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MeaganA

Traveling with Teens - Contact,Safety concerns

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Hi fellow cruisers!

This is only my second cruise and it will be my first traveling with my two teenage daughters. They are very outgoing and will want to explore on their own and meet new friends. They plan on hanging out in the teens club, ect. My concern is their safety and them being allowed to roam the ship alone. How can I contact them? Anything you guys have done in the past? At what ages do you allow your teenagers to explore on their own? Any safety concerns I should be concerned with?

Side note- We are on the IOS which sadly does not have the app up where we can message each other on the boat yet. 

Any advice to help this overly anxious momma feel a little better will be appreciated.

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So since you're all on iOS - if you purchase the VOOM package, iMessage works well over wifi! Probably not the cheapest option, but it will allow consistent contact between you and your kids in a familiar format. 

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Same thing...my 13 year old asked if he can roam by himself.  For the most part he'll be with us, but he has strongly indicated that he is not interested in the show we have booked first night.  We do not get internet and Symphony doesn't support internal texting yet.  We'll probably set boundaries and have a meeting spot for a certain time (or our stateroom). He is quite responsible but at home when he goes out himself, he has his phone for us to contact him...so am a bit nervous too (and same kind of momma as you 😉)

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My teens have been wandering the ship on their own since they've been in the teen club.  My now 12yo is a bit immature and will have more boundaries whereas my now 15yo didn't have as many boundaries at that age.  Each child is different and so you need to decide what is right for you. What do you do at home?  Can they go to the movies or mall by themselves?  The ship is a relatively small place and as safe as anywhere with some common sense.  Here is what we do:

1.  We have the Voom on everyone's phones (kids and adults).  They check it enough and if you want you can tell them that they need to tell you where they are and tell you when they change locations.  There are places like the slides where they won't have their phone but you can make allowances.

2.  They are never allowed in another person's stateroom.  NEVER!  I don't care if its their new best friend of the same gender on the cruise.  And no one can come in their stateroom.

3.  Never allowed to climb on furniture or lean over the railings.  I get an eye roll when I remind of that rule and they tell me they aren't stupid.

4.  They may not break curfew (whatever you decide curfew to be).  My older kids (not my immature 12 yo)  stick to the ship curfew which is 1am unless we have a shore excursion planned and that is usually midnight.  They need to wake their dad up to say they are back (yes we are lame and can't keep up).  Sounds late but you'll be surprised at how many friends push the curfew.  Many younger teens (12/13 yo) will have an 11-midnight curfew.

5. They need to get their own drinks (water, mocktail, soda).  Teenage girls know why and they should have that rule at home too. 

I think the teens just like to hang out.  They'll meet their new friends at the teen club and wander the ship and talk.  

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Thanks so much for all the responses. Glad Im not the only one that is concerned about this. And @melski94 those are some awesome guidelines that we will def enforce. I hadn't thought of all of this. So thank you!

Our goal is to try to avoid getting the VOOM package. Only because we know Id they have it then they will not truly disconnect they will continue to be on electronics ect. But if I cant think of another way to make contact that may be the only option. 

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I've traveled with a teenage girl for a number of cruises since she was 16.  The cost of the wifi is worth it's weight in gold if they will reply to you when you text them, something one of mine is not.  Nothing worse then sending a message and getting nothing back for hours.

In your case I'd tell them they must absolutely stick together and do not under any circumstances leave the other one at any time.  Safety in numbers.  

The reality is a ship is full of passengers who represent a cross section of our society.  This potentially includes the type of people we don't want on the ship or interacting with our daughters.  It's easy for something to be slipped into a drink (including a glass of water) or for someone to approach with a story like "your parents sent me to find you".  Standard things you likely have discussed at home also apply.  What can and does happen on land does happen on cruise ships.  I'm not trying to scare you but understand a ship is not a magic place where bad things don't happen.  No background checks are performed on any one who books a cruise.  

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11 minutes ago, twangster said:

I've traveled with a teenage girl for a number of cruises since she was 16.  The cost of the wifi is worth it's weight in gold if they will reply to you when you text them, something one of mine is not.  Nothing worse then sending a message and getting nothing back for hours.

In your case I'd tell them they must absolutely stick together and do not under any circumstances leave the other one at any time.  Safety in numbers.  

The reality is a ship is full of passengers who represent a cross section of our society.  This potentially includes the type of people we don't want on the ship or interacting with our daughters.  It's easy for something to be slipped into a drink (including a glass of water) or for someone to approach with a story like "your parents sent me to find you".  Standard things you likely have discussed at home also apply.  What can and does happen on land does happen on cruise ships.  I'm not trying to scare you but understand a ship is not a magic place where bad things don't happen.  No background checks are performed on any one who books a cruise.  

This is so true. Also, since the ships are registered outside the US the crew members may not have been required to submit background checks. 

OP- I get your desire to “disconnect”, however, it would be in your best interest to stay in touch with your daughters with the instant gratification of text messaging through WiFi. I have two daughters myself and when they get into their teenage years you can bet we will be in constant communication while onboard. There’s too many individuals with bad intentions out there for me to not  protect the two most important people in my life. 

