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Very Young kids on cruise? Sleeping issues?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by akadada, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. akadada

    akadada Doin' It All for My Baby.

    Nov 13, 2010

    I know this has been posted before in various forms: If we cruised next year, our DS would be about 22 months (basically 2yo) and our DD 4yo.

    From what I read, our DD would have a great time. I read mixed reviews about our DS at 2 though and so wanted to post this again to get updated opinions and any other tips.

    Our main questions are:

    1. Would you do this? why or why not?

    (Or better yet, have you done this and how did it go?)

    2. Our son is a very light sleeper who goes to bed around 7 Eastern time; would it be a mess to have us all in one small room for a week? Note, we'd cruise a Veranda suite, but still, it's small.

    (Whenever we travel now we book a 2BR condo so the kids have separate sleeping space so we're kind of scared we could be asking for it.)

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  3. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

    Feb 25, 2003
    Vacations result in all four of us in one room, and always have. We haven't had issues with the kids because of this. We traveled with the kids starting when they were babies and now they are 13 & 14. If we can manage in a stateroom, you and the two little ones should be fine. Also, expect any schedules to go out the window. If your DS goes to bed at 7 every night one of you won't get to finish dinner in the MDR even with early and will also miss the shows. Our kids took naps until they went to kindergarten, but everything was different onboard. There is a lot going on. Thank goodness I ran the vacuum when the kids slept as babies. They could sleep through anything -- even the Irish dance show at BG many times.
  4. Four Bears

    Four Bears Mouseketeer

    Nov 2, 2011
    I cruised when my kids were 2 and 4 and again when they were 3 and 4. Also when my oldest was 21 months old and I was five months pregnant!

    There is a curtain the separates the adult and kids sleeping areas. Just a FYI, the cribs are pack and plays and I used them when the kids were 20 and 21 months. However, it was not very comfortable (plywood boards covered with very thin padding. If you DS is old enough and you feel he can handle a bed, the bottom bunk is only a foot off the ground and they can give you a rail. Problem is that top bunk is really for 6+ (even though DD used it when she was 4 almost 5 - It was her most favorite part of the cruise), so they will put in a pnp. You, however, can choose your sleeping arrangements.

    DH and I pushed bedtimes slightly, knowing that we could sleep in (meaning to 7 am!) and took turns watching shows, since the room had to be dark, no TV, etc. One adult got to have fun (shows, movies, walking outside) and the other adult was stuck in the room at 8! Honestly, I was so tired that when it was my turn in, I was asleep by 9! Even staying in a veranda room, the door is very heavy and I thought loud (when you have barely sleeping kids) so it wasn't really an option at night. As an aside, I had a hard time opening the veranda door. And there is a latch that is high up.

    Some other things to know....
    1.) Unless your DS (and DD) are fully potty trained they cannot go to the kids club during secured programing. Fully Potty trained means clothing management (up and down), wipe and wash hands. Anyone can go into the clubs during open hours!
    2.) Unless they are fully potty trained they are not allowed in the pools. No swim diapers allowed. There is a splash area for the youngsters who are not potty trained (your oldest would be okay for it as well, even if she IS potty trained!)
    3.) Early sitting is at 5:45 and can take up to 7:30/7:45. You can ask the servers to give the kids their main meal while you have your soup/salad/appetizer courses. We would then take them to the nursery/kids club and enjoy the entree and dessert/coffee alone!
    4.) Kids club (3 -12) is drop off. and Nursery requires reservations. We reserved from 6:30 - 8 every night, extended the hours if we were going to adult dining.
    5.) If you go to adult dining (Remy or Palo) then make sure you feed the kids first before sending them to Club/Nursery since they only have cheese sandwiches and don't enforce them eating.
    6.) Strollers....They halls are very narrow as well as the stateroom doors. I have a double side by side travel stroller that we use that is the same width of a wheelchair and I had to fold it up to get in stateroom. Also the halls have service carts, other people and can get congested. I found that on the actual ship we really didn't need the stroller, but we used if for the airport and port excursions. Elevators can be very tricky with a stroller and we often had to use the trick where we would "call" an elevator going in to opposite direction as the masses and then come back to the same floor and then do our destination, since it was the only way we could get on the elevator.

