On board entertainment; kid dancing with Goofy; buzz light year costume
  • On Dec 15, 2023
    Kimberly from WA Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Are Wave phones available on cruise ships now? My 12 year old doesn't have a phone, nor do we have an old phone. I'm looking for options to communicate with him on the ship.

    Hi Kimberly,  

    A cruise in January sounds like the perfect escape from a wintry Washington and a wonderful thing to look forward to in the new year. Thanks for bringing your thoughtful question our way; it’s important to consider how your family will enjoy a balance of independence and time together. My son is also 