Queen Mary 2: The Crossing with Kids
I had a hard time finding information on bringing the kids on a Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Crossing. The ship is incredibly child friendly. It is my understanding that summer voyages have more children on board then the rougher winter crossings. We were one of several families using the QM2 to move our family overseas.
Here are the answers to the questions I wish I had before we got onboard. Please feel free to contact me or comment if you have other questions. I am happy to help.
What is the weather like?
We were blessed with a beautiful crossing. Our first two days were overcast with a few scattered storms. The seas were a bit rough, but nothing like the tales of winter crossings. Day three we saw nothing but sunshine until we reached Southampton. We were out on the deck as much as possible enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Sunbathing was a very popular activity with many of our fellow passengers.
What’s the deal with the kids program?
The kids program on the QM2 is called the Kids Club. It is located on Deck 6 aft and port. We booked through a travel agent who was able to locate our room near the club (but not too close.) This was great because we did a lot of walking back and forth between our room and the Kids Club.
The Kids Club staff will warn you that they are limited in the number of children they can take based on child to staff ratios (which for the 2-5 age group is 4:1). On our cruise the program was limited to 32 kids and there were 35 age-eligible kids on the ship. We never had an issue getting H into the program since some families did not utilize the Kids Club.
The kids activity sheet is in your room when you arrive. More copies are available at the Kids Zone. The Kids Zone is open 9-12, 2-5 and 6-12 most days. You have to arrive 15 minutes before closing time to pick your kids up since signing everyone out takes some time.
We were very happy with the Kids Zone for our 3 year old. He was one of the youngest in the program, but they did a great job of keeping him engaged and happy. The first morning we dropped him off we stopped back about an hour into the program and found him crying on the lap of one of the staff members. We went in and played with him a bit and within a few minutes were able to leave him again. We did not have a single issue after that.
There were a wide variety of activities – crafts, games, parties, face painting and more. There was always something fun going on! Parents are welcome to come participate in any of the activities but must wear a visitor lanyard and are limited to a one-hour visit at a time. This policy ensures that helicopter parents do not linger in the Kids Zone.
The staff members store all of your child’s art in a folder in the Kids Zone. If, like our H, your child wants his art to decorate their stateroom, just ask and they will happily give it to you each day.
In general we dropped H off at 9am right when it opened. He stayed and played until we picked him up at 11:45 and took him to eat lunch with us. Most days the 2pm dropoff was only an hour after you’ve picked him up since the ship’s clocks change at 12:00.
We rarely made the 2pm drop-off. We took H to a planetarium show or tea a few times and to some dance and music activities. A few days he even took a nap. Around 4pm there is usually a family activity and we would try to join the group for that.
What to do with Under 2’s?
If your child is under two years old they cannot attend the children’s program without you there. There is a “baby room” that during the day is full of toys. Someone in our group took O there most days. O could happily entertain himself or play with someone for hours.
O loved to walk around the boat. He would walk the hallways, climb the stairs and ride the elevators making friends.
He typically took two naps each day. Jeff and I alternated sitting in the dark room (yea for inside cabins!) with him. We built a little tent out of the lower bed so that whomever was in the room could use a light without disturbing him.
The kids both loved the live musical acts. We would find seats with lots of room for the kids to move around and they would watch the musicians and dance around.
The facts about night nursery.
In the evening you can leave kids in the night nursery. The night nursery for kids over two runs like a normal program. The kids can wear their PJ’s (which H loved) and they do crafts, have story time and watch a movie. When you pick the kids up they are all snuggled on big pillows watching the movie.
The babies (6 months thru 23 months) can be left but only if they are going to sleep. You are given a pager and the staff pages you every time your child wakes. They go in and check the room temperature and baby’s breathing every 10 min. We had a lot of luck getting O down for a bit there, but he was often the only child in the night nursery.
Most of the parents we talked to said they could not get the system to work for them. We tried it every night with O it worked each night a bit better then the night before. It totally depends on your kid.
One evening when O woke up in night nursery I just picked him up and brought him up to the lounge with me. He was happy to sit quietly while we finished our drinks. The staff even brought him an ice water with a straw.
What are the meal options with the kids?
You can eat anywhere with your kids. We did!
I always brought some sort of activities with me to meals so the kids were entertained.
The Kids Tea was our least favorite of our eating option. It was made of mostly “Kids Food:” hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta, pizza and french fries. We went once but otherwise found healthier options on the normal buffet or by using room service.
When night nursery in the Kids Club did not work out for us we brought the kids with us to the dining room. The staff was incredibly kind and helpful, bringing kids meals quickly and helping to entertain them.
When at any meal we could order anything off the kids menu, regular menu or just request food. Little O loves bananas and we were able to get one whenever he made the sign for banana.
What to wear?
Clothing was all over the place. The ship has some basic rules about dressing up after 6pm. Athletic gear in the public areas was prohibited, which was generally adhered to – although there were certainly violators! (Yes. I saw you walking through the buffet in your robe??)
I packed mostly capri and summer pants paired with cardigans for the daytime. I fit in nicely. My boys were mostly in polo shirts and button downs with pants. Jeff wore a button down almost every day with nice jeans (not faded, worn or torn) or khaki pants.
What movies do they show?
A variety of movies are shown both in your stateroom and in the theater on the boat. While we were on board none were little kid friendly and some were older kid friendly. (We did find Frozen on in the room on the French channel one morning and rolled with that to entertain the kids while we got dressed.)
The movies showing in the larger theater were all from this year. So we had options like Cinderella and In To The Woods.
Still looking for something? Leave me a comment or check the Tips & Tricks for Traveling with Kids on the QM2 and my Top 10 lists for the QM2.
This post is linked up with: