“Worst” age kid for DCL

disneylandlocal

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
I say this with the giant caveat that every family is different and no cruise is a bad cruise, BUT if you were going to do a cruise every few years which age range would you try to avoid? We cruised when my middle kid had just turned 3, and while it was great she could go to oceaneers, she never lasted longer than an hour or 2 and I had to time it with bathroom trips. She was fully potty trained but not really able to take herself independently.

I think age 2-3 would be tough if they aren’t potty trained and can’t use pools or oceaneers. Plus 2 year olds are pretty hard in general for excursions. I will add we cruise more for the cruise experience than the excursions.

A coworker went with a kid on the bubble between oceaneers and edge and thought her kid was a little too mature for oceaneers but not quite ready for Edge.

Our next cruise our youngest will be 18 months and I am hoping she likes small world nursery. Thinking of booking the placeholder cruise when she is 3.5. I’m also trying to time cruises so our older two kids are in the same kids club (whether it’s oceaneers or edge).

On a positive note, feel free to add your favorite age for cruising.
 

T & R

More cowbell !!!
Joined
May 8, 2017
To me, ages 18-20 would be the worst. You'd be to old for the kid clubs and to young for the adult clubs. A stuck out kind of limbo group that only has the 1820 society. I sort of understand why DCL doesn't do more for this group because it's not really the market niche they're going for.

As far as minor kids which is what you're referring to, I would guess any nursery age do to the expense. Doesn't the nursery charge by the hour?
 

insureman

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 3, 2008
To me, ages 18-20 would be the worst. You'd be to old for the kid clubs and to young for the adult clubs. A stuck out kind of limbo group that only has the 1820 society. I sort of understand why DCL doesn't do more for this group because it's not really the market niche they're going for.

As far as minor kids which is what you're referring to, I would guess any nursery age do to the expense. Doesn't the nursery charge by the hour?
18-20's can go to the adult areas and night clubs, they just can't drink alcohol.
 

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  • _auroraborealis_

    I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    I think that age 2-4 range, and maybe that 11-13 range, because 11-13 sucks worldwide. Because of the way Edge and Oceaneer's splits, and because of the widely variably growth rate and maturity level of your average 11-13 year old, hot kinda mess there.
     

    lklgoodman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2016
    We've been cruising with my 11 yr old dd every year since she was 6 yrs old. She loved all the characters, especially the princesses from 6-8 yrs old. I actually like cruising with her at this age because she doesn't really care about doing the character meets so we now skip all of them. She has always enjoyed going to the kid clubs, so it's easy for my dh and I to have adult only time. She's also at an age that makes it fun to do family activities like shuffleboard, trivia games, and drawing classes. Her first cruise was to Alaska and while we loved it, there were quite a few excursions we couldn't do because she was too young. Toddlers and preschoolers are a fun age because they love the characters, but also hard because of needing naps and being too young for a lot of the activities.
     

    GoofyNewfie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 31, 2010
    My 18-20 had a trip at 17 and it was his best vacation ever. Did it at 18 and it was the worst ever. It's too abrupt of a change. I felt sorry for the poor guy.
     

    DisneyPiPhi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 1, 2008
    I think 3 and 4 could be challenging because they are out of the nursery, but not yet old or big enough to really engage with some of the Oceaneer's Club and Lab Activities that are geared for elementary school-aged kids. On her first cruise, DD was 5 and was just at the right age to start enjoying some of the activities. 3 or 4 without an older sibling might feel overwhelming.

    I don't think I would personally want to cruise with kids who are still in the age of requiring naps, diapers, bottles/sippy cups, and strollers. The extra accoutrements and logistics that requires would make cruising a challenge for me. I have said to my DH that I'm glad we didn't have the money for vacations until DD was two-and-a-half because vacationing with a baby or young toddler would challenging for me! (Then again, I know that others find baby and toddler vacations to be super easy - to each their own!)
     

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  • kathi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2005
    Anything younger than 5 would be right out for me. Our daughter first sailed right before she turned 6 and it was a great age. She loved the kids clubs, was independent enough that she felt confident being away from us (which gave us time to do adult things) and she really had a great time. She is 15 now and loves DCL cruising more than just about any vacation. I would NOT want to sail with an infant or toddler - but that is personal preference.
     

    Ladybugx87

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    I haven't experienced a bad age yet - we've cruised when older daughter was 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9 and when younger daughter was 9 months, 2, 3, and 4 (she wasn't born for first cruise) - sure we have had to plan around their ages so didn't get to do the ballet excursion in SPB, but DCL with our kiddos have all been amazing. I am worried when our girls will be in separate kids clubs because they love to be together so I might find my answer in a few years!
     

    disneyfaninaz

    It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2007
    17 is the worst age. Graduated out of the teen group ( never was interested anyway) but too young for adult activities like Palo.
     

