Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Cruising With Kids

Cruising With Kids

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Disney cruises and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly! We’ve had the pleasure of cruising with kids many times, with our son Alexander (at 4 mo.*, 11 mo., 1, 1½, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10), our daughter Allie (at 9 and 12), our nieces Megan (at 3, 5, and 8) and Natalie (at 2, 4, and 7), our nieces Kayleigh (at 13 and 16), Melanie (at 11 and 14), and Nina (at 10 and 13), and Dave’s second cousins Bradley (2) and Andrea (1). So we’ve been “around the deck,” so to speak. Here are our tips for happy cruising with kids, along with tips from Jennifer’s sister Kim Larner, mother of Megan and Natalie.

Introduce kids to Disney cruising before you go. Order the free DVD, have a family showing, and encourage your child(ren) to watch it on their own. It builds excitement and also breeds familiarity, which is important to kids. If you have a child with an interest in pirates and treasures, draw a treasure map showing your journey from your home to the ship and review the map in the weeks and days leading up to your cruise.

Your stateroom choice depends on your budget, but spring for an outside stateroom if possible. The natural light helps kids stay on their regular sleep cycles. Kim says, “The split-bathroom units were very convenient and the large porthole made the room feel very open.” These are all big pluses when cruising with kids.

Kids absolutely love swimming, and the pools onboard are lots of fun. They also tend to be very crowded, however, and “you’ll need to keep an eagle eye on your kids in the pools,” according to Kim. She also suggests you make time to go swimming in the ocean at Castaway Cay—“the kids loved the warm water and found crabs and starfish.” Keep in mind that diaper-age kids can only use the designated splash areas onboard (see page 206).

The Oceaneer Club and Lab, both of which are now open to ages 3-12, tend to be big hits with most kids, though there can be downfalls. Alexander loved the idea at 3, but really wanted mom to stay with him. Megan fell in love with the Oceaneer Club at age 3, she had a “potty accident” due to the exciting and unfamiliar environment, and wasn’t allowed back in to the Club for a while. Certainly let the kids know about the Oceaneer Club and Lab before you go, but don’t build it up too much in the event there are disappointments. Kim also suggests you “put your kid(s) in the Club/Lab for at least one of your meals to allow you the chance to really enjoy the dinner.”

Coloring at dinner

Speaking of meals, early seating tends to work much better than late seating for kids, especially young kids. Kim says, “the kids enjoyed the start and end of the meal, but were impatient during the middle.” We suggest you bring an activity or two with you to dinner to keep the kids entertained after they’ve grown tired of coloring their menus, such as sticker books or doodle pads. Older kids like Allie also get impatient—consider letting older kids go to Oceaneer Club/Lab, Edge or Vibe, as appropriate. The Dine and Play program (for ages 3–12) can really help with the impatient kid syndrome—see page 177 for details!

* Prior to January 1, 2015, Disney Cruise Line allowed infants between the ages of 12-26 weeks (3–6 months old) to cruise. The minimum age is now 6 months old—see page 58.

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Top Photo Slice: Searching for treasure on Castaway Cay (℗ 53514) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx


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