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Bullswood

Advice with kids

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We are a group of 5 adults & 11 (all under 12 y.o.) kids on a Spirit Baltic cruise in late July. Before anyone jumps in, yes we know Silversea is probably the wrong line but the dates/itinerary/pricing fitted perfectly into our European stopover on a much longer trip around the globe and most days are in port.  The school vacation cruises apparently attract more families so my question is whether there is anything on board which might be an appropriate diversion during the single sea day other than wi-fi & TV? I understand from this board that the evening entertainment doesn't start till 10 (after my bedtime, let alone the kids!), so I guess it's a case of bring lots of books & board games.  We're planning to skip the formal evening and are pleased with the range of catering choices, but any advice from previous family cruisers on Silversea would be most welcome>

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There is pretty much nothing for kids on Silversea. Their amusement will be your responsibility. Since you are aware of the restrictions you should prepare diversions in advance and be prepared to sacrifice you own good time in favor of theirs.

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Haven't sailed Spirit, but on Wind in January we commented several times how terrifically bored our kids would be.  (They are 4 and 8, experienced cruisers, and perfectly happy on a line like Celebrity, meaning they are not necessarily kids needing water slides and Mickey Mouse and non stop entertainment and soda fountains.)

 

Since you asked us not to, I won't advise you of how Silversea is not a great line for cruising with kids, but if you hadn't asked, that's exactly what I would have said 🙂 Sounds like you know that already though.  I am not one of those "kids don't belong on SS, take them elsewhere and leave us alone!" folks, but an actual mom with actual kids who take actual cruises... and I would not do it.

 

You are only as happy as your unhappiest child.

 

Strategies would be board games and such as you mentioned... you might consider setting up a scavenger hunt for them on the sea day (not sure how young the youngest is, maybe not old enough to participate?)

 

I might also suggest some type of "rotating adult in charge" (or two depending on the average age of the youngsters...) so that the others can have a 3 or 4 hour chunk of free time and then "pay into the system".

 

Good luck and I hope you have fun!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks the_dylaness for the advice & good wishes. Certainly don't buy into the gloomy first reply.

Silversea are adamant that the kids are very welcome and I'm sure we'll all have a good time, especially on the port days. We've ordered a stock of deck games such as quoits to be delivered, so if the weather is kind we'll have a few diversions! 

Edited by Bullswood

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I send you abundant good wishes, but..you asked for opinions and advice. Wipro gave you his opinion, and I second it.  Silversea is definitely not a great choice for young children. But..you have booked this line, pretty much rejected a very experienced Silversea/Seaborne sailor’s precautionary suggestions, so, all that is left is for me to do is to send you my best wishes and sincere hopes that it will all work out for you and your family. Please let us know how it works for you. 

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I agree with CP that Wripro was responding to your request with an honest opinion, it’s not gloomy, just fact.

 

You will also find the ship WiFi to be slow and unable to support streaming. The TV programs, including films etc are aimed squarely at SS’s target audience - adults. As far as I am aware there is no programming aimed at sub teens.

 

Good luck.

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When we have cruised on the Spirit in the Mediterranean  during school holidays there was a staff member  who arranged things for children on board to do at certain times of the day (putting competition was definitely one of them).  May be worth calling Silversea   to check if they are on Baltic cruises this year too.

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Thanks seaquay - a helpful answer to my question and I had heard similar rumours re school holiday trips. I'll check with Silversea.  

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11 hours ago, CruisinPashmina said:

I send you abundant good wishes, but..you asked for opinions and advice. Wipro gave you his opinion, and I second it. 

 

Actually, the request was deliberately only for advice from previous family cruisers, not opinions re taking children as I know the majority view from our research before we booked, and that's all noted!  Anyway, thanks for your good wishes and we've had a couple of good steers on here for which I'm grateful. I'm sure we'll have a great trip and I must say that Silversea have been very helpful so far in meeting our specific requests.

