I have to admit, one of the most appealing aspects of booking an 18-day Transpacific Cruise with our family was the thought of having a Kid’s Club for our girls (ages 8 and 5) to enjoy.

I’m happy to say that Royal Caribbean’s Kid’s Club, “Ocean Adventure,” has exceeded my expectations! First of all, there is absolutely no extra cost for the Adventure Ocean Program, and it is for children ages 3+ who are fully potty trained. Sadly, this means that our little Ethan missed the cutoff by just a few months, but our girls hit the mark!

Kid’s Club Hours:

On Days at Sea, it has three separate session: 9am-noon, 2pm-5pm, and 6:45pm-10pm. There is even a “Late Night Party Zone” from 10pm-2am for a $6 per hour fee.

On days in port, the sessions start as early as ship arrival at port (so parents can book excursions) and last until 10pm. They will take your kids to lunch and dinner for you on port days, so you could be off the ship all day without worrying about rushing back to feed the kids.

I know what you’re thinking…who is going to leave their kids on a ship all day, while the parents are off enjoying the scenery at the ports?

Us.

Don’t judge.

It’s not our fault! We would happily take our girls off the ship, if they would let us!  The truth is, our kids beg to stay on the ship, and even beg us to let them eat lunch and dinner with their Adventure Ocean staff (even if we are on the ship). Our kids would happily disappear to the Kid’s Club from 9am until 10pm every night, without shedding a tear for us!  Letting them stay until 10pm is definitely my max (it really is too late for kids, in my opinion), and they honestly very rarely make it as early as 9am (because who can really wake up for breakfast early enough when the kids stay out until 10pm each night?).

The freedom the kid’s club allows us as parents is really unbeatable. We plan our days around when to eat with the kids (since most days we are not at port and they have no choice but to eat with us—haha!), and we have the flexibility of enjoying evening performances before the kids are out of the club for the night.

Kid’s Club Activities:

Kid’s Club isn’t simply a babysitting or daycare service. They have a massive amount of activities planned for the kids each day. Parents are even given the list of activities a day in advance, although with names like “Zoorific,” “Chefs on Deck,” “Secret Agent,” “Around the World,” it’s hard to guess what exactly those activities are. All I know is my kids never complain about being bored, and they often come home with crafts, their faces painted, or even colored bandanas or pillow cases that they get to take home (see Pirate Night below. The snarl isn’t a lack of enthusiasm—it’s role playing!)

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Other crafts our kids wear home:

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The kids are divided into 3 age groups: Aquanauts are 3-5 years old, Explorers are 6-8 years old, and Voyagers are 9-11 years old. A typical cruise may have 300+ children aboard, but only 100 are accepted at any one time (so you have to check your kid in early to beat the rush). Our particular Transpacific Cruise is so long that not many families are aboard,and there are only about 60 children in the program. It’s certainly not crowded in the kid’s club—as typically only a dozen or max two dozen kids show up at a time.

They also have a daily activity at 5:15 where parents can come to the Adventure Ocean club and participate in a family activity. These include playing bingo, doing science experiments, etc. (Making a volcano explode below)

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The kid’s area is very secure, and can only be entered or exited with staff assistance and check-in/check-out. Since we have a daughter who is 8+, we’ve given her permission to check her and her sister in and out of the kid’s club, so we don’t have to trek around the boat every time they are ready to go back to the kid’s club. We were comfortable with this, as our kids know the layout of the ship, and our room is relatively close to the kid’s program.

Royal Babies and Tots Program

So what about kids under 3, you ask?  Don’t worry—they’ve got them covered, too! Sadly, the Babies and Tots program isn’t free, but it does give parents a great option for Nursery Drop-Off hours. The cost is $8 per hour, and your toddler can be closely cared for by the staff in a great playroom (or nap room, if required).

On days at sea, the nursery is open from 9am-noon, and 3pm to midnight. For The hours from noon to 3pm are free “Open Play” hours, where parents can play with their toddlers in the nursery at no cost. The nursery is equipped with awesome Fisher-Price toys that are changed out each day to provide the kids fun new things to discover.

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On days at port, the nursery is open from 8am to 1pm, and then 5:45pm to midnight. The hours from 1pm to 5:45 in the middle are free “Open Play” hours where parents can supervise their children as they play at the nursery (no staff). If no child has booked for nursery care on the port days before 10am, the nursery staff will leave and the nursery remains available for “Open Play” until 5:30pm!

Usually, the free “Open Play” hours include a time period where a staff member attends and assists the kids in enjoying an extra program called “Crayola Beginnings.” The toddlers get to do fun craft projects with some cool finger paints, crayons, or unique Crayola markers, etc.

