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dsedwards
01-04-2010, 07:00 PM
We’ve never been on a cruise before and were looking to book the Disney Mediterranean cruise in May. The thing that sounded great was that my wife and I could enjoy the amazing ports while the kids (ages 7 and 4) could be having fun onboard the ship in the Oceaneer’s Club. However, after reading a few threads here about the Oceaneer’s Club, I’m hesitant to assume the kids will enjoy full days there during the 4-to-6 stops where my wife and I had planned to go into port alone. So now we are trying to decide whether to forget the whole thing or whether we bring them onshore with us and do a few Disney family excursions and/or have lowered expectations on what we’ll be able to see or do. Anybody out there have success or frustration bringing similar aged kids into port with them on a Mediterranean cruise and what worked (or didn’t work)? Thanks!

sabrecmc
01-04-2010, 11:02 PM
I'll be bringing my 4 year old on the May 5th Med cruise. We've cruised before, and the kids' clubs offered lots of different activities. It seems from past Med cruises, they really try to cater the activities to the ports, so there are lots of different things going on.

Let me first say that I don't think its the end of the world if kids are bored. I also have no problem with leaving my daughter to go do the occasional adults-only outing. However, for me personally, I cannot wait to share Europe with my daughter. This is a family vacation, and I want her first trip to Europe to be magical and filled with discovery and excitement. I want to see it through her eyes and experience it all over again. I can't imagine leaving her in the kids' club while I go see the Sistine Chapel. I'm sure this is much easier for me to say since I lived in Europe and have been to most of the ports more than once. This is not a once in a lifetime thing for us, so I don't have to worry about making sure I see everything and can concentrate on her enjoyment. It kind of sounds like you want a somewhat different vacation, which is totally fine. I just would not spend all that money to take my child to a really nice kids' club. However, if that is the way for you to see Europe, then I think your kids will be plenty entertained. If they aren't, last time I checked, you don't actually die of boredom.

shaylahc1
01-05-2010, 06:21 AM
I'll be bringing my 4 year old on the May 5th Med cruise. We've cruised before, and the kids' clubs offered lots of different activities. It seems from past Med cruises, they really try to cater the activities to the ports, so there are lots of different things going on.

Let me first say that I don't think its the end of the world if kids are bored. I also have no problem with leaving my daughter to go do the occasional adults-only outing. However, for me personally, I cannot wait to share Europe with my daughter. This is a family vacation, and I want her first trip to Europe to be magical and filled with discovery and excitement. I want to see it through her eyes and experience it all over again. I can't imagine leaving her in the kids' club while I go see the Sistine Chapel. I'm sure this is much easier for me to say since I lived in Europe and have been to most of the ports more than once. This is not a once in a lifetime thing for us, so I don't have to worry about making sure I see everything and can concentrate on her enjoyment. It kind of sounds like you want a somewhat different vacation, which is totally fine. I just would not spend all that money to take my child to a really nice kids' club. However, if that is the way for you to see Europe, then I think your kids will be plenty entertained. If they aren't, last time I checked, you don't actually die of boredom.

This is how I feel too. We are taking 4 kids ages 13, 10, 9 & 5 and I have no intention of leaving them behind on the boat. They may not be able to fully appreciate the experience the way an adult would, but they will get *something* out visiting all these fantastic historical sites. Yes it will be more painful for us as parents to drag them along, but I can't imagine doing it any other way.

If I wanted to leave them in the kids clubs while I toured the Mediterranean, then why not just leave them at home? It'd be cheaper and less stressful. JMHO.

Goofy Mum
01-05-2010, 08:39 AM
I'm taking my three sons on the ten night Med cruise. I didn't even know parents were allowed to leave them on board if they disembarked?

Tinkerbell.RN
01-05-2010, 08:50 AM
My girls were 7 and 9 when we went on the Med Cruise in 2007. We took them with us on the excursions, even choosing "family" excursions a couple of times. So now they have seen Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, Rome (including after hours tour of Sistine Chapel). One excursion was cancelled so my DH and I went to explore Olbia (no longer a stop) on our own. (We unfortunately didn't get off the ship until siesta time and missed out on shopping). We also chose to go on shore in Marseilles on our own. Our kids had much more fun on those 2 days staying in the kids club. But we took them to all of the other ports. We even had the added experience of our oldest daughter having a new friend for the bus ride to Rome -- a girl she met in the Oceaneer's Lab.