 

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There are children’s films available. We had a lovely time watching Mary Poppins old and new on The Wind last month. And we were able to hook an iPad into the suite TV to play pre-downloaded programmes  so that might be a further option for amusement. 

Rp

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13 hours ago, CruisinPashmina said:

...all that is left is for me to do is to send you my best wishes and sincere hopes that it will all work out for you and your family... 

 

And my best wishes and sincere hopes that it will all work out for your fellow passengers on board.

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Hey! I have personal experience with this. We took grandchildren 2x. They were very well behaved but bored..one had a couple of whiny fits and had to be whisked away. I honestly don’t think we bothered any passengers, but our experience was definitely diminished. Hope your experience will be totally different..PLEASE let us know how it goes..we can all learn from other people’s experiences..good and not so good.

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When we have cruised on the Spirit in the Mediterranean  during school holidays there was a staff member  who arranged things for children on board to do at certain times of the day (putting competition was definitely one of them).  May be worth calling Silversea   to check if they are on Baltic cruises this year too.

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It is so sad that pf778c had to add that final comment, I am sure that Bullswood and her family will do all they can not to cause any inconvenience to the other passengers on board.   Like most parents with children we have encountered on our numerous cruises  on Silversea,  Bullswood seems fully aware of the limitations on cruising with  Silversea and braved asking on this board for help and guidance, not to get comments like that as a reply.

 

Silversea  does not prohibit children on board, they have rules regarding babies and make suggestion regarding travelling with children, but possible realise that these parents and their children are the passengers for the future.  With the demographic on most of the cruises we have taken they have to look to the future and attracting new passengers, and families who have the resources and want to cruise offer this opportunity.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Bullswood said:

Thanks the_dylaness for the advice & good wishes. Certainly don't buy into the gloomy first reply.

Silversea are adamant that the kids are very welcome and I'm sure we'll all have a good time, especially on the port days. We've ordered a stock of deck games such as quoits to be delivered, so if the weather is kind we'll have a few diversions! 

Of course Silversea is adamant that that kids are welcome. They want your business!!!!! 

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1 hour ago, seaquay said:

... I am sure that Bullswood and her family will do all they can not to cause any inconvenience to the other passengers on board...

 

 

I'm sure they will and I'm sure they will have a wonderful time I just hope the children aren't disturbed by graceless fellow passengers. 

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I am a mom who has been traveling with my daughter on SS since she was six. The Spirit does not have a kids' activity room like the Muse does so as others have said, you will basically have to come up with things for the kids to do in your suites. I can say that our butler brought my daughter a cute backpack of toys when we were aboard a few weeks ago (although she is now a bit old for that it was still a nice gesture). There is usually a water volleyball game at least once and it is mostly adults but sometimes the older kids can play if they are tall enough (and if it is not too cold). There is a pingpong table and a shuffleboard area. Sometimes there are Bingo games held in in the Dolce Vita lounge. If there are several kids, the staff will sometimes organize a kids' event, in fact they tried to on this cruise but there were only two young people and the other child was much younger than my daughter so she didn't really want to go. The others are being honest when they say there is really nothing to do and all the activities are geared toward adults. The wifi is slow but you can download movies from Netflix ahead of the trip and play DVD's which we did when she was younger. I'm not sure what is available on the Spirit now for movies but our butler on the Muse a few years ago brought popcorn and snacks a set up a little movie experience for us one night. I would always feel okay to ask the butler for help and he/she can find out if there is an activity that can be arranged especially for you. I think the difference is also whether your kids are used to being in this type of environment and can participate in the activities such as golf putting without detracting from other passengers' experiences. We have had great experiences on Silversea but my daughter is very quiet and enjoys fine dining. I have also been on the Muse when there were unsupervised children running through the dance floor at midnight and jumping on top of swimmers in the pool so I can understand anyone who says "you picked the wrong cruiseline." The crew are wonderful with children and will do everything they can to help but just know your group of kids and be prepared to keep them busy on your own for the most part so that your family and everyone else has a great cruise.