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Since the staff obviously can’t handle an exorbitant quantity of toddlers, on busy cruises each family is allotted a certain number of booking hours to use. If those booking hours are not claimed, the extra hours are made available to other families who wish to use them.

Toy Lending

The “Toy Lending” program is an absolutely gem for a family like ours that doesn’t plan to put our toddler in daycare for $8/hour very often (I think we’ve used it 3 1/2 hours total on the trip…just because Ethan was begging to go play with toys during paid-nursery hours). Basically, the staff checks out a big bag of free toys to you, and your toddler can keep and play with them in the room! So, you don’t have to worry about packing a bunch of toys to keep your child busy on a cruise—the staff will give you a bag of Fisher-Price toys that can be exchanged or returned throughout your trip! This has been a lifesaver for us—as Ethan has happily found cars and toys that “go” in his bags!

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Cruises for Teens

Is your kid a teen? Ages 12 and up get to enjoy the Teen Program, which is clearly a hit from what I’ve seen. I don’t know much about it, but I do know that the teenagers on the ship can always be seen running around in groups, having a great time. They have a teen-specific area (even adults aren’t allowed).

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The teen program begins each day at 10am (I guess they assume they don’t want to get up as early as the younger kids!), and goes until 11pm. They have hourly planned activities such as trivia, science challenges, karaoke, Wii play time, etc.

There is a mandatory midnight curfew for children under the age of 18.

The teen area also has an arcade at its entrance (available to all ages). It’s not free—but we won a $10 gift card from one of the Adventure Ocean family nights (~3 games for each girl).

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Our kids don’t realize we won that gift card (we’ll pull that out on the last day and save ourselves a LOT of begging). They mostly enjoy going to the arcade and pretending to do something!

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Kids Activities on a Cruise

Other than the planned and supervised activities for kids in the various programs onboard, there are also some other great activities that kids can enjoy onboard the Rhapsody of the Seas. For example, their excellent rock climbing wall is a great challenge for all ages, and can be climbed by kids over the age of 6. Too bad I’m 5+ months pregnant…I’d be all over that wall!

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There is also a central outdoor pool that is open to children. It has a deep end (5’6”) with small wading areas all around it, as well as a children’s pool at one end (divided so kids can’t accidentally fall into the deep end). The water is salty…is it filled by the ocean? I’m not sure!

There are 4 large hot tubs in this outdoor pool, and children can be in them when accompanied by adults. The hot tubs are chlorinated, not salty.

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There is another pool onboard in the Solarium, but it is for adults only. In the case of inclement weather, the indoor Solarium pool can be used by children between the hours of 12pm-2pm and 4pm-8pm (I wonder how they classify this on Alaskan cruises where it would be rare to have a warm enough day to swim outdoors?!).

There are also two tennis tables, and a “Pets at Sea” station where kids can purchase a stuffed animal that they stuff with filling and select an outfit for (cost ~$35).

Overall, I’m perfectly happy with our experiences with the Rhapsody of the Seas Kid’s Program. Too bad Ethan isn’t just a few months older…we’d REALLY have it easy if he got to join the Adventure Ocean program, too!

This has been such a wonderful break for us, and for our kids. I think one of the hard parts about homeschooling and traveling full time is finding other children for our kids to play with regularly. Our girls have been desiring interaction like this, and can’t get enough of the activities and new friends!

6 Responses to “Royal Caribbean Kids Club”

  1. Wow!!!! This sounds like such a lot of fun!!!!! Cruising is high on my travel wish list at the moment just for this reason.

  2. Ooohh how wonderful! Sounds incredible and brilliant value (and my 3 would all be the right ages!) Completely agree how much the kids crave meeting other kids and making friends when you’re travelling/roadschooling! Wish we’d found something like this for our journey the other way though we’re enjoying hopping around French Polynesia on an island pass with Air Tahiti which is good value with big child discounts! Though I must admit the kids have looked at a few cruise ships around the islands (they look so huge… and posh resorts with nice pools and $1000 a night over water bungalows) and mentioned how lucky rich people are to get to go on them! …. if I told them about your trip they’d be SOOO jealous:)

  3. WOW! This is making me wish we did that cruise! Something to think of in the future!

  4. Did RC let your children stay together in the kids club or did they separate. I see they were in different age groups for the kids club…

    • Thanks for your question on my blog. Because our cruise was such a loooong one, and not during a prime holiday season, there were very few kids on the ship. So, in our case our kids were all combined (teenagers were still separate). In a normal, prime-time cruise with lots of children the kids will typically be divided into their various age groups! Hope this helps!

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