    Jess_S

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 14, 2015
    Cruising with my 20 month old was actually one of my favorite vacations. He was in awe of the characters and went along on activities without complaint. My son is now 7 and we haven't found the worst age yet. We do feel pressure to get more trips in now while he still loves the characters and shows though.
     
  • KT2038

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 3, 2014
    I have worked in all of the youth activities spaces and there are pros and cons to all ages. Everything depends on the individual child/young person and how they engage with other kids, the programs and the counselors
     

    deanimal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2011
    I think every family is different, but for us, it's probably right about now (age almost 10 and 11). Not "worst" as in would have a bad time, but the worst value for money. We've done 10 cruises so far with our kiddos on three different lines (including four on Disney) and right now they are only meh about the characters but they love the tween-friendly options on the bigger, new RCCL and NCL ships much more than the DCL offerings. They'll take zip lines and rock climbing and bunjy trampolines over princesses any day. But that's just us. I miss the Disney shows when we cruise other lines, but for this stage it's just not worth it for us.
     

    Disneyland_emily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 13, 2003
    My little’s first DCL cruise was on her 1st birthday and her 5th will be the day after her 3rd birthday in January- for us cruising is the easiest vacation with her and have never felt her age was a burden on what she couldn’t do. Of her 21 nights onboard she’s spent 2 hours in the nursery total. We take vacations to spend time together not apart and enjoy it-
     

    elaine amj

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2012
    My 18-20 had a trip at 17 and it was his best vacation ever. Did it at 18 and it was the worst ever. It's too abrupt of a change. I felt sorry for the poor guy.
    took my DS16 this past spring on a cryise and he adored it, especially the teen club. Doesn’t look in the cards for us to cruise next year (doing WDW instead) and after that, it’s just tough because he will be in the 18+ stage and I just don’t know if it will be worth it.
     

    o&smom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2011
    My 18-20 had a trip at 17 and it was his best vacation ever. Did it at 18 and it was the worst ever. It's too abrupt of a change. I felt sorry for the poor guy.
    My son wants us to do another Disney Cruise to celebrate his graduation in 2021. He will still be 17 when he graduates in June, and won’t turn 18 until the middle of July. We have discussed which option would be better for him, to experience one last cruise as a kid or take his first where he is able to join us at Palo or Remy. (He has wanted to eat there since his first cruise at 7!) It sounds like we have made a good choice in one more as a kid.
     
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    o&smom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2011
    We have experienced cruises with our kids from the ages of 3 months to 16 years. DD cruised at 3 months, 15 months, 23 months, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9. DS has cruised at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16. They have all been amazing and lots of fun for all of us. Each one has been a different experience, but none have been a bad age.
     

    GoofyNewfie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 31, 2010
    took my DS16 this past spring on a cryise and he adored it, especially the teen club. Doesn’t look in the cards for us to cruise next year (doing WDW instead) and after that, it’s just tough because he will be in the 18+ stage and I just don’t know if it will be worth it.
    If you were to do it, a port heavy option might be best. DS' issue was having no one but us to really hang around with when he was very used to finding a bunch of new friends in the kids clubs and being active. When we did Panama, there was a fair bit of hanging around.

    My son wants us to do another Disney Cruise to celebrate his graduation in 2021. He will still be 17 when he graduates in June, and won’t turn 18 until the middle of July. We have discussed which option would be better for him, to experience on last cruise as a kid or take his first where he is able to join us at Palo or Remy. (He has wanted to eat there since his first cruise at 7!) It sound like we have made a good choice in one more as a kid.
    If our experience is similar to what yours would be, I recommend the route you're taking. "One last cruise" as a teen was DS' request. Although he enjoyed Palo at 18, I guarantee you that he would have traded lots of Palo visits for another chance at a cruise as a teen.
     

    Karin1984

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2012
    We have experienced cruises with our kids from the ages of 3 months to 16 years. DD cruised at 3 months, 15 months, 23 months, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9. DS has cruised at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 16. They have all been amazing and lots of fun for all of us. Each one has been a different experience, but none have been a bad age.
    With so much experience and so many cruises under your belt, I am curious: if there was no bad age, what was for your family the best age?
     

    Jessicabr

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2019
    I think it not really a certain age, but that stage in their lives that they think they are adults and do not like things for kids anymore. You know, when they only want to do adult things. (this phase always disappears again). Both my kids had that at a different age.
     

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