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I hate to bring this up, but we have only been on one cruise.  It was the Harmony of the Seas this past summer.  My son had just turned 14, and he looked 14 years old too.  We gave every rule that posters above mentioned and my son agreed, but I did not think that adults would be giving kids as young as 13 or 14 alcohol on the ship.  Literally, some grandparents were passing out alcoholic beverages to my son’s group of friends one night!  Maybe some adults find it funny, or that the rules about underage drinking do not apply while on vacation....  I could tell you more, but I can summarize it by saying some adults do not care at all about underage drinking on a cruise.  

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10 hours ago, MeaganA said:

Hi fellow cruisers!

This is only my second cruise and it will be my first traveling with my two teenage daughters. They are very outgoing and will want to explore on their own and meet new friends. They plan on hanging out in the teens club, ect. My concern is their safety and them being allowed to roam the ship alone. How can I contact them? Anything you guys have done in the past? At what ages do you allow your teenagers to explore on their own? Any safety concerns I should be concerned with?

Side note- We are on the IOS which sadly does not have the app up where we can message each other on the boat yet. 

Any advice to help this overly anxious momma feel a little better will be appreciated.

Many don't know this, but imessage works (on iphones only)  without buying the internet package, this and the Royal Cribbean app work without buying a package

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I can confirm what Antonio said.  iMessage has worked for me on both Harmony and Quantum.  I had heard that it's because the new App is going to use the same port (not ship port) as iMessage uses so they can't block it.  Plus, I think they realize there really is no harm in allowing it.   Just connect to the wifi on airplane mode and you should be able to send iMessages assuming your phone knows that the other phone is an iPhone (aka it sends blue text bubbles instead of green)

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I will second what @melski94 said.  You know your kids.  My youngest went on her first cruise at 12 and we pretty much let her go.  We didn't have internet but would have a check in every couple hours.  She met you with a great group of other 12 and 13 year olds and still communicates 5 years later.  Emphasize that yes, there can be issues but this is how you handle them.  And if you aren't comfortable, then get the 2 device voom and make sure one of your kids and yourself are logged in.  I think there is no total right or wrong... Just what your family is comfortable with.  Jane

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9 hours ago, Antonio said:

Many don't know this, but imessage works (on iphones only)  without buying the internet package, this and the Royal Cribbean app work without buying a package

 

8 hours ago, averbeck said:

I can confirm what Antonio said.  iMessage has worked for me on both Harmony and Quantum.  I had heard that it's because the new App is going to use the same port (not ship port) as iMessage uses so they can't block it.  Plus, I think they realize there really is no harm in allowing it.   Just connect to the wifi on airplane mode and you should be able to send iMessages assuming your phone knows that the other phone is an iPhone (aka it sends blue text bubbles instead of green)

Just to clarify.  iMessage only works without a wifi package on Harmony and Q class ships.  All the other ships need the app (I believe only Allure for now) or a wifi package.  The OP will be on Independence and they will need a wifi package for iMessage to work.  

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On 2/27/2019 at 12:09 AM, averbeck said:

I can confirm what Antonio said.  iMessage has worked for me on both Harmony and Quantum.  I had heard that it's because the new App is going to use the same port (not ship port) as iMessage uses so they can't block it.  Plus, I think they realize there really is no harm in allowing it.   Just connect to the wifi on airplane mode and you should be able to send iMessages assuming your phone knows that the other phone is an iPhone (aka it sends blue text bubbles instead of green)

This is amazing news!!!! I’ve got two young daughters and this was a concern. Does anyone know if the new navigator may have had this port added during its remodel??? 

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30 minutes ago, TracieT. said:

Do  walkie talkies work?

Most reports I've seen say the amount of metal in the ship's walls mean walkie talkies only have so-so reception unless you are already near each other.  Also, have you ever seen the annoyed reactions when someone is using their cell phone in speaker mode in public?  Interrupting someone's vacation with the squealing and squawking of a walkie talkie will probably be worse!

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59 minutes ago, Atlantix2000 said:

Most reports I've seen say the amount of metal in the ship's walls mean walkie talkies only have so-so reception unless you are already near each other.  Also, have you ever seen the annoyed reactions when someone is using their cell phone in speaker mode in public?  Interrupting someone's vacation with the squealing and squawking of a walkie talkie will probably be worse!

Yeah, as they say "don't be that guy" (or girl).

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11 hours ago, 57spring said:

So just to confirm, the iMessage will NOT work on Oasis of the Sea?  We will be traveling with 2 eleven year olds and a 15 year old and will be very pricey for everyone to have VOOM. 

Correct, iMessage will not work on Oasis.  On most of my sailings Voom for 4 devices costs less than $30 which to me is worth it (except Navigator, its very high on Navigator).  You just need to decide if it is worth it to you.

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I’d love not to buy the Voom package.  Not just for cost, we generally want to unplug.  But I also want to enjoy my cruise if my kids want freedom.  If wait until on board to decide if I’ll wish we could text each other, will VOOM be more expensive on ship? 

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