1/26/02 Sailing TR from Single Mom Debbie-Part 2


Earning My Ears
Feb 15, 2002
There’s one little tip that I wanted to share about the in room safes. The first or second night my daughter lost her Key to the World card (the key card that basically gives you access to everything, your room, your in-room safe, your charging priviledges). Luckily she just lost it somewhere in the room. We had gone to Guest Services to get the card replaced, which took all of like 3 minutes for her to reprint us a new card. Anyway back in the room, all of a sudden none of the cards were working to get into the safe. Not hers, not mine, none of them. So I called guest services and the man put through this card that actually activates the safe to accept any card that is put through it right after that. So he suggested that I used a different card (other than my key to the world car) to gain access to the safe. So I used my MAC card. I liked this idea because just in case one of us were to have lost our key to the world card and someone knew what our cabin number was, they could go into the room and get right into the safe. Whereas with this little safety precaution, they might get into the room, but they wouldn’t get into the safe because it was only programmed to use my MAC card!

After dinner it was more strolling around the ship. We went to the Welcome Aboard Variety Show. It was “okay”. The shows just got better and better as the week went on. All in all, it was a decent show, but I think that we would have had more fun going to the pool. After the show was over my daughter and I strolled the upper deck and we saw people in the hot tub. So we went over and felt it. Before you know it, both of us were in the hot tub. She was *so* excited. She couldn’t believe that mommy was letting her go in a hot tub past 10pm at night! I was actually surprised myself, but I kept telling myself, we are on vacation! We went to the “late night snacks” sometime after 11pm. I was quite disappointed in that. I know that it’s been a while since I’ve cruised and I have heard that the ships have done away with the midnight buffets, but I did expect a little more than some slices of pizza and some tiny little dessert things! My sister has cruised several times in the past few years and she said that although the ships don’t go crazy anymore with lavish midnight buffets, they still put out a decent spread of food. When I told her that the “snacks” were pizza and a couple little treats, she was shocked.

Which brings me to my next topic: Food… In a nutshell, the food was good, but not great. On the other ships that I have sailed, the food has been much better. Although the food was sort of like the shows, it did get better as the week went on. The first two nights I was a little disappointed with the food. But from then on, I really enjoyed what I had ordered. I know that at various times, the people at our table had gotten something that they just didn’t like at all. One time (I’m not sure if it was the first or second night) two people ordered some sort of beef. I’m not sure if it was a steak or what. They said it wasn’t good at all and they didn’t eat most of it. Which I think is quite surprising for a ship, because ships in general usually have good food. On the 2nd or 3rd night, I myself ordered some sort of steak. I asked for it medium-well. It came to me pretty well done. I ate it since I really liked the flavor of it, but it was pretty chewy. On subsequent nights, I had no problem with the food at all.

One thing I (and my table-mates) were not happy about was the kids menu. Macaroni and cheese, or pizza or something of that nature was always on the kids menu. Sometimes the kids would get veges, sometimes they wouldn’t. I didn’t think that was very nutritious food for kids. While the kids may have enjoyed it a lot, I think the moms and dad would have preferred better meals. We could have ordered something off of the adult menu for the kids, but most times, there wasn’t something on the adult menu that I thought my daughter would like. Although the one night I ordered her the turkey off the adults menu and that was very good. Also, another thing they did was to feed the kids first. The kids meals always came before the adults. I summized that was because they wanted the kids to be fed and happy, so that moms and dads could enjoy their meals without having to tend to the kids while they were eating too. This was a good concept, but frankly I didn’t think it worked. Because after the kids were done eating, they were bored. They wanted to do something and we were still waiting for our food. So sometimes the kids got a little antsy. That’s when my daughter would come up with the excuse to go back to the room to “check” for something.

She’s 8 years old and normally I would never let her walk around a hotel or anyplace by herself like that. But as the week went on, she proved to me that she knew where she was going (better than myself) and that she knew what to do if she got lost (ask one of the DCL employees to help her). Also, I felt so *safe* on this ship. The ship was full of families and just a “nice” type of crowd. So I let her run off on her own for a little bit here and there. I did sign her up on the first day for the kids club. I made her go into it one day when I wanted to attend a luncheon for “singles/single parents/those traveling alone”. When I went to pick her up she seemed to be having a good time (until she saw me). Then I heard the story of how “terrible” it was and how she didn’t want to go there anymore. Basically it was just a case of not wanting to be put in something of the nature of “day care”. Even though I didn’t think it was day care at all, she just didn’t want to have any rules or restrictions put on her for her vacation. Which I respected since she was on vacation, just like I was.

