My comparison-ish of Royal's and Disney's Kids Clubs!

bbel

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
OK, so here’s my comparison on the kids clubs on DCL and Royal, coming from someone who’s worked there. Its not meant to be a ‘who wins’ because both are completely different, its more of a comparison and what to expect from each company. I wrote it in the hopes it will be helpful to someone, and partly because Im a geek and spend half my working life comparing the two! **some of my DCL knowledge might be a little out dated now as its been a few years, but I can imagine much of the basics has changed**

I would post this on the DCL forum too, but we know that anything that might sound slightly positive about another company offends the DCL die-hards (I used to be one of them so get it) gets shut down… This is in no way about one kids experiences between the two, its the fact and my thoughts as someone who's worked it and lived it.

I've broken it up a bit so its not a tidal wave of words and because I don’t really know where to start or what to include, but lets see how this ends up:





Ages:
Pretty similar, both start at 3 and kids have to be fully potty trained. Kids in diapers violate USPH rules for both companies (however, any kids that are between the ages of 3-11/12 who need a diaper for a medical reason will not be turned away, but someone on the pick up list is needed to check in regularly). Disney goes up to 12, where as Royal goes to 11.



On DCL all kids are mixed together between 2 rooms, oceaneer club and oceaneer lab, depending on open house times. When both rooms are in ‘secured programming’ kids can move freely between both rooms, when one room is in ‘open house’, kids are confined into the room/side that is in secured programming. At ten, kids can move up to the tween programming it a waiver is signed by a legal guardian and they can move between both the Oceaneers and Edge. 2 year olds cannot bump up to the kids club, and older kids cannot bump down to the age group below with the exception of the nursery if a child is not potty trained.



On Royal the kids programming is called Adventure Ocean and kids are split up by age (apart from Navigator and soon to be Oasis). 3-5’s are aquanauts, 6-8’s are explorers and 9-11’s are voyagers. On smaller ships, and on the bigger ships when there are less kids onboard explorers and voyagers are combined into one room. Royal offers a programme full of age appropriate activities which is the reason for the age groups, however, it parents insist, kids may move up or down a group. I see many comments online how they only age down not up, however, thats not true, it can work both ways, the only times someone cannot age down is at 18. It depends on the manager onboard. Some managers have a blanket ban on age group changes (even if they have a birthday on the cruise), some will say yes if they're within so many months of the age group they want to move too, some will make their decisions based on the number of kids onboard. On royal, there is also a small chance of a 2 year old making it to aquanauts (especially on ships with no nursery) if they are fully potty trained and almost 3, however, as I said above, there are many variables. Kids can also age up to teens (again manager dependent rules) at 11 if a waiver is signed by a legal guardian. However, unlike DCL, they move to whichever age group and stay there (unless staff feel they need to back to their own age group), no going between.
 

bbel

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
Rooms:
Not going to lie, Disney’s win for looking fancy. They theme them well and look attractive. However, they are big and can be noisy and overwhelming for some kids, sometimes there can be hundreds of kids in one room. As staff, its obvious how chaotic it can get as you are strategically placed to and your job is to watch to make sure the kids are fine. They all look very similar from ship to ship, especially as the Magic and Wonder were updated. There’s so much to look at and it looks like there’s lots to offer.



Royal’s rooms are basic, but functional for the programme they offer. They all vary between class of ships and then often between the ships in those classes too. They don’t need screens because they're not needed for the activities, however, I know that some kids see the lack of screens and modern technology and never come back. Royals rooms are also by age, so while they can also get noisy and chaotic, its probably not going to be as overwhelming, especially for the little ones.





Structure:
DCL, no structure, haha! Literally a free for all, all day every day. Not saying they don’t do activities, of course they do, but no kid is ever made to do anything on DCL. They can move from area to area, iPad to craft to science back to iPad. Which is great for some, they can get so much done in an hour if they want to. kids can give themselves a break if they want to. But from my time, I also found that no kids were really encouraged to do things either, they make an announcement for the big activities, but not for any of the activities in the other room. Personally, I found a lot of running in the club and lab, I felt like I was forever saying ‘walking feet’, and I think that comes from big open rooms and kids not really being engaged in anything, kids needing to burn off energy, so they just go. All Disney’s activities are on the navigator (although I hear now they dont deliver them to the rooms anymore), each kids space has a line on their with the schedules activities on there.



