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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cruisin' with Kids! (Part II)

It's WorldWide Wednesday...which means we get to leave our laptops behind, mentally, and think about being somewhere else!

Given that, it's time to close out the talk about the different options we have for childcare and entertainment for kids on the various cruise lines. As I've said before, my hope is that parents don't let the fact that they have kids keep them from traveling. The trips we've taken with our little one have been absolutely some of our best. He will likely not remember anything we've done so far, but we certainly will. It's amazing to travel with a child and see the world through their eyes. Ok, I think I've made that stance, we'll move on.

Last week, we covered the three cruise lines I have personally cruised with - Carnival, Holland America, and Norwegian. Today, we'll cover the other three most popular cruise lines in the US. There are more lines available than what we will cover, but these are the most common lines you'll find in US ports.

I hope you find this information helpful and encouraging as you plan a memorable family trip...and remember, if you ever have ANY questions about cruising, I'd love to answer them for you! =)

Here's a blurry pic from my honeymoon for your enjoyment... Cruise love!

Royal Caribbean International
Minimum Age for Childcare: 3 years and fully potty trained
Childcare Hours Offered: 9:00am - Noon, 2:00pm - 5:00pm, 7:00pm - 10:00pm for free. In-room babysitting is available from 8:00am - 2:00am and is $19/hour. The child must be at least 1 year old for this service. Regular group-style babysitting is available for late-night care until 2:00am for $6/hr.
Is Childcare Offered During Excursions: Yes, provided (obviously) that children are 3 yrs and up and fully potty trained.
Other Comments: They offer Fisher-Price play dates for infants 6mo - 36mo, but parents must be present. Their program seems very thorough and enjoyable for children, but the minimum age is high and the in-room babysitting cost is outrageous compared to Holland America (covered in Part I).

Celebrity Cruise Vacations
Minimum Age for Childcare: 3 years
Childcare Hours Offered: 9:00am - 10:00pm is free. 10:00pm - 12:00am is $6/hour, except for the last night in which 10:00pm - 1:00am is also free (this is a program they call "Parents Night Out").
Is Childcare Offered During Excursions: Yes, for certain hours (check with on-board staff) and comes at the $6/hr fee
Other Comments: The Parents Night Out program is one of a kind, however, the midnight closing for all other nights is quite early. Most ships have comedy shows that don't start until midnight and the dance clubs/lounges/bars are all open until 2:00am or later. It seems somewhat restrictive.

Princess Cruises
Minimum Age for Childcare: 3 years
Childcare Hours Offered: Sea Days: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2 p.m. - 5 p.m., 7 p.m. - 1 a.m. Port Days: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. - All care is free until 10:00pm, and then $5/hr afterward
Is Childcare Offered During Excursions: Yes, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Other Comments: I couldn't locate information on the hours of the late-night option for childcare. I would suggest calling the line or asking once on-board.

Who's ready to book a trip!? This girl is! I cannot wait for our next cruise! Our little one is 18 months, so compiling all of this info has been very beneficial to me to help me decide which line will get our business. I hope it helped you too!

Happy Trails!


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