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Old 11-22-2012, 10:14 AM   #16
fredgirls
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Wow! I can't imagine letting a five-year old walk somewhere alone! Each to their own though.
This is quite different than the question of giving a tween/teen freedom though.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:14 AM   #17
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Ours was 14 on his first and we gave him a lot of freedom. Only requirement was breakfast and dinner. But he's very mature for his age and I know he wouldn't get into trouble. So I agree it's only you who can make that decision because only you truly know what your child can handle. Good luck and enjoy your trip!
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:49 AM   #18
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Our 14yo daughter and all of her new friends on the cruise all came and went as they pleased. The ship is very safe and I had absolutely so qualms about her having free run of the ship.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:05 AM   #19
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Our 14yo daughter and all of her new friends on the cruise all came and went as they pleased. The ship is very safe and I had absolutely so qualms about her having free run of the ship.
I thought that too....until my daughter was assaulted by a 17 year old guest. The young man had been barred from the teen programming due to his behavior and was well known to security for his other antics on the ship. The incident occurred right outside the teen area--the fact that the teen had been banished from the programming didn't prevent him from hanging out at the near the entrance and harassing teens as they came and went.

My daughter immediately reported the incident to the counselor in the teen area, and security was involved from the start. While my daughter was the first to report this boy, she was not the only one on that cruise to make such an accusation. DCL encouraged us and assisted us in notifying the authorities on land; ultimately the land authorities declined to prosecute.

No, my daughter wasn't raped. But no one has a right to touch her without her consent. And there are bad people on the ships!
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:57 AM   #20
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On our first cruise our daughter was 11 yrs old, and she was allowed to go around the ship as long as she was with another kid. She was able to make friends before the cruise since a kid's thread was set up and we had a kid meet on the first day. We meet the other families that she talked with, and got to know the parents a bit the first couple of days. She could come and go as she wanted, but had to be with one of the other kids we knew, and she had to leave us a message of some sort letting us know where she was. It was clear there would be a change in rules if this all did not happen. (Made a few discreet checks on her a couple of times to see if she was indeed where she said she was the first couple of days.)

The new wave phones do make it easier to communicate and keep tabs on each other.

You gotta know what your kid is capable of handling and not slack off or let your guard down just because it is Disney.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:23 PM   #21
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This is all great information. Our upcoming cruise will be my kids first. They will be 14, 10, & 8 at time of sailing. I was 12 when I took my first cruise, and I was allowed to roam as I wanted. I wasn't alone though, usually with my aunts who were a year older & a year younger.
But, things are different now. My DS9, is a boundry-pusher. DS7 just doesn't like to be alone, if he doesn't know where I am, he is afraid he will never see me again. DS13 is much more responsibile, always has been. I will give him more freedom, and, their half brother, also who will be 14, will be cruising with us. (I invited his mom & her family). We will start off with x amount of rules, see how it goes, and maybe lighten some up.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:27 PM   #22
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Mine were 12 and 16. I think in the week, other than my 12 year old going to the one thing she went to in a club, and the day DW and I went to wine tasting, they wanted to do everything with us. So they had the freedom to go anywhere on the ship, but didn't use it.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:32 PM   #23
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Maybe I am naive (this is our first family trip), but I can't fathom not spending most of the trip with the kids. If they want to spend it in the kids programming, I have no problem with that, but its our family vacation...so if they aren't in the kids program, I would expect they would be with us. If I wanted time away from my kids, I'd vacation without them (we do every year).
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:32 PM   #24
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My oldest was 10 the first time we cruised. She is incredibly responsible and we allowed her to wander and go to movies without us. We had strict rules... the most important one was to keep in constant contact with us and to alert us if she changed locations. We also told her in the theaters to sit by a Mom with kids... not by herself in the last row. She LOVED the freedom. On our second cruise We also allowed her and her little sister to go to dinner and the character breakfast by themselves while we were at Palo. They were very excited to do that... especially because we didn't have table mates so our servers took very good care of them Our older daughter then dropped little sister off at the club and then went to a movie. When we go on our next cruises our daughters will be 12 and 8 and as long as they stay together they will be able to roam the ship.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:21 PM   #25
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I never let my 12 year old wander around the ship by himself, but I was fine letting him go to and from an agreed destination by himself.

By age 13 I was comfortable with them wandering around the public areas of the ship so long as they had at least one of their new friends with them at all times.

I now have a 10 year old that I would not allow out of my sight unless she was being supervised in a kids club.

I'm always checking on the kids, I do let them have a fair amount of freedom, but I also worry. I just do my best to strike the right balance just like at home.

A good thing to compare it to might be how you treat your kids in a mall. And your comfort level may change toward the end of the cruise once everyone knows their way around better. Do you let your 12 year old wander around new mall by themselves, do you let them walk down to their favorite store on their own and tell them you will meet them there shortly, or do you keep them by your side? It is all what they are ready for and used to.

