into the clubs that night. I went down to get them, but DD age 8 especially was having so much fun doing the macarana and the YMCA on the stage of Studio Seas with her new friends, I couldn't bear to make her come up on deck even knowing she'd have loved it. So DH and I did the deck party alone, until DD age 3 paged us that she was ready to go to bed. We took her back to the cabin, tucked her in had to wait up until midnight for DD age 8 to page us from her club! Great night!
Again, I don't think the kids programs are broke or need to be segregated by activity type. I think DCL does a great job in providing a good balance. JMO.
12-17-2001, 04:12 PM
Well, I must of overlooked the programs before dinner. I only knew about the shows.. Family programs after 10 should be available. If my children don't have to go to school, why can't they stay up and accompany us in a club? It is ok with the other lines. Why not Disney? Is some of their entertainment risque in the evenings? We never had a chance to see it except for one-night when a great poster from here (DVCNuts) was picked from the audience. Actually make that twice, I walked down to Rocking-D bar one night by myself while my wife watched my youngest son in our stateroom. They had a great band there. Just wish my wife and son could of been with me. I didn't see or hear any material that would keep me from wanting to bring my children there. This is all part of the great 'family experience' that we encountered on DCL. The midnight comedy even on NCL was not R-rated.
12-17-2001, 04:32 PM
I did not let my daughter wander the ship! I was told I would be paged if she was leaving. If I had any doubt of their system I never would have signed her up to be in their care anyway.I had no idea that it was run so poorly, again I would never have let her sign herself out If they hadn't told me that I would be paged . how can they just let kids go without letting the parents know they are leaving how can they find you,I don't think any child under 13 should have the option of wandering around the ship.
12-17-2001, 04:33 PM
First, Buschfan - I am in awe of your letter! You write so elequently (I can barely spell it!). It's really upsetting that so much pro and con can be written about Disney and their kid's program. Call me brainwashed, a fanatic, or whatever. But I figure Disney is the best in whatever they do. It's just hard to accept to see that isn't the case.
And Tarasmom - you are right - it really depends on the kids, their personallity and perception about what they and their folks want to get out of the program. No company - Disney or otherwise, can please all the people all the time. I think my comments on page 1 talk about a woman that wanted to be escorted to her room and complained about the food. I wound't want to be escorted to our room because I wanted to hit the buffet since the food for me was great!
One person mentioned that their kids loved hacking on the computer. Mine do too. But my thinking is to do something different on vacation. We have all the Disney games at home and all the Disney DVDs. My kids, as much as any other, given the chance, love to veg out in front of the big screen or help Tarzan on a computer game. When we go on vacation, we want new and exciting things for them and us. But given the chance, they really want to be drawn into an exciting program. Mr. Oiumet might be promising more programs. A little too late?! We are booking a RC cruise for next November. And a few friends in town that were waiting to hear our report are doing the same (there is a teacher convention at the start of November up here and it's a great time to get away). As a Disney Shareholder, I don't like that, but as a father with kids, I NEED to provide them the best experience I can. As much as my wife and I spoke to different castmembers on and off the ship about this (want some phone numbers / names to voice your opinion?), I don't feel they are responsive enough. And the amount of posts that agree with me on just this one thread is disheartening.
I have yet to understand why they have 1/2 hour gaps between some programs and then the 15 miinutes before and after for roll call, and if the lab / club are staffed all the time, let those kids that want to just hang out, do that. And those that want more, can be in the groups. On our cruise, the most attended event was bingo, with the smoke and gambling that comes with it. That really isn;'t a place to bring the kids, but there were loads of them there - mine included. Where the others there to learn about gambling? Or just didn't want to be in the club / lab and were in tow with their folks?
On one other point about the kids programs - Take a look at the navigators for each group. It is a rare event when you can drop both kids off at the same time for the lone event of the morning , afternoon or evening. It seemed that everythign for the 8 and 5 year olds was off by 1/2 hour. So the rare times we could get them into the true 'activity'. we wound up runing back and forth to deck 5 - drop one off at 10, then leave then back again at 10:30 to drop the other one off. Then back 1/2 hr - 45 min later to get the first child, then back again 1/2 hour later for the second. I did get my excersize on the ship doing that.
12-17-2001, 04:39 PM
Thanks dmdeitz... I love to cruise , but can't say I am a Disney fanatic. Haven't been to one of their parks in years. We feel Anheuser Busch's and Universal's parks are a better value. Not going to be a popular opinion here, but it is true. We booked DCL because of a good Florida resident rate. I just love to cruise with our children and Disney is not my idea of a good family cruise. The obsession with the segregation of the public areas is just too bizarre for us.
dmeitz - have you received any kind of response out of Celebration? I did use one of your e-mail addresses the other day from a previous post though... :p Thanks. I am not going to ask where you got it, but I am impressed. Anyway, I was met with lots of form letters and finally gave up and called direct. The form letters kept telling me to please sail with them again. It aggravated me to no end! Finally, got a hold of a real person in Celebration after a few phone calls. They basically said sorry, but we already have your child's fare and too bad about your experience, please book one of our overpriced cruises again. No certificate for a discount on a future cruise or onboard credit or anything. Just a package of items my son would of received had he been allowed in the program for the duration of our cruise. I followed up by asking straight out for a day pass for my family to visit a Disney park through planetfeedback.com. Must of been out-of-line with that, as the folks in Celebration said they couldn't possibly do that. Tell me what the real cost of something like that would of been... Heck, I was willing to pay for parking. I made the mistake of not getting our problem taken care of on our cruise and trying to find a supervisor of the children's program while onboard. I was relying on the Celebration folks to make things right for us. What a mistake! They will never sucker anymore money out of me though.
I am really surprised that other cruise lines allow children under 18 into their bars. On Carnival, we couldn't even walk that area of the ship with our kids. Nor could we go into/through the casino. NCL must be very different.
That being said, I do not think I would want children/teens under 18 in the bars. I think it is wonderful that DCL has Studio Seas/Beat Street for families who do want to experience a night club together, but would NOT want to see the rest of the clubs open to kids.
As we have seen many posts about Parents not attending to their children in the pool areas, can you just imagine if these same parents were allowed to drag their sleepy cranky kids to the clubs until 2am!! No Thanks!! (Not that any of OUR kids would be like that or that any of US would do that, but who is going to enforce the "Kids allowed as long as they're not cranky" rule?) I'll wait until my kids are older or find a time when they want to be in the clubs or bring along a babysitter to ENJOY the adult only areas of the ship.
JMO, but if you took a poll, I do not think I'd be alone.
12-17-2001, 05:24 PM
I have heard that children are not permitted in the discos on Carnival. That is the only thing I have read on other boards.I know they aren't allowed on NCLs after midnight. We don't want to take our children to a disco anyway no matter what the time. I will add that RCI/Celebrity is similar to NCL in that there are no adult only clubs and childrencan dine with their parents in the alternative restaurants. We checked before we booked our Celebrity cruise for next month. The kids program on Celebrity may not be the best, but at least we won't be trapped in our stateroom in the evenings if our children don't participate in the program.
12-17-2001, 08:34 PM
As a single parent I think it is really great that DCL provides 'adult only' areas. It gives me some much needed kid-free time to relax and have some fun. I don't want to listen to someone elses kids when my kid is in the club.
12-17-2001, 08:52 PM
Everyone asking for all these changes concerns me, on our 7 day trip this summer, we thought it was the best vacation we ever had. I sure hope they don't change the kids programs very much, if at all, because my 6 and 12 years olds loved it.
12-17-2001, 08:54 PM
Well, the kid's program doesn't appear to appeal to every child (or their parent's) in it's current form as past posts mention. My 9 yr old loved it, but our 4 year old couldn't handle the highly regimented program of his age group. DCL needs to offer more choices to children with different interests or open up more of their adult areas only areas to accomodate the families of children who are not in the clubs if they truly feel their program is perfect. There are different clubs for adults, why not have the same consideration for children? That way children will have fun and their parents will be happy having a choice of say a small group environment or a large one. One that is highly structured and one that is not. Parents know their children well enough to sign them up for the program that best suits their child's needs. I don't think this idea is that radical.
12-17-2001, 09:13 PM
Did you go to Studio Sea? We did that a few times. Families could go there together, as it was not adult only. There were dances and quiz shows. There was also the game rooms, both the board game room/library and the arcade. There was ESPN club, the movie theater, in addition to the wonderful nightly program in the main theater. We would go play ping pong when the wind wasn't too bad. Actually we ran out of time to do everything on the 7 night cruise and never went to the adult clubs. We were out most nights until well after Midnight.