Royal is a lot more structured and runs an activity based programme. Which, like DCL works for some, but not for others. Kids that like the freedom of DCL maybe less likely to enjoy Royal’s clubs. On sea days, Royal has 3, 3 hour sessions a day, and each session has a different theme and different activities. Most sessions will include games, a craft and a science (while DCL has a room called the lab, royal have a lot more science activities). Its generally more active. Kids are expected to join in with activities or sit out, there maybe an option of colouring or lego for those that don’t want to join in, however, every time the activity changes, kids are to come and sit down and listen to the rules or what happening and then if they still really don’t want to join, they can go back to something quiet. I find that because of this kids get to know each other well and quickly and staff get to know kids quick too. Staff are usually in one room for the majority of a cruise so everyone, parents, staff and kids all get to know each other. Kids are also taken out the room for activities on royal, the sports deck for sports night, pirates/space night walks, the teen centre of rock n roll night. At Royal, the kids have their own kids compass, which is delivered daily to their stateroom and lists all the activities going on in AO that day and other information.
 

bbel

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
Pick up/sign up:
Signing up for the clubs is slightly different, even though the information that needs to be provided is pretty much the same. At both you can sign up at any point on the cruise (the last night if you so desire), and registration will never fill up.


For DCL you can do it beforehand, and the confirm the info once there. At DCL any child can sign themselves in, but they have to have permission (on the registration/information) to leave by themselves, and unless it has changed, anyone aged 13 or older can pick the kids up. Signing in is quick and easy, they scan their band and come on in. Picking up, the guardian scans their card and is let in and told where to find their kids thanks to their band, they then bring them to the gate again to sign them out using a combination of kids band, adults key card and a secret word. Personally, I find this as Disney’s biggest flaw. You can sign up anyone on the cruise to pick up your kids, Disney would say that all their staff is background checked, however, we’re then letting in hundreds of adults in to check on their kids and non of them are checked, sure there’s staff all around, but sometimes things happen too quick, while its rare, I've seen parents approach other kids and yell in their face because they upset their kid, or Ive seen parents step back onto another kid because they're so focused on their own. Its also stressful as staff when theres a lot of traffic at the gate, parents leaving without kids, kids running after parents leaving them, it so much easier for a kid to slip out. Disney also apparently run to the same ratios as royal, however, they are too afraid of a bad comment, so in my years there I never saw the ratio applied, even though at times it was obvious we were over.



Royal are more serious about it being a legal document, and it can only be filled out at the kids club (again, at any point in the cruise), so staff can see that is was the named adult filling it out and signing it. So it can be a little annoying if you have multiple kids and you're filling out the same thing over and over. Now, on royal, technically any age can sign themselves in and out if you allow it (however, it will only be encouraged for the voyager age group), and any age can pick up while the ship is moving, so your voyager can pick up your aquanaut if you so desire. Signing in depends on the ship, older ships are all paper based, so you have to physically write all the information every time you check in (pick up is just the time and your initial) which can cause a line when its busy. Newer ships have a computer system and kids are checked in and out using room numbers. However, when the ship is docked someone over the age of 18 has to pick up and drop off kids to AO, as soon as the ship is moving, self signers get those privileges back. When you go to pick up of royal, your key card is checked against the form so make sure you can pick up and then your kid is called over to the gate and let out by the staff. Adults are not allowed in to AO when there is a session going on.




Family time:
Both companies provide open house times and family activities.

DCL has more of a generic, this room is open to all for and hour or two, and sometimes theres an activity going on within it (science, cooking, craft…)


Royal opens AO for family activities (science, crafts, bingo, trivia, scavenger hunts, ball games) but there’s no general free play during that time and if no one comes within 15 minutes then the activity is cancelled. Royal does have open play for nursery age kids which varies between ships, the bigger ships have a separate room available all day, some have a separate room but it maybe in the teen centre when its closed, or on the smaller ships in in the nursery when it is closed for drop off. Royal also provide toy lending bags for nursery age kids and autism friendly lending bags for families than may need them.
 

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  • bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Characters:
    Royal no longer has the partnership with Dreamworks so no characters anymore.
    Disney has them and they regularly come into the kids clubs for activities and interactions that you wont get anywhere else in the world and it was a privilege to see those on a daily basis.




