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GUEST REVIEW SHIP TO SHORE
SHIP TO SHORE GUEST REVIEW
Mention the name Queen Mary 2 and
most people think glamour and
gluttony. But most of all, they think
BIG. From my perspective that ’s rather
important because I am only 83cm tall.
I recently spent eight nights on the
Queen Mary 2 cruising from Hong Kong to
Singapore. And I was happy to discover that
my small but perfectly formed stature didn’t
seem to matter much.
Cunard, the owners, have a rather stuffy
reputation. They’re very particular, apparently,
about people wearing bibs at dinner and not
throwing rusks on the carpet.
But I found them very friendly. Although
many were English, those looking after us
were more Mary Poppins than Super Nanny.
Perhaps they had heard about my role as
junior reviewer for Cruise Passenger magazine.
On arrival at our Queen’s Grill Suite –
for some reason adults call theses rooms a
sweet when there aren’t any, and there
wasn’t a grill either – I was met by
a very tall, dark man from some
foreign land called India.
His name was Nicholas and his
job was butling, because he said he
was our butler. Nicholas and I became
firm friends and he soon learnt of my
love for bananas and replenished the fruit
bowl daily, much to my delight.
He also won my parents over with a daily
drop-off of ice – which seemed quite strange
to me, but I noticed that once mixed with
something called “gin and tonic”, they both
became quite jolly and allowed me to get up
to all sorts of tricks.
There weren’t many of us little people
on the ship, so I was somewhat of a minor
celebrity. I inherited many new nanas and
at almost every turn I was greeted with coos
and cuddles. In fact, I made so many new
friends I am thinking of starting a Facebook
account to keep in touch.
I discovered the joy of riding in lifts
and would jump at any chance to ride the
elevator, pressing all the buttons at once.
I particularly liked the big red button which,
if pressed, meant a nice man would ask me
if everything was OK through a speaker.
How nice! Of course everything was OK.
Brilliant, actually. I had the most wonderful
playground – much better than at home.
One of my favourite lift rides was to level
six, where Play Zone is located. This is a
great space totally dedicated to the stuff
I love – books, toys, puzzles, music, games,
a private pool and fun staff just waiting to
play. There were even computer games.
For some silly reason, I was not allowed
to stay there during the day without my
Mummy or Daddy, because I was under two
years old, even though there was someone
qualified to look after us. Mummy and
Daddy seemed particularly upset. I think
they had ideas of drinking what they call
“cocktails” by the pool bar after a lazy lunch.
In the evenings, however, I could come
down to the night nursery from 6pm to
11pm and party in my own room. Each
night, I would pretend to sleep when tucked
up in my crib. But really, I was having great
tea parties with the teddies while Mummy
and Daddy wined and dined their way
through the exquisite food on offer at the
Cunard certainly know how to entertain
and I was thrilled when we received formal
invitations to cocktails with the Captain – I
too, had my own invitation.
This was somewhat puzzling to Mummy,
who couldn’t work out why I was invited
to a grown-ups event, yet not allowed into
day care without parental supervision. But it
didn’t trouble me, as I love a good party.
Sadly, Teddy and I were bundled off to
Play Zone. I can only hope Captain Wells
didn’t think I was being rude.
But let ’s go back to a favourite of mine –
the food. We had our ver y own table, with a
highchair for me, in the Queens Grill.
At breakfast time I would arrive at the
Queens Grill and greet the maître d’ with
my new word. He would beam at me and
show us to our table. At once, we were
surrounded by waiters who fluttered around
us like butterflies, setting up our table so we
could devour the gourmet delights on offer:
freshly baked muffins, followed by porridge,
toast and fresh fruit, all served on the finest
Wedgwood – so much nicer than that gaudy
pink plastic Dora the Explorer bowl I have
to suffer at home. Mummy is going to have
to lift her game after this experience.
After I had exhausted the menu, it was
time to wander the corridors to walk off
the calories in preparation for the next
delicious meal. Considering Play
Zone is 250 metres from the stern
of the ship, these walks could be
quite an expedition.
As I lay on our balcony
sunlounger watching as we arrived in
Singapore, I decided that this was the life
for me. Forget running away to the circus
when anyone asks me what I want to be
when I grow up, I’m going to be saying:
“A passenger on an ocean liner!”
break being on a Cunard
ship because many lines do
not cater for children under
the age of two.
Surprisingly, while the
cruise lines surveyed have
great facilities for toddlers,
tweens and teens, they
don’t offer many services
for babies. And the attitude
taken towards children aged
under 36 months is that they
should be accompanied by
parents at all times.