I just don't understand how much more variety you can expect. The ship had more than most kids programs at resorts we have been to in Hawaii, Aruba, and the US Virgin Islands.
What specifically are you looking for?
12-17-2001, 09:16 PM
I truly did not see any family activities in Studio Sea. I remember that none of this activity was available to those with late-seating. Did I overlook it? I will be the first to admit when I am wrong. We dressed to see a show after a port visit and went to dinner afterwards. After dinner, we didn't see any family programs scheduled. I already did mention that the ESPN club was a great place for families. I still have my ESPN mug on my mantle to this day! Yes, DCL has a movie theater and I applaud them for having one, but the movies shown in the evening were too mature for younger children. Gone in 60 Seconds was shown during our cruise and that is rated PG-13.
12-17-2001, 09:36 PM
Well, the kid's program doesn't appear to appeal to every child (or their parent's) in it's current form as past posts mention.
I've never run a cruise ship or created children's programs, but my guess is that it would NOT be possible to create a program that appeals to EVERY child and parent. I think that is too much to ask, even of Disney! LOL
12-17-2001, 09:45 PM
Ok... if the thinking is DCL cannot possibly or is not willing to create more options to their children's program for the benefit of some, DCL should look into opening up more common areas in the evenings to families with children who do not 'fit in'. That is my whole point with all of this. I am on the side of the posters who think the program is 'broken'. At the time we had a bad experience with the program over a year ago, I really thought our experience was isolated. Posts from other families sharing negative details about the program has changed my mind in regards to this as our negative opinion of the program is shared by others. It may be difficult for some to digest that the program Disney hypes the most in it's marketing is 'broken'. I believe it is, based on our personal experience.
12-17-2001, 10:19 PM
We were late seating also. In the navigator the programs at Studio Sea were listed as starting before we got out of the late dinner seating, so you would not have known about them from it. I had seen it on the promotional video, so I went looking for it. Since they started early we were never able to be the contestant in the quiz shows, but we did join the audience and watch them. They would usually last for about an hour or more from the time we got there after our dinner was over. After the show they would usually have general music where the kids and parents could dance. I think it closed around midnight, but I'm not sure about that. We only went there two or three nights after dinner.
12-17-2001, 10:26 PM
We had a wonderful vacation both times we went on the cruise. But I have to say, if I could, I would change things a bit too with the kids programs. My children enjoyed it, but we only checked them in for activties they wanted to do, the rest of the time they were with us. I think there could have been more choices of activities for the kids. We went to sign them in for BINGO once but it had been canceled.
I would have liked to see more 'character' encounters for the kids. But to be honest, my kids loved being with us more than the Kids Club most of the time, not because the kids club wasn't fun, but because the ship is so great and they loved the Mickey Pool and the shows and the dancing up on deck 9, and well, we just had a blast!
So maybe if you plan to leave your kids in the club a lot it might get boring for them. We spent most of our time together as a family except for the things that the kids really wanted to do (which was usually 1 activity a day). Again, they would have stayed more if we wanted them to, but we had fun together, all of us! Maybe that is the determining factor. When our kids were in the club, we would sometimes show up and take pictures (like when they were dancing in Studio Sea). We were never apart for too long.
And it was the best vacation our family ever took! We are going on the 7 Day next year!
12-17-2001, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the information Susan. It seems if we had early-seating, we would of had more choices. We agreed to be bumped to late-seating as early was overbooked on our cruise. We didn't think it would make that much of a difference on a ship primarily designed for families. We made a mistake by taking a credit to volunteer to be moved to late-seating. It is a shame for the folks with children who don't book early enough to secure early-seating though. Doesn't seem like the late-seating is geared towards families at all.
The activities WERE there for late seating as well -- at least on our 11/18/01 4-day Wonder. Perhaps they were not available when you sailed.
We found the game shows/evening family activities to be timed such that either (a) they were run twice -- once for BEFORE late seating and once for AFTER early seating, or (b) they were done BETWEEN seatings (ie 7:30pm or so).
If the fact is that you simply overlooked these activities on the Navigator, then wouldn't you agree that there really isn't anything "broken"? Or if this is not the way things were done last year on your cruise, that a "fix" has already been made?
Perhaps you could peruse some of the recent Navigators (Barb or Dave's boards) to let us know which is the case. I, too, am a stock holder and while I didn't find the same disappointment that you did, I think it's worth looking into. While I do not support changes to please a minority of people that disrupt the current pleasure of the majority of people, if there is a way to enhance the experience so that more people can be happy with it, I'm all for it. What do you think?
12-18-2001, 11:55 AM
I think there is a difference of opinion in 'kids programming' based on just how much time you plan to use the Kids Clubs or Lab.
We thought it was great. But then, our kids only went in and did one or two activities a day. For the most part, they were with us.
BUT if you plan to leave your children there all day, or even most of the day, I could see how they would be bored with it.
Is that perhaps the difference? We loved the whole cruise, but we were together as a family most of the time. We would look at the kids' programs and our girls would choose one or two things a day the wanted to go to, and they seemed to like going in after dinner for about an hour of just 'play' time. But we let the kids decide when they went to the club and when they were with us. I know if we had left them in there for several hours they would not have liked it. They wanted to be with us, and the really wanted to go in the Mickey Pool!
12-18-2001, 01:32 PM
To Woods: Your point about the kids programming: 'We thought it was great. But then, our kids only went in and did one or two activities a day. For the most part, they were with us. ' is EXACTLY the point I was trying to get across to the Cruise line when my wife and I both spent WAY too much time talking to management on the ship and in celebration (where the Cruise HQ is). There is WAY too little real 'programming' for the kids.
And whatever programming there is - 1 real group / particiaption / interesting event in the morning, then in the afternoon and then in the evening, even that time is chewed up by their desire to move the kids around the ship - I saw on at least one navagator that they allowed 1/2 hour for movement around the ship! And they'd do roll call, remind everyone not to let their folks check the kids in and out during the roll call, etc. all before and after the 1/2 hour move. I waited to get my kids way too much on our 4 day cruise that I saw this happening / kids sitting quiet while names were called, rules were reminded, etc.
My kids would have loved the chance to do experiments, play in teams, etc. much more than they got the chance. We were all hoping that the kids program would me interesting and fun. Not boring, slow and so undirected as it had been. Ask yourself - do you (and your kids) want them watching Disney movies and hacking on the computer on vacation? If so you are all set on the Disney cruises. If you want more, look elsewhere, like we are doing. And if you think a call to management can change the situation for the better, the President of the Cruise Division is Matt Ouimet. His phone number is 407-566-3737 and I think his email is email@example.com. Another person at the Cruise HQ is George Parker, the manager of Guest Communications. the switchboard number is 407-566-3500 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org. My wife spoke to Maureen Landry, also in Celebration who is the programming manager for the cruise line also (the kids programs fall under her purvue).
In our conversations with them, we acknowledge it's not conceivable to please all the people all the time. But when I posted the initial note on this board, I had no idea there would be this many people feeling the same way as me - the kids program needs to be beefed up. A vocal minority? Or maybe a majority? I know our ship had 2048 passengers on it and I think it holds 2800 or so? Sure, the economy and September 11th had a hand in lowering these numbers, but as a long time fan and shareholder of Disney, I keep hoping they can wave their magic wand and make the program better (for everyone). But I kept getting the impression that they don't feel they are too far off the mark with what they have now. I've seen navigators posted on the web, and still, 1 months after our cruise and initial contact, they don't show the variety of programs and less lost time moving the kids around the ship as I, and I think others posting on this board, would like to see. Because of that, we, reluctantly, have to look elsehwere to spend our cruise dollars. Most of the day, I and my kids don't want glorified babysitting. But for some reason, DCL thinks the majority do?
12-18-2001, 01:51 PM
I for one DO NOT want my kids just hanging out and watching videos on vacation. I want something that they don't get a chance to do enough of at home -- and that is spending QUALITY time as a family. I felt that there was plenty on the ship to do as a family. If the kiddos want a little 'alone time' as we adults may want every once in awhile - then there seems to be ample activities scheduled thru the day to allow us each a few minutes of individual time. This past April, my son chose not to go to the clubs - but, instead spend his time with us. We really enjoyed the chance to build more family memories.;)
12-18-2001, 01:51 PM
Did you happen to notice my previous post in this thread? I wrote that Matt Oiumet said in the chat that DCL was adding 20 new children's programs. Hopefully this will satisfy your need to have the kids clubs "beefed up". It does look like DCL is making an attempt to improve the situation.
12-18-2001, 01:55 PM
You made some good points. If there were more exciting programs, my kids would have probabaly spent more time in the Lab. But we had a great vacation, the best we ever had! It could get better, I am sure, but it was a dream come true already!
12-18-2001, 02:22 PM
Yes I did see your posts about Mr. Oiumet's comments. But that is just talk. There's no timetable. And while he said that, no one else below him said anything of the kind. Making me think - that is his concept and till it gets implemented will be who knows how long?. And what does 20 programs mean? 20 different activities? There is no saying that they will ADD more activities to the ship, maybe just rotate them between voyages? So next time you go, the few things for the kids to do will be different. But not necessarily more of them!
We had a great time when we were together. Maybe our thoughts of a vacation are different from yours or what Disney wants to provide - again, I totally understand that you can't please all the people all the time. but we wanted our kids to have the ability to decide - hang out with mom and dad or go to 'camp'. Unfortunately, most times, camp amounted to playing musical chairs throughout the ship. And for better or worse, our kids were forced to choose mom and dad (not that we are all that bad :)
12-18-2001, 02:59 PM
I have to weigh in and say that my dd who had just turned six at the time of the cruise, had a wonderful time in the clubs, and my complaint, if I had one, would have been that there were too many things for her to do. Every time I tried to get her interested in going with me for family time, she just wanted to stay in the club. I had to drag her out for the Goofy Pool Party, for character meets, for meals and shows and for the deck party. Once I got her out she had fun, but as soon as things were over, she wanted to go right back in.
As for moving around the ship....I didn't have a problem with it. I was warned ahead of time that this was the reality, and my dd loved it when they went places, such as the sports deck. I also felt *relieved* that they did roll call before and after each move. How would you feel if they didn't do roll call and your child had gotten lost or separated? I know that I would have been outraged that DCL didn't provide enough saftey measures to protect the children in their care.
The way I feel is that the clubs provided a few "must do" activities every day. And that the rest of the time your child could either play with other kids in a supervised environment, or you could spend family time together without your child being worried that they might miss something unforgetable. My daughter and I both loved the clubs and we both look forward to the day when we can take another cruise with Mickey.
12-18-2001, 03:28 PM
dmdeitz- Wow, I wished I had those numbers last year. You know how to cut through the layers I encountered dealing with Celebration. Good for you! I wouldn't of gone back and forth for months responding back to form letter e-mails had I had that info..
Well, I didn't notice much about the moving around the ship part. I am happy when my children are. My 9 year old loved just hacking on the computer that was mentioned before. He enjoyed it and I was happy he was entertained even though he could of done the same thing at home. It 's fine with me and do not fault DCL at all. I agree if other 9 yr olds want more structured activities, another program with more scheduled activities should be created. We just had the problem with the 4 year old program as my son couldn't handle the group activities. He would of been fine just drawing or playing with toys in a corner somewhere for a few hours while we took in a meal at Palos and a club afterwards instead of being reminded that please pick up your child up as soon as you finish eating as he has 3 strikes on him and he is not suppose to be in the club anymore. Must of been a Captain Mickey rule that was never mentioned to us. We rushed to eat that night and never made it to a club that night or the rest of the cruise. My situation is a little more on the ugly side...
Anyway, he just didn't fit the Disney mold I guess for what they feel a 4 yr old desires. We should of had an option of a less intense program though where he was just basically supervised and played on his own. I repeat, not all children's personalities are the same and right now Disney's 'one-size-fits-all' program is broken.
... sums my thoughts up perfectly in this statement: "The way I feel is that the clubs provided a few "must do" activities every day. And that the rest of the time your child could either play with other kids in a supervised environment, or you could spend family time together without your child being worried that they might miss something unforgetable. "
This is why I fear the push for more, more, more. Again, Disney does not market or claim to provide CHILD-FREE vacations, but rather FAMILY vacations. I'm afraid that if the suggestions made were implemented, there would be many more disastified customers than there are now as the lure for the kids to be away from the family is even more intense. If the programming was more like 'camp' then when would family time be? I think the balance of activities was great and hope that DCL does not try to do so much that the FAMILY vacations suffer.
I sure hope that DCL does indeed read these boards and that they'll take a look at this thread. Sure, there have been some that are not satisfied with the programming, and they have a right to that opinion and a right to voice that opinion. But I hope it is also noted that by a 2 (or 3) to 1 margin, most cruisers think the programming is fine the way it is. And if you look closely at the reasons for many of those who were dissatisfied, you'll find that DCL is not entirely at fault. (Not that the cruisers were either -- no slam intended here, really.)
I think it mostly boils down to expectations. Some people's expectations are not met, others are adequately met and others are exceeded. This board is a great place to get a feel for what to expect (ask questions, check out the kids Navs before hand, etc.), but is it really DCL's fault when all your expectations aren't met? Now if we were discussing sanitary or security or safety issues, that would be different. But to have a personal preference about the type and timing and location of activities and then say that the entire program is broken, I just don't see that as being realistic. JMHO.
12-18-2001, 03:55 PM
Wow, just think of all the counselors DCL would have to have in place in order to accommodate all the different 'sizes' of kids!
Would this even be possible?
You and I seem to have similar young ones. My DD age 3 also did not do well with the structured activities. (See my longer account of what went on on the DCL Children's Programming - Participation Guidelines thread.) She is much more of play by herself kind of girl. But I did not see that as a problem for Disney to address, but as a problem for me as her parent to address. We simply arranged our schedule around the activities that she would be the happiest in -- the free time.
Luckilly, the free play time coincided with our Palos ressie, but I had made it for the last night for the express purpose of being sure she could handle the clubs. Had she not done well or had the times not coordinated -- NO PALOS! PERIOD!
I did not expect individualized programming for my DD who did not want to participate in the structured activities. And I can't imagine chosing a MEAL (no matter how good the food is said to be!) over my DDs comfort/security.
I respectfully ask: Do you really think your complaints are with DCL, or were there maybe some things (in hindsight) you might have done differently? Please don't take offense.
12-18-2001, 04:54 PM
Well, I have had over a year to think about our experience. Not sure what we could of done different. I would of been more willing to accept his removal from the program had there been more places in the evening for us to take him with us. It just amazes me that a ship designed for family cruises is so segregated (except ESPN club) in the evenings. It is just not what we are used to on a cruise as we and our children stay up late and we like to go to a public area as a family. Not every night, but at least a few. The other cruise line's formula fits our style better as the children activites have never been involved and we were welcome to take our children with us to the alternative restaurant or any other public area on the ship. Our last NCL cruise, there were only our 2 children in the program (ours!) and they were happy just to play the Playstation for the couple of nights we used the program in the evenings. It was just babysitting, but since they were the only kids, it was fine. They loved the extra attention as there were only 2 other children on the ship. They were treated as just another face on DCL that needed to fit into a predesigned program on DCL. It was too much of a cookie-cutter type program for my 4 year old. On NCL, my kids were asked, 'What do you guys want to do'? The cruise director on NCL called them 'the boys' at one of the shows. We were happy, they were happy.. DCL is just not for us and it doesn't look like their children's program and their obsession with adult-only areas has changed for us to ever go back.
12-18-2001, 11:28 PM
What is so segregated in the evenings? One small restaurant (Palo's), the bars, the nightclubs? Is that really a place that children should be? I'm sure Disney had to have some family oriented activities in the evenings. In Studio Sea maybe?
I think the adult-only areas are a very small part of these large ships and I don't think you can call DCL 'obsessed' about it. One pool out of three is 'adults only' and that's 'obsessive'?
My DD loved the kids programs. I never heard one bad word about the kid's club/lab from other passengers. The biggest complaint I heard from parents was that they couldn't get their kids OUT of the club/lab. What's the big deal with moving the kids around the ship? So they leave to have lunch, dinner, or see a movie. I don't see a problem with that.
I think the people who are not pleased with the club/lab are in the minority. You can't please everyone (I've heard that more than once on this thread).
I was wondering about the "segregation obsession", too. As far as I knew there was one pool, one restaurant and a couple nightclubs that were "child-free". Other than that, kids were allowed anywhere on the ship. That seems like a pretty small amount of child-free space in relation to the whole ship, so I'm not sure where the segregation fits in to that.