    Cost:
    DCL is open 9am to midnight and is ‘free’.
    Royal’s evening session runs to 10pm, after 10pm there is a charge of $7 an hour (charged in half hours).




    Communication:
    For Disney, Wave phones (2 in every cabin) and the app. Im not going to comment much on that because I'm sure/hope that system has improved since. At least back in the day, if a kid asked to be picked up then their band was scanned and a generic message was sent to all wave phones on their profile. So as long as the adults carried those phones with them then they could be contacted. Sometimes though, if there were a lot of people on the pick up list the message would be sent to all (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the captain…) and they might not be all together so you may get multiple people come even though by that point the kid has already left…or decided to stay…


    Royal, its a little harder. Parents of 3 year olds and kids with special needs can get a wave phone/pager when they check in, however, I have been on ships where there are 4 pagers, so they're reserved for kids with the most complex needs. Its also on a FCFS basis, if theres 20 phones and 30 3 year olds, obviously no everyone is going to get one. Other than that, staff cant get you if your kid just wants to leave. If its an emergency, guest services will put a call out (something disney never did). Parents can call AO as much as they like from any house phone and I feel there are a lot more phones around on Royal ships than Disney’s, and as the staff know the kids better, they can tell you exactly what your kid is doing right away and call the kid over if you want to talk to them.
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Safety:
    At DCL, in an emergency, parents are expected to come and get their kids and sign them out and go in a one way route along pretty much all of deck 5. Kids are separated between the 2 rooms by their last name. If a kid gets separated from their family in an emergency they're dropped off at the nearest lifeboat.


    At royal all kids between the ages of 3 and 12 are required to wear a wrist band to wear the entire time which have their muster station on. If they're in the kids club those wrist bands will be used to bring them to you at your muster station, each staff is assigned a muster station and will bring those kids down. Kids also practice this on the first night ( not going down to the muster station but what to do in AO). While the bands are given by AO, they're actually a ship wide safety requirement, if your kid isn’t with you and not in AO when an emergency is called, or they get separated in what will probably look like the stampede in the lion king of people getting to their stations then its going to help the crew to get your kid to you at your muster station, and no one has to get lost looking for each other.
    (I still cant quite believe that such a safety conscious company like disney doesn’t at least offer something like this)




    Food:
    Disney serve lunch and dinner in their clubs every day (apart from day 1) and its offered to any kid in care. lunch is sandwiches, salad, fruit, cheese, etc and dinner changes every day from corn dogs to pizza to lasagna etc. kids aren't made to eat and no one will 100% be able to tell you if your kid ate or how much. If your kid needs a special meal then it can be ordered through your head server the day before and they will deliver it to the club.


    Royal offer lunch on port days and dinner on certain nights (changed between managers). its is nearly always pizza and fries (but some ships may give more options). Most ships require kids to be pre signed up so they can order the right amount of food and there may be a cap due to staffing. If your kid needs a special meal, let the staff know at sign up and they can order it. No food is served in AO due to allergies, and all meals happen down in a cornered off section of the windjammer.


    Both companies offer a pick up service from the dining room, so your kids will get taken to the clubs and you can carry on with your food. Dcl call it ‘Dine and Play’, Royal call it “My Family Time Dining”.
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Times:
    DCL is open 9am (earlier if its an early port) right through till midnight. But one side may close for drop off at certain times and be available as Open House instead.


    On sea days royal has 3 sessions 9am-noon, 2-5pm and 7-10pm. Some days there may be kids dinner which means its open 2-10pm, and after 10pm AO is open until 2am or when the last child leaves (which ever comes first) but there is a charge of $7 an hour a child. On ‘normal’ port days AO will be open 9-5 (earlier if the port is early) and if the port is late then kids dinner will also be available.




    Counselors:
    DCL have a lot. The teams are huge and only recruit from a few countries. While experience is required, not formal training or education with children is not. I know people say, ‘they knew my kids by name’, but its rare, theres so many staff and kids that wile you may genuinely remember one kids a cruise, the rest you may know their name but its might not be for the right reasons, haha…


    Royal have a lot but the teams are smaller. They recruit from a lot more countries so the teams are usually more varied too. At royal, along with the experience, staff are also required to have a degree in a related field. Because of this staff tends to be older and more serious about their job. As I said, staff are in the same room and ratios are stuck to so everyone knows everyone. By the end of a session, I will know the names of 13 out of 15 of my aquanauts, and they’ll know mine. I can welcome them back the next time and if they need something special (a certain toy, a colouring sheet, time in a corner on their own) I can have that ready for them.