    While you are less things for your youngest to do, he will just enjoy being on the ship! We didn't do any excursions, just would find a beach that was a short taxi ride or walk able. And off course, who could beat having Micky and Minnie be with you on vacation!
  5. slzer0

    slzer0 DIS Veteran

    Aug 29, 2013
    Following. Will be cruising with 2.5yo.
  6. moonlily8

    moonlily8 Earning My Ears

    Jun 6, 2013
    We cruised last fall on a non-DCL cruise with our then 17 month old and almost 3 year old. They both had a great time!

    Sleeping - 17 month old had a crib, she resisted sleep a bit most nights but we found having my husband ho out and leave me alone with them helped. With the lights off she would fall asleep and when he came back no issues. The 3 year old on a mattress on the floor and had no trouble laying down to sleep when we told her it was time. We've stayed in numerous hotels since then (my husband is in the military and we travel a lot), and getting the younger one to sleep has gotten easier as she has gotten older - she's about 28 months now. It's a matter of setting the right mood with lights and noise. I usually read my nook once she's asleep and enjoy the down time.

    We're going on DCL in late November and I have far less worries this time. They loved cruising - seeing the water, people watching, exploring - and I think the addition if Disney characters will only make it better for them.

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
  7. micheledb49

    micheledb49 Earning My Ears

    Feb 7, 2013
    Our first disney cruise was when our son was 17 months and we leave in 3 weeks for our next disney cruise (he'll be 24 months). Here's my trip report:
    Granted, we only have one child, so I'm sure that made it simpler for us.

    It was absolutely amazing and we are hooked on disney cruising.

    We are a very structured family. At the time, he was still taking 2 naps a day. We made sure he got them either in the stroller or the pack n play in the room (sometimes a nap for us is nice too, no problem there). His bed time at home was 7. We usually had him in bed on the cruise by 8:30. He adjusted really well and then had no issues adjusting when we got back home.

    I honestly can't think of a better vacation for a little one.
    We didn't miss the pool at all. Like I mentioned in my trip report, we have tons of pool options at home. He loved the splash pad and the pool was never an issue.

    We happily paid for Nemo's Reef babysitting hours for some couple time. I actually think I'd be more nervous dropping him off at the kid's club when he is 3 because there is such a wide age range.

    Loved cruising with our little guy & can't wait til our next one :)
  8. moonlily8

    moonlily8 Earning My Ears

    Jun 6, 2013
    I just wanted to add that fitting in nap time everyday really helped. They often went to bed a bit later than the norm at home but thanks to a good nap everyday that wasn't a big deal.

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
  9. DisneyPups

    DisneyPups Mouseketeer

    Oct 2, 2010
  10. olenalt

    olenalt Earning My Ears

    Aug 21, 2013
    We have already cruised wih a 17 month old on disney and it was awesome! We are going again in October (29 month old). We had a verandah and it was awesome (cat 6a I think). Her bedtime was 7... She usually went to the show and we came back and put her to bed. She did great. The best part was the curtain in the room that separated the bed from the couch even though it was a mere foot away. We shut the curtain and she fell asleep right away. No way she could unlock and open verandah door as we can hardly do it. Pulled the tv around the curtain and watched tv until we went to sleep.
  11. Tazicket

    Tazicket <font color=blue>I routinely walk into 1 certain w

    Mar 19, 2005
    Thanks for this thread! I'm subscribing, too. We'll be going on our first ever cruise next year on the Magic, and our son will be 3.5 when we go.
  12. Meghatron

    Meghatron DIS Veteran

    Oct 26, 2010
    Just so there's no confusion for newbies reading this thread in the future, Nemo's Reef is not the nursery. It's the baby & toddler splash area on the Dream class ships and is NOT supervised by staff nor does it have a fee.

    The staff-supervised fee-based nurseries are Flounder's Reef (Wonder) and It's a Small World (Dream class & the Magic). Should the Wonder ever get the "reimagining" that the Magic is getting, Flounder's would be converted to It's a Small World as well.

