Kids in Hot Tubs, Part 2: Five Lessons Learned

October 4, 2011 | By | 32 Comments

Kids in hot tubs — from diapered infants to rambunctious teens — are a hot-button topic. Our recent Lido Deck posting on the subject made our readers simmer, with more than 300 comments in the Lido Deck and dozens more on our Facebook page. Though the rhetoric ran both pro and con, it heavily tilted toward the latter. We waded into the hot, bubbling mess to see what was on your minds, and we learned a few things in the process.

The hot water isn’t particularly healthy for kids, especially very young ones. As Julia Rice noted on Facebook: “Kids should not be allowed in the hot tubs!!! It is not healthy because they get dehydrated within 20 minutes time.” Or, as Susan Williams Wojciechowski pointed out: “Bodily waste aside, it’s like making baby soup. Babies/little kids cannot regulate their body temps like adults can.” (It’s true, according to “Extremely hot water in a hot tub can lead to heatstroke among children, which may cause dizziness, confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.”)
But then again, many hot tubs onboard aren’t particularly hot, as Danielle Savarese Moore said on Facebook: “On the Valor, they weren’t even hot, barely lukewarm.” OBXRon agreed, posting on the Lido Deck that “[I] have not found one hot tub in our 14 cruises that was ‘hot.’ These things are more like lukewarm incubators for germs that get thrown up into the air in an aerosol form that people breath or sit and stew in tepid liquid that is rinsing off all of the others in the mix…bubbling cesspools.”
Kids may be exposed to other stuff that they shouldn’t be. As Waldorf Wally wrote on Facebook: “What worries me more is the adults who are drinking in the hot tubs and don’t get out for ages. They must be sitting in bubbling urine!” Actually, we heard this from a lot of readers.
Beyond the heat, the chemicals, the germs and whatever else is floating around, drowning is also a hazard. So, if you insist on allowing your little ones in, at least make sure you check to see if the drain cover is the safer kind (convex) to keep little ones from becoming entrapped, and make certain the shut-off valve is in plain sight.
There are often rules against kids in hot tubs — and they’re frequently unenforced. “Parents should set a good example for their children and respect the rules,” said Anne on the Lido Deck. Problem is, according to many cruisers in the know, rules are broken. “There is a trend among some parents,” noted Amy B., “to think vacation means vacation from parenting and thus letting their kids do whatever they want. Parenting includes enforcing rules and telling your kids ‘no’ occasionally.”
Still, if people don’t follow the rules, the ship’s staff will set things to right. Right? “No rules are enforced on cruise ships by the staff!” Risa Roop Sidani said on Facebook. Or, as Rosemary Crupi Zuba wrote: “First, there should be a notice posted ‘no children under 16.’ If parents still let their kids in, the parents need to be told. Stop trying to be the ‘nice guy’ and do your job.”
Some steamed cruisers aren’t afraid to take matters into their own hands. If parents and the crew fail to keep kids out of the hot tubs, a few readers don’t mind stepping up to the plate. Michelle said on the Lido Deck: “A rule is a rule. Enforce them all, or none. Personally, the last thing a kid, or their neglectful non-parenting parents want is to be in an adult-only pool when I plan to use it. I guarantee. I’m an obnoxious annoying grandmother type that gives no quarter to unruly behavior from children…”
Rich Pierpaoli’s version of the stink eye works every time. “I am a big-bellied, hairy 58-year-old guy. I always use the hot tubs with friends…When we want to get into a hot tub and it happens to be filled with kids, I get in the tub and just stare at them. It is amazing how quickly I am enjoying the hot tub with my friends. The kids actually jump out of the thing like Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.”
Hey, every now and then there’s a decent reason kids are in the hot tubs. Sometimes there aren’t enough wading pools, as Danielle Savarese Moore pointed out on Facebook. “If certain lines would have more kiddie pools, shallow pools, etc. there would not be kids in the hot tub. On Carnival Valor there is no such area and the pools are very deep. The only way kids could stand was in the hot tubs.”
Gina Rodriguez Buchardt agreed: “…there is no kiddie pool for kids and the one pool available is very deep and crowded. The splash areas for kids are cool but again, no pool and my child doesn’t like the slides.”
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    32 Responses to “Kids in Hot Tubs, Part 2: Five Lessons Learned”

    1. Scott Lara
      October 4th, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

      Parents dont need to take a vacation from being parents on a cruise!

