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Billoftt

First Time on Princess, First Time with Kids.

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Hello, first post here. I have recently booked a cruise on regal Princess for April, 2020 (Totally digging the $100.00 ship credit for veterans). This will be our first time on Princess (went on a Southern Caribbean cruise on Carnival Sunshine last year) and our first time ever cruising with our children. Children will be 13, 10, 7, and 7 months by the time we sail. As a matter of fact, the 7 year old will be turning 7 on embark day.  My wife's parents are joining us on a separate booking as well. As you can imagine, I have a lot of questions.

 

How long is the dinner service in the MDR? I remember in Carnival it was upwards of 2 hours. The older two kids will be able to handle a long sit down, the 7 year old may get a bit antsy and I am concerned about how the baby is going to handle 2 hours and how much of a nuisance they would all be to other passengers.  I just don't want to be "That Guy." What is the kid's menu like?

 

At what age is it appropriate to allow children to be unsupervised on the ship? When I say unsupervised I don't mean roaming free, I mean hanging out in one area and then finding one of us adults to tell us where they are going to next. My 13 year old is pretty responsible and so-far seems to be making good decisions and I am not worried about him nor the 10 year old girl being a nuisance to others. I know him and they can sign themselves in and out of the youth programs by themselves, I was just wondering what the "accepted practice" was. I do trust both of them playing outside by themselves, I trust the older one to supervise the smaller ones in our yard or on bikes in our neighborhood, the 10 year old is not yet there responsibility-wise. When the wife and I were on Sunshine last year, we didn't notice many school-aged children, (during school year) just many smaller children in the day-camp group. 

 

What are the crowds like? The Sunshine seemed like there was more people than ship and always had a crowded feeling to it. 

 

When are the rooms usually ready? On Sunshine it was 1:30 before the the hallway doors were open and I was lugging around rolling carry-ons for a few hours. Is there a designated place to stow carry-ons before rooms are ready?

 

What are the boarding times? The info Princess gave me only states that boarding starts at 12:30. 

 

What is the "bringing my own soda" policy? On Carnival it was explicitly stated that liquor and beer was not allowed to be brought on board, only 1 bottle of wine and 1 12-pack of soda per person in the carry-on. On the Princess cruise contract, the only guidance I can find is that bringing alcohol is prohibited with the exception of the wine. There is no mention of soda or if it can be in checked luggage vs. carry-on.

 

I am pretty sure I will annoy you kind people with more questions when I think of them.

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1 hour ago, Billoftt said:

Hello, first post here. I have recently booked a cruise on regal Princess for April, 2020 (Totally digging the $100.00 ship credit for veterans). This will be our first time on Princess (went on a Southern Caribbean cruise on Carnival Sunshine last year) and our first time ever cruising with our children. Children will be 13, 10, 7, and 7 months by the time we sail. As a matter of fact, the 7 year old will be turning 7 on embark day.  My wife's parents are joining us on a separate booking as well. As you can imagine, I have a lot of questions.

Look at your cabin selection carefully. Either you, your wife's parents or both should book a full suite, mini suite or deluxe balcony cabin. These are the only cabins with sofas which will be needed for 7 month old baby watching. I don't believe there are family suites on the Regal. You can not book more than 4 in a cabin, which is very tight, and since none of your children are 16 or over you must book at least one adult in each cabin.

Passage contract

The minimum Guest age to sail is 6 months of age at the time of embarkation in order to sail on Alaska, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, and Mexico cruises. On all other cruises where there are more than 2 consecutive sea days, the minimum Guest age is 12 months of age at the time of embarkation in order to sail. No Guest under 21 years of age is permitted to book a cruise, and any Guest under 21 years of age must travel in a stateroom with a Guest 21 years or older who shall assume responsibility for their care during the cruise. For family groups booking multiple staterooms, the minimum age for at least one person in each stateroom is 16 years of age, provided they are traveling with a parent or legal guardian. 

 

How long is the dinner service in the MDR? I remember in Carnival it was upwards of 2 hours.

Two hours is about right.

The older two kids will be able to handle a long sit down, the 7 year old may get a bit antsy and I am concerned about how the baby is going to handle 2 hours and how much of a nuisance they would all be to other passengers.  I just don't want to be "That Guy." What is the kid's menu like?

The Regal has a very good and very large buffet which is open from 6am until 11pm every day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner items as well as many other selections. This can be your alternate dining location. The Regal also has Alfredo's, no charge, open 11am until mid evening every day. It is sit down waiter served individual pizza and other Italian selections. Another good alternative for youth.

 

At what age is it appropriate to allow children to be unsupervised on the ship? When I say unsupervised I don't mean roaming free, I mean hanging out in one area and then finding one of us adults to tell us where they are going to next. My 13 year old is pretty responsible and so-far seems to be making good decisions and I am not worried about him nor the 10 year old girl being a nuisance to others. I know him and they can sign themselves in and out of the youth programs by themselves, I was just wondering what the "accepted practice" was. I do trust both of them playing outside by themselves, I trust the older one to supervise the smaller ones in our yard or on bikes in our neighborhood, the 10 year old is not yet there responsibility-wise. When the wife and I were on Sunshine last year, we didn't notice many school-aged children, (during school year) just many smaller children in the day-camp group.

I would sign them into the youth center. I think each of your children will be in different programs. I do see 10 and 13 year olds "hanging" with others their age. I see lots of youth hanging around the main pool all day. Remember there are no lifeguards. With phones you will be able to see where they are on the ship at all times using the medallion location system. You can also text them using Princess@Sea. Here is some youth center information:https://www.princess.com/learn/faq_answer/onboard/youth.jsp

Here is some Medallion information:

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/ocean-medallion/

What are the crowds like? The Sunshine seemed like there was more people than ship and always had a crowded feeling to it. 

If it is Easter week you will find lots of youth on board and lots of cabins with more than two passengers. Probably will see some crowds, but it shouldn't be too bad. 

When are the rooms usually ready? On Sunshine it was 1:30 before the the hallway doors were open and I was lugging around rolling carry-ons for a few hours. Is there a designated place to stow carry-ons before rooms are ready?

Around 1pm. You may or may not be able to access your cabin before that time.

What are the boarding times? The info Princess gave me only states that boarding starts at 12:30.

OOnce the ship has been cleared of disembarking passengers and the b2b'ers have been processed new passengers begin boarding. This could be as early as 11am. If you enter all your immigration information through the Ocean ready App. you pretty much walk right on.

What is the "bringing my own soda" policy? On Carnival it was explicitly stated that liquor and beer was not allowed to be brought on board, only 1 bottle of wine and 1 12-pack of soda per person in the carry-on. On the Princess cruise contract, the only guidance I can find is that bringing alcohol is prohibited with the exception of the wine. There is no mention of soda or if it can be in checked luggage vs. carry-on.

You can carry on or check as much non-alcoholic beverage as you want. No limit. If you check it you may be called to open your luggage for inspection before it is delivered to your cabins.

Each adult can carry on 1 x 750ml bottle of wine without charge. These bottles are for use in your cabin. If they are brought to a public area you will be charged a $15 corkage. Additional bottles can be carried on and are subject to a $15 corkage fee. These bottles are marked and can be used anywhere on the ship. Beer and spirits are not allowed.

 

 

I am pretty sure I will annoy you kind people with more questions when I think of them.

See above.

Edited by skynight

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In 15 cruises I've never boarded the ship and the rooms not be ready. And I usually board early rather than later.

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Here is the kids menu:

 

ALPHABET SOUP

Pasta letters swimming in a sea of chicken broth

 

GARDEN SALAD

The Power Rangers flex their muscles on the greens plucked from the Princess vegetable patch

 

SPAGHETTI SNAKES

Slippery, slithering rattler noodles with meat balls and tomato sauce

 

HIGH SEAS HOT DOG

A real "Wiener"! Our plump, 100% beef hot dog is served on a bun with all the condiments, including coleslaw, potato chips or steak fries

 

BUCCANEER BURGER

The juiciest quarter pounder afloat. Served plain or with chesse and a big side order of French fries

 

CHICK-CHICK-CHICKEN FINGERS

A hands-down favorite at Princess Cruises dipped in BBQ sauce or ranch dressing

 

FISH STICKS

Swords from the sea wage a winning battle with ketchup or a creamy tartar sauce and a heap of shoestring potatoes

 

LOVE BOAT VOLCANO

A mountain of ice cream erupting with heaps of hot fudge, sliced banana and whipped cream with a bright red cherry on top

 

CRUISE CHIPS

A delicious, chewy cookie packed full of rich chunks of chocolate to be scarfed down by themselves or as a sandwich with vanilla ice cream

 

FRUIT SALAD

The fresh, juicy colorful mix that makes Barney big, strong and happy

 

ORANGE JUICE, APPLE JUICE, OR A GLASS OF "MOO" (We have chocolate syrup too....)

