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Mikeb1892

Did any of your kids NOT like the clubs on the ship (or the ship at all for that matter)?

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I'm not as much worried about our 7 yo boy, but our 13 yo boy is at that stage where nothing is great, everything is just blah.  I'd love to hear any feedback on your early teen (and big kid) experiences.  This will be the first cruise for both of them.

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When we sailed Disney, our son liked the clubs when he was 7. When he was 12 and 13, he didn't bother with them and enjoyed the ship with us. When he was 14, we saw the light and shifted to RCL (suites and concierge for price of balcony on DCL). During our summer 2019 Alaska Southbound sailing, he didn't bother with the teen club. Very port intensive sailing, so no biggie. We are on Oasis next month and he is now 15. I'm 99.967% sure that he will not go to the teen club and instead hang with my DH and myself and we don't mind one bit. 

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We have twin girls that are now 14, at first it was HARD to get them to go, but after the first time it was HARD to keep them out!  Each cruise we have taken with them it is hard to get them to go but once they get in there they have an amazing time and do not want to leave.  We agree on a time to pick them up and almost every time we show up at the agreed upon time they ask us if they can stay longer! 

 

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My kids have grown up going to day care since they were 3 months old.  All year long except for the occasional few days off for holidays or to go to the beach.  Even after school started....school all day, then after care till 5:30 when they get picked up.  It's hard on them (or at least it is hard enough on me that I think it is hard on them).  Even during the summer...up early, off to day care all day long.  It wasn't until last summer (when they were 9 and 12) that I felt with my son they were old enough to stay home alone....so it was the first real summer they had where they got to sleep late all the time, stay home, play outside....etc.  I also had changed jobs and was working out of the home office and only away from the house about 8 days a month so they didn't stay alone often.

When we took our first cruise we didn't do kids club stuff....it was all new so we just hung out as a family.

When we took our second cruise we asked if they wanted to try the kids club (8 and 11 at the time)....we signed them up with 'sign out' privileges .... after about an hour they were back at the room.  They hated it.  Said "it feels just like we are at daycare". 

I wasn't going to fight with them and force them since we are on vacation, on a cruise ship, the last thing I wanted to do to them was make them feel like it was just another day on their lives.  We've been on 4 cruise now, and have 3 more planned this year.  They always have a great time (10'ish and 13 now)....the youngest can be found nightly singing karaoke, the oldest goes swimming, they participate in scavenger hunts, my youngest basically felt like she was working at the coffee stand on Anthem last time....would go there for hot coco and then clean up the seating area for fun.

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We have experience with our kids, nieces/nephew, and grandkids. The kids who DON'T have lots of time in day care or other similar arrangements tend to love the program and those who DO have day care, etc. do not enjoy it as much.

That being said - YMMV.

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My daughter is the same age and has been on three RCL cruises now. She is not a huge fan of the club itself, but going there the first couple of days she meets some kids her own age. The rest of the cruise, they aren't in the club that much but spend a lot of time with her new friends doing other things on the ship. She does enjoy a lot of the teen activities such as scavenger hunts and such that take places throughout the ship, instead of those just in the club.  

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Our kids were 8 and 11 when we went on Adventure a few years ago. They had ZERO interest in spending any time in the kids club. Most  we got out of them was 90 min one evening so my husband and I could have dinner alone.  

They will be 12 and 14 when we go on Anthem later this year. Both are looking forward to participating in some of the teen activities. 

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My daughter and son, when they were in their early teens, would go to the clubs the first few nights, meet a few new friends and then just hang out with the newbies and not go to clubs from then on. A few times they would join up for windjammer for dinner and then head off as we went to MDR.

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I made my older 2 kids go to the teen club the first night.  My rule was go the first night and if it isn't for you then you don't have to go back.   The teen club is not a day care club.  It is just a semi-organized way to meet other teens on the ship.  The first night, they play meet up games and after that, the kids tend to use it as a meeting point and then roam the ship.  My kids never did the teen games unless it was the teen only flowrider, etc. 