As far as the children signing themselves out goes, we decided not to allow our 9 year old son to sign himself out. I just didn't want to take the chance on him being somewhere and me not knowing it. Our friends who were with us did allow their child to. He would ask the counselors to page them when he left and tell them where he was going, so that may be the source of confusion. They apparently don't automatically page everyone every time their child checks himself out. If the child says "I'm signing out, would you please page my parents and tell them I'll be at..." then they will page you.
12-19-2001, 12:27 AM
OK, so let's cut to the chase here:
dmdeitz wants his kids entertained and stimulated every minute of the day in one room (so they don't have to move around the ship). No playtime, no chance to relax ,entertain oneself, play a game,play dressup, talk with other kids. I don't know, I like to veg on a lounge chair with a book on vacation. Maybe kids would like to veg in front of a movie too?
OTH.Buschfan would rather have lots of free time at the clubs because his/her four year old doesn't work well in a group. (On a side note, this could be an ongoing problem for you when school starts. It may be more than not fitting into the Disney mold... Working in a group is one of those important little life skills)
So how the heck is DCL suppose to support both these extreme opinions....and everything in between?
I'm looking at the four day Navigator: family activities after say 10:00 include Family line dancing, family disco, Mickey Mania Game show, character greeting, tropical deck party, family kaoroke, and the pools. Yeah, there's not a whole variety of things real late for families but there is stuff to do. And the club is there for those parents who want adult time in the adult club.
I think it's nice that DCL has some adult only places and times. There are plenty of adults without kids who want to take the cruise. There are plenty of parents happy to get some adult only time away from their kids.
12-19-2001, 12:41 AM
Originally posted by legs22
What is so segregated in the evenings?
Perhaps Buschfan was referring to the large notice that appears at the top of Page 3 of every Navigator on the Wonder...
<b>Special Note</b> - Out of respect, Route 66 on Deck 3, Forward is strictly for those 18 and over after 9:00pm nightly
A similar large notice appears at the top of Page 3 of every Navigator on the Magic...
<i><b>SPECIAL NOTE:</b> Out of respect for our Adult Guests, Beat Street, including Rockin' Bar D, Off Beat & Sessions on Deck 3, Forward, are for Guests 18 & older after 9:00pm nightly.
12-19-2001, 07:56 AM
Way to go DCL for posting appropriate hours for the nightclubs/bars to be 'Adults Only'! I am sure that most DISers would be very respectful of the children being present - but, unfortunately bars/nightclubs at night is just not an atmosphere that kids need to be exposed to.
12-19-2001, 09:27 AM
It is obvious that many posters have never cruised other cruise lines or read about them. You will see that Disney is very much different than the norm in the industry in restrictions for children. It is fine for some, but we prefer what the rest of the industry does in that public areas are open to all and there is no need to place your child in a program that he or she may not like. Taking your children in the evening to the Rockin' D Bar is not appropiate? Sorry, I don't have a problem with it. I just saw a band, people drinking beer and dancing. Is that going to scar my kids for life watching that? Big deal! It seems more appropiate than family bingo! That is gambling and I don't see anything family about that! I sure don't take my kids to the bingo halls that are all around my house.
Does Disney's resorts have the same type of segregation also? I really don't know. If they do, I wouldn't like that either. Disney's formula of family cruising does not appeal to us. That is all.
12-19-2001, 09:38 AM
I also do not take my children to local bingo clubs at home - and definitely do not take them to the local night clubs/bars in the evenings either.
12-19-2001, 10:07 AM
I just thought I would add that the night clubs are so smokey that I definitely wouldn't take my children there. My husband and I went for one show and it was so smoky that we never went back. The "off Beat" show we went to would have definitely been inappropriate for children as there were many sexual references being tossed around. There seemed to be lots of options for families in the evening, even "nightclub" type stuff like dancing late into the evening that you could bring the kids to when we went last week. The main problem I saw with the Kids Club and Lab last week is that they weren't calling parents to pick up kids who were acting out. This took away from my kids experience because some kids were just really behaving poorly. My daughter did say one child was asked to sign out the third time she said "whatever" in a snotty way to one of the counselors. My 5 year old son had his arm repeatedly squeezed by one "overaffectionate" boy and he was never asked to leave. I also have a very shy daughter who was not as comfortable in the clubs, but this is something we deal with every day for her so I expected that. How your child is in school before you go is what you should expect on the ship. If they have problems in school, don't expect them to be anything but themselves on the ship. She enjoyed her time there, but didin't go as often as my other two. She loved Peter and my older daughter cried when she had to say goodbye to Vivi! My son could not stop talking about "Chia Pet" and "Sausage" so hats off to these wonderful counselors who really made a positive impression on my kids!
12-19-2001, 10:14 AM
There had to have been some other family activity besides bingo to take your children to. I didn't take my DD to bingo. She was in the kid's club having a blast. Some parents take their kids to bars.
I don't want my child in that atmosphere with alcohol, inebriated people, cigarette smoke, and loud music. Do you take them to bars with you at home also? Some parents don't use good judgement about where they take their kids or what they expose them to. The movies, concerts, TV shows some parents let their kids be exposed to just blows my mind.
I think it's great that DCL limits kids in these areas and allows adults to have a great and probably much needed child free time.
If I was there without my child, I certainly wouldn't want to listen to someone elses child. DCL has to point out that these areas are restricted because sure enough there will be that one person who will want to bring their children in there.
12-19-2001, 10:27 AM
I also want to throw this out. We also took our children to the Le Bistro on NCL. It is similar to Palos in that you pay $10 a person for a nice meal. We were all dressed up and loved eating in a nice restaraunt. My oldest son never eats off the kids menu and this was a great experience for him especially. We made sure our children were quiet and didn't bother any of the other guests. Guess that is not apporpiate either according to those here that believe children should be in the children's clubs during these type of activities at all times. Disney strictly prohibits this type of activity, so we must of been wrong and evil for doing it on NCL according to the Disney police.
12-19-2001, 10:27 AM
I can just sense NCL's phone ringing right about now.:smooth:
12-19-2001, 10:36 AM
It has nothing to do with NCL. Go look at all the other cruise line's policies and you will not see that they are not as strict on children as Disney is. It makes DCL unique and that is fine for those who appreciate being apart from their children. It doesn't appeal to us. That is all I am saying.
12-19-2001, 10:47 AM
I think that DCL appeals to so many because of the ability to do some 'adult only' activities. Hubby and I did the brunch in April but chose not to do any Palo Dinners because we chose to spend all of our evening meals with our kiddos. I would not ask that DCL take away the opportunity for 'adult only' dining though, for those that choose to dine that way. My kiddos would have also loved to experience the atmosphere of Palo - wouldn't it be neat if DCL would have a few times each day (or even just a couple days) set asside for families who wish to experience the Palo experience as a family - just as there are opportunities thru-out the week to experience the nightclub areas as a 'family' if we choose to.
12-19-2001, 10:53 AM
What a wonderful reply Jody! Yes, I agree that there should be an option for Palos and the nightclubs. Sounds like a great compromise. I wouldn't want to force any of the kid friendly policies I mention down anyone's throat who likes the way DCL is setup now.
12-19-2001, 11:07 AM
It seems like some people get offended if you dare to say something negative about disney, everyone has had their own experience and their own opinion.I loved the cruise I kept my daughter with us the whole time, she did kareoke one night , that was fun,I think kids who go to the kids lab and have a sibling or friend there probably have fun,my daughter is shy and we just did things together, I had a bad experience with oceaners lab and would not do the signing herself out again,but that doesn't mean I think the whole program is bad.We had fun walking around and seeing the characters and the christmas decorations.I did the dis cruise in 1988 and it seemed a lot more structured they had a birhtday party for mickey one day a scavenger hunt one day , it seemed to me that you just dropped off your kid this time and they were being babysat, I went to bring her there and it seemed liked kids were sitting at the computer or video games , neither of which she is interested in, and I gave her the option of being there,she chose not to, the day we went to castaway cay , the were digging in the sand and just in this play area With not much to do,it was hot that day and we chose to go to the family beach so she could go in the water,maybe if she had a friend or sister or brother there she might have stayed , I don't know I think we had more fun in the water and parsailing....that is just my experience......maybe I expected more from the kids programming because it's disney , but I for one was dissapointed with it.
12-19-2001, 11:08 AM
What's wrong with the formal evenings in the regular dining rooms for your kids? That's a special family evening. It sounds like you and your kids are joined at the hip. You never go out without the kids? I don't think DCL is obsessed about 'adult only' areas just because your child is not allowed in every single area of the ship. I don't think kids have a need to be everywhere on the ship. The areas that limit kids are very small compared to how large the ship is. I think if you want to have your kids in bars, adult shows, elegant restaurants, all the pools, and with you all the time then you definitely need to call another cruise line and stop bashing DCL. They are not broken.