 

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Thanks a bunch everyone, you have given a lor more detail that what I was expecting!

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On 5/16/2019 at 10:54 AM, Billoftt said:

Hello, first post here. I have recently booked a cruise on regal Princess for April, 2020 (Totally digging the $100.00 ship credit for veterans).

 

Since you're a veteran (Thank you for your service.) you probably know that once you've submitted the paperwork for the Veterans' OBC you don't ever need to submit the paperwork again and it will automatically be included in any future Princess cruise that you might no on.  That said, please be aware that if you ever book through a travel agent, make sure that he/she includes your Captain's Circle number in your reservation because that is what your Veterans' OBC is linked to and if that CC number is not included in the reservation you won't get the OBC.

 

In any event, welcome to Princess and I hope you have a great cruise!

 

Tom

Edited by Pierlesscruisers

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We cruise with our 3 kids and love it.  (We even departed once on our twin girl's 5th birthday- they were brought birthday cake, sang to and greeted in the cabin with signs and balloons, so make sure it gets mentioned in your cruise personalizer).  We have always taken the kids to the MDR for dinner (been going since they were 3).  Dinner can be long but the waiters are happy to bring out food for the kids first and the kids menus have activities on them.  We make sure they practice manners before the cruise so they know what to expect.   My kids like to order from both the adult and kid menus- the kids items are very good- not frozen fish sticks or chicken nuggets, and many items on the adult menu can be ordered without sauces.

  Kids club is great for the younger ones- my 12 year old finds that it varies by mix and amount of kids and sometimes will hang out and do some of the more adult things, but that it fine we have a great time spending time together.  He now gets to go places by himself on the ship, but he has rules and has to check in.

Other things for you to think about is the photo package- if they have one offered it is well worth it if you are travelling with kids (another "price of admission" they have to suffer through)  If you make sure to pose at as many venues as possible you can come home with a lot of beautiful, professional pictures of your kids and family which is priceless and the package is a real bargain!

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Hi,

I would just like to add that giving children responsibility of being alone in different parts of the ship is up to you the parents because each child is different.

There is not just one way to handle this.

Think about what the children are allowed to do at home and go from there.

The same goes for the MDR. IF you and your children are used to being in nice restaurants on land then that would be good practice for the MDR on the ship. You all can order anything from the menu including several appetizers instead of main dishes .  There are also several other eating venues like pizza , hamburgers ,etc. that some of the family may prefer on some nights.

I am not sure how you would handle the infant? IF it was my trip I'd not bring them to the MDR but I'd have one of the adults take turns with that child with room service or up at the buffet. I have not seen high chairs on Princess but they may be around somewhere?

I'd definitely bring some sort of  stroller! I have seen lots of those on board the ships.

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2 hours ago, Roatanfans said:

They have booster seats and I'm pretty sure they have high chairs as well

We have been bringing our grandchild, we are currently her custodial parents, on cruises since she was 11 months old.  They have high chairs, the wait staff has always been simply stellar with her, and we have always eaten in the main dining room.  By the time she was two she was eating veal Marsala and Cornish hen from the adult menu.  She does not eat things like hot dogs and chicken nuggets at home so of course she doesn't want them on a cruise either.  

She will be three soon and will be on cruise number four in March..fourteen nights.....unless I can sneak one in between now and then!!!

 

You know your schedule best, eat when the kids are hungry but not yet cranky.  Bring along a book or a downloaded video or a favorite quiet toy. Do not hesitate to remove them for a few minutes if they get cranky, too loud etc, they seem to learn quickly the main dining room is not the time or place for such behavior.  Order what they like from whichever menu. If you have set dining ask that bread, their favorite beverages and anything else you need be ready when you arrive.  This has been a big help to us.  Having the high chair set up and milk on the table with bread and butter has appeased our little one and gotten meals off to a great start!!

Many staff members have children or extended family with children who are greatly missed from back home...they love to see the little ones and are quite friendly and accommodating and above all understanding.  

ENjoy your vacation!!   

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Also to note...

If the cabins are not ready when you board, they usually have a designated dining room with an attendant where you can stow your carry-ons. They will usually tell you when you check in, but if not, ask them or ask one of the staff on the ship.

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If you sign your kids in the kids program - they can not leave on their own.  They must be picked up by someone on the list that you provide at the beginning of the cruise.

