Ah, cruising. It’s the luxurious life of food, spa treatments, entertainment, sand and sea. Why we cruise doesn’t require much explanation—it’s like stepping onto a floating Shangri La. The real question is what you do with your kids while you soak up sun and get that hot stone massage you’ve always dreamed about having. Some people leave their kids at home so they can enjoy the adult world of cruising in style but with the Disney Fantasy’s on-board kids clubs, you won’t want to.
The Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy is the newest in their fleet of exclusive, luxury cruise ships. It houses 1,250 staterooms, 4 fine dining restaurants, the Walt Disney theater, multiple pools, an epic water slide, a full-service spa, a 3D capable first-run movie theater and over 1,000 cast and crew members each time she sails.
To put it mildly, the Fantasy is impressive but to a 7 year old boy and his little sister, it’s the place they can safely depart their parents company and join in a game of chasing down scurvy pirates, or create a custom comic book, craft with a favorite princess, attend a pajama party, play with their new friends or even take cooking lessons from the always entertaining, Chef Goofy!
The kids’ club aboard the Disney Fantasy is called the Oceaneer Club and Lab and it takes up a large section of deck 5. You can register your children at the boarding terminal or any time after at the club itself. At that time, your kids receive their kids’ club bands. These slightly bulky electronic wrist bands allow you to check your kids in and out of the club with minimal hassle and maximum security. Your safety password allows you to pick them up after they’ve played to their hearts content.
Unlike other places meant to babysit your kids, Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Lab is so uniquely Disney in that it’s MADE to make dreams come true in a real way for your little seafarers. They are able to experience an unprecedented amount of personal interaction time with characters and their counselors.
The reason they get so much interaction time is simple–the crowd level is set at embarkation and it doesn’t change. When your agent books your cruise, they give the ages of your children to the cruise line in order for the staff to maximize the kids activities. There will never be “too many kids” in the kids club because once the cruise fills up, the rooms are simply unavailable. It is genius like this that leads to a loosely structured, school-type environment for your kids to pick and choose their age-appropriate activities in a clean, safe and thrilling environment.
Like a school or camp, your children are under adult supervision the entire time they are in the club. The Fantasy employs a large team of Club counselors to monitor, play with and guide your kids during their time with them. The counselors are usually young adults from all over the world and go through a rigorous amount of training before they sail. They want to know your child and what they might need so they can help your kids have the best possible experience. For example, my son has ADHD and when one of his counselors asked us to speak to him about running around the club; we mentioned this fact to him. The counselor immediately added it to our son’s profile so they would know to communicate more directly to him. It was a relief to know they were trained in this aspect of childhood.
My other child has asthma so when she needed her breathing treatment, she simply asked her counselor to call us on the stateroom wave phone. Your children can contact you through wave phones so you’re never out of touch with them. If your child wants to be picked up, they will simply call you—it’s as easy as that.
Each day, a Personal Navigator and Activities Guide will be placed in your stateroom. The guide offers a schedule of all the activities for the following day. Using this, you and your children can choose the activities they just can’t miss such as Super Sloppy Science, Human Bingo or even Cruisin’ with Crush! They are also able to eat lunch and dinner in the club for no additional charge.
You might find your little sailors don’t want to leave the kids club when you show up! They play, they dress-up, they create things, make friends, learn and most importantly, they use their imaginations in this colorful space that might just be the happiest place on the seven seas.
Naomi de Jager-Lipscomb – 800-670-4312×146 or Naomi@travelwiththemagic.com