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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Should kids cruise free?

I've been working as a travel agent for awhile now and I've lost track of the times someone has said to me
"I'm not paying for my child, he's only two", or, "I'm not paying gratuities for my 10 month old, why should I?"
As a Father myself of a three year old boy and a one year old girl I would never dream of expecting this on a cruise. and I'll tell you why.

I actually think kids use 'more' of the ships resources than adults do. On a typical sea day your average adult may hang out by the pool, go to a bar, (and spend money), go to a spa, (and again spend money), or just relax in their cabin. A child on the other hand will spend a large chunk of the day in the kids club, (for free), taking up the time of several members of staff and I've never yet met a waiter or cabin steward who didn't bend over backwards to keep children happy and entertained. They'll go through the menu with them and if they don't like anything they see I've known them to ask the chefs to prepare something else. Quite a lot of cabin stewards will leave towel animals in the kids cabins for no other reason than to make them smile when they get back. These are just two small examples of the extra lengths cruise staff go to give kids a great holiday.
Anyone with kids will also tell you they create a lot more mess than adults, again causing more work for the waiters can cabin stewards.
And depite all this many parents still expect and demand their children to cruise free and refuse to pay gratuities for them, stating, "oh, but they're only little, they're no bother".
Don't get me wrong, I know how expensive cruising with a family can be so if the cruise lines decide to release free child places on particular sailings, by all means take advantage of it. But don't expect/demand free/cheap child places as a matter of course, It's just not fair to the staff.
And as for the people who refuse to pay the gratuities for their children, I just think that's plain wrong.
What do you think though? What have your experiences been with your children on a cruise ship? D you think they got extra attention from the staff and do you tip for them or not?

Happy cruising.