    If you picked up and asked me how your kid did: on DCL I would say fine, but probably not have a clue. On royal I would be able to tell you what they did, how they reacted, which games they won, and also if I needed you to have word with them for next time…haha





    Well, congratulations if you made it to the end! That was a lot longer than I was intending. If I missed anything out, or got anything wrong, let me know. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away and Ill do my best to answer.
     
  • starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Great comparison. I think I would agree with most, if not all, of your comments, and it's interesting to see things from an "insider" perspective.

    Royal is a lot more structured and runs an activity based programme. Which, like DCL works for some, but not for others. Kids that like the freedom of DCL maybe less likely to enjoy Royal’s clubs.
    This is the money comparison IMO. Probably best to describe DCL as being a little more of a Montessori-style system, whereas Royal is more traditional. Everyone will have an idea of what they like. Everyone's KIDS will have an idea of what THEY like, and you'll get a variety of opinions.

    Signing in depends on the ship, older ships are all paper based, so you have to physically write all the information every time you check in (pick up is just the time and your initial) which can cause a line when its busy. Newer ships have a computer system and kids are checked in and out using room numbers.
    Good to know about the older ships. Given how good Royal is with their IT, maybe paper isn't such a bad thing. :)

    Communication:
    Really do wish the cruise lines would figure out how to send messages via their apps. Granted, Royal would likely at first end up crashing the thing every time they sent a PM, but if you've got folks signing in and getting personalized information on shows, dining etc. it shouldn't be that hard to include a "receive messages from kids club" option. And for DCL, it reduces the need to carry a wave phone around - people don't want to carry another phone around anyway.
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Great comparison. I think I would agree with most, if not all, of your comments, and it's interesting to see things from an "insider" perspective.


    This is the money comparison IMO. Probably best to describe DCL as being a little more of a Montessori-style system, whereas Royal is more traditional. Everyone will have an idea of what they like. Everyone's KIDS will have an idea of what THEY like, and you'll get a variety of opinions.


    Good to know about the older ships. Given how good Royal is with their IT, maybe paper isn't such a bad thing. :)


    Really do wish the cruise lines would figure out how to send messages via their apps. Granted, Royal would likely at first end up crashing the thing every time they sent a PM, but if you've got folks signing in and getting personalized information on shows, dining etc. it shouldn't be that hard to include a "receive messages from kids club" option. And for DCL, it reduces the need to carry a wave phone around - people don't want to carry another phone around anyway.
    Royal are constantly updating their technology, even now as crew we use an app for contracts and travel details. And rumour is they're going to be bringing a chat app which crew can chat to each other and people at home without having to pay for internet which would be amazing (I'm just cheap and dont pay for internet so dont talk to anyone haha)! So I suppose if that works it could be a possibility. I think people would get too reliant on it and if it did crash and people didnt get messages they would be annoyed. By not having it they're kind of covered because it puts the responsibility on the parents to check their kids are alright.
    I personally think royal dont want to put money into the kids clubs. Even in my short time I've seen cut backs, and they wouldn't think it's a necessity. As far as they see
    It, they dont make money from the kids club (apart from the nursery), the dont quite understand that a lot of people book the ships in the first place because the kids clubs are there.

    Disney know that a high percentage of their guests will be going to the clubs so they put the money in. The majority of people go on Disney because of their kids, and I think Disney have the technology to cover themselves too, so know one complains, but also because kids can potentially be left from 9am to midnight without parents needed to even come and check on them, it's goodthat Disney have a way to get the parents if needed. Even if it's just the kid needing a break.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    While I understand your point, we are already overly reliant on tech, and you can't really put things back into Pandora's box. So it might be better to roll with it.
     