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ok, it's a HIPPO, but

 

 the 7 year old may get a bit antsy 

for our kid (he started sailing at 3 and is currently 8), we've always brought a tablet with cartoons, games and headphones and get to enjoy our MDR dinners to the fullest. The service is usually pretty speedy, as long as you don't get the slowest waiter in the world.

Now, a 7 month old is probably not going to enjoy a tablet as much.

 

If your kids enjoy kid's club - great. Mine refuses to go, so he is always tagging along with us. Regal Princess (and other Princess ships in general) doesn't really offer a lot of kiddie/family activities outside of kid's club. So, my kid does a lot of hot tubbing and watching a fantastic FREE on demand TV selection on Princess ships. While on other ships he enjoys ice skating, boogie boarding, rock climbing, ropes course, trampolines, etc.

 

I would NOT let a 10 year old roam the ship on her own. Especially a girl.

 

20190331_183558.jpg

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I am delighted that more families are choosing Princess! Especially families with thoughtful parents (Kudos!)

We have been cruising on Princess with DS since he was a baby (he is almost Elite now) and just came back from Regal Baltic cruise.

First response was pretty spot on all the questions you are having, just couple extra thoughts:

- Cabins. My suggestion would be obstructed view deluxe balconies on Emerald (if you can get them). You will need 2 for your family and one for in-laws. We were just in one of these cabins and it had a couch in addition to beds, so extra slipping room! If you cannot get those, get a deluxe balconies or mini suite (I wouldnt pay extra $$$$ for full suite) and an inside across from one of them for your family for sure. Make sure to call Princess and mark all your rooms no upgrade as well as link all of them to avoid accidentally being bumped "up"  and moved to another part of the ship. And yes, you will have to book 1 adult and 2 kids in each room you are getting.

- Dinner. Buffet on Regal is very good, but I wouldnt discount regular dining room either. You can get in and out in 1.5 hours, but 2hrs is more standard. Are you thinking anytime or set timing? I think anytime is more flexible time wise. I would also talk to hostess and head waiter on a first day to explain your requirements and ask for recommendation of a waiter team that would be able to accommodate faster service. Also, on really busy nights (formal), there is normally a kid's dinner at kid's club, so you could just have a baby with you instead of the whole gang.

- I wouldnt worry about kids "hanging by themselves" so much. With new medallion system, you can track and find them very easily anywhere on the ship. If your kids are generally well behaved (and sounds like they are), it will be fine. DS usually finds a friend and they hang out by the pool, eat pizza and ice cream and make full use of the sports deck without us getting involved. We are in the pool area, but not "actively" supervising (ie reading books and watching movies).

- Kids club. Your older two can have sign in/out privileges (saves you a lot of hassle), but 7 yo would not. I normally take DS to the club, but he is free to sign out if he wants, with stipulation that he is going back to the room only (medallion will let you know where kids are).

- Crowds. We have sailed Regal on Easter last year and ship was full. However, you dont see the crowds often. I normally only notice how crowded ship is at debarkation time (especially if first port is tender port!), otherwise it doesnt feel crowded to me. There will be A LOT of kids during Easter week and they will have a special afternoon for kids in the Piazza with activities and Easter bunny appearance.

- Embarkation. With medallions, you literally just walk on the ship, no hassle whatsoever. You can normally board as early as 11 am (wouldnt count on it though, because this largely depends on how fast previous cruise disembarks) and you rooms are normally ready at embarkation time.

- Alfredo's. I second that option as great alternative! DS absolutely loves it.

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Make sure you note any special occasions on the Cruise Personalizer.  You will get a card in your room that you give to your waiter and they will bring a special dessert in the dining room and sing Happy Birthday.  Chocolate mousse on chocolate cake wrapped in chocolate and enough for two.  With eight people you will have the whole table to yourselves and can somewhat control how long dinner takes.  If you were in Anytime Dining you would have total control, but that ship is hit or miss on getting Anytime reservations.

 

In the past Princess never had a wait to have cabins open but starting with Regal it is now common not to be allowed in your cabin until around 1:30.  You are stuck with your carry-on until then.  We grab a few chairs near the pool in the shade and take turns in the buffet.  Note that you can get lost in Regal's buffet - each cross-ship aisle has a different selection of food.

