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Old 10-31-2009, 05:57 PM   #31
vacationsitis
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Sorry to hear about children not having a good experience. We have been on four different Disney Cruises over the past several years. My kids have always loved the club & their counselors.
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:32 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lance435 View Post
Like I stated above, this is not a problem of DCL being unaware of one or two problematic counselors or a particular incident that happened. The problem lies in DCL's employment practices, the way they have chosen to structure the kids club, and the amount of resources (or lack thereof) they have chosen to dedicate to quality childcare.

DCL has made a conscious decision to make things the way they are and they are well aware of the consequences of these decisions. And to be honest, based on some of the responses to this thread and what we observed from many of the parents on our cruise, most people don't really care about these shortcomings, so DCL has no motivation to improve.

When I filled out the comment card at the end of the cruise, I made it obvious that everything other than the childcare was great and that the childcare soured our overall experience and we are very unlikely to book DCL in the future as a result. Obviously this was enough to trigger a mandatory follow up phone call, but I wouldn't expect any meaningful changes from DCL until massive numbers of parents lodge similar complaints. In the end, DCL only cares how people vote with their wallets.

Ouch - not sure I like the implication that those of us whose children didn't have a problem in the clubs "don't care about the shortcomings"

I am sorry that you had a bad experience and my initial post on this thread suggested that you express your concerns to DCL but considering you don't personally know me or I assume the other people on this thread I thoroughly resent your comment that we just don't care or are somehow less qualified than you to understand what constitutes a suitable childcare environment for children on a cruise.

I spent time with my daughter in the club and also observed the club in action varying times when waiting to collect or drop off. Of course any environment where you put a large number of children who are not used to each other will encounter problems, my experience was that these were dealt with well however that was a different ship and a different cruise.

Anyway, to reiterate I am truly sorry that you feel your cruise was soured by the childcare provision however I could not read your comment and not respond.

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Old 11-02-2009, 02:52 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Melcatfish View Post
Ouch - not sure I like the implication that those of us whose children didn't have a problem in the clubs "don't care about the shortcomings"
Huh? I was stating observations, not making personal attacks.

It seems many people are having trouble distinguishing between "my children enjoyed the kid's club" and "the kid's club provides quality childcare". They are two nearly orthogonal concepts.

The intent of my original post was to point out (for those who understand the difference and are looking for more than superficial reviews) that I observed some very concerning shortcomings in the structure of the Oceaneer's club. Unfortunately, many of the replies to my post were "sorry to hear that, but our kids enjoyed the club!" ... which is completely missing the point.

Another thing to realize is that one or two experienced CMs that take their jobs seriously can make all the difference. If you happen to drop in while a quality CM is on duty, you likely won't see a lot of the issues I described. For example, on the first day of our cruise, the club seemed well managed and most CMs were attentive as parents were registering their kids and asking questions about the club. After that initial period, there was a significant drop-off most times we stopped in. For me, the quality of a childcare center is measured by how they handle the worst case, not the best case scenario when they're putting on a show for all the new cruisers.

Unfortunately, nothing in the structure of the club guarantees that a quality CM or someone in a accountable/manager-type role will be on duty at all times, so it's a crap shoot when you drop your child off.

After our experience on the Wonder, we would not feel comfortable booking a shore excursion that would require leaving our child in the kid's club. Sure, maybe that day we get a good CM and our child has a great time, but what if we go to drop off and the kid's club is full of disinterested college-aged guys who looked bored to death (which was often case when we visited)? I don't want to be in a position where I have to choose between my child's welfare and losing out on several hundred bucks for a last minute cancellation.

It's obvious from some replies that several parents who got unlucky or took as close of a look as I did at the club agree with my observations. And I think most parents who take a real honest look (over several days and drop offs) at the club would tend to agree with many of my points as well. The only real contradictory points that were made on this thread all came from Magic cruisers, so perhaps there is actually a significant difference in club structure between the two.

And to be clear, I'm not saying that you child will not have fun or cannot get quality care at the kid's club. In fact, I'm sure 90%+ of kids have a great time and encounter no issues. But I could also say that if you let your kid run around Deck 9 on his own or left him alone on your veranda, 90% of the time nothing bad would happen. Is that good enough for you to feel comfortable with it?
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:35 AM   #34
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We were on the Magic last week. My shy 4 1/2 year old would not stay in the club. It was obvious I was having problems trying to engage her enough to stay and none of the CM's who were standing around watching us came over to try and connect with my child so that maybe she would want to try and stay. We never went back.

Not to say it's their problem if my shy child is having a hard time but since they are the childcare workers it would have been nice for someone to try and help us.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:07 AM   #35
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Maybe a lot has to do with the age and disposition of the child. Both of mine were in the Lab on the Wonder and loved it. In addition, I did feel that the CMs were completely qualified but my kids are very outgoing in that type of atmosphere so maybe that makes a difference. Personally, activities like the Lab are what sold us on DCl but I do understand that everyones experience is different. I do not mind paying the higher prices since I do feel I am getting what I pay for. If my kids were unhappy with their experience I am sure I would feel differently and proceed to find something that worked better.
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:42 AM   #36
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Yesterday in the mail, we received a letter from DCL regarding changes to the kid's club format on the Wonder. The letter doesn't mention the Magic, so for now I'll assume this just applies to the 3-nt/4-nt cruises on the Wonder.

