Kids in the pool, kids in the main dining room, kids in the theaters. They really bring out the worst — and best — in cruisers. As much as our readers debate the subject, there’s one thing most people agree on: It’s the parents, not the children, who are mainly to blame when the status quo on board is disrupted by thuggish behavior.
As a parent of two cruise-mad teens who’ve sailed on some 15 ships, I know what it’s like with youngsters onboard — and I’ve come up with my own code of conduct for parents on cruise ships.
Always know where your children are, and if they’re charging round the ship unattended, yelling and disturbing people, stop them. Just because a crewmember hasn’t intervened does not make this conduct acceptable. On a Norwegian ship, I even saw kids running in and out of the crew areas.
If a ship has a family pool and an adults-only pool, respect this and keep the kids out of the adults’ pool. And the hot tub.
Allowing kids to pee in the pool because you can’t be bothered to take them to the bathroom is never, ever OK.
Nobody expects a parade of mini-me toddlers in tuxedos on formal night, but make at least some effort to have the whole family dress up a bit.
Teach children to respect the crew and to say “please” and “thank you” when being served. Learning a few basic table manners doesn’t go amiss, either.
Put exhausted toddlers to bed at night (if the ship offers babysitting) or in the night nursery. Nobody wants to sit with a wailing child lashed into a carriage throughout dinner.
Same goes for the shows: If the entertainment isn’t suitable for children, don’t take them. Having them sit in the theater, playing noisy games on an iPad because they’re bored, is selfish, not to mention rude to the performers.
Show a bit of respect for the facilities on board. Members Brian and Carol watched kids breaking the free ice cream machine on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and reported on the Cruise Critic UK blog: “All their parents could do was laugh!”
And think about safety. Don’t you care? Member Ken Roper comments: “On Grand Princess, in a rough sea, I saw three under 10s, unsupervised, on the promenade deck, SKATEBOARDING. When I reported this to the service desk I was told that it had been dealt with. I was also told that the parents knew that their children had packed the boards.”
Want to rein the kids in onboard? See our suggestions on Controlling Your Kids at Sea.
Get your very own Lido Deck subscription.