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Thanks to lolawpb and the others offering helpful advice. All noted and greatly appreciated - we're now more than comfortable with our choice!

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We traveled with our two boys extensively when they were young, not on Silversea then as they still allowed smoking all over the ship, but on Regent.  First note, there were only two of them.  Not 11.  They are both pretty quiet types, who prefer a good book or playing a video game.  They both liked good food, knew how to eat in a really nice restaurant with a meal that can take a long time,  enjoyed learning about history, interact mostly with adults, and most importantly, knew that the world isn’t all about them or their entertainment.  If the kids you are traveling with are of this mindset, you will be fine.

But 11 is a lot of kids.  Way easier to keep 2 under control.  You will have to be diligent.  They shouldn’t be allowed to run amok as a pack, which I have definitely seen on both Silversea and Regent.  And don’t have a kids table at dinner.  That is a recipe for disaster.  With that number of people, you are going to have to have 3-4 tables minimum, so the kids need to be spread out.  Otherwise, the other passengers are going to want to be throwing your group overboard.  

If you are on top of things, it will be a great trip.  But it is NOT going to be relaxing.

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In my experience parents who bring young kids on to small ship luxury lines are far more interested in their own enjoyment of the cruise than that of the kids'.  Keeping 11 kids in tow and out of the way of fellow passengers is a full time job which does not go hand in hand with people who consider their own needs  first.

 

Sorry if this sounds harsh but I have seen far too many kids running amok, belly diving into the pool, pushing every button in the elevators, running around screaming...all while their parents blissfully ignore them.

 

As I said in my first post in this thread bring the kids only if you are prepared to sacrifice your own good time.

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wripro - TOTALLY agree. All too often the parents are of the attitude that they are on vacation ... not only from their work-a-day life ... but also from their "parenting" duties. They know that their kids are "captive" on the ship and they can just kick back with a cold one by the pool. 

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We are thankful that we are not on this voyage.  Sounds like "fun" for the rest of the guests.

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Posted (edited)

Luxury cruise lines try to go the extra mile for their passengers-- this was one of the things that blew us away on our only previous cruise with Silversea.  It might be worth asking, given the size of your group, if there isn't some "special" area that could be carved out and made private for your group dinners?  Some cafe or lounge space?  Where your meals could be delivered and the kids could be kids, a bit louder and more rambunctious, perhaps at a slightly earlier time, excursions permitting ?   I don't know if such a space is available, but the kids might be happier with their experience if they didn't have to endure a fine-dining experience every night.

I would make this request well in advance of boarding, to give Silversea a chance to evaluate their available spaces (maybe even an unsold suite).  Win win for you, and for other guests.  

BTW, this sounds like a rare and amazing trip for you, your friends, and all the kids. 

Edited by pasca

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Pasca - really useful ideas and we'll work with Silversea on some of them. We have already arranged age appropriate private tours at all the ports so we're really just left with filling one sea day, and are making good progress there too.  Our children are fortunate to be more than used to F cabins and 5 star hotels, and we've always been proud of the way they conduct themselves, so I guess I should just be amused by some of the other posters' assumption that anyone under 18 can't be well behaved. Having made my pile in the top end hospitality business, I can assure you that kids were the least of our problems! 

We'll just hope that our children don't meet any excessively drinking, smoking or grumpy cruisers at the other end of the generation scale who think they own the cruise line. Silversea reservations did tell us about the age demographic (while making it clear that they are not one of the "adults-only" lines), hence my vain plea in the OP to hold fire on the lectures. Anyway, it's been worth the flak for the great ideas received from you and others, so thanks again over & out from me.

Edited by Bullswood

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If you do meet any drinking, smoking (outlawed on cruise lines btw) or grumpy passengers feel free to go up to them and tell them to change their behavior, The problem is that if anyone tries to tell kids to change theirs I'm sure the parents would be highly offended.

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