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Old 08-14-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
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If you'be sailed cruise lines other than DCL

how do the children's areas compare? Do they have as many activities? Are there limited hours? Etc. Thanks
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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Before we found and got hooked on DCL, we always cruised Celebrity. We only used the kids club one time on one of their older ships. It was a very nice, inviting area on one of the upper decks at the back. It was quite small, but with fewer kids, the staff to child ratio seemed higher than Disney's. The staff were all really lovely. I think the hours were something like 9-12, 1-5 and 7-10 or something like that so the expectation was that you'd take your kids out for meals, but they did have snacks. You had to pay extra for late night child care from about 10pm-1am or so.
I think my kids might find Celebrity a bit underwhelming now that they've gotten used to Disney, but I had a friend who tried both and she said her shy, quiet, seven year old daughter actually preferred the smaller kids club because it was calmer and she got more attention from the staff. So for some kids it could even be a better choice. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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Honestly there are pros and cons to both the non dcl and dcl clubs.

The hours on DCL can not be beat by any other line. Most seem to stop around 10 where as DCL is 12.

Princess hours as well as HAL hours are staggered. They would shut down for lunch and dinner on Princess. They were only open for about 10 kids on Port days so you had to sign up early if you wanted that available to you.

DCL is less structured and more of a free for all. For some that is good. My oldest prefers that. Princess and other lines are more structured and require involvement.

DCL is more like babysitting. A really really good babysitter. Princess was more like school, a really really fun school. My kids called the employees teachers if that gives you any idea. On DCL my kids came back with nothing in their hands. On princess my kids came back with bracelets, crafts and stuffed animals every time.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:26 PM   #4
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We sailed DCL 3 times last year and my kids loved it. They kids always came back with some craft and my daughter came back with at least one string backpack, too. I thought the hours were great. They were always convenient and I love that kids can eat lunch and dinner there (which my kids always ask to do).

Then we sailed Carnival, which has more limited hours and sometimes requires parents to drop kids off in the restaurant for meals. They always eat in the restaurant and usually take the kids as a group, but if the club is closed until meal time, you need to drop them off yourself. It's complicated and requires much more planning than on DCL, especially since they closed the club at least once a day for a paid event, like Build a Bear. I really disliked that. BUT, my kids far and away preferred Camp Carnival. They loved all the activities, the meals, and the counselors. They especially loved Night Owls, which is a paid, after-hours party/babysitting service. They came back with a backpack, toothbrush, and owl-shaped night light. We only had them do it once, but they would have done it every night it was offered. Plus, my son celebrated his birthday on the 4th day of the cruise. He came back with a cute decorated hat one of the counselors had made from a poster board. They sang and celebrated his birthday in the clubs! That wouldn't happen on DCL (or at least, it didn't last year when we sailed on my daughter's birthday). There were many fewer children, even though we sailed on the Dream, which is comparable in size to the Disney Dream.

To sum up, I would recommend Camp Carnival, at least on the Dream. My kids loved it. I prefer the convenience of DCL (sailing again in 3 weeks!!!), but have no hesitations about Carnival's club simply because my kids were treated so well there. . That alone is priceless.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:32 PM   #5
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I guess you have to be a kid to like the Carnival Dream...


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Old 08-14-2013, 12:42 PM   #6
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We sailed on HAL a few weeks ago and my younger son (age 6) loved it and keeps asking to go back, even though we have a EBPC cruise on DCL coming up in a month. HAL had small groups of kids with counselors they really got to know. He played Wii a lot. He did not want to get off the ship for shore excursions.

The problem was, it closed at around 4pm each day, so on at least one day since he wanted to stay in the club, I didn't go on a shore excursion either, because I couldn't guarantee we would get back in time. Which worked out fine, the rest of my family went and took my other son and I enjoyed some alone time, which I don't get much of at home! Plus, it closed pretty early at night and it was extra if you wanted them to stay later - if we were playing trivia or something. On sea days I believe it also closed at lunch.

My son loved being there, but I found that I had to keep breaking up my day into when I had to go get him out and then bring him back when it opened again. I wish they were open longer - not that I would leave him there all day, but just something I had to work my schedule around.

Disney clubs are MUCH larger, much more things to do, and although they have scheduled activities, I don't think they get a lot of one on one with the kids. My younger son likes those too, especially if he meets a friend there, but I think he enjoyed HAL more. Now my older son (age 9) doesn't like going to the clubs unless he has a friend or his brother is there, but that has more to do with the fact that he is extremely shy around people he doesn't know. I think I made him spend a couple hours in the HAL club, and I will make him spend time in the DCL clubs, but it is difficult.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:42 PM   #7
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We sailed Celebrity one December, the weeks just before Christmas. There were only 20 children onboard. There was an outdoor play area that was quite nice - a climbing area that included a model ship with a crow's nest lookout. The staff was there in full so each child received a lot of attention, I am sure. I recall that there was an extra cost for the program or for certain hours but I do not recall any specifics. Something to check out before booking because DCL cruisers are used to no extra cost.
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