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About TheLadyK

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  1. You've gotten a good overview! I heartily second the Faster To The Fun, if only for faster lines on embarkation. Small people can have trouble with waiting in long lines and its easier to limit that when you can. I love cruises with my 3.5 year old and she's been on 3 so far. We have some of the best family time and pretty much stick to Carnival with her. The kids club has been great - my daughter is active and social so its a good place for her. We give her the choice of kids club or swimming or whatever and she chooses a fair amount of club time. She's also ditched us for dinner, preferring to do dinner "with her friends" (We planned to keep her with us for dinner, we like eating as a family, but she saw the club setting up for kid dinner and just left us. Now we ask her what she wants to do for dinner.) Embarkation day - have some snacks and a couple of new to them small toys - we like a water wow tablet and a car or a dinosaur. She has her own small backpack that she puts things in for travel. Get through the line and go check out the kids club, get the kids introduced and they'll give you a ship phone if they have any and your kid is very young. The phone is very useful, don't lose it. It can call or be called by any of the rooms on the ship. If your kids like to swim and are fully potty trained you can have have swim suits in carryon. Sailway is going to be by the nature of the child - quiet kids might really enjoy it. My pinball of a child waves good bye to the land and then wants to join in the dance party. One of the things we've loved about Carnival is the ubiquitous excellent care of children - all of the staff, not just the kids club staff, seem to take really good care of kids. The taco stand guy who befriended her and would run the fresh tortilla machine so she could watch (and get only fresh tortillas). The bartender who learned her favorite drink and would prepare it with serious flourish (orange soda with extra cherries). The dinner staff who kept dinner within her patience level every night. If you need help, you'll get it. Tip them as well as you can. Sea days we spent swimming, eating tacos, napping, watching the family movie on tv, swimming some more. Its not complicated time, but its very fun and literally the best family time I know. You get to be very close as a family without anything stressful - food and clean sheets are all taken care of!
  2. TheLadyK

    3 year old in Cozumel

    Oh we had fun with our 3 year old in Cozumel. We did one of the beach clubs that also had a child water park. None of the ship's excursions worked for us, we just got a day pass independently. Took a cab (took some great pictures of her in the cab with her sunglasses looking like she did this every day) played and swam and snacked and played and swam and then went back to the ship for nap time. It wasn't a high impact day - we did a stingray snorkeling trip on a different stop that was amazing - but it was a good day. My kid is very active, so a day spent swimming and splashing down a bunch of small water slides is about perfect for her. In general 3 is little for ship excursions - we found we basically had to do independent ones and that was a little nerve wracking for us but worked out fine.
  3. TheLadyK

    Miami Airport Taxi with small children

    This won't help you for the 1 year old, but for your 4 year old, if you're going to be doing taxis and such frequently, we've loved our mifold booster for travel. (Or even carpooling or other logistical issues.) Its a fully certified booster seat that folds up to about the size of a clutch purse. I wouldn't use it for full time use or a really long trip, but for hopping in and out of cabs in various places its been awesome. You unfold the plastic seat, pull out the hip belt arms, have the kid sit on it, clip the waist belt in, do any adjustment needed for the shoulder belt strap, clip the shoulder strap in and you're good. We travel enough and run around the city enough that having one has been worth it. When my kid was too little for the mifold, we did shuttles to avoid needing a carseat after getting off an airplane. Good luck!
  4. TheLadyK

    Boring, mid-30s parents of two looking for ideal Ship.