The letter says this (paraphrased):
Beginning in mid-December aboard the Wonder, children in the kid's clubs will be able to select only the events and activities they would like to participate in, without being restricted by age group.... Kids are free to select activities based on their interests, regardless of age. Also, if you have multiple children and they want to participate in the same activity together -- that's possible too!....

...Kids will be able to select their own adventures, from the daily Personal Navigator, just like adults.


This sounds like great news to us -- we only used the kids club once (in 4 cruises), because we didn't like the "one size fits all" structure. This might tempt us to use the kids clubs again on our next cruise (Jan 2010 - 63 days, yay!). We'll see how it works out.

There is a discussion thread here:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2334294
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:32 PM   #37
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I so rarely post these days, but when I read this thread-I HAd to chime in.

On our very first Wonder cruise, my then 5 year old Dd, was very shy. We tried the Oceaneer's club, but I think she caught my vibe. I didn't like it.

The problem wasn't the number of counselors, it was the quality. One or two who were engaging the children, others standing around chatting. Worse, there was one counselor whom I thought was outright mean to a child.

It was only a 4 day cruise, so I didn't sweat it. I didn't complain, either.

The following year, same problems, longer cruise.

It wasn't until my daughter was in the Lab that she wanted back in the enviorment.

There were individual activites that she enjoyed-like making Flubber, and coloring pillowcases. But, on the whole, the Club was too crowded and not montiored correctly. I wish I had complained as eloquently as you did.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:32 PM   #38
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Just came back from cruise: 11/29-12/3. Was very apprehensive about putting (almost) 3 yo into Oceaneers Club after reading these reports. Did put her in about an hour in the evening; I did stay for a bit myself. The place was, at times, a zoo with chaos and kids everywhere. Then I did stay. But I found the counselors to be attentive to the kids in the smaller groups; the ones that weren't running around like a crazy person. My daughter fits in both the crazy and quiet group; depending on her mood. I stayed with her when she was crazy because then I was afraid she would get hurt and wouldn't be found until it was too late. But all was well. She got to dance with Cinderella and Snow White and was thrilled with that. Like I said, I didn't keep her in there more than an hour; mostly because I did want to spend time with her.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:00 PM   #39
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This is such an interesting post. We have two boys, age 4 and 6, and I have been so curious to see what the child care is like on DCL. I'm glad that I read this post ahead of time, b/c I think it will help me manage expectations once we're on board. I guess this is the main reason I lurk on these boards, so I can plan ahead and be prepared!

I really appreciate everyone's input and opinion on this board, both the "good" and the "not-so-good".
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:44 AM   #40
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Here's an example: there are princess clothes to dress up in. My daughter had on snow white and it was too big for her. She kept tripping over the bottom. She would run around and hold it up in her hands but would still trip, get up and keep going. There is a cargo net ladder that leads to the slide. She would trip while on the net and the other kids would just run over her! There was no one watching to help her. On the other hand, I had noted to one of the counselors that the dress was too big for her so I pinned it up but it was still too big. My daughter loved the dress and did not want to take it off. I left her there for story time (she's 3) figuring she won't be running too much, and returned about 45 minutes later to find that they had switched the dress for a better fitting tinkerbell one instead. That made me feel a little better but I still didn't leave her alone too much. I geuss it all depends on who is there. If she was older, I would have felt better about leaving her there more.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:53 AM   #41
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We were on the Magic 11/14-21.
Our almost 4 yr old son, did not care for the club.
*I noticed everything that's already been mentioned.*
My son is shy. Does not care for strangers. But will go to a pretty girl
caretaker who shows him attention in a second.
He only stayed when when we went to Palo's for dinner and when we went ashore in Cozamel. He was in there a total of 4 times, If not for Palo ressies, I wouldn't have put him in at all. Everytime we came back to get him he was either watching cartoons unsupervised or if something was going on, on the little stage he was sitting with a councelor. He did not beg to stay or show any interest in staying past the time when we came to pick him up. I noticed when crafts were done, he never had one. It was because if they don't do it on their own, noone helps them. Did not see any councelor who went out of their way to help the shy or scared child. Alot of crowd control. Maybe when we go back on the Wonder in 2 yrs he'll be better, plus he'll have our grandson who's the same age to keep him company. We'll see.
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:56 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSandbergFL View Post
Yesterday in the mail, we received a letter from DCL regarding changes to the kid's club format on the Wonder. The letter doesn't mention the Magic, so for now I'll assume this just applies to the 3-nt/4-nt cruises on the Wonder.

The letter says this (paraphrased):
Beginning in mid-December aboard the Wonder, children in the kid's clubs will be able to select only the events and activities they would like to participate in, without being restricted by age group.... Kids are free to select activities based on their interests, regardless of age. Also, if you have multiple children and they want to participate in the same activity together -- that's possible too!....