In my opinion, if we saw a 5 year old wandering a mall or theatre by themselves we would be very concerned, and the same thing goes for a ship.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summerl30
Maybe I am naive (this is our first family trip), but I can't fathom not spending most of the trip with the kids. If they want to spend it in the kids programming, I have no problem with that, but its our family vacation...so if they aren't in the kids program, I would expect they would be with us. If I wanted time away from my kids, I'd vacation without them (we do every year).
Lol. This is how I felt too. Then we got to the cruise and my 13 year old wanted to do activities in the Edge and my 10 year wanted to do thinks in the club. They always seemed to be at different times. So, we made a rule that we had breakfast and lunch together and the rest would just fall into place (my 10 year old spent more time with us). We all had a great time and have wonderful memories from our family vacation. Breakfast and dinner times were loaded with great conversations about either what happened during the day or what we planned to do. We did go on the islands together.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:56 PM   #27
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I thought that too....until my daughter was assaulted by a 17 year old guest. The young man had been barred from the teen programming due to his behavior and was well known to security for his other antics on the ship. The incident occurred right outside the teen area--the fact that the teen had been banished from the programming didn't prevent him from hanging out at the near the entrance and harassing teens as they came and went.

My daughter immediately reported the incident to the counselor in the teen area, and security was involved from the start. While my daughter was the first to report this boy, she was not the only one on that cruise to make such an accusation. DCL encouraged us and assisted us in notifying the authorities on land; ultimately the land authorities declined to prosecute.

No, my daughter wasn't raped. But no one has a right to touch her without her consent. And there are bad people on the ships!
It is so sad that there are bad people. But there are and they are every where. As far as allowing kids freedom while on board it is a personal decision. If you allow them to walk around your neighborhood unsupervised and they know what to do if they are approached by a person with ill intent then by all means allow then similar freedoms on board. However, if they do not already have those freedoms and do not know what to do if they are approached then hold them close.

Disney keeps it as safe as possible but please do not be fooled in to a false sense of security. Whatever your decision it will be the best one for you and the family. Relax and enjoy the cruise.
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:44 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summerl30 View Post
Maybe I am naive (this is our first family trip), but I can't fathom not spending most of the trip with the kids. If they want to spend it in the kids programming, I have no problem with that, but its our family vacation...so if they aren't in the kids program, I would expect they would be with us. If I wanted time away from my kids, I'd vacation without them (we do every year).

I'm so glad I'm not the only one! On our first Disney cruise, DD was 11 and DS was 8. (They're now 22 & 19 ) They both stuck to us like glue, and we all loved it. My husband and I didn't care about the spa, or "adult only" activities, because we, too, could go do those things on a trip by ourselves. Neither one of them liked the kids' clubs, they never did, even on all of our subsequent cruises.

It wasn't until they were each at least 14 that they were allowed to (or even wanted to) go off by themselves, and by that time, we were always cruising with friends and family....people we'd met through the DIS on the Meets threads, and had become very close with.

It makes me nervous every time I see other people's kids out and about by themselves, like the little 5 year old going to get ice cream....and we see it all the time.
On one cruise, we saw three really little kids do nothing for over an hour except ride up and down in the elevator, pushing the buttons. Where were their parents?? Of course, if someone were to say something to the parents, I'm pretty sure they'd think there was nothing wrong with the kids being alone...I've heard it dozens of times "But it's DISNEY..."
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:47 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineCruiser View Post
I never let my 12 year old wander around the ship by himself, but I was fine letting him go to and from an agreed destination by himself.

By age 13 I was comfortable with them wandering around the public areas of the ship so long as they had at least one of their new friends with them at all times.

I now have a 10 year old that I would not allow out of my sight unless she was being supervised in a kids club.

I'm always checking on the kids, I do let them have a fair amount of freedom, but I also worry. I just do my best to strike the right balance just like at home.

A good thing to compare it to might be how you treat your kids in a mall. And your comfort level may change toward the end of the cruise once everyone knows their way around better. Do you let your 12 year old wander around new mall by themselves, do you let them walk down to their favorite store on their own and tell them you will meet them there shortly, or do you keep them by your side? It is all what they are ready for and used to.

In my opinion, if we saw a 5 year old wandering a mall or theatre by themselves we would be very concerned, and the same thing goes for a ship.


Excellent points and advice!!
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:41 PM   #30
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i think its all about being sensible - dd 11 years went to edge this years cruise, made a group of friends and had the abillity to come and go from there - she had to carry wave phone all the time - not go on any outside deck, call me when she left the club and say where she was going and never to leave alone. Had a bit of difficulty with this initially as worried for her but as days wore on she was very sensible. She went to edge till 1am and we met her at the elevator straight up from there when she left - meant lots of very late nights for us but couldnt have her walking back at 1am herself. We were on hawaii cruise 14 days and she had plenty of time to make some good friends and because there wasnt many kids on the ship we met them all and this made it better in terms of knowing who she was with.

DS 8 went to lab and did not have self check although this is allowed for an 8 year old - cant see why really however some kids did do it. Depends on the child I suppose.

Prior to this cruise they've been together in LAB only occasionally although would need to say my daughter had a great time on this cruise, made great friends and enjoyed her vacation more than if she had been spending all her time with us.
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