No family's cruise vacation is successful without realizing the value of children's safety.
No family’s cruise vacation is successful without realizing the value of children’s safety.

A cruise is the ultimate family vacation experience. From embarkation day, to the endless on-board activities, to unforgettable dining experiences, to energy-filled entertainment, to exciting shore excursions, families cannot get enough of it. Families have a blast each and every time they sail together. It is however sad to hear the news of past incidents. Slips, falls, and drownings have occurred on past cruises. Sadly, many of these incidents involve children. Being on vacation is a great thing, but children need to be advised of how important safety is while being on vacation. It is an owness on the parents’ behalf to maintain control of their children. Their children’s safety is their responsibility. In what ways should parents keep watch on their children while cruising? There are five keys to maintaining children’s safety on board. All five keys are to be taken seriously.

5) Youth Activities:¬†Upon boarding the ship, parents should sign their children up for the youth activities. Every cruise line has its own youth activity program. Royal Caribbean has Adventure Ocean, Norwegian has the Splash Academy, and Celebrity has the Fun Factory. Carnival and Disney feature a wide array of activity programs for toddlers, adolescents, teens, and tweens. In case of any emergency, children are issued wristbands. The wristband have their lifeboat muster station printed on them. With the children being engaged in on-board youth activities, the parents will know where their children are. Plus, the parents trust that their children are in good hands. Their children’s safety is the staff’s responsibility to a certain extent. More importantly, if any child should get hurt or whatever the incident may be, the cruise staff member can take immediate action. With children, accidents of any kind can happen in the blink of an eye.

Even though cruise lines impose them, parents must enforce on board curfews.
Even though cruise lines impose them, parents must enforce on board curfews.

4) Curfews: At home, curfews are implemented to keep children off the streets. Curfews are meant to promote safety. Heartily, curfews and children’s safety go together like peas and carrots. Aboard all cruise ships, children from primary ages, to teens, and tweens should abide by the curfews which the cruise lines implement. Curfews keep order, especially when adults wish to spend their alone time on board. Curfews are normally specified in the code of conduct. The code of conduct can be found inside the staterooms. Throughout the cruising industry, the on-board curfew is uniform. Midnight is the cut-off time when children are allowed in the public areas or on the open decks. It is the responsibility of the parents to enforce curfews and not just the on-board staff. By midnight, all children should be confined to their staterooms and not causing a ruckus throughout the ship.

Every cruise line strictly enforces a code of conduct for all guests. Parents must discuss it with their children on sailing day.
Every cruise line strictly enforces a code of conduct for all guests. Parents must discuss it with their children on sailing day.

3) Behavior:¬†Curfews are extremely essential for children’s safety on board cruise ships. That is only the tip of the iceberg. On any cruise, parents must exercise tight control of their children’s behavior. Inappropriate behavior can turn any fellow guest’s cruise experience into a living hell without warning. It’s a shock how lacking the parental control can be on cruises. Exhibiting proper behavior on board ship is crucial. It is the difference maker between an enjoyable cruise and a long-awaited cruise gone down the drain.

Sometime ago, a group of youngsters got into serious trouble during a Christmas cruise. They were caught defacing one of the elevators. They were super-gluing the elevator buttons. One can imagine how out of control their behavior was, running roughshod through the ship during a sea day. On another cruise, a group of teens were cutting in line at the buffet. They were cursing out at fellow guests. The staff read them the riot act. Inappropriate behavior, including coarse language and vandalism, is unacceptable. In every stateroom, cruise lines provide a code of conduct. The code of conduct is strictly enforced aboard every ship. Parents should take the time to read and fully understand the code of conduct. They must also remind their children of what behavior they must exhibit on board. They also must be aware of the consequences noted. It is vital that parents discuss the code of conduct with their children, however best, and the consequences on sailing day.

2) Buddy system:¬†Everyone has used a buddy system on many occasions in their lifetime. There is simply no reason why a buddy system cannot be implemented by families while cruising. Cruise ships carry 2, 500 guests at the least to more than 6, 000 guests at the maximum. Cruise ships aren’t getting any smaller nowadays. Children can get disoriented and even separated from their families at a moment’s notice. Using a buddy system is one of the best ways for adults to keep watch on their children. No child should ever be roaming the ship alone, whether on the pool deck, in the buffet area, or even in public places which they have no business walking into (ex. casino). If a child wishes to go upstairs to the water slides, or to the main pool, the parent must accompany him/her. No matter where children wish to go on board, a buddy system must be used. One can imagine the worst things that could happen if children are without the accompaniment of the parents. Like curfews, a buddy system may be all that stands between a child having a safe time, opposed to getting injured from slipping on the pool deck floor. A buddy system may be essential to children’s safety on board ship, but parents should never let their guard down at any time.

The same pool safety standards taught at home, parents must enforce with their children on board ship.
The same pool safety standards taught at home, parents must enforce with their children on board ship.

1) Pool safety: There is no place where the buddy system can be any more valuable than on the pool deck. Pool safety is paramount on all cruise ships. On the pool deck, accidents are expected to happen at any time. Many cruise lines DO NOT have lifeguards on duty. It is crucial that parents and all adults alike be on the look out for their children both in and around the swimming pools. Adults, including young adults, are urged to practice proper pool etiquette. Pool safety and pool etiquette go hand-in-hand. Without them together, mayhem and injuries can occur. Horseplay, without a doubt, can cause accidents to happen at a moment’s notice.

Sometime ago, a group of adolescent children were engaging in horseplay by the pool. They then mingled with a group of teenagers. The horseplay escalated out of control. It got so out of control that they started using the planters as diving platforms. Later, they started wrestling each other in the deep end. Then, they started going down the water slide naked. There was zero control. Luckily, no guests nearby got hurt or showed any discomfort from young kids running around rampant in the birthday suit. Pool safety, regardless of the circumstances, is crucial. Drownings are often the result of horseplay. Horseplay often results in in serious injuries. Some injuries have been of the life-threatening type. If parents can teach their kids about pool safety at home, then they can easily keep a watchful eye on their children’s pool safety at sea.

Cruise vacations are meant to be fun and unforgettable experiences. Everyone’s enjoying soaking up rays, lounging in the Jacuzzi, and spending some lazy time at the pool bar. More than ninety percent of the time, the fun and excitement are experienced out in the open. On any cruise, children’s safety is fundamental. While cruising, parents and adults alike should closely follow and adhere to the five keys to children’s safety. Children’s safety is no bigger responsibility than that of the parents. Signing the children up for youth activities, adhering to on-board curfews, managing their children’s behavior, and using a buddy system are essential. Further, assuming responsibility for their children’s pool safety is imperative. No child should ever be left unattended. ¬†Predominantly, no child’s cruise vacation should be interrupted by an accident of any kind. Children’s safety, across the board, is the golden rule to a family’s cruise being an enjoyable and thrilling experience.

 

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at ProwsEdge.com, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, Whistlestop.Amtrak.com. David also writes for the publication Examiner.com. On Examiner.com, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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