 

No free soft drinks on Princess.  Water, flavored water, tea, coffee available from around 6 AM to 11 PM in buffet and some at other locations.  Note that Princess has a grill and pizza place near the pool that is open around 11-11.  Best fries anywhere.  Only the new specialty burger has a charge - rest is free.  Soft serve ice cream near pool is free, shakes/sundaes with hard serve extra.  Gelato place downstairs also charges.  The International Cafe across from Gelato is mostly free except specialty coffees and has some great snacks (open 24 hours).  

 

Buffet also serves many of the foods you see in the dining room in the evening.  So if you find something you really like (Chocolate Journeys desserts) you might be able to get another later upstairs.

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Some tips that worked for us:

- preview the posted menu during the day, ask the kids what they would like to order,

- traditional dining - allows wait staff to get to know your family and have fruit / drinks ready for children.

- small stroller like a Maclaren -did not take too much room in the cabin and was easy to navigate through the ship

- kids sundae was a great bribe for good behaviour (this one from Regal Princess)

Enjoy your cruise!!!

IMG_20160105_175611.jpg

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I haven't sailed with an infant, but did when my youngest was 5. He did fine at dinner (yes, 2 hours), although he ended up asleep on my lap by the end of each meal! It was an Alaska cruise, and we had really active/busy port days. The staff at the dining room loved him (they called him "the baby" and brought him whatever he wanted, cut his steak for him, and basically treated him like royalty - he's a bit of a charmer and small for his age, which worked to his advantage).  My kids also loved the kids club (daughter was 8). We practiced table manners at home in the months leading up to the trip. We also traveled with grandparents, who skipped one of the two formal nights to have pizza and a movie in our minisuite with the kiddos while my husband and I went to dinner. We got a minisuite that adjoined theirs (via balcony), which was super convenient.

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Just to assure you, you are likely going to be “that guy”. But go with it, do the best you reasonably can and most passengers will not have a problem.  For the ones that have a problem, just keep on living life.      No worries. 

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Lots of info here on the family boards.   

 

Please read up on the info about the swimming pools - the 7 month old is not allowed in any pools on Princess as none of the ships have the special filtration system required by the CDC for non-potty trained kids.  ( This may be different from your experience on Sunshine - I don't know if they have a kiddie pool on that ship or not.  )

 

There is no babysitting on Princess either unfortunately.  

 

When our kids were younger we would all go to the dining room for dinner - we told the waiters our plans - the kids' food would come out a bit faster - often a veggie plate or fruit plate would be waiting for them when we sat down so they'd have something to eat.  Most nights they kids would finish their meal and one of us would take them up to the kids club (maybe change in cabin on the way up) and then we'd be able to enjoy dessert and coffees after the kids were gone. 

 

One thing we liked about Princess for the kids over RCI or Carnival was that the buffet stayed open all day with many selections.  When we cruised the other lines we found that by about 2 pm the buffets were mostly shut down and options were very scarce.  On Princess buffets are always open.  We could always get the kids some fruit or even something more substantial at any time at all.  Kids don't always eat on schedule!  On Regal the buffet is huge with tons of options. 

 

I assume you have a couple cabins with an adult booked into each.  When you get on board, goto the Passenger services desk and request room keys to all the cabins - they can issue you extra cards or maybe program the medallions so that everyone can get in and out of every cabin.  

 

If you choose, you can also request the Passenger service desk limit the daily spending for each of the kids.  That way they can't buy everything and also if they lose their card/ medallion noone else can buy stuff on it.  

 

Re roaming the ship - consider it is like a small town of almost 5000 people (strangers) that your kids have never visited before, don't know their way around, and that they don't know anyone in.   

 

You can bring on sodas but you may find it convenient to buy the fountain soda packages or other beverage packages - they are described and priced online in your cruise personalizer.  

Princess has included drinks: iced tea, lemonade, water and coffee and tea in the buffet.   Everything else is for a charge.   Often the lemonade is in pitchers at the serving station and you ask crew for a glass.     Juice and milk are available at breakfast - ask any buffet or dining room server for juice or milk for the kids any other time and they will bring you a cup full.  (They have whole and skim. )

 

 

Enjoy your cruise!

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On 7/4/2019 at 7:54 PM, LeeW said:

Soft serve ice cream near pool is free, shakes/sundaes with hard serve extra.  Gelato place downstairs also charges.  The International Cafe across from Gelato is mostly free except specialty coffees and has some great snacks (open 24 hours).  

 

 

 

There is only soft serve on Regal. 

 

They do not have a blender to make milkshakes. 

 

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