Posted by: ppernick | January 17, 2007

Cruising Part 1 – kid friendliness

Back from my Carribbean cruise.  Ready to go back.  Specifically to this nice beach on Antigua with soft, white sand, clear, calm waters and small, silver fish dancing at my feet.

Overall it was a wonderful vacation – though the cruise didn’t blow me away as the others have before.  That’s probably not a fair comparison.  Having Simeon with us really changes things. 

Simeon did wonderfully on the cruise.  If there were any doubts whether he would get seasick, they were quickly erased after he withstood what mommy couldn’t – even when he wasn’t feeling well.  Yes, poor Simeon spent 2 days not feeling well.  When he finally released what he’d been bottling up, the smile was back though.

Thank goodness for doting grandparents.  Ari and I were able to see all the evening shows (except when we slept through them) and even spend a few evenings alone.  Simeon went to most of the shows as well.  As long as the music and lights were going and there was action to be seen, he was in to it – until he eventually fell asleep.  One evening, he had just about fallen asleep but couldn’t get comfortable.  Then the music got loud again.  He shot straight up and was too interested in the show to even attempt sleeping again.  He kept pushing me away when I tried to lay him back down or even protect his ears from the loud sound level.

Carnival cruiseline is known for being family friendly, so I had high expectations that Simeon would have places to be and things to do.  Apparently, I missed the fineprint that defined a kid as being 2 years or older.  They had this wonderful area called Camp Carnival.  Camp Carnival had 2 rooms for kids to play in with toys and activities geared towards different age groups.  However, 1-2 year olds were only allowed in at certain times.  Either late at night when babysitting was available for a charge (luckily we had plenty of grandparents willing to do this for free), or from 12-2 while we were at sea, under family supervision (a total of 6 hours the entire cruise).  With so many opportunities for broken glass, I felt confined to my cabin more often then not.

I was also disappointed that there was no pool or swim area for diapered kids.  So we wound up with only 2 opportunities for simeon to get anywhere close to water (well, other than the shower).

Also, if this cruiseline is so kid-friendly, why do they have so few cribs that there’s a waiting list?  I was overall disappointed that we got so little out of this cruise for Simeon and we still had to pay his way as if he were at an age where he could actually take advantage of what the ship had to offer.  You can bet we made sure he had an appetizer and main course every night.  He even ate a piece of chocolate cake on my mom’s birthday. Well, I’m still not sure how much got into his mouth.  They must have had to throw out that tablecloth.

The one bright spot for Simeon was our dinner waitress.  She was amazing – going above and beyond what I would expect.  Even on the days when Simeon wasn’t feeling well, she managed to get at least a tiny smile out of him.  Not only did she get his hand for a couple dances, but she went so far as to cut up his food and feed him a couple times.

At the time, I grew extremely frustrated with how much time I spent in the cabin versus out on the deck or in a pool.  But as I think back, it really didn’t matter.  If Simeon was happy, I was happy.   Maybe I didn’t read as much as I would have liked, or gotten in the pool/hot tubs as much as I hoped.  I probably spent more time with my parents and in-laws than I would have otherwise.  So, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

I like the idea of doing this with both families again.  And maybe we’ll even try Disney – another cruiseline said to be kid-friendly.  At least now I know what questions to research when looking for a cruise Simeon will enjoy.

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