I did alot of research prior to our cruise. Everything went so well, it could not have gone better. I am writing this review because I loved reading how other parents prepared/planned/and enjoyed their cruise with their young children.
We spent the night prior to the cruise at the Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Beach. It was very nice and close to the pier. It cost us $25 to get all of us to the pier the following morning. We left the hotel at 11:00am and were on the ship within 35 minutes. There was no wait at all and no lines anywhere. We literally walked right on board.
As soon as we got on board, we went directly up to the Royal Tots room to register for the daycare services. We were quoted $8.00 per hour and we confirmed 2-3 hours on 3 days. We were also told that we had to call guest services to register for the in-room babysitting. We ended up sneaking up to our stateroom and luckily it was ready. We dropped off a load of things and were then told guests were not aloud in the rooms until 1:00pm. Since our room was ready, our room attendent said that it was okay for us to stay. We immediately headed out to start exploring.
Everyone was so nice and accomodating. The waiters in the MDR were wonderful!! They did everything from bringing his dinner out early to entertaining him. Dinner would typically last about 2 hours and I think my 2 year old did GREAT each night. They had a children's menu and he loved everything on it!!
We did this 3 different nights from 9pm-12am. We had the same 2 people each night. My DS was sleeping when they arrived and they just sat and watched tv. He never woke up and he never even knew they were there. You book this service direct with the guest relations staff. They confirm your babysitters 24 hours in advance. I did request M-F but after the 1st night, we felt that it was too much and we didn't need to go "out" every night. 3 nights was perfect for us. The couple were very nice and they were boyfriend/girlfriend. I know they would have been willing to coming M-F if that is what we wanted. I had no trouble at all with them. I was a little nervous about this but it worked out so great. I would highly recommend it! You will pay $18.00 per hour and it is all charged directly to your seapass card. At the end of each night, we tipped each sitter $5.00. On 1 paticular night, we were scheduled to watch the comedey show witch started at 11:30p-12:45a, since the babysitters were only confirmed until 12am, I just asked them if I could pay them directly for that last hour and they did not have any problem with that. This service is expensive but it is a wonderful feature so parents can have a little bit of evening time.
We never did end up taking him to the Royal Tots nursury. My husband went up there with our ds 1 time and felt that most of the kids were not speaking English. I got really nervous about sending him there and so I never did. I will say that I did get all of the hours I wanted on day 1. I called on the 1st day because my ds was about to take a nap and I didn't want to send him. I found out that if you booked hours, you are not charged for cancelling at any time. If your schedules changed, you are not penalized for not sending them.
My ds LOVED the carosel!! I think we rode it at least 100 times. It was definately the highlight of his trip. We took him to see Ocean Aria and the Ice Games. He was mesmorized by both shows and sat so still and quite for the entire shows.
Overall, we had a wonderful time on Allure. My son was such a good boy the entire trip. We loved our first major vacation with him. I couldn't imagine not bringing him along on any other future trip.
If you have any questions on traveling with your young child, please feel free to ask me.
We took a cab to Atlantis and did the Discover Atlantis Tour on our own. We got to just walk around all of the aquariums. It was amazing and well worth the price of the independant tour.
We took a water taxi (located just off the pier) to a small but beautiful beach. Behind the beach was sprinkled with shopping/restraunts/bars. Each establishment would have chairs that you could rent on the beach. They all offer something different. The one we went with was $10.00 per person. That got us a chair/umbrella/wifi/bathroom/drink service/lunch service/and a very nice waiter that would cater to our every need.
This area was awesome!! I loved the island, the beach, the shops. It was so clean and beautiful. I will be returning to this island at some point in my future. I love St. Maarten!!
We took a cab to Magens Bay and spent the day there. It cost us $4 per person to get in (baby was free). They charge $7 to rent a chair for the day. They also have a waitress that will take drink/lunch orders. We ordered a drink called "painkiller" and they were so good. We spent the day at this beach and had a wonderful time. The water was clear and calm and perfect for building sand castles.