What we were able to do because of their ages was have both in one club and they could check themselves out when they wanted food or a treat. For all of the clubs, they have meal times for them, but my youngest is a picky eater and survived on the pizza on deck...even when we WERE there!

So, if I think a blend works well. Find things that you all will enjoy for excursions, but find a couple for you alone.


Oh... they said for the 2 ports we left them on board that the pager might still work. But if you are going a greater distance, it probably won't.

lmhall2000
01-05-2010, 08:56 AM
I have read of parents leaving kids on board while they did a 2-3 hour port hop in the Caribbean, not sure how they handle a 10-12 hour port hop in the Med. Days in Rome/Naples are minimum of 6 hours and that would be rushing it...we're a family that travels together, took our kids to England when they were 6,7, and 10 and they LOVED it...we enjoyed seeing their faces light up riding the trains and cabs, touring the parks and just enjoying the scene. It can get expensive doing the Disney excursions, you might be able to book a driver in 2-3 ports for cheaper and plan a day the kids would love (castles/parks/fun stuff)

Tara

OurDogCisco
01-05-2010, 08:59 AM
When we did the Med cruise in 2007 our kids were 6 and 9 1/2 years old. When in port we did tours some via Disney, some via private tours and some via just walking around. At 3 of the ports we left our 6 year old on board. I think we left here once for 12 hours onboard and she did fine. She actually requested it. The second time we left them both on board for about 6 hours at a port that we walked around on our own. When we did a Disney tour we did not pick the family friendly ones as I wanted to see Italy not play games or watch a puppet show. Some of the tours were really intense like our Rome day and our 6 year old did pretty good considering the long day. However, my almost 10 year old loved the ports and wanted to do everything with us. The guides were very friendly and really did make the children feel like part of the group. So, yes you can leave your children on the ship all day if you want.

fitnessmouse
01-05-2010, 09:44 AM
For those that are uncomfortable leaving your children on board, is it really different than leaving them at daycare? or when they're in school and you're at work?

lmhall2000
01-05-2010, 10:24 AM
For those that are uncomfortable leaving your children on board, is it really different than leaving them at daycare? or when they're in school and you're at work?

I would be uncomfortable. My children have never been to daycare, and we homeschool, and I don't work outside the home! Trifecta I guess for your question! :) My main concern would be that I'm in a foreign country 15 hours away from my closest relative/friend and none of which have passports...so should something tragic happen to my husband and I (rare, but possible)...even if we miss the ship or are involved in an accident...my kids would be at risk....if it were a 2-3 hour stop on an island and I was just walking around, no big deal, but my kids actually prefer to do the ports with us...I would just not be comfortable taking a 10 hour tour to a city 2 hours in from port where there's a greater risk.

Tara

abdmom
01-05-2010, 10:31 AM
For those that are uncomfortable leaving your children on board, is it really different than leaving them at daycare? or when they're in school and you're at work?

I have made quite liberal use of daycares in my time and I have left a child or two on board at ports. People can be uncomfortable with leaving children on board, especially in the Med, since the shore days are long and there is a very real possibility of missing the ship. It has happened that children have been left on board when their parents missed the ship. Daycares will still be there if you are half an hour late, you just pay a fine. Ships will not be in the same place if you are half an hour late.

I will be leaving a couple of children on board at a couple of Med ports. However, my two oldest are capable of looking after themselves and the youngest if necessary. The excursions I'll be on will be relatively short too.

keaster
01-05-2010, 10:36 AM
For those that are uncomfortable leaving your children on board, is it really different than leaving them at daycare? or when they're in school and you're at work?

When my daughter is at school and if something happens to her, I'm a mere phone call away either at home or on my cell and I can be at the school in a matter of minutes. Same if something were to happen to myself or DH, we have friends/family who can be contacted in an emergency.