      Scott Lara

    2. Cindy
      October 4th, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

      So because someones kid doesn’t like the kiddie pool, and there is not enough room for them in the big pool, they feel as though they can intrude into the adults hot tub. Nice parenting. Go on the kiddie cruise line then for all the kid accommodating needs.

    3. Lisa
      October 4th, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

      I think that every parent, I’m one so don’t say “she must not have kids”, needs to convey to their children that life has boundaries and that life is NOT always going to be “fair”. Everyone knows that a hot tub was designed for and meant to be enjoyed by adults. It’s as simple as that. I’m not trying to be mean, or offend anyone, but sometimes we as parents just have to say “NO, a rule is a rule”. Half the problem with the up and coming generation is this mentality of “you can have whatever you want, everything is “fair”, and Mommy will make it right for you”. Since when is “No” and ugly word? I am also not saying those with children need to be on a separate children oriented cruise…unless they are unwilling to say “No, that’s for adults and you are not old enough yet.” If children are allowed to do everything they want despite the fact that there is rule in place, what will they ever have to look forward to and by saying “too bad about that rule, it’s stupid” what life lesson have you just instilled in your child?

    4. Chris
      October 4th, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

      Our son is potty trained, well behaved, and always travels with us. He comes in the hot tubs with us, as long as they are not too hot. We keep him confined to a small part of the hot tub and make sure he respects others personal space. And we would never think of taking him in an adults only hot tub. If the adults don’t like hot tubing with him, they can go to the adults only hot tub….

    5. michelle
      October 4th, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

      Did anyone stop to think that the pools are very cold salt water? Helllloooooooo……..
      Comeone people. If you want a child free enviornment, travel on Cunard, not Carnival for Gods sakes !

    6. Lynn
      October 5th, 2011 @ 6:29 am

      I have no objection to older well behaved children sharing a hot tub provided that is within the rules for the tub. I too have a pretty good technique for handling the unruly ones. What offends me most are parents who send their small ones to the hot tub while the parent remains on the chaise. It has to be magical thinking on the parent’s part since many of these kids are quite small and shouldn’t be left alone in any pool.

    7. Tammy
      October 5th, 2011 @ 7:19 am

      when we were on the Carnival Pride this summer the hot tub was so full of kids you could not move.. They did not enforce the rules of the hot tub because the older kids were even having chicken fights (person on shoulders of other) in the hot tub and doing handstands.. Got to the point I had to turn my chair away from hot tub because it made me to nervous to see..

    8. Joe
      October 5th, 2011 @ 8:32 am

      I learned something too, a lot of people HATE for no reason at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    9. Lance
      October 5th, 2011 @ 8:43 am

      I think everyone is making a big deal about this.

      My thinking is; People of all ages should be able to enjoy the hot tubs, so long as they are well behaved. The second they shriek or anything to that effect, there should be a lifeguard on deck to remove them. I think they should implement this rule for adults also, as I’ve seen plenty get boisterous in the hot tubs.

      Hot tubs are for relaxing, and should be enjoyed by everyone – so long as they’re used for their intended purpose.

    10. Mike
      October 5th, 2011 @ 8:53 am

      Really….really…….come on people if you want to have only adults in the hot tub then go to the adults only tub. What’s so hard about this? I pay a large chunk of change to take my children with me and why shouldn’t they enjoy the hot tub. General rule is if it’s to hot the child does not go in, 2nd rule is respect other peoples space. Don’t confuse the issue here…’s the people that don’t do their parental duty and control their children that’s the problem here not the people that have control over their children. Children are people and deserve to be treated as such. Really………….?

    11. Debbie
      October 5th, 2011 @ 9:24 am

      I have been on many, many cruises and I have just resigned myself to the fact that I do not go in the hot tubs. And it is for ALL THE ABOVE REASONS! The kids, the urine, they’re warm, not hot. I have a hot tub at home just because I have a bad back and need one. But there is a legitimate argument from everyone on here. You could discuss it for days and it will never change. I don’t go cruising to get upset above the ‘small things’ and believe me, the hot tubs are ‘small things’! LOL!

    12. mike shaw
      October 5th, 2011 @ 9:38 am

      Hot tubs and small kids do not mix. Parents who allow them to break the rules are generally weak and are trying to be \pals\ with their kids. Get a backbone and tell the kids \NO\ and stick by it. Not enough kiddie pools? Live with it or choose another ship. Ever heard of Disney?

