Princess Cruise Lines is a family-oriented ship so their kids club is filled with fun and educational activities to keep the kids entertained throughout their trip. The minimum age for cruising is 6 months. Our daughter has been on three Princess cruises but has only participated in the kids’ program on our last cruise in February 2009 with her brother. We were glad that they were finally old enough to participate in and enjoy the kids club together. Yes, a relief for us too since we were able to enjoy the ship’s activities.
The kids Club is open for kids ages 3-17 and each program offers age-specific, fun-filled activities. The breakdown for the clubs are: Pelicans (ages 3-7), Shockwaves (ages 8-12) and Remix (ages 13-17). When we sailed with them, they didn’t have restrictions on kids being potty trained. However, as of 2011, it looks like kids must be at least 3 years old and potty-trained.
Children under 3 years old are able to go into the kids club areas also known as the Fun Zone if accompanied and supervised by parents. We used to take my daughter when she was a toddler into the kids club area and let her play with the legos and the staff let us stay as long as we liked during their activity hours. They even tried to include her in a couple of activities.
We were given a Youth Program Guidelines and a Registration booklet during our orientation on the night of departure. They also offered an Open House from 2-5 PM while the ship was still docked. They had five different sessions for registration and orientation which offered some flexibility in attending compared to other cruise lines.
Hours – The activity hours are broken down into three hour increments throughout the days unless the ship is docked.
Sea Days (9-Noon; 2-5 PM; 7-10PM)
Port Days (8-5 PM; 7-10 PM)
We signed our kids in and out and gave a general idea of our destination and had to show a government-issued ID (passport, driver’s license). Kids ages 8-12 can do independent sign in/out if authorized by parents. Parents of kids ages 3-6 were given pagers and contacted for the following reasons:
- Continuous crying
- Unruly conduct
- Child not picked up during closing hours
Thankfully our pager never beeped throughout the week. Pagers can also be requested for the 7-12 age group.
Children in diapers and/or not potty-trained cannot go into any of the pools or hot tubs. Though some of the bigger ships have baby pools outside of the Youth Center area. The Diamond Princess had an attached baby pool in their club and our daughter was able to go in there when she was small.
Private babysitting is not offered on any Princess ship. Group kid sitting hours are available from 10PM -1AM for $5 per hour, per child. Reservations must be made by 8PM the previous day of actual kid sitting time. Port day programming is available meaning kids can be left on the ship while parents go on shore excursions.
Our kids were in the same age group and were each given a personalized Pelican Press listing the onboard activities for the rest of the week. We were on a port intensive cruise visiting an island everyday and only one sea day so most of the activities they participated in were only at night.
We were aboard the Caribbean Princess which is one of their bigger ships so the kids club facilities were great and spacious. Activities were broken down into 15-30 minute increments. Unfortunately, we only have the activities for the Pelicans. Hopefully, we can sail on Princess soon to get the other age groups.
Arts & Crafts included name tag decorating, t-shirt coloring, sponge art, windows graffiti, beaded leis, crown, wand & sword making, frames and animal mask. Games Night included ring toss, bowling and tricycle relay. This was our son’s favorite night. Their facility was actually big enough to hold these particular games. There was no shortage of parties which ranged from Pizza & Pasta, Kids-only dinner night party, an Ice Cream Social and of course, a pajama party while watching a movie. Activities ranged from movie nights (4 nights), treasure/scavenger hunts, face paintings, hula hoop competition and even a puzzle competition. Whew! That was tiring just looking at all that.
Princess also offers a Jr. Chef@Sea Program and a “Science of the Seas” program for the Shockwaves (ages 8-12). My daughter would have loved it. At least, she has something to look forward to on future Princess cruises. Overall, we liked the variety of onboard activities that Princess offered since it was a blend of fun, camaraderie and education. Yes, they’re also supposed to be on vacation but learning something while having fun is a big plus. Although there were plenty of kids even during the time most of the US schools were in session, it never felt too crowded. Maybe, because the area was laid out well and had an indoor/outdoor space. Our kids had a wonderful time and look forward to their next Princess cruise.
Please check the Princess website for details and updates on their kids program.