If something were to happen when we're a couple hours away from the ship in a foreign country (especially for the med and Europe, where many tours are several hours long), I think it makes things a little more difficult, especially for people who book their own tours outside of DCL, which many do.

And like others mentioned, we are excited about sharing the history of these countries with our daughter :thumbsup2

fitnessmouse
01-05-2010, 10:52 AM
I am not leaving my kids on the ship either, as it's a family vacation and for us it's not like we'll never be visiting the ports again. I was asking the question for those that feel uncomfortable if it was any different and I guess it is:

It has happened that children have been left on board when their parents missed the ship. Daycares will still be there if you are half an hour late, you just pay a fine. Ships will not be in the same place if you are half an hour late.

mmmm, hadn't thought of that.
That would probably by main concern

wrennies
01-05-2010, 11:22 AM
So I have a question that follows this. We are taking the May 26 Med. cruise. I have already had concerns about how my children will handle the excursions everyday. There are a few things that I want them to do for sure, like see Rome.
So to the question, if I schedule them for an excursion and they are really tired from the previous days....can I cancel and leave them on the ship? Would I still have to pay? I just hate the thought of paying $300 for an excursion and then "dragging" my child through it.

OurDogCisco
01-05-2010, 11:45 AM
So I have a question that follows this. We are taking the May 26 Med. cruise. I have already had concerns about how my children will handle the excursions everyday. There are a few things that I want them to do for sure, like see Rome.
So to the question, if I schedule them for an excursion and they are really tired from the previous days....can I cancel and leave them on the ship? Would I still have to pay? I just hate the thought of paying $300 for an excursion and then "dragging" my child through it. No, I believe you have to cancel prior to the start of the cruise. At least that is the way it was for us on the Med. Cruise. What I did do was pick and choose my days. There was one day neither dds wanted to go on the tour with us so, I cancelled them off but I had to pay for their spots since I reserved in advance. It was a cheaper tour. I kinda figured for our sanity it was better that they stayed onboard.

Goofy Mum
01-05-2010, 11:55 AM
For those that are uncomfortable leaving your children on board, is it really different than leaving them at daycare? or when they're in school and you're at work?

I have four kids and they've never been in daycare or a babysitter. But for me that's not a huge issue. I'd be afraid something would happen to me while in port (I'm travelling alone) for example I get run over by a speeding Lambretta and I end up in an Italian hospital. What would happen to the kids? :confused3

Perhaps I'd feel more comfortable about it if my husband were coming with us but since I'm solo this trip I have to be 100% ON the entire trip.

neenslovesdisney
01-05-2010, 11:56 AM
To the original poster, I think it depends on what you and your family is comfortable with. With my kids, sometimes they love the kids clubs, sometimes they don't want to go at all. We leave it up to them as it is a family vacation. As long as you and your spouse are comfortable leaving them on board while you go on the excursions, go for it! Plenty of people will be leaving their kids onboard as well. Many kids would probably prefer doing activities on the ships with kids their age as opposed to being dragged through excursions, just depends on the kids.

OurDogCisco
01-05-2010, 12:09 PM
I have four kids and they've never been in daycare or a babysitter. But for me that's not a huge issue. I'd be afraid something would happen to me while in port (I'm travelling alone) for example I get run over by a speeding Lambretta and I end up in an Italian hospital. What would happen to the kids? :confused3

Perhaps I'd feel more comfortable about it if my husband were coming with us but since I'm solo this trip I have to be 100% ON the entire trip. I don't understand this logic... I'm sorry. So, what if you are on a tour and you get hit by a car and your kids don't. What will happen then?

Soccermom-Cheri
01-05-2010, 12:20 PM
We cancelled a scheduled Med cruise as I thought my kids were too young to enjoy it and I wasn't going to pay all of that money to hear griping and complaining during those long port days. Also, because almost each day was a long port day, I couldn't see leaving them on the ship.

I would have left them home. However, I did not have that choice. Even though I REALLY wanted to go, we elected to postpone the trip.