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    Thank you so much for this comparison. I haven't sailed RCCL yet but so much of what you said also applies to other lines. What resonated the most: DCL staff not really getting to know the kids. On another line, by day 2 my kids were greeted by name when they went to the clubs. On DCL, even though we were there for 13 nights, maybe one staff member knew my kids by name. (possibly a good thing, lol)
     
  • atricks

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 10, 2003
    This is a great topic. I'm going to share a bit of my experiences here. We've done 5 cruises with RCCL, and all but one of them we've had our daughter (now 4yo) on there. The first was Oasis, and we didn't have her on board.

    The second was Majesty when she was 2, and that's a small ship that didn't have a Nursery, about all Adventure Ocean did there was put some toys out in the hall for the little ones to play with.

    3rd was Harmony of the Seas, and our daughter JUST turned 3, and although potty trained, she was just barely so, we were scared to death she wouldn't do well. But she had an amazing time and loved it, and Harmony had the black light puppet show that she talked about quite a bit. Staff was really good and it took a while to get used to the dinner options. (We found out real quick she didn't have the patience to sit through the dinner without AO) They did give us a deck phone and she did have an accident once (As she was running to the potty when it was occupied) but the staff were pretty good about it.

    4th was Adventure of the Seas, which had the Aquanauts too, but a different layout than Harmony. That too was really good and she had a great time.

    Most recently we went on the revamped Navigator of the Seas--which was awesome, probably one of my favorites now--the week before Easter on a 9 night Southern Caribbean cruise (This one was unplanned, but the deal for it was too good to pass up). This was the first ship to have the all age club (3-11) space. And it being a holiday week that happened to be valid for the Kids Sail Free promotion we were curious about how that went. CHAOTIC was a bit too weak a term, there were too many kids on that sailing for the club and it routinely filled to capacity so there was always a long line to sign up. And the amount of kids at the entrance to the dining room for the My Family time dining was eye opening. Several elevators full of kids heading up. I kinda felt bad for the counselors on that one. It was obvious it was the first time that new layout had that many kids, and after that experience I think 3-5 should probably still be split up, although 6-11 is probably fine together after that experience. The staff did do pretty well despite it, although I suspect that setup with the 9 night and Easter week is unusual, since it's just doing 3/4 night cruises now. My daughter absolutely loves the organized activities, so she does better on RCCL.

    We're going much more exotic next time with a Transpacific cruise from Sydney to Hawaii on Ovation in April, 18 nights, and our daughter (who will be 5 at the time) is going in that kids club. Expecting a lot less kids there, but I have no idea how that class of ship is on Adventure ocean (multi-level?). I do believe they still have the age groups there. I suspect she'll get to know all the kids and counselors on that one quite well, and she's very excited about it even now. We decided to go ultra big on that cruise since it'll probably be the last for a while as we took advantage of kids sail free on the cruises and usually they don't run during school breaks.

    Our daughter does not like the characters in the parks, so the lack of them isn't a huge deal (And she actively avoided them when they did have them on the Harmony). But that would depend on the kid. For us the kids club is probably the #1 reason we even booked the cruises in the first place instead of something else.
     
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    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Thank you so much for this comparison. I haven't sailed RCCL yet but so much of what you said also applies to other lines. What resonated the most: DCL staff not really getting to know the kids. On another line, by day 2 my kids were greeted by name when they went to the clubs. On DCL, even though we were there for 13 nights, maybe one staff member knew my kids by name. (possibly a good thing, lol)
    It's my favourite thing about working for the dark side Haha! Actually knowing the names, and the parents, who they're travelling with. Seeing them around (not in uniform) and saying hello and having a laugh. I feel like I'm actually doing the job that I payed $$$ to train for at university.
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    This is a great topic. I'm going to share a bit of my experiences here. We've done 5 cruises with RCCL, and all but one of them we've had our daughter (now 4yo) on there. The first was Oasis, and we didn't have her on board.

    The second was Majesty when she was 2, and that's a small ship that didn't have a Nursery, about all Adventure Ocean did there was put some toys out in the hall for the little ones to play with.

    3rd was Harmony of the Seas, and our daughter JUST turned 3, and although potty trained, she was just barely so, we were scared to death she wouldn't do well. But she had an amazing time and loved it, and Harmony had the black light puppet show that she talked about quite a bit. Staff was really good and it took a while to get used to the dinner options. (We found out real quick she didn't have the patience to sit through the dinner without AO) They did give us a deck phone and she did have an accident once (As she was running to the potty when it was occupied) but the staff were pretty good about it.