12-19-2001, 11:10 AM
leggs you need to stop critizing everyone else I think you just want to get rid of your kid and can't stand being around anyone elses, why do you feel so threatened by anyone who does't agree with you?
12-19-2001, 11:14 AM
I also love the idea of Palo's having some "family" times. One thing I wanted to point out to Bushfan, however, is that although your kids would have appreciated the Palo experience there are lots of other kids who do not know how to behave in a fancy restaurant. If DCL were to open Palo up to everyone then there would, no doubt, be some children there who are not ready for such an experience but whose parents decided to do it anyway. You know, the kids who run around from table to table, are overly loud, etc. Unfortunately DCL cannot possibly pick and choose between kids so they don't allow any. I, for one, appreciate the fact that there is a place for my hubby and I to go to have a nice quiet meal.
Our kids would also love the experience at Palo, but I understand that the policy is in place for the benefit of everyone. It is only one restaurant on the ship. There are the regular dining rooms (with no repeat menus), Topsiders and fast food, in addition to eating in port when possible. I do not think limiting one restaurant to adults only is out of line.
Just my opinion.
Disney Magic - 3day - 2/12/99
Disney Wonder - 4day - 4/9/00
Disney Magic - 7day - 12/14/02
12-19-2001, 11:15 AM
They can express their opinion why they think DCL is obsessed, broken, etc. and I can express my opinion why I think it's not and why I think they are in the minority. If they're not happy, sail another cruise line that would appeal to all their expectations.
12-19-2001, 11:37 AM
Hubby and I do spend ample alone time together;) . But, we chose to have our 'family vacations' all about time together as a 'family'. Our kids are probably older than most (12 & 18). But, we have so many wonderful memories of our family vacations together over the years. That does not mean that I would 'bash' someone else for wanting their kiddos to spend time in the kids programming doing structured activites:rolleyes: Afterall, I chose to spend almost our entire vacation with our kids - but, I am still one of those firm believers that disney should be commended for offering Adult only areas for those that want some 'adult only' time. Please, feel free to state your opinions - but those that feel the need to 'bash' other posters for stating their opinions are acting inappropriately in my opinion.:mad: (particularly the joined at the hip post)
12-19-2001, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by jojomg
It seems like some people get offended if you dare to say something negative about disney, everyone has had their own experience and their own opinion.
No, it's not so much the criticism of Disney... it seems that any topic that talks about children (and how their parents interact with them) takes on a life of its own. How else do you explain the "I do not mean to complain but...." thread lasting for 3 1/2 weeks or this thread lasting 5 weeks so far (with no hint of dying out anytime soon)?
12-19-2001, 11:39 AM
leg22 - If wanting to be with your children in various public areas then ...yes, we are joined 'at the hip'. It does not offend me to say that in the least. DCL in its present configuration does not suit us and we are going on another line next month. It is not even NCL, who we have been happy with in the past. I didn't know this board was only for positive comments about DCL. I have posted negative comments about NCL on a NCL board before if that makes you feel any better. No line is perfect.
12-19-2001, 01:01 PM
I would like to apologize for 'bashing' other posters.
:( Sorry. I got carried away.
Feel free to post your negative DCL opinions. And I will post my opinion if I do not agree/understand and post my positive experience with DCL. But, no more bashing from me.:)
Well, everyone else has tossed in their .02, so I figured I might as well, too. ;)
This will be our very first cruise ever, so I have nothing to compare it to. I have one son, who is almost 6. I have printed out the Navigators and we have read them together, and he is thrilled about all the stuff he gets to do. He talks about the Oceaneer Club all the time. Plus, there are several DIS-kids just his age who are sailing the same time as us, and he is looking forward to that, too.
As a single mom, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am at the prospect of grownup-only time. I don't think I even remember what that is. No, he will not be in the Club all day, every day, and yes, we are going to do lots of activities together. But I am so thankful that I have that choice! When it's "family time" we will do family stuff... And that when it is "grown-up time," I will be with grown-ups. What a novel concept. ;)
I'm ready to go NOW!! :)
12-19-2001, 02:16 PM
Hi Gina, I am also a single mom. Let me tell you, you will love the grown-up time you get on this cruise. And knowing your child is relatively close by in the club having a great time is a big plus. :)
12-19-2001, 02:23 PM
You will surely be happy with what disney has to offer for both family time and adult time - that is what sets disney appart from the rest --- having the option to choose;) .And since you have already researched what the kids program has to offer for your child by previewing the navigators - there shouldn't be too many surprises in store for you:rolleyes: . Please be sure to post a report from the 'single parent' point of view when you return. I'm sure it would be very helpful to other single parents considering a Disney Cruise vacation.
12-19-2001, 05:12 PM
have no problem with the kids moving around the ship. The whole point of my initial comment was that my kids want variety. Disney seems to have relied on moving kids almost as a program in and of itself - sometimes leaving 1/2 hour blocks of time dedicated to that.
I'd like everyone to sit on the floor, cross your legs and imagine being on vacation... with a group of other kids you'd like to meet and some of whom you are already getting to know. Then remember that you can't talk to them for the next 10 minutes while they call off your and everyone elses name and go over the ruiles they have gone over several times already - you can't be checked out during roll call, when we move you around the ship and then when we take roll call at the next location (I'm not knocking the rules! My point is that and the roll call eats up 10s of minutes). And then walk single file through the ship to the next event.... Now sit down again and sit there quietly while they again call off your name and everyone elses. And no talking at this point also. Oh, lets remind you of the rules again - you can't be checked out during roll call, when we move you around the ship and then when we take roll call at the next location. Oh look. Now that we got where we are going, let's all sit back on the floor (did we get a chance to stand up?!) so we can take roll call in anticipation of the next event we will be going to on the other end of the ship.
I APPRECIATE THE HIGH LEVEL OF SECURITY / OVERSIGHT THAT DCL provides on the ship. But when that eats into the event times, I have to ask - is ALL that moving around necessary!?
KAB13: You asked = 'how the heck is DCL suppose to support both these extreme opinions....and everything in between". My answer solves that and the above issue - If each age group is that unweildy that roll call and moving the kids takes taht much time, why not break them into smaller groups? And / ormake the groups that move smaller by using my other idea - I still say that they shoudl let kids that want to veg out, be able to do that. And those that want an organized activity can do that too. Why can't a child stay in the Lab / Club? I'm all for that - let the kids decide. Those that want to veg can. And those that don't can do that too! The desks are manned all the time anyway, regardless of where any one group is.
I lost the links I had to the navigators taht people posted on the web - You could see for yourself that there are really large blocks of transition time . That just gets boring for my kids (maybe not yours).
Gina: As much as you are looking forward to adult time, so were my wife and I. At the same time, I didn't want that time at the expense of my kids having to endure the babysitting. But that is what the kids program amounted to. As someone said - it comes down to expectations. Yes, shame on us for having high expectations that Disney would know how to 'entertain' our kids. Because we did have high expectations that our kids would want to go into the club / lab for a couple hours at a time at least. We cancelled the mud room reservations because our kids didn't want to be in the babysitting (and I saw myself how lame it was and couldn't force them to go, so we could have fun).
12-19-2001, 08:40 PM
I just want to say first off how much I am enjoying this thread. It's really interesting seeing everyone's various point of view on things, and for the most part people have been respectful of other people's opnions. That's why I wanted to offer mine.
First of all, Disney is about family vacations... but, I strongly disagree with the notion that family = mommy+ daddy + 2 kids. Although my husband and I don't have kids yet, we are still a family. We're a family who loves disney, therefore I think a DCL cruise will be perfect for us! We love disney style, disney architecture, disney entertainment, disney programs, disney service. I don't like to gamble so I won't miss that particular activity on board. Part of the reason I love disney so much is that they appeal to families of all types, including families that are only made up of adults.
Because disney appeals to all kinds of families, at all stages in their lives, I really applaud them for having things that are for adults only. They also have tons of stuff (both in the parks, and on the cruise) that are for kids only. You don't see adults getting all bent out of shape because they can't go down the mickey slide or have tea with wendy or a sleepover with goofy. There are just certain activities that are appropriate for different age groups... bars and nightclubs are adult activities, sleepovers with characters are kid activities.