Goofy Mum
01-05-2010, 12:35 PM
I don't understand this logic... I'm sorry. So, what if you are on a tour and you get hit by a car and your kids don't. What will happen then?

Well at least they would know what happened to me. Instead of waiting on board wondering where I am.

lmperrault
01-05-2010, 01:02 PM
We are going to be travelling on the May 5th cruise. I'll be bringing my 9yo, almost 7yo, 3yo, and almost 2yo.

The two little ones will be staying on board the ship while we go ashore with my older kids and my sister and niece. I feel fine with it.

We've cruised with Disney twice before and I know that they will have a good time. In fact part of the reason that we choses the Disney cruise for Europe as opposed to a different cruise line is because of the daycare while in port. We may take them off the ship for short excursions or if we go the beach but the day we go to Rome etc. they'll be staying on board.

And yes, we could postpone the trip until they are older but I think this will be such a great experience for my two older children and for myself and my husband. In addition having had my Mother die out of the blue I 've learned that putting things off until a "better" time, that "better" time my be robbed from you and not come.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever gone ashore and then gotten killed or ended up in the hospital while their kids were aboard the ship. Could it happen? Sure. Is it likely to happen? I don't think so. And if it did my brother or his wife woould get on a flight immediatly to meet the ship and get the kids (and yes they have passports).

So in answer to your questions, I will be leaving two of my kids on board so I can take my other two to experience Europe and I personally feel fine with it.

And yes I do consider this a family vacation. For us it's about being able to take the older kids to do some things that the younger kids are not ready for/would not enjoy and still get to do all the "Disney" things my younger two will love.

mehaul
01-05-2010, 04:38 PM
We did the Med cruise in 2007 with a 3 and 6 year old. We left the girls on the boat for the major ports (Florence, Rome) and took them off the boat for the smaller ports (Marseille). The kids loved it that way. They got a taste of some of the cities for a few hours, but weren't stuck on a bus for 5 hrs going back and forth to Florence. We ate dinner with them every night and then attended one of the shows. The only miserable people on the boat I witnessed were moms with very small children who had just gotten back from a 10 hr excursion with kids hanging on them the whole time.

FLWIDisneyFan
01-05-2010, 06:18 PM
We took our 4 (almost 5) DD on the June 6 2007 Med Cruise and originally planned to take her on every shore excursion. It was too much for her. We ended up leaving her on the boat for Rome and Florence which worked out very well. She loved being on the boat and it wasn't an issue at all. FYI - she was never in day care prior to the cruise although she was in preschool.

We found the Med cruise to be a little exhausting from all the back to back shore excursions and if we did it over again we would do the 11 day to get the day at sea in the middle of the cruise.

shushh
01-05-2010, 07:11 PM
We're on the med cruise and bringing our 7, 5 and 1.5 yr old. We are so excited and cannot wait to show Europe and Tunisia to the children. I think managing expectations is crucial, we know that it will be hard work and we know that "seeing" Europe as you would if you were just travelling with adults is completely unrealistic. I think children learn alot just by simply being allowed the experiences! They may not remember all of it, but they will definitely get something out of it. To help cope with the port-intensive schedule, we're having "potter" days in a couple of ports and in La Spezia, we've chosen to to go to the nearby Cinque Terre instead of Florence. We have also decided to go with a private tours rather than DCL excursions so as to be able to control things to some degree. Although, we've not been on a Disney cruise, we've always taken the children everywhere we go and we've never regretted it once.

Having said that, travel is such a personal thing. For some, travel is to see and experience the world, for others, its a rare chance for some relaxation. The reasons are many and varied. We all have different wants, priorities and expectations from our holidays. I think whichever you decide to go is ok, so long as you're comfortable with it and you enjoy yourselves! From what I've read, it appears that the DCL kids club and well run and well-organised so your children will be in good hands.

shaylahc1, are you on the April 24 2010 cruise by any chance? Come join us on the thread
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1985309

misseulalie
01-05-2010, 09:16 PM
We did the Med cruise in 2007 with a 3 and 6 year old. We left the girls on the boat for the major ports (Florence, Rome) and took them off the boat for the smaller ports (Marseille). The kids loved it that way. They got a taste of some of the cities for a few hours, but weren't stuck on a bus for 5 hrs going back and forth to Florence. We ate dinner with them every night and then attended one of the shows. The only miserable people on the boat I witnessed were moms with very small children who had just gotten back from a 10 hr excursion with kids hanging on them the whole time.