Here is a breakdown of the
different services that cruise
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line has two
nursery options – Flounder’s
Reef Nursery on Disney
Wonder and It’s A Small
World Nursery on Disney
Dream, Disney Fantasy and
The nurseries, which cater
for children aged from three
months to three years, are
run by trained counsellors.
Flounder’s Reef Nursery has
two rooms, one for active
play and one with a more
relaxed atmosphere. It is
equipped with baby swings,
books, toys, games, cribs, a
television and a DVD players.
It’s a Small World Nursery has
three areas: an “acclimation”
zone where youngsters
can adjust to the nursery
environment, a main play
area and a room for naps.
Babysitting in staterooms
is not an option.
Royal Caribbean caters
for children aged from six
months, with a childcare
drop-off option as well as an
in-room babysitting service.
For $19 an hour, the Sitters
at Sea program allows
parents to book a sitter 24
hours in advance for up to
three children aged over
She may be big, but the Queen
Mary 2 still has room for little
people, as guest reviewer
Charlie Rose Wexham, aged 18
months, from Sydney found out.
My first taste of ice-cream. Yummy. I had
so much rum ‘n’ raisin, the man with the
scoop would say “The usual, Miss Charlie?”
as soon as I appeared.
When Mummy and Daddy said it was time
big ship for ever and ever.
Best suited to
Children of ALL ages.
• Make sure you get a cabin near the
Play Zone – in the Queen Mary 2’s
case, towards the back (or stern). As
someone pointed out in a blog: “It
proved impossible to sign the kids in at
6pm when the Zone opens, walk all the
way back to the cabin, get changed into
formal dress, then walk forward again
to the Britannia Restaurant for a
• If you are little, make sure your
parents take your buggy. The Queen
Mary 2 is 345 metres from one end
to the other!
• Children under 12 months are not
allowed on trans-Atlantic services. You’ll
just have to wait until you’re older!
• The stateroom policy is complex:
children aged 12-24 months travelling
as the 3rd or 4th person in a stateroom
travel free. However, a child sharing a
stateroom with just one adult is charged
the adult fare. Children over 24 months
sharing a stateroom with two adults
are charged the rate for the 3rd or 4th
person in that stateroom, which is
usually around half the normal adult fare.
However, a child and one adult sharing
a stateroom would both be charged the
adult fare. And then there are sometimes
“Kids go free” deals.
• While under-18s do not have a dress
code, parents are encouraged to dress
them “smartly” for dining rooms beyond
Kings Court. Under-13s must be with
a parent or guardian to watch a show in
the theatre, and those younger than 14
are not allowed to use the gym, sauna or
12 months. The babysitter
will keep a log of the child’s
activities, including books
read, games played and food
The line’s drop-off childcare
services include Royal Babies
(six to 18 months) and Tots
Nursery (18 to 36 months)
and are available during the
day and evening.
Carnival Cruise Line
Camp Carnival is Carnival
Cruise Line’s youth program,
which caters for children
aged over two. However,
younger children can
play with the toys in the
centre during designated
family play times when
accompanied by a parent.
These are usually scheduled
on sea days. The line also
offers a babysitting service
from 10pm to 3am for
children aged from 12
months to 11 years.
Celebrity Cruises offers a
program called Toddler Time
for children aged under
three, which gives toddlers
and parents the opportunity
to play together with toys
and products provided by
the Celebrity Cruises Fun
Factory kids’club team. This is
available on all ships except
Celebrity Xpedition. The line
also has babysitting and
child-minding services for
children aged 12 months and
over. These services incur
an additional cost and can
be limited for young babies,
so it is advisable to consult
your travel agent or Celebrity
Cruises at the time of
booking about any services
you may require.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line does
not offer one-on-one care or
babysitting, nor does it have
a drop-off option for children
aged under three. The line’s
Splash Academy Guppies
is a playgroup for children
aged between six months
and three years old. An early
years co-ordinator runs the
program for which a parent is
required to be in attendance.
P&O Cruises and
P&O Cruises’and Princess
really begin at the age of
three with their youth clubs.
The under-threes are able
to use the kids’club facilities
but need to be accompanied
by a parent at all times.
MSC requires parents to
accompany children under
the age of three at all times
and does not have a kids’
club or babysitting/childcare
services for babies.
Charlie Rose’s tips for
travelling with kids
What does a
girl have to do
to get a drink
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