    We're a couple of years behind you - our kid is 3 - and have found Carnival to be basically fine for family cruises. We're probably going to move to Celebrity over all, but haven't tried Celebrity with kid yet. I go on cruises for peace and time looking at water. We've found Carnival to be incredibly supportive of family time - good family activities when we wanted them, great child care and clubs, and the serenity areas are always peaceful, and the staff have been universally excellent with kids. Bartenders remembering her favorite drink, the taco stand guys making her fresh tortillas because she liked to watch the machine, room stewards with eternal patience and charm. The kids club is, I think, the best in the business. I prefer the age separation, I think you get better care for little ones and the care takers have a better idea of what's developmentally appropriate. Carnival kids clubs have just seemed warmer and more accommodating to me, less tacked on because they have to, and more focusing on their youngest customers having a great time too. We tend to go for longer cruises or 'weird' itineraries - Belize or Canada. Families are not uncommon, and she usually gets to adopt grandparents by the truckload. They're going to have music and goofy things by the pool, but I've loved swimming with my daughter during a dance party, she laughed so much! And then I can go back to my balcony and have quiet. For us cabin and location matters a lot - aim for a mostly quiet cabin location very near where your kids are going to want to be. Balcony cabins on the pool deck have been great for us. Just far enough away from the pool to be out of the music, but close enough to get a tired kid back from the pool or a hungry kid to the buffet without fuss. Food is not fancy. We typically do the specialty restaurants a few times just to break it up, and ask for extra veggies at dinner because we're used to eating more plants than they normally serve. I'm fine, but my husband gets antsy for a richer cuisine environment after most of a week.
  5. TheLadyK

    Strategies on toddler sleeping in same cabin

    So I've been on 2 cruises so far, one when my daughter was 2.5 and one when she was just 3. Sleeping turned out to be basically fine. She never slept in a stroller until we're on a cruise ship and then she'll sleep anywhere when she gets tired. And she gets very tired with all of the running around and things to do! So at home we have black out curtains and specific lullabyes and a whole timed out ritual. On ship? We heft her in the general direction of the bed and hand her the stuffed animal of the day, she mumbles something and is OUT. We came home from the most recent cruise with an album full of pictures around the theme of "child sleeping in unusual places" - on the boat coming back from the shore excursion, on a chair at the bar, on the lido deck even though our room was also on the lido deck, draped halfway onto her bed, etc etc. There's always one night where she stays up way too late, but we watch a movie together and have quiet time. I think next cruise I won't even take the curtain magnets.
  6. TheLadyK


    I'm solidly on Team Get A Decent Stroller. I have a very active (now) 3.5 year old who has done 2 cruises. She loves them, she has a blast, its the best family time money can buy. But the days are big. She hadn't slept in a stroller ever until we got on a cruise ship. She'd get overwhelmed and climb into her stroller and pull the shade down like a celebrity avoiding paparazzi. And then usually sleep a bit. It was less about being able to carry her and more about her having a space that was hers and calming. But you want it to be comfortable to push, with a nice big sunshade and some storage. Borrow one from a friend. Check out Craigslist. I love my toddler carrier too, but its an entirely different experience. Not as good for hot places and not as good at being personal space for her. Great for her being able to see things and for places with stairs/cobblestones/etc. If you're going to Europe, get a toddler carrier. If you're going to the Caribbean, get a stroller. Don't buy a new one for either experience.
  7. I have difficulty standing/walking for long periods and am usually fine on cruises just being selective about shore excursions. However, I haven't been on any of the Really Big ships yet. My husband wants to try one of the Quantum or Oasis class ships from Royal, but I look at the pictures and just get a little nervous. I'm used to the medium to kinda big ships and can make it from one end to the other without many problems and haven't found any to be so crowded that lines got bad. I can walk a bit longer than I can stand still for, so lines are really killer. We do like to see a couple of shows, but I mostly spend time at the pool while he runs around the ship doing activities. He's attracted to the many things to do on the very big ships. I just want to stare at water and swim. How do the big ships compare? Are they easy to get around? How much walking or standing in line is there on the ship? Are there lots of places to sit down? I'm worried about long hallways when I'm already tired.
  8. TheLadyK

    Drinking cups for a 4 and 3 year old?