We did exactly the same thing!! Our kids (ages 4 and 6)were onboard when we went to Rome, Naples, and Cannes.
For Rome, they were in the club at 7am, we went to pick them up at 7pm for dinner and they cried that they wanted stay in the club!!!!!

So we came back at 9pm to get them. 14 hours in the club and they had a blast. (by the way, there were two other sets of parents who did the same)
For me, I think it was safer for them to be in the club then to accidentally get lost in Rome.
Also, by this time, the kids had gotten to know the counselors so well, and the amount of kids in the club were few so it was a really good experience for them.

cj'smom
01-05-2010, 10:39 PM
On the Med Cruise I'll be with just my 9 yr old dd and plan on taking her on the shore excursions with me. However, when I last did a Disney cruise she was only 3 and I was traveling with my husband and three older kids. We left her in the kids club a couple of the days while we did things that would have been uninteresting or unsafe for her. I wondered how she would do there for so many hours but she had an absolute blast! She was (is) a very friendly, sociable and independent child. A child with separation issues may not have done well. You just have to know what will work for your child.

Disney's childcare is very well run. There is a constant stream of fun activities for the kids to participate in. It's also very secure. We couldn't even pick up our own child if we didn't have the appropriate ID. And, honestly, the thought that something might happen to us while onshore never even crossed my mind. We went snorkeling one day and on a 4 wheeling offroad trip another while she played and napped happily in the kids club. That way we could take the older kids on more adventurous excursions that they really enjoyed and in return they were great about going to all the "Princess sightings" and little kid things that she enjoyed. It was a win -win for us all.

Tinkerbell.RN
01-06-2010, 03:50 AM
We took our 4 (almost 5) DD on the June 6 2007 Med Cruise and originally planned to take her on every shore excursion. It was too much for her. We ended up leaving her on the boat for Rome and Florence which worked out very well. She loved being on the boat and it wasn't an issue at all. FYI - she was never in day care prior to the cruise although she was in preschool.

We found the Med cruise to be a little exhausting from all the back to back shore excursions and if we did it over again we would do the 11 day to get the day at sea in the middle of the cruise.

The extra day helped....but we were still exhausted. It was the day after Rome that had an extra sea day and it was great (especially compared to the comments by the 10 nighters on earlier cruises!) Anyway, I was still tired and overstressed because it was our first cruise and I wanted to do EVERYTHING! I've been more relaxed with the Bahamas and Caribbean cruises.

What was great was that my DD (9 at the time) had just studied Ancient Rome in school. It was great for her to see the Coliseum and Forum.

As I said before, they were 7 and 9 and did very well on the excursions.

Tinkerbell.RN
01-06-2010, 03:54 AM
Just another thought, too. I grew up with a dad in the Air Force and lived in Germany for several years. My parents took my brother and me on many trips. I will grant that I don't remember everything (I was 4 the first time we moved there and about 9 when we left.) But, I do have incidental memories of things that made an impression on me. And... lots of photo "memories". I love that I can say I went to so many places.:goodvibes

dsedwards
01-06-2010, 10:42 PM
Thanks for all of your thoughts and perspectives. They were very much appreciated and our family is now booked on the May 5th cruise. We are very excited, have a better game plan for the kids, and much better expectations. Hopefully we'll get a chance to meet some of you.

Goofy Mum
01-07-2010, 04:42 AM
Thanks for all of your thoughts and perspectives. They were very much appreciated and our family is now booked on the May 5th cruise. We are very excited, have a better game plan for the kids, and much better expectations. Hopefully we'll get a chance to meet some of you.

Congratulations! :mickeyjum
It's going to be a great cruise. It's my cruise!
Be sure to join our cruise group on the meetings section of these boards.