...Kids will be able to select their own adventures, from the daily Personal Navigator, just like adults.


This sounds like great news to us -- we only used the kids club once (in 4 cruises), because we didn't like the "one size fits all" structure. This might tempt us to use the kids clubs again on our next cruise (Jan 2010 - 63 days, yay!). We'll see how it works out.

There is a discussion thread here:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2334294

For those who might still be following this thread, another DIS'er found this recent review of the new kids club format on the Wonder. The reviewer has an 8yr old and a 3yr old, and reports a very positive experience.

http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1064
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:21 PM   #43
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We noticed the same things as most on this post on our 3 day wonder 4 years ago. Our ds was almost 6 at the time. He enjoyed himself and still remembers it as fun but what we noticed evertime we would pick him up or drop him off was pretty much chaos. It seemed to us way too many children for the number of counselers. Once when we went to pick him up they couldn't find him and tried telling us several times that "maybe you picked him up already" dh and i really started to panic while we all started looking for him. Turns out he was playing on the rope climbing thing by the slide. He wasn't hinding or anything. After that my husband and I were very uncomfortable with letting him go back and we really didn't need for him to go anyway, so we had our own fun as a family. It was so loud in there that I could def see it as overwhelming to a child, esp if they were not in school or daycare. We didn't complain, figured we were being overly concerned, glad you did and maybe they will make some changes. I really think Disney does such an amazing job with so much other stuff that the kids clubs would be top notch, more like Club Med is was I'm hoping they'll get to someday. Of course by then my little ones prob won't be so little anymore
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:29 AM   #44
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I'm wondering if the CM's are better on one ship than the other?
It seems like there are more complaints about the Wonder than the Magic. Perhaps that is because on the Wonder children are there for less days and therefore some of the CM's have more of an "I don't care" attitude as they know they be able to connect with the children. !
I am curious about this too. Wonder v. Magic
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:43 PM   #45
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Let me preface this by saying, I'm a HUGE lover of all things Disney.....member of D23, annual passholder at WDW, frequent cruiser, been to Disneyland in CA as well as Paris.......but I'm not in love with the clubs on the ships.

I don't know....I just don't get that warm, fuzzy, feeling I was expecting from Disney in the clubs. My kids have been in both clubs, mainly because we wanted to go to Palo. The Oceaneers Club was SO chaotic when my kids were there......kids pushing, shoving, bullying on the slide. The castmembers not doing much about it. I didn't like it.

We also had an incident one time where they didn't find our son right away when we came to pick him up. It was scary. He was in the bathroom crying for seemingly a LONG time. Nobody noticed, apparently. Wow, we didn't like that one at all!

Last week, we sailed on the Wonder and my kids went to the Oceaneers Lab for about an hour and a half while we dined at Palo. There were no problems per se, but my kids both had NO interest in going back. They are 7 and 9 now, so old enough to voice their opinions and tell me what's going on. I actually hated leaving them there.....and almost didn't want to go to Palo because of it. But they were having a Wii tournament, and my kids like Wii. They agreed to go for just a little while so we could go to dinner. My oldest son said he really didn't want to go back there anymore. He just wasn't impressed. And we cancelled another reservation we had for Palo brunch, simply because we didn't want to send them there.

One other thing I noticed on just about all the Disney cruises I've been on is a LOT of parents wanting to just ditch their kids in the club. And for long periods of time. I find this sad. It seems there is a mentality that "this is my vacation too" or maybe parents just are sick of being with their kids all day, I don't know. But this definitely happens a lot. I've seen it OVER AND OVER AGAIN! And I think this might be part of the problem with the clubs. Maybe the kids who are being put in there all day have other family issues, or parents ditching them. So they might not be the nicest, most balanced kids in the world, KWIM? I hate to say this.....I SO love Disney, but it is sadly true.

Now having said all that, would I use the clubs on my next Disney cruise?? Maybe, but just so I could dine at the fabulous Palo. And maybe, because my kids are getting older and I'm not as worried about them as I was when they were 3 and 5. They can probably entertain themselves with the video games for an hour or so, and then I could come right back to get them. And they will probably be fine. But would they want to go back??? Probably not.

Having sailed several times, my advice to cautious parents like myself is that the castmembers are nice, but mostly your kid is going to have to fend for himself. My son went one time for a Flubber making session.....I came back only to find out he didn't get a turn in making the Flubber at all. Why??? Because he's not very outspoken and didn't complain loudly that they skipped his turn. Maybe it was sort of his fault, maybe it was the fault of the kids who took his turn, or maybe it was the castmembers who weren't paying enough attention to notice that he didn't get a turn at all! It was disappointing. So make sure your kid can speak up. Or make sure he or she is old enough (i.e. experience in school) to deal with such situations. I think the castmembers have good intentions, but things don't run as smoothly as you would think. The clubs, for us, are a place to take the kids, not some magical fairy-tale type of place. Do I think they are unsafe? Not really. Does our family love the clubs. No!
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