Cruisers aged from newborn through to knocking on the doorstep of adulthood are well catered for on Carnival Cruise Line through the brand’s Camp Ocean Kids Club and its adolescent offshoots Circle C and Club O2.
An army of qualified and experienced youth workers are on hand in all three centres to oversee and coordinate a plethora of activities designed to keep minds of all ages busy and stimulated to ensure they have fun and maybe even learn some things while their parents take time to have a bit of a holiday themselves, knowing their kids are being well looked after, fed and entertained.
If you are travelling with kids, the first bit of helpful advice is that you should head straight to Camp Ocean as soon as you can upon embarking on your ship in order to register your child. The centres are limited in their capacity and depending on the time of the year you are taking your cruise – such as during school holidays – Camp Ocean and the other rooms can fill up very quickly. Early registrations will help your kids get into the appropriate program for their age bracket and ensure they don’t spend their cruise on the outside, looking in.
Each of the rooms publish a program of activities which can be picked up at the front door and which details the opening hours of each room, the times of each event and associated rules. In each room, there are different opening hours depending on whether the ship is in port or at sea, with different rules applying again for after dinner and late night care.
In this article, we’ll go through the program on Carnival Spirit, what each age bracket offers and provide some important information to help you plan.
Services for Under 2’s
According to Carnival, a full Kids Club program may not be suitable for children under the age of two, who likely may not be toilet trained.
On a sea day, the centre is open from 8am until 10pm however during scheduled activity times, Camp Ocean cannot accept those under two. During free play, little ones under two can be signed into the Camp Ocean room at a fee of $8.00 per child per hour for supervised play. If parents wish to make use of the play facilities with their children, there is no charge.
Camp Ocean welcomes kids under two through until 1am however the service can be cancelled if there are no children left in the room after 11pm. Depending on availability, the Kids Club may issue parents with a mobile phone so that they can reach them if needed. If some children are proving problematic, parents may be asked to collect them.
Camp Ocean Main Room
The main room for Camp Ocean caters to children from age 2-11, is broken down into three separate characters to ensure kids can interact with others their own age or close to it. According to a Youth Centre worker Cruise Advice spoke to, the crew makes a concerted effort to ensure kids keep to these age brackets, where possible.
Parents are advised to keep an eye on the time and the printed kids program for any children in a particular age bracket, to ensure they know when they need to collect their kids. The centre does close for short periods on a number of occasions each day in order to set up for a future activity, and these times are easy to locate in the program.
These three brackets are:
Penguins (Ages 2-5): These include Silly Songs, Bubble Dancing, Mr Potato Head decorating, Nintendo Wii Dance Games, Lego and Duplo, Balloon activities, Ocean Bingo, Truck Races, Bean Bag Toss, Circle Games, T-Shirt Decorating, Movie Times and more.
Stingrays (Ages 6-8): Kids in the mid-range bracket will have access to more advanced activities including Camouflage, Magic Games, Knights Night, Video Games, the Yes/No Challenge, Speed Stacking, Art Attack, Giant Jenga, Pirates of the Caribbean, Paper Plane and Origami making and more.
Sharks (Ages 9-11): Kids at the elder end of their childhood have games such as Giant Rock, Paper, Scissors, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Sand Art Creations, Card Games, Bead Creations, Video Games and more at their disposal.
From time to time, kids in this age bracket will also be offered the chance to engage in an activity outside the Kids Club itself, such as a Scavenger Hunt where they will be tasked with finding items and people around the ship. This is an unsupervised activity, however they will not be able to disembark the ship. A family Scavenger Hunt where parents can join in is also on the activity schedule for kids in this age bracket.
Those knocking on the door of their teenage years probably don’t want to be in the same room as the little kids (they’re too cool for it, we’re sure) so Carnival has recognised that by developing a totally separate club with more age-appropriate activities. Enter Circle C.
With its own director, Circle C is nowhere near Camp Ocean, located not only on a different deck but at the other end of the ship as well. As those fitting in this program are generally more mature than those in Camp Ocean, there are some more mature rules by which they must abide in order to remain in the program. Anybody bullying, fighting, consuming alcohol or smoking or any other anti-social behaviour will see them excluded from Circle C. At some times, the Circle C lounge may also be open and unsupervised, and those in this program can also come and go as they wish, with no sign-in or sign-out required.
In another cool twist for Circle C attendees, the room is located at the top of the stairs from another cool little hangout for people in this age bracket, known as the Jungle Room. This is a small internal corridor adjacent to the Pharaoh’s Palace theatre.
Activities in Circle C are not always held back-to-back to form a full schedule lasting guests throughout the day, but that’s ok – guests can come and go as they please anyway. They can engage in games such as MarioKart on Nintendo Wii, Mini Golf, Karaoke Showdown (against Club O2), Gender Showdown (Boys Vs Girls game), Magic Shows, Dodgeball, Celebrity Heads, Ice-Cream Party, Trivial Pursuit, Waterslide challenges and more.
In addition, the Circle C program includes information about the main entertainment program open to all guests that they may find interesting, such as the evening performance in the theatre. While it does carry a warning for parents if any costumes “may be revealing”, it still promotes the idea guests in their early teens may enjoy the main evening show.
Much like Circle C, there is a high degree of autonomy and unsupervised activity that comes with guests in Club O2, which is dedicated to those in their final years before being classed as an adult (a major motivating factor when I was that age).
Designed as a nightclub, Club O2 aims to facilitate the interests of modern youth with more mature activities that guests in the 15-17 age range can come and go from as they wish. Of course, like Circle C, the same rules apply when it comes to treating fellow guests with dignity and respect, and anybody caught with alcohol or breaking any other rules can be asked to leave and not return to the program.
Activities available to those in this program include Late Night Pizza Parties, Teen Hunt, Foosball Tournament, UNO, Karaoke with Circle C guests, Mexican Deck Party (with other ship guests), Nintendo Wii Bowling, Casino Games, Sports and much more, all capped off with a grand Farewell Party at the end of the cruise to say goodbye to all their new friends.