Another thing I did was after I put her to bed in the cabin. When she was all settled (or sleeping), I would then go out to do some of the adult things. This was *excellent* for me, because once again I would have never, ever left her in a hotel room by herself sleeping. But for some reason I just felt so safe doing this. I would go off to a show that lasted 30 to 45 minutes, then come back to the cabin and check on her (she was always sleeping). Although I have to admit, most nights she was up with me prancing around and doing something!

Another thing I haven’t mentioned was our table-mates. We were seated with 2 families, each with one mom and dad and one child. They were both very nice families and we all got along very well. That was something I was grateful for, since I on other cruises I had been seated with people who were “okay” but you looked forward to dinner being over. This was not the case on this cruise. Although I do admit that I was hoping they would sit me with another single parent. I wasn’t sure if there weren’t that many single parents on the ship or what. But I found out towards the end of the week that there were two single moms sitting at the tables surrounding us. I was puzzled as to why they would not sit my daughter and I at a table with another single parent. Either way we wound up with a good table and a good set of people. The one family had a daughter that was just a year younger than mine and they bonded and had fun at dinnertime together. In fact when the ships photographers came by to take pics, they would always get the 2 girls together for a picture (I think assuming they were sisters). They also went to the kids club once and had fun at the pool one day.

The ice cream bar called Scoops was a great idea. It was open everyday from about 11am until 5 or 6pm. The kids thought that was the best thing. They could go up and get their own ice cream. Also at Scoops was a fruit bar. I enjoyed that very much. The honeydew melon and cantelope was excellent. I also enjoyed the buffet restaurant Topsiders. I know that I’ve read a few trip reports where the people didn’t like the buffets at all. I don’t know… I must be in the minority because I enjoyed the food very much there. This is where we had breakfast every morning and also where we had lunch most days. In fact it was great on the days we were in port. We would go off and do our shore excursions, which were usually done by noon or 1pm, then we would get back on the ship, take a shower, eat some lunch and head back to the island for shopping or more fun.

Also, in the past, the ships that I have sailed on had more days in port. This ship only had three days in port (including the private island day). I thought this was the best itinerary for traveling with kids. I was happy to go to St. Thomas and St. Maarten and show my daughter what a “tropical island” looked like, but for the most part, I wasn’t interested in island hopping. And I think that she would have gotten bored with that too. To me, this was the perfect mix of port days and sea days.
I'm enjoying reading them, and have a few comments to make. I agree with you about Topsiders, hubby and I thought the buffet was wonderful when we went on the Magic a year ago. We usually ordered a "wake up - room service" breakfast the night before, to be delivered to our room, but then a couple hours later we'd go up and have our "real" breakfast at Topsiders! :D The fresh fruit was delicious, and did you happen to try their croissants? Melt-in-your-mouth, they were!! And with real butter on top.....*smacking lips* Yum!! And I agree with you about the mix of port/at sea days, we thought they were perfect. We're doing the Western itinerary next January and will lose one of the "at sea" days, so that will be disappointing for us as we loved those relaxing days on the ship!! I do have to say a couple things here, I thought the hot tubs were for "adults only"....or that children had to be at least 16 years old. I don't think I would have liked going to the hot tub to see a much younger child in it, when they're not supposed to be. And there is no way I would leave my 8-year old child alone in the room at night. Too many things could happen. I know there are no icebergs for the ship to hit, as in Titanic, but what if there were a kitchen fire and they had to evacuate the ship? Would your 8-year-old know where to go to get on a lifeboat? I just couldn't do that. And you said you would never have done that in a regular hotel, well, IMHO a cruise ship is really just a "floating hotel." Too many things could happen! :(
Hi Chatty,

Yes the croissants were wonderful!

I was not aware of a rule that the kids had to be 16 yrs old or older to go into the hot tub. Anyone else know about this? If that were the case, I certainly wouldn't have broken the rules and let her go in. Altho the hot tub we went in was the one by the goofy pool (which was designated as a family pool). I don't think there were any postings (unless I missed them) about an age requirement? I would be curious to know more about this.

And I know what u are saying about "too many things could happen" with an 8 yr old in the room by herself. I know the whole thing sounds a bit hokey and like I said, it's normally something I would never do. But I was aware of other parents who did the same. Not saying it's right or wrong, it's just the way I chose to do it this time. Next time (since it's only a 3 night cruise) she's staying up until midnite every night with me!!!

Only the hot tubs by the adult pools are off limits to anyone under 18. The ones by the family pool are for everyone.


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