    4th was Adventure of the Seas, which had the Aquanauts too, but a different layout than Oasis. That too was really good and she had a great time.

    Most recently we went on the revamped Navigator of the Seas--which was awesome, probably one of my favorites now--the week before easter on a 9 night Southern Caribbean cruise (This one was unplanned, but the deal for it was too good to pass up). This was the first ship to have the all age club (3-11) space. And it being a holiday week that happened to be valid for the Kids Sail Free promotion we were curious about how that went. CHAOTIC was a bit to weak a term, there were too many kids on that sailing for the club and it routinely filled to capacity so there was always a long line to sign up. And the amount of kids at the entrance to the dining room for the My Family time dining was eye opening. Several elevators full of kids heading up. I kinda felt bad for the counselors on that one. It was obvious it was the first time that new layout had that many kids, and after that experience I think 3-5 should probably still be split up, although 6-11 is probably fine together after that experience. The staff did do pretty well despite it, although I suspect that setup with the 9 night and easter week is unusual, since it's just doing 3/4 night cruises now. My daughter absolutely loves the organized activities, so she does better on RCCL.

    We're going much more exotic next time with a Transpacific cruise from Sydney to Hawaii on Ovation in April, 18 nights, and our daughter (who will be 5 at the time) is going in that kids club. Expecting a lot less kids there, but I have no idea how that class of ship is on Adventure ocean (multi-level?). I do believe they still have the age groups there. I suspect she'll get to know all the kids and counselors on that one quite well, and she's very excited about it even now. We decided to go ultra big on that cruise since it'll probably be the last for a while as we took advantage of kids sail free on the cruises and usually they don't run during school breaks.

    Our daughter does not like the characters in the parks, so the lack of them isn't a huge deal (And she actively avoided them when they did have them on the Harmony). But that would depend on the kid.
    I've heard mixed things about Nav. I know a few people onboard and it sounds much more like Disney which I dont want to go back to and would probably turn down a contract on a ship with that set up.
    I haven't done quantum class but have seen the set up and not sure how they would combine all the ages, because I think Aquanauts are downstairs and the others are upstairs, but I dont think it's going into dry dock between now and then so it should be good.
    I'm jealous of that itinerary tho. I've done Hawaii and Sydney but not all in one cruise! You probably wont have many kids, so shes gonna get to do whatever she wants most likely Haha. Is it one where you cross the date line?
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    I agree. 3-11 is pretty chaotic and I didn't care for it on DCL. Oasis seems to be keeping Aquanuts separate leaving a general area for 6-11 which I think will be more manageable. Many of my local community centre and summer camp programs use that age grouping, so I don't see this as being that much different.
     

    babyruth

    for the first time in forever
    Joined
    Jan 24, 2008
    Times:
    DCL is open 9am (earlier if its an early port) right through till midnight. But one side may close for drop off at certain times and be available as Open House instead.


    On sea days royal has 3 sessions 9am-noon, 2-5pm and 7-10pm. Some days there may be kids dinner which means its open 2-10pm, and after 10pm AO is open until 2am or when the last child leaves (which ever comes first) but there is a charge of $7 an hour a child. On ‘normal’ port days AO will be open 9-5 (earlier if the port is early) and if the port is late then kids dinner will also be available.




    Counselors:
    DCL have a lot. The teams are huge and only recruit from a few countries. While experience is required, not formal training or education with children is not. I know people say, ‘they knew my kids by name’, but its rare, theres so many staff and kids that wile you may genuinely remember one kids a cruise, the rest you may know their name but its might not be for the right reasons, haha…


    Royal have a lot but the teams are smaller. They recruit from a lot more countries so the teams are usually more varied too. At royal, along with the experience, staff are also required to have a degree in a related field. Because of this staff tends to be older and more serious about their job. As I said, staff are in the same room and ratios are stuck to so everyone knows everyone. By the end of a session, I will know the names of 13 out of 15 of my aquanauts, and they’ll know mine. I can welcome them back the next time and if they need something special (a certain toy, a colouring sheet, time in a corner on their own) I can have that ready for them.