    Sent from my Tricorder using DISBoards
  13. TeamH5

    TeamH5 Mouseketeer

    Jul 24, 2011
    Our son was 3.5 when we cruised and my girls 5. At that point DS was still napping every day for about 1.5 hours and everyone was in bed by 7:30 eastern time. On the boat... Yea THAT didn't happen! Lol not only did we not get naps, but also did not go to bed until after midnite a couple of times (pirate night). Pirate night thoughnDS actually fell asleep at dinner, and I believe the night before he fell asleep on Andy's bed in the kids club. Lol other than pirate night we tried to have them in bed by 10 at the latest, but they ALWAYS woke up at 0600 on the nose! No alarm(except internal) and were wide awake and ready to go. We had to WAIT for our early breakfast sating at 0800 (maybe 0730). We got lucky and never had an issue with meltdowns. Almost had one over DD not wanting to wear her Princess dress for autographs but I wisely chose to step away from that power struggle and happiness ensued. Lol

    I think your kids will be fine just make sure to book plenty of nursery time for the 22 month old as they aren't even allowed in the club during restricted scheduling unless they are 3 AND potty trained.
  14. SweetMissy

    SweetMissy DIS Veteran

    Feb 18, 2006
    Thank you for all this info! We're possibly going on a Disney cruise next spring and you've given some pretty good tips. :thumbsup2
  15. akadada

    akadada Doin' It All for My Baby.

    Nov 13, 2010
    Thank you everyone! Very helpful so far. I thought up a few questions while reading your posts.

    What did you do while they slept (assuming you got them to bed reasonable time)? Sit on the deck? Does going out on the deck wake the kiddos because you have to pass by them?

    Did hallway noise wake the kids?

    Did anyone ever consider getting two rooms: one verandah or window room and one interior? I don't like the idea of crossing a hallway for my kids, but I was just thinking that might be a better way to get the sleep structure coordinated.

    That said, I'm assuming if I did that, though, the rate is not the rate for a 4 and 2 year old all in one room, rather I'm guessing I'd have to pay the full room rate on the interior?

    Would it be better to pick an itinerary where there's more island time or more at sea days? (The difference I think is just one day sea v. island).

    Would it be better to pick a shorter cruise this time v. a seven day?

  16. shburks

    shburks DIS Veteran

    Jan 5, 2009
    You have to have one adult in each room for the reservation. You can sleep however you'd like in whichever rooms you like that you've paid for. That said...I would NEVER put my kids in an inside room across the hall from me unless they were teens. NEVER EVER would put a 4 and 2 year old across the hall. You could do adjoining rooms but only rooms of like category adjoin (inside adjoins to inside room, oceanview to oceanview, etc) so you cannot get an adjoining verandah and inside room. :)

    My husband is military also and we spend a lot of time travelling wherever we live to explore. We flew all over Hawaii and the Pacific when we lived there and ds was 7 months-3.5 including a 7 night cruise. It's not always super easy to share a room (even a big room) and have him fall asleep at night, but we did it. Often we were so tired that we would all go to bed at 8. Sometimes we would sit in the bed quietly until he fell asleep and then move to turn on a light far from where he slept (you'll have a curtain in the cabin) or sit out on the balcony of a hotel or on a ship.

    I'd say try to make your schedule as normal as possible by utilizing naps in the room (or at least rest time) and doing bedtime as close to time as possible. It may mean that you miss some of the shows--or maybe you'll have shows during the matinee hour at 3 pm. If you tell your servers that you need to be out by 7:15 every night, they'll make it happen. Or try room service one night--or Cabana's for a more casual and quick dinner.

    It's totally doable. Have fun and don't stress about it. If the kiddo is a very scheduled kid and NEEDS to go to sleep at 1 for nap and 7 for bed, then just make it happen! Some kids are go with the flow, can stay up late, etc and some can't. Mine is a "can't"! He's almost 9 now and it's totally different but we spent years on ships and at WDW missing fireworks and late nights because he simply needed to go to bed. It was fine. Now we can stay out a little longer and enjoy more things.

    Best of luck!
  17. jahber

    jahber DIS Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    I just wanted to add that in the kids' clubs they don't only feed them cheese sandwiches :). On the Dream and Fantasy, at least, they have a rotating menu. Off the top of my head I remember chicken strips, pizza, and Mickey pasta with red sauce for dinner. I know there were others, but I don't recall them off the top of my head. Lunch IS typically cheese sandwiches and ham/turkey sandwiches, though. As a PP said, they don't force kids to eat, but they always offer healthy options such as fruit and veggies. My kids loved eating in the clubs for lunch or dinner as a treat :)

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