    I picked up a small sports bottle with a sealing flip up spout that hangs on a carabiner for my 3 year old. Its mostly for water while running around the boat/beach though, seated at a table she's pretty confident with open top cups. If by "confident" you hear "refuses to drink out of a baby cup and only forgets and knocks the cup over twice a week". Ah, three. You can't tell them anything, they will tell you.
  9. I agree with basically everyone that you're going to be spoiled for choice. I'm leaving tomorrow on an anniversary cruise with my husband and my 3 year old, so I can tell you what works for us. Both my husband and my daughter are very active and adventurous, so we're taking a medium - large boat from Carnival. I used this website to research the different ships and made a list of which ships had the activities my family would enjoy. Pretty much any 7-10 day cruise on one of the major lines leaving from Florida will probably be fine. If the parents have a place/itinerary they really want to get to, that can help you choose as well. I'll put a plug in for Carnival, they've been very good to my family with a nice balance of energetic activity during the day, understanding about (and frankly catering to) my child, and their adults only areas are peaceful. My husband has a preference for RCI, and you're not going to go far wrong there either. We are not big drinkers, but we do like decent restaurants - RCI has a bit of an edge on the upcharge restaurants.
  10. TheLadyK

    Bed wetting

    My child’s first cruise was a room disaster. She wet the bed during a nap. I bleed on the sheets when my period came early. The toilet got stuck running and overflowed the bathroom. My kid escaped her bath and the room and ran naked down the hall, dripping wet. (Toddlers gotta toddle) Our room steward just rolled with it. Made up our room several times a day. Caught and hugged the naked baby. We tipped well.
  11. TheLadyK

    Family Bag to carry around the ship

    I wouldn’t carry a full wallet or worry about snacks over much, unless you have picky or special needs kids. There is a lot of food available basically all of the time on the ship. If someone needs food Right Now, you can just go get some. (The buffets with cheese cubes and cut fruit and often yogurt were awesome with my kiddo.) Unless you’re on a giant ship, you’re really not far from your room at any point, this is less like being on safari, and more like going to a neighborhood park. We handled the buffet by putting one adult with children at a table, and the other adult went and fetched. For big meals we would prefer the MDR, but for grazing and snacks it worked fine. I’d take closed top water bottles or cups for everyone, refilling often.
  12. TheLadyK

    Should I be packing rain gear for the family?

    I agree strongly with “cut what you’re packing for the adults by almost everything” advice. I’ve been on 2-3 cruises a year for the last 3 years, have been packing in a carry on and a purse for most of that, and still dump things off the list every time. My 10 day cruise in January I packed 2 swim suits, some dresses that worked as suit covers or clothes, one dinner outfit, water shoes and regular sandals and I still had clothes I didn’t wear. Take what the baby needs, which is everything, but adults are really going to be just fine.
  13. I have an anxiety disorder, I took my tall, active 2.5 yr old on a cruise with a balcony. We’re going on another in a few weeks. In addition to not letting her go out there on her own and enjoying the high slide bolt on the balcony door, I took tape and taped the door shut at night. I like the bell idea too. It turned out to be a non issue for us. As adventurous as she is, she didn’t want to go on the balcony alone, and was much more interested in (and dangerous on) the dance floors. Mom is going to be nervous. Let her do some reasonable, or harmless unreasonable, things to feel better about that. Then enjoy the vacation.
  14. I’ve been on the Sunshine twice and I like her. She’s not a huge ship, so if you need the ice shows to feel happy, don’t do it. But if you like to hang out by the pool or a bar, or with your family? Good times, you’ll have a blast. I took my toddler, then 2.5 on the Sunshine last fall and it was the best time. Every one of the staff doted on her. She made friends with the guys at the taco stand, and bartenders, and the singers... and that’s before she set foot in the kids club! There’s also a little playground with a good pirate ship climbing structure that was just her speed. She adored the auto hand washing machines. The pool is small, again fine for us with a toddler. It was a low key, very relaxed family vacation. I don’t know if that’s what your teenager wants, but the little one will be fine.
  15. TheLadyK

    Question for those that have cruised with kids -

    I was also ditched by my precious child on our cruise last fall. She was 2.5, and loved everything about the boat. We used the kids club for a nice dinner, some spa time, that sort of thing, but we still had the best family vacation I think I’ve ever had. Swimming every day, exploring in port, family movie time, dancing! We did have to be careful where we explored before dinner, if she caught sight of the kids dinner being set up she’d take off on us and not even look back. Go and have fun. The kids clubs aren’t evil, letting your child play with peers and toys for an hour or two is hardly deprivation.