Kids in the Hot Tub

Ever since I booked a Mediterranean cruise this past summer, I have been receiving a newsletter from Cruise Critic.com.   I usually just read the headliner and then move on. In the last week though, something caught my eye. Apparently, with the increasing number of families taking cruises the lines have become blurred over the rules about kids using the hot tubs and who is responsible for enforcing them. As the author of the blog, Jodi Thompson, said this has become a “hot button topic”. Reading the responses to the article was quite dramatic. People strongly had an opinion on either side of the argument. So here is my view, having been on a Holland America cruise this summer with adolescent children, for what its worth.

During the first two days of our cruise, the Lido pool (aka the family pool) was closed for maintenance. The only option for the children (of whom there were plenty) was to swim in the Aft pool (labelled as adults only). Obviously, it would not have been fair to prohibit children from using the only available pool on the ship and I had no problem with that plan. However, once the pool was reopened the rule did not seem to be enforced. The first day I used the adult pool was our day at sea. It would have been very relaxing to lay on a lounge chair by the pool or soak in the hot tub, except for the fact that both were teeming with children- some wearing only a swim diaper!

Hygiene and health issues aside, don’t I have the right to enjoy some peace and quiet if I am at what is called the adult-only pool? My own children always went to the family pool. They were old enough to know polite manners and how to be safe. Besides, at 11, 13 and 15 they needed their own space as much as I needed mine. Even though the Lido pool was crowded and noisy, it looked like the kids were all having fun. There were plenty of families hanging out there…except for the few who chose to ignore the rules and allow their children to play in the adult pool.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have been a preschool teacher for 10 years and I love little kids. But this was my summer vacation. I came here to get away and relax. I tried to ignore them for a while, but every time I wanted to swim, I got splashed in the face. And whenever I wanted to use the hot tub, there was a crowd of them horsing around in there. Finally I could not tolerate it anymore. I felt like a terrible curmudgeon, who everyone must think hates children, but I approached one of the parents. I politely pointed out that this was an adult pool for relaxing and that the other pool had reopened and was meant for families. She didn’t look too happy with me, but she went to check it out and within fifteen minutes moved her kids to the other pool.

Apparently, I was not the only one who was annoyed. A little while later, a staff member asked the kids in the hot tub to leave and by the next day, signs were up everywhere reminding people of the age restriction. Of course, there were some teenagers who ended up using the adult area, but as long as they were just talking and not fooling around no one bothered them. I couldn’t really blame them since their only other choice was to go in the noisy kids pool.

Maybe what these cruise lines need to do is rethink their on board entertainment areas in order to accommodate the growing numbers of young families as well as the retirees who tend to travel. There should be a reasonable way to provide an appropriate swimming area for different age groups and a willingness to enforce their rules. Parents need to be responsible as well. The last thing I want to do is be policing other people’s children when I am on vacation.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. themiddlegeneration
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 15:13:19

    I wanted to post a photo of me in my beach hat relaxing in the hot tub, but since I didn’t have one I looked online. Maybe part of the reason why parents allow their kids in the hot tub is due to the publicity these things get as party hot spots or family gathering areas. Almost every picture I came across was of a group w/ drinks in their hands or a happy cuddly family. Apparently my perception that these are places to get a relaxing soak is incorrect.

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  2. stmarco7
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 21:22:40

    Interesting to read your thoughts on this. I feel bad when with nieces/nephews on vacation and they can’t use the hot tub at all – no hours available to them. Yet I am glad not to have children splashing or playing a game when I want to soak sore muscles. Also with the gym on the cruise – children, perhaps in company of adult, should have some hours to use the gym equipment. We can all benefit from some exercise!

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    • themiddlegeneration
      Oct 06, 2011 @ 10:03:30

      I think the main complaints to the article on cruisecritic.com were not against the children per se, but rather about the lack of supervision provided by the parents who seemed to think a cruise was also a vacation from parenting. If parents were willing to provide more of that, then this issue may not have been such a hot topic.

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  3. kamana
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 09:52:51

    you just made my day with your kind words over at mine. and to answer my question … usually it starts with my words, and then i find photos to match. and when there isnt a match… there are always flowers 🙂

    see you again soon!

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  4. kamana
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 09:53:30

    oops! that should read …”your question” lol!

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