    13. Jaye
      October 5th, 2011 @ 9:48 am

      I have no problem with anyone in hot tubs other than the adult only ones. We actually pick our cruise ships that have a solarium for adults only so we can enjoy our vacation without kids. The last several cruises we have had kids running through the adult only area and in the hot tubs. I’m not talking older kids, I’m talking 2 year olds with mommy and daddy laughing at how “cute” they are. It infuriates me. Adults only means adults only and the ship employees need to enforce it.

    14. geoherb
      October 5th, 2011 @ 10:48 am

      My problem is with unsupervised children. The signs are clear that children under 16 are not allowed without supervision. I’ve chased some children away from hot tubs. One boy told me his grandmother was watching him. She was passed out on a chair.

    15. Steve
      October 5th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

      It’s my opinion that the der children who behave well should be treated as adults unless they give others a reason not to. Toddlers and such should never be in an adult only area, and the problem could be easily fixed by informing the parent(s) that there will be adult behavior, adult grammar and vulgarity as a result of the fact that adult only areas should not have children and that it might be considered abusive or neglecting behavior on the part of the parent(s) to put the young people in such an environment. I personally know a family whom we don’t socialize with any more because they insist on bringing their toddler into adult situations, think it’s cute to watch him ask for beer, and fail to ever keep him under control.
      I think that older kids sometimes are mature and well behaved and want to enjoy some adult-like benefits of a cruise. That’s not a big deal. I’m not sure if most lines offer baby sitting and such, but if I were the parent, I’d consider cruising with other family members or parents who would all trade off on baby sitting duties. Let them have fun but don’t let them run wild.

    16. Marshall Massengale
      October 5th, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

      Okay . . . the “bubbling urine” comment convinced me. I shall stay away from the communal hot tubs on cruise ships. In fact, most of the negative comments I have read in this blog have just about convinced me to avoid cruising at all. I just loathe and despise hoarde activities–long lines, loud speaker announcements, ripoffs, come-ons and tourist traps. That and you cannot even bring your own booze aboard!

    17. Lisa
      October 5th, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

      Kids do not need to be in the hot tubs. Hot tubs are for Adults NOT children. These kids just use it to play around in and most of the time they are not even supervised.

    18. Lisa - #3 poster
      October 5th, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

      I think there are 2 different subjects going on here that need separation. First, I was only directing my comments to those parents who allow their children in ADULT ONLY areas/hot tubs. If the area is not marked as Adults Only, then I feel the option of taking a child in the tub is that of the parent, however, I still stand by my original posting that being in a hot tub is primarily and adult activity and children have no place in them. They don’t need to hear the language, be subjected to the ADULT conversations,ect.

    19. Paul
      October 5th, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

      I am in the pool/spa business and are always shocked to see the lack of control parents have on their kids. Children under the age of 5 should NEVER be in hot tub, especially one that is over 100 degrees…..I is very unhealthy for them, their skin, blood flow and their bodies cannot adapt to that type of hot water……Plus, Parents, please be parents and do your job….

    20. Monkey Supervisor
      October 5th, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

      Some parents consider their children’s behaviour as perfectly fine but by other people’s measure, not so much. We all have different standards of what is “great behaviour” so people need to keep this in mind,… and before anyone pounces, no, I do not have any children of my own but I have had a hand in raising my cousins and nieces and nephews. I think I have a good idea of what’s involved. They would never have gotten away with bad behaviour under my watch. My Gran and my parents raised me to be respectful and to follow the rules, even if I didn’t like them. The rules were there for a reason and I taught the cousins and other little ones the same way. If you want respect, you darn well have to earn it and you earned it by following the rules and behaving yourself. Especially in public! Not allowed in the hot tub? Too bad. You’re just not old enough to be there. Go play somewhere else. Quietly!

      Oh.. for those that suggest that people who do not like children running around cruise with different lines? Why should they have to spend additional money to have a good time?

    21. Jennifer S
      October 5th, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

      My two teenage boys, my husband, and I have cruised since they were vey young, to pretty much anyplace cruises go. They have never been allowed to run amok in the hot tubs or anyplace else on the ship. However, there has never been any shortage of crotchety, miserable adults (mostly retired folk…sorry but it’s true) who are horribly rude to them, despite their appropriate behavior. It seems like many are going to the pool just looking for a fight, something to complain about, or are just pitiable people who need to be rude (yes, you can be rude to kids too) to enjoy their trip. I’ve honestly seen more hideous behavior in the hot tubs (and elsewhere on the ship) from grownups. Having sex in the hot tubs late at night, drinking excessively and being offensive, using the hot tubs when they don’t look like they have washed in a month or have open sores, etc. I would never go in them myself. They are germ factories. My boys go in sometimes, but only with my husband. People should lighten up and enjoy their vacation and stop being so hateful.