My oldest always found a group to hang out with and missed the teen club when she turned 18.  My 2nd now is 16 and sometimes he likes the other kids but there have been cruises where he didn't vibe with them.  No big deal as he's happy to go to the arcade or watch the pool side movies at night.  My 3rd child is also 13 and I will not make him go to the teen club.  He has a physical disability and is uncomfortable being stared at.  He's fine with movies or playing games in his room.  

I think you know your child best.  If you think he'd enjoy being with kids his age, then encourage him to go the first night.  If he hates it, he doesn't have to go back.  

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4 hours ago, HeWhoWaits said:

We have experience with our kids, nieces/nephew, and grandkids. The kids who DON'T have lots of time in day care or other similar arrangements tend to love the program and those who DO have day care, etc. do not enjoy it as much.

That being said - YMMV.

Interesting perspective. Hadn't thought of that. But my nieces might be the exception to the rule. They seem to have as much fun as my kids in the clubs. 
 

Mind you, my older one is now 12 and it's a whole new world going to the teen clubs. The club on Independence was empty for the post-New Year's cruise and I'm hoping that the August cruise on Symphony will be a different experience for her. 

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I have a natural born daughter that at 7 liked the activities quite a bit. At 12 again lukewarm, at 14 though she didn't want to be seen with us and lived for the teen clubs. GF daughter very shy but went full on socialite in teen clubs and the same remains today. Loves that its "do dinner" then tip toe in in the wee hours stuff... GF son was one of those "I'm going to hate the ship and be bored types". That lasted about 30 seconds once aboard...  Needed a crow bar to pry him off the ship...

 

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Our first cruise was on Disney, daughter was 8. 

She tried it for a couple hours, that was the last time she has seen the inside of a club.

We have been on 5 cruises, she is going to be 21 on this 6th cruise.

She stayed with us on all our cruises and we were totally fine with that.

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I highly suggest having your teen attend the meet and greet on the first night of the cruise (usually 8 pm)

My 13 year old spent all of his time with other teens on our recent cruise.  We basically didn't see him on sea days except at dinner.  He made a lot of friends and even ran into some of them on our shore excursions.  

We paid for the internet package and used WhatsApp to text with him

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On 2/13/2020 at 6:37 PM, Mikeb1892 said:

I'm not as much worried about our 7 yo boy, but our 13 yo boy is at that stage where nothing is great, everything is just blah.  I'd love to hear any feedback on your early teen (and big kid) experiences.  This will be the first cruise for both of them.

My son dreads going on cruises we have persuaded him again for our cruise in May but he's not happy about it. So i will have to make an extra effort for him.

He enjoyed his first cruise at 12 didn't mind the May one last year at 13 and hated the Harmony one last August stayed in his room the whole time.

I hope he meets some friends this time but suffers from shyness (age related.) 

We offered for him to bring a friend but he didn't want to. Not sure why. 

Hope your kids enjoy it. 

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17 hours ago, Morganno said:

My son dreads going on cruises we have persuaded him again for our cruise in May but he's not happy about it. So i will have to make an extra effort for him.

He enjoyed his first cruise at 12 didn't mind the May one last year at 13 and hated the Harmony one last August stayed in his room the whole time.

I hope he meets some friends this time but suffers from shyness (age related.) 

We offered for him to bring a friend but he didn't want to. Not sure why. 

Hope your kids enjoy it. 

Hope he has a good time this trip. 

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My son wasn't a fan of the kids program. He's an introvert and had a hard time making friends, since alot of extended families were sailing, so it was difficult for him to join pre-existing groups. He stopped going and just joined us by the pool, etc. . He really enjoyed that more and was less stressed out, since it was a vacation for him as well.

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We sailed on Allure last April with our 16 year old grandson and he had a blast...So much fun that he busted his curfew the first night.   After he got read the riot act we never had another problem.  He made lots of friends and still keeps in contact with them.  He’s hooked and will be cruising again with us this April on the Harmony...Wonder if he will still be hooked when sail a smaller ship 🤔🤔🤔

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Both of my kids are introverts and didn't like Adventure Ocean the one or two times they went, not because of anything wrong with Adventure Ocean. Groups and group activities are just not their idea of fun (they don't like summer camps or group sports either). They like the same things we like about cruising - relaxing down time, reading, movies, dinner in the main dining room, and after dinner shows.

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