    If you picked up and asked me how your kid did: on DCL I would say fine, but probably not have a clue. On royal I would be able to tell you what they did, how they reacted, which games they won, and also if I needed you to have word with them for next time…haha





    Well, congratulations if you made it to the end! That was a lot longer than I was intending. If I missed anything out, or got anything wrong, let me know. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away and Ill do my best to answer.
    wow thank you so much for this. I stumbled across it actually I didn't even know we had a RC section on DIS! I have a question about epipens. Are the RC staff trained and able to administer?
     

    babyruth

    for the first time in forever
    Joined
    Jan 24, 2008
    Great comparison. I think I would agree with most, if not all, of your comments, and it's interesting to see things from an "insider" perspective.


    This is the money comparison IMO. Probably best to describe DCL as being a little more of a Montessori-style system, whereas Royal is more traditional. Everyone will have an idea of what they like. Everyone's KIDS will have an idea of what THEY like, and you'll get a variety of opinions.


    Good to know about the older ships. Given how good Royal is with their IT, maybe paper isn't such a bad thing. :)


    Really do wish the cruise lines would figure out how to send messages via their apps. Granted, Royal would likely at first end up crashing the thing every time they sent a PM, but if you've got folks signing in and getting personalized information on shows, dining etc. it shouldn't be that hard to include a "receive messages from kids club" option. And for DCL, it reduces the need to carry a wave phone around - people don't want to carry another phone around anyway.
    we are just off the Magic as of 6/14 and we did get messages from the kids club to our DCL app. the wave phones didn't work at all even though they said they tried them.
     

    atricks

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 10, 2003
    I've heard mixed things about Nav. I know a few people onboard and it sounds much more like Disney which I dont want to go back to and would probably turn down a contract on a ship with that set up.
    I haven't done quantum class but have seen the set up and not sure how they would combine all the ages, because I think Aquanauts are downstairs and the others are upstairs, but I dont think it's going into dry dock between now and then so it should be good.
    I'm jealous of that itinerary tho. I've done Hawaii and Sydney but not all in one cruise! You probably wont have many kids, so shes gonna get to do whatever she wants most likely Haha. Is it one where you cross the date line?
    Navigator was pretty good, I do think splitting 3-5 and 6+ is a better compromise than a free for all. They sacrificed much of their old Kid space to the gym, which moved to make room for Cabins, it was built in the area that Johnny Rockets occupied before. Yes, we do cross the date line (same day twice), I've been to Sydney before and have friends there, but my wife has not, actually she's never been outside the US (other than Caribbean cruise ports). We know a few other kids that will be on the cruise also, so she won't be alone. We typically only put her in one session a day (at most 2, usually she wants to go back, or if there's a specific theme she really likes) and spend a lot of time with her outside of that. The transpacific cruise is likely to be mostly older folks and only a handful of kids, we know that. Believe it or not is was cheaper than Christmastime on the Disney Fantasy even with the flights and other costs involved, (And over twice as many days) So we decided to do the big anniversary trip there instead.

    I can imagine the kids clubs are always an internal budget fight since they aren't add on costs. But we wouldn't have booked them otherwise.
     
    Last edited:

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    wow thank you so much for this. I stumbled across it actually I didn't even know we had a RC section on DIS! I have a question about epipens. Are the RC staff trained and able to administer?
    Haha. No problem. I'm a geek and have been keeping notes for a while so thought I'd share it.
    As for EpiPens, unfortunately no and no. I am and I know others are EpiPen trained but that's from outside of royal.
    Kids can bring them in but technically have to be able to administer them themselves. We are able to assist, for example, but the EpiPen in their hand and hold their hand to administer it because then technically we're not doing it... but officially it's a no.

    Adventure ocean is a completely food free area though, and while we take kids to the windjammer, it's not during session and most ships require pre sign up so you'll know if your kid is going to be around food.
     

    bbel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    I agree. 3-11 is pretty chaotic and I didn't care for it on DCL. Oasis seems to be keeping Aquanuts separate leaving a general area for 6-11 which I think will be more manageable. Many of my local community centre and summer camp programs use that age grouping, so I don't see this as being that much different.
    To be fair, three of the five ships I've worked on have a 3-5 and 6-11 set up anyway because they only have 2 rooms. And then the others that have the 3 rooms, would combine the 6-11s anyway for 80% of the cruises. We only separated when it was crazy busy.
     

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