    22. June
      October 5th, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

      I was in a adult only hot tub this past year. There was a woman with four children under 12 and she was allowing them to come in… so I politely said that this is for adults only… and was posted too.she told me that she is their parent and that she is allowing them to go in the hot tub. This kinda ruined my adult time. on my vacation that I paid alot of money to be on too. There were plenty of other empty hot tubs that were there for children to go into.

    23. Rose Umo
      October 6th, 2011 @ 9:06 am

      When parents learn the rules and follow them, issues like these will be presented to the cruiseline rule-makers. Postings on CC may catch the eye of a cruiseline and allow people to vent, but would likely not change anything. So, vote with your feet and your wallet.

    24. Dennis Cox
      October 6th, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

      Hot tub – dining room – Lido Deck – passageways – around the main pool.

      What is being discussed here is more than just the issue of kids in hot tubs! Whether on a cruise ship or at the local warehouse store, parents seem to take the “Johnnie (or Joannie) can do no wrong” attitude. Proper behavior and respect for rules are the basis for a civil society.

      It is a sign of our times when parents fail to exercise their obligation to discipline children (and themselves) when behavior is out-of-line and intrudes into the pleasure of others who also paid for the relaxation a vacation is supposed to represent. Discipline does not mean anything more than a parent teaching (and enforcing) good manners, appropriate behavior, and respect for others. However, it seems all too common that the parents either don’t recognize their responsibility, or, worse yet, choose to ignore it.

    25. justin
      October 9th, 2011 @ 9:28 am

      I was on an Holland america cruise and a mother had allowed her 7 year to be with her in the Hydro?? (giant hot tub).for a few days most patons where fine, and when the child began to act like a child, as he was bored, we told the mom it was tiome she and the child left., After 2 patrons requested refunds for the area, the ship staff revoked the mother’s access to the area, Staff had for 2 days given polite suggestions, so this the only solution. She was refunded her fee.

    26. Ruthie
      October 9th, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

      My children are grown. They learn at an early age to respect others. This is about plan old home training. children misbehaving is never cute, but! them again, neither are adults misbehaving…if you see children in a adult only hot tub, pool or what ever, act as an adult, enforce the rules or sail on a ship that will enforce then.

    27. Julie
      October 12th, 2011 @ 10:28 am

      I have a question. in my entire life I have NEVER seen a hot tub that didn’t have a sign that said either – No one under the age of 16 (or 12 or whatever) OR No child without Adult Supervision. For the most part, I’ve seen No Children. Can anyone indicate a cruise line (besides Disney) that has signage that would indicate it is okay for a child to be there, with or without parent? It is the first thing I look at when I go anywhere there is a hot tub with my two sons. If it is clear that they are not allowed, then they are just no allowed. They love hot tubs and yes, we kick them out if they start to swim, splash etc. But we say NO if the sign says no. I guess I am remembering a lot of cruises where the sign says \No Children\. Period.

    28. Robb
      October 13th, 2011 @ 9:35 am

      Leave them at home if it’s anything but a family/kids cruise. Anything over 4 can be reasoned with to an extent and if need be…bribed in an emergency. ;)

    29. Paul D.
      October 26th, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

      Next time I see a bunch of unsupervised kids in the Hot Tubs I will raise holy hell with management! I am sick and tired of having to sail with stupid parents! Stop ruining our cruise! Leave your frickin kids at home!!!!

    30. GiGi
      November 20th, 2011 @ 7:21 am

      I would never allow my children to be in a hot tub which is designated for adults only. While on the NCL Sky last December, we went to the area which has the children’s pool and children’s hot tub and adults were in the children’s hot tub. I said nothing even though I wondered why the adults were there rather than one of the four adults-only hot tubs. A few of them did not want to leave but my kids stayed in there until they did. I wish that NCL would post a sign on the children-only hot tub so that the adults would steer clear of it.

    31. John
      January 13th, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

      Children shouldn’t be in hot tubs period….I don’t care if it is adult only or not.
      There should be public places on a ship were adults can enjoy some quiet time without having to fight for a space in the adult only areas.

    32. John
      December 28th, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

      I just don’t understand why parents insist on cruising on ships meant for adults. If you want to cruise with children then stick with Disney or Carnival, there are many other choices, but stay off of ships that really are not set up to baby sit your children. i.e. Princess Emerald etc.

      It is great that families want to travel with their children, but don’t force your way into adult only vacations. Even Vegas has become overrun by little rug rats!

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