Just because I love disney, doesn't mean that I want to be around kids 24-7. Frankly, disney would hold a bit less interest for me if I had to be. Of course I don't MIND being around other people's kids, or else I wouldn't go to disney at all, but sometimes are just more appropriate than others for kids and I relish the opportunity both to experience the magic through the eyes of the little ones around me, and have some fun times with just my husband. This whole debate rather reminds me of the debate that comes up every so often about the appropriateness of kids at pleasure island. At least Disney is a LOT more clear about what the rules are on the ship and I applaud them for that.
BTW, I don't think I'd mind having certain family nights at palo, but I'd be sure to avoid them if I had the choice. We purposely dine late at expensive restaurants at WDW to try to avoid cranky, screaming kids. While kids who are knee deep in the magic are wonderful to be around, kids who have OD'd on the magic are not!
12-19-2001, 09:20 PM
I don't want to get in a contest of who's right and who's not...because I honestly believe that everyone is just stating their own opinions...and that's one of those things that I love about living in the USA. But I do want to respond to dmdeitz's comment about the counselors repeating the rules after each roll call and move. I do volunteer work at an elementary school, and I can't tell you how frustrating it gets to me to listen to a teacher repeating the same rules over and over again. Even now at the winter break, halfway through the year, some kids still have to be reminded of the morning procedures. But the naked truth is that some kids don't listen, or don't remember...I find the latter especially true in the younger kids....they are on sensory overload and just can't remember everything. So by repeating the rules every time they move, I believe, serves two purposes. #1 It reminds those who may have forgotten or weren't really listening the first time and #2 It reinforces that the rules are the same no matter where they are on the ship. I'm sure that your kids are great, and that they probably heard the rules the first time, filed them and then got annoyed every time they were repeated. I'm sure that my daughter was probably the same way. Then again, she never mentioned any problems with the moving or the roll call...so she was probably one of the kids who needed to be constantly reminded.
As for kids vegging in the lab instead of the activity or vice/versa, that would mean that the counselors were spread too thin or that they had to hire more. Not a bad idea, but it will just increase the cost of the cruise. And as I pointed out earlier....I believe that the activities are limited so that kids won't have to feel like that are missing something "important" because mom and dad want to spend some time with them. If you have "activities" from the time the club opens until the time it shuts down....then you would cause some kids to feel like they were missing out on stuff, or make parents feel like they had to leave their kids in the club all day. Anyway....these are just my answers and opinions to the things that Dmdeitz said. The thing is, I had to drag my daughter out no matter what they were doing. She never wanted to leave, so I can't imagine that other kids didn't love it. But I know that isn't the case, and I'm sure that it had to do with age differences and other issues that rise from the fact that we live in a free country and we are allowed to have different likes and opinions.
Originally posted by dmdeitz
Gina: As much as you are looking forward to adult time, so were my wife and I. At the same time, I didn't want that time at the expense of my kids having to endure the babysitting. But that is what the kids program amounted to.
Well, it's not that I have lower expectations of the kids programs on DCL... and it's not that I would approve of mere babysitting when they could do more (and *do* do more, from what I can gather from the Navigators.) But you have to understand, he is with me 24/7. Every single day. No breaks. I am not going to let his boredom threshhold come before my own sanity. Of course, if they get to "hack on computers," as somebody put it, I won't even see him for a week. ;)
Seriously, I *need* this time to relax/socialize/decompress... He and I are a team, and we do tons of fun stuff together and go lots of places. He thinks every kids gets to go to WDW a couple times a year. ;) But this will be the first time that I get time to myself, and I am SO thankful to DCL for allowing me to be able to have that. :)
12-20-2001, 02:08 PM
My family had a great family vacation but there was not a lot of adult-only time that I looking forward to. My kids are out-going kids who make friends easily and we even travelled with another family. However they wanted to hang out with us and swim and go to shows. THat's great...but I had hopes of more sit in a chair and read time. (i'm a stay at home--I have plenty of time with them.) My son was mad when we went to a movie (Monsters) instead of a real show. They never requested to go to the o. club but usually had a good time when we dropped them off for something necessary. DS3 refused to be dropped of at Castaway Cay but that's another story. (trip report page)
My point is if you get your expectations up about thinking this will be an awesome adult time you may be disappointed. Do I blame disney? of course, but only because they made everything else on the ship so wonderful that my kids didn't want to miss it.
12-21-2001, 04:54 AM
Gina: I hope you can get the time you want and deserve. PLEASE be sure to come back here and let us know your and your son's opinion of the kid's program! All the best!
Originally posted by dmdeitz
Gina: I hope you can get the time you want and deserve. PLEASE be sure to come back here and let us know your and your son's opinion of the kid's program! All the best!
I definitely will!! Everyone's comments and reports have been so helpful... I feel WAY more prepared for our cruise than I would have without this board. I'm sooooo ready to go NOW!!! :D
12-25-2001, 04:42 PM
I have only been on one cruise - Carnival - of which I was less than enchanted with. For that one, my two kids stayed with grandma becuase it was a sales incentive cruise that DH earned at his sales job and only covered the two of us.
We are looking foward to doing the 4 day cruise in August or Sept 2002. having a 6 and 2 year old ... I was very interested in this thread.
I read everyone's complaints ... and rebuttles ...ect.
I own an extensive dance program for children. I teach classes of 10 - 16 kids ages 3 up to 16. In the past I have also worked for day care centers / learning centers / preschool programs / camps ..ect. If it involves children, I have probably done it.
Even with reading all the posts. I cannot figure out why eveyone is so upset with the clubs. Let me take the prominent complaints one by one ...
Not enough activities for the kids - OK ... in every singe (at that's at least 1/2 dozen) child centers / camps ect that I have worked at ... there is A LOT of free time scheduled. Most kids need it.
MOST 3 and 4 year olds DO NOT have the attention span nor desire to do multiple activities. They would rather run around, climb on equipment and play with leggos. An occasional activity is ok with them ... so I would think maybe 2-3 "scheduled" activities would be perfect. If you think your child at that age can handle more .. maybe you are right ..but are you really sure? If you think they are doing more than that at pre-school you are probably mistaken. I know that any school I have worked at almost the entire morning is free time play. This is where kids feel most comforatable. It is very difficult for kids this age , manytimes, to join a group activity. They are just learning "interactive" play at this age.
OK next age group say 5-8 year olds. These kids are in school for 3/4 of the year doing "structured" activities. My son just started full day kindergarten in the fall and he would much rather play then do something structured. In the camps / programs I have worked in you would see a few more activities ... maybe one art project / one sports game / and one "drama" type activity a day.
OK 9 and up. MOST of these kids are into being "cool." I find that all they want to do is sit, gossip, listen to music and dance.
It would be "babyish" to play certian types of group games / ect. Again in the camps I have worked at we would do the art / sports/ drama thing once daily. But we would also have lots of free time in the gym (boys playing bball...girls gossip mostly) and a "game" time every PM for quite a while where we would set out board games like checkers / battleship (they loved this part of the day.) My 10 year old neice and all of her friends like "Watching movies, listening to n-sync and making up dance routines."
As a side note...from the age of 10 - 13 ...they hate almost everything.
"Not my kids," you may say? Well then your kids are of the minority. I would say that this describes 90% of the kids I have worked with ... and I must have worked with THOUSANDS. I'm not exaggerating. 19 years under my belt.
Second major complaint - The time it takes to move from area to area on the ship. OK .. once and for all . YES... they do need to repeat themselves over and over about the rules. You see ...kids and PARENTS forget. I deal with parents in my profession and find that they only listen to 1/4 of what you say each time ... or only read 1/4 of what you give them to read. SO if I repeat myself 4 times ... most of the parents will get the information. If I say something once I get "Huh? We didn't know that!!" If you are a parent who pays attention .... great. MOST DON'T!
I run an annual dance recital once a year. I have to be a drill seargent or I would go insane. I have endless rules, regulations and repeat them to the point of making myself blue in the face.
Why ??? I have to becuase no one seems to think the rules apply to them.
I would say that DCL sounds like they have learned how to keep parents and kids in LINE. They know what it takes to get from point A to point B without any major catastrophe happining. I guarentee you this over stating of the rules has come from experience.
I am not slamming anyones opinion. ... it's just that, your opinion, not fact. I have planned, taught and implimented many a child program .. and DCL sounds normal to me.
Anyway ... just the thoughts of a person who knows of what I speak.
12-25-2001, 06:34 PM
wdwobsessed, thank you for your extensive and well-informed comments.
12-25-2001, 11:39 PM
I agree with everything wdwobsessed said.
I work at summer camp for 12 years. It's quite an undertaking moving a group of children from one space to another. You have to make sure little Tommy has gotten from point a to point b. Yes, it takes time.
Also, Disney has no idea how many children will be on each cruise, using the clubs, so how can you set the number of counselors are needed for groups? Some weeks you're going to have larger groups and some weeks you're going to have smaller groups. Transition time may boring but that's life sometimes. Kids find ways to entertain themselves.
Lastly, dmdietz, I guess you're a nicer parent then I am. Don't you use babysitters at home occasionally? It is ok to want some adult time and leave the kids, even on vacation. Does everything have to be fun every minute or should kids learn to make their own fun. I wouldn't have cancelled my mud room reservation. It wasn't like they were sitting in a room with nothiing to do. I'm sure they could have found something to keep busy with. You have to convince them that they will be fine for an hour or two.
12-26-2001, 05:11 AM
We do have babysitters. But we know what we are getting into with them - someone to watch the kids, make sure they are safe, put them to bed when it's late.
We expected more from Disney than just that. Sure, I could have the kids go in there for a couple / few hours. Maybe we could do the mud room then. I was expecting (from other parent's comments on OTHER cruise lines), that the kids would want to be away from us / in what we were hoping was going to be a 'camp' for most of the day. I would have loved having to fight to get the kids out of the program - I would know they are having a great time. But again, that wasn't the case for us - the kids really objected to being there. And beyond a couple hours, I can't subject my kids to babysitting as their vacation. Keep in mind - we were on a trip that was dealing with a hurricane, if I hadn't mentioned before. The pools were closed, the deck was much too windy to hang out on, and they did NOTHING to beef up the kids, family or adult programs that day. Which made wanting them to be in the program more important. There were limited things at our disposal for my wife and I to keep the kids entertained. I NEEDED the kids program to work that day. But it failed, simple as that.
As for knowing the number of kids on a ship, they DO know - when you are making reservations, they are asking detailed info. That plus their past history, I bet they know very precisely how many kids in each age group will be on the boat.
As for kids wanting / not wanting structure, FINE! There are some that fit both categories. Which is why Disney should operate the lab / club in 2 modes that run concurrently - let kids that want to hang out / decompress / relax do that. It only takes the 1 or 2 counselors that are there already to staff the desks to make sure the kids don't leave / page parents . Then beef up the activities program with more things to do.
Yes, I understand the need to read the rules and take roll call. But when you are allottting 1/2 hour - 45 minutes to that, every hour or so, that is just criminal. If you have to keep remindning kids not to stick their fingers in the socket every 5 minutes, at some point you have to realize - I should move / cover the socket. If you have to remind the kids every hour about the rules because you are going to move them, maybe cut back on the number of moves!? The ships are very well designed. The lab and club are no exception. You have all those lab desks - USE THEM!
12-26-2001, 08:51 AM
I just wanted to say that I did the 4-night cruise with my kids on 10-14 and then with some Dreams agents on 12-02 and found that for those with late seating, there always seemed to be another family activity, (usually in Studio Sea) right after the show that was over in time for you to make dinner.
I have done 7 Disney Cruises since Oct. 99 and have noticed marked improvements in activities for all groups (adults, families and children) since then. That tells me that DCL does listen to guest concerns. Maybe they are not perfect but I doubt that any cruise line is and it is difficult to cater to a variety of children's tastes and personalities but I think they do a pretty good job of it.
My kids are a little older (16 and 12 on the last cruise) but my son enjoys going in the Lab for part of the time and my daughter loved Common Grounds and has made friends that she is still in contact with from last year's cruise.
12-26-2001, 08:55 AM
I asked my DD-10 what she thought that DCL could add in the lab to make it a more desirable place to go;
Here are her suggestions
1- do more outside activities such as games from other countries not just basketball. They had a few things like treasure hunts on the program but they did not have them when they were supposed to.
2- arts and crafts- something Disney but like soap, candle, or jewerly making or even making t-shirts that they could have each other sign.
3- show NEW movies not the same old Disney classics that they have grown up on- even go to the theatre more often and see new release movies
4- Seperate the girls and boys part of the time so that they could have do GIRL things such as having someone come down and do little mini make overs or themed things like American Girl parties ( I know that this isn't Disney but they could do a knock off version)
This is all I am suggesting- not a babysitter- not a my child is special program- BUT a program that my child would love to be involved in- that she would look forward to like I look forward to the spa!
I want our vacations to be as special and as much fun for her as they are for me. She is geting to the age that she will not want to do the mom/daughter things because they are not cool. I want her to want to go.
My family time is very special to me which is why we choose DCL. I want my family (all 3 of us) to enjoy ourselves. I do not feel that this is too much to ask.
If they offered different activities to at different times( I am not asking for constant amusement for her but something for an 1 or 2 a day would be great.
Just my 2 cents
12-26-2001, 09:25 AM
My Girl Scout troop just LOVES American Girls too. We are doing a sleep over party in February and this time, instead of doing an American Girl theme, we are doing 'Princess Dairies". We are gonig to do make overs and put on a Fashion Show and so hair.
I just LOVED this movie. It must not have done well since it came out on video so quickly. But I was thrilled that it came out this month so we could use it as a theme.
A 'fun' theme for a DCL all girls program would be to do a "Princess Make-over" and set aside time in the spa for the girls to go up and see just what goes on up there (even I haven't been there), and then they could practice manners and things like that. Maybe even have a special 'princess tea' at Palos one afternoon.
I agree, though, I would love to see some 'girl' things. We just love the Disney Princesses. I would love to see a whole "Princess" themed cruise. Maybe over Mother's Day <G>.
12-26-2001, 09:43 AM
I do not have children, but was just on the 7-night and did see that they offered 'teen time' in the spa. I think it was only one or two days at a certain time.
12-26-2001, 09:52 AM
CallahanJulie10: Great Ideas! You would think we wouldn't have to be telling DISNEY this though, right?
Webmastercathycanada: Good day, eh? I don't like paying good money to have ot be the learning curve for any company, let alone Disney. You (or at least I) pay top dolllar for Disney and expect them to do their test marketing, focus groups, etc. all before this. And I contacted a bunch of Disney managers (see my listing of phone numbers and emails a few pages back in this thread). Every one of them was gracious to a fault thanking me for my comments, but every one of them basically said - we are happy with the way we have it now. So I really HATE sayign this, but we are booking a RC cruise next august. A couple different friends describe the RC kids program the way CallahanJulie10 and I envision the Disney kids program - something the kids really want to be part of. But we don't have to wait for it to be envisioned. RC has it NOW. As I said in the first note - as loyal as we are to Disney, this ANNOYS me to not want to do something Disney
12-26-2001, 10:20 AM
I did want to add that one thing I find unexcusable is not following through with activities that are scheduled.
(Barring any weather difficulties that would make it impossible.)
If the advertise they are going to have a treasure hunt at 10:00 then they should have it.
Kids DO get very upset if you say "Today we are going to do A,B,C, and then you only do 1/2 of A and none of B or C. They remember everything you promise.
So if DCL has been doing this ... "tisk-tisk on you !"
I'm still going to do the cruise, so I guess I'll just have to see for myself! One of the MAJOR reasons we are taking the cruise is to have mommy / daddy time. We never get this. Working around kids as well I'm dealing with kids 24/7. Never, ever a break from "Mommy can I have..." or "Miss A can I have..."
I hope my kids don't take an instant disliking to the clubs. We plan on using it mostly in the evenings so we can have at least one fancy dinner without me getting mashed potatoes on my shirt and maybe a night of drinks and dancing.
Kind of off the subject - but my DH stops by a local pub that we have right down the street from us. We know several people that frequent the pub as well as bartenders, ect. A few weeks ago they started having "kareoke" (spelling?) on Wednesday nights. Well, a few people brought thier kids in. This is a BAR people! My husband was completely flabbergasted. He even went so far as to ask the people if they really felt (these are people we know) it was a good idea to have the kids around that type of atmosphere. Guys were cussing, telling off colored jokes, playing darts in the back while kids were running around.
The reply he gets it "What? What do you mean?" I mean HELLO!!
Some people are just plain dense and don't know when it's appropriate to leave the kids at home or not come.
So I for one am VERY, VERY, VERY glad that DCL limits some of the clubs to just adults. First of all I mean if I'm out for a no kids evening I don't want other peoples kids around. SORRY! I'm not anti-kid. I love them, have dedicated my life to them at home and at work. Nothing better than a smile from a child to warm your heart. But, when I just laid down a couple grand for a cruise and want family fun as well as adult time ... don't bring swearing drunkards to my family time, but don't bring screaming kids to my adult time either!! (rotfl)
Now all that said ...watch me go on the cruise and hate it.
Naahhhh - no way.
Originally posted by dmdeitz
Yes, I understand the need to read the rules and take roll call. But when you are allottting 1/2 hour - 45 minutes to that, every hour or so, that is just criminal.
I'm a little surprised that there would be that much difference between the 4 day and the 7 day! I just checked my kids Navigators from the 7 day because I didn't remember that much transition time. They only had 15 minutes of transition time for each move, and other than meals (which they have to move for) they only moved once or twice a day. I was there several times right at moving time and never really heard them going over rules - just taking roll. I wonder why the 4 day cruise would have so much more transition time and so much more often??
12-27-2001, 12:39 AM
mog - it was probably just that your timing / and or perception was different.
one thing I have learned on these boards is that two people could take the exact same trip and one says it sucks ---- the other loves it.
Looking foward to my 3 day cruise in April! YES!!
12-27-2001, 11:48 AM
dmdeitz, I disagree that we are guinea pigs for DCL. I know for a fact that they read ALL guest comment cards and many improvements have come about as a result of what guests write. I prefer to think of it as meeting the needs of your clientele. I don't know of any business or company that has stayed exactly the same as they did when they first started. If you don't listen to your clientele and try to meet their needs, you will not be in business very long.
The fact that DCL has done this (and done it well) shows how anxious they are to make their product the best it can be. You can't please everyone and everyone has different expectations, but I think they do a terrific job and as a travel agent who sees how many people rebook, obviously DCL is doing something right!
Just my opinion, but enjoy your RC cruise and hope it is all you hope it to be. :)
12-27-2001, 03:42 PM
Hello my name is Julia and I was on the ship 3 times and will be on my 4th one on May 25 2001. I didn't actually EJOY the lab either. I mostly walked around the ship with callahanjulie10's daughter and bbethparson's son. We ran around deck 4, we went to see the Princess Diaries and we just walked around. I really think that the lab should do more stuff like make something that you could take home with you so you could have something to remember from your trip. I looked on the website and it sad that the 10-12 made computer mouses, but I never actually remmbered that activity being on the 10-12 nvigator. I think that is a great activity. We mostly did storm the lab. They really should improve the kids activities. They did go see movies but the thing I didn't really like about that was that you couldn't sign out or in in the middle of the movies. I mean the "you can't sign in in the middle of the movie rule" is fine with me but what if you get really bored in the middle of the movie or if the movie is too intense for you. Some of the counselors weren't too nice either. On the other hand, most of the conselors were so funny and VERY nice! This is just my opinion. But I do love the DCL! I can't wait for #4!
#4 Disney Cruise- May 25th, 2001 .... yay!!!!!!!!:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
12-27-2001, 04:08 PM
From the mouths of babes ...
You have such a good attitude!
Ok --- so everything was not perfect ... but you still had a good time.
I think us adults could learn something.
12-28-2001, 10:06 PM
Does anyone have the URL for the board / site that lists actual recent navigators? I found one recently, but forgot where it is. I want to make sure I saw it correctly that there was 1/2 officiailly scheduled for transition. And they wrap up 10-15 min before that typically. and don't start back up for 10-15 min after the transition time.
12-28-2001, 10:22 PM
Originally posted by dmdeitz
Does anyone have the URL for the board / site that lists actual recent navigators?
12-28-2001, 10:59 PM
Actually, there is no transition times listed in the schedules. It does mention on the front that there is a 15 minute transition time before a move. That means 15 minutes to get one place to another, which seems about right for moving around the boat. Of course, that does not mean that they will use that whole 15 minutes. And its a bit of warning to parents to check the schedule because they may be in between places, so they could be at A or B, and maybe it's better to wait 5 minutes to make sure they are at B.
Looking through the navigators, it looks like there is one schedule activity in the morning, about an hour long, two schedule activities in the afternoon, and two scheduled activities in the evening.
Activity time - free time - is scheduled once in the morning, once in the afternoon, once early evening and then late evening, where its combined with a movie to provide quiet time.
As for not being able to check in and out at Movie time, yeah, I think that's hard , but I would think it's a logistical nightmare having kids coming and going in the dark. How many parents would complain that little Susie wasnt' where she was suppose to be?
The Navigators don't actually call it "transition time", but if you look at the schedule it will show, for example, that one activity will be until 11:45 (or whatever) and then the next one listed is lunch at Topsiders at 12:00 - 12:45, then the next activity is back in the club at 1:00. Somewhere they either tell parent, or it is written that during those "in between times" you can't sign in or out.
We did end up waiting a couple of minutes once or twice because we got to the next place before the group, but they were usually right on time and once they were there we never had to wait any longer - they let us sign them right out on the clipboard as soon as they got there.
12-30-2001, 08:41 AM
I can't believe this thread is still going strong!
As for transition times - we ran into that a couple of times, where I would have to wait for the kids to get back from somewhere else, but no big deal. As for the times where they request no checking in/out... my daughter wanted SO BADLY to join them... they checked over the two way if they would check her in...and they said go ahead and bring her down (BV Theatre). Another time we went ahead and waited for them at their next stop and they checked her in as soon as they arrived.
Just Chip, No Dale
12-30-2001, 12:17 PM
I think that the kids program has been getting a really bad rap. Everyone has their own opinion, but I wanted to level the playing field a bit. My sons (5 and 9) really liked it a lot. My nine year old, who is very shy, never wanted to leave. Our five year old came and went as he wanted to. We were paged when they wanted to leave.
The fact that they were moved around makes a lot of sense. My nine year old played a lot of supervised activities but also had a lot of time to simply play computer games, which he loved. It's true that they had to move to deck nine to eat...so what? It takes five minutes to do that.
We read the Navigator (ship's newspaper) each day, and took them out to see movies and shows together. I thought that they had the best of both world's. The security was excellent as well.
It's too bad that so many people thought the kids' program was poor. We thought it was excellent, so it really does depend on the individual child.
12-30-2001, 12:37 PM
On our cruise in June, my 2 DDs (4 and 3) did not spend a ton of time in the clubs -- a few hours here and there when we went to a movie, a show or dinner at Palo's -- but everytime we went to pick them up, they would wave hi and then go right back to whatever activity was going on. Eventually, they left with us, but they were clearly enjoying themselves adn were in no rush to leave. Like others, I viewed our trip as a family vacation. I love to spend time with my kids as I work full time, but for the time we wanted for ourselves, the kids were happy to visit the club and can't wait to try it again on our next cruise. I have one shy girl and one not-so-shy girl. They were a little young to come away with lifelong friends, but all of the counselors were friendly and the place seemed very secure (which I am always concerned about).
I did notice the first night my older daughter's group visited the lab for their welcome aboard party and when we came to pick them up, they seemed to be spending a fairly long time sitting on the floor in the "secret" corridor between the 2 clubs while the younger kids were being organized in the club for their next activity (watching movies).
I'm sure things can always be improved upon, but on the whole, my kids liked the clubs and want to go again. That is the endorsement that counts for me. I can't speak to the "free time" or meals as my girls were there - -for the most part I think, while one of the more structured activities was going on. We heard about how fun it was to "find Tinkerbell" for months after our cruise.
01-21-2002, 08:32 AM
So have things gotten better on the cruises since November when this user posted this note?
01-22-2002, 11:32 PM
We sailed Nov. 29th on the 3 day and my kids had a blast (3 & 5). In fact they can hardly wait until we return in Dec. for the 7 day!
I would think that they are continually "tweeking" the program to try to improve it. I think one of their greatest challenges is trying to estimate how many kids will be in the club/lab at any given time. It seemed that when the kids were watching a movie in the club or having "free time" was when the kid count was the lowest.
01-23-2002, 12:16 AM
We have been on 4 DCL cruises with 2 more coming.
My kids love it - the kids programs are a blast. They talk about it all the time. They have the things they made hanging in their rooms. They prefer it to Disney World.
Could it be better? Sure, and so can life.
Make the best of it. I think the counselors do a solid job keeping the kids together and with the program.
01-23-2002, 07:09 AM
Oh no!:eek: This thread is back!
02-11-2002, 05:09 PM
I had to look through 15 pages to find this darn thread - just bumping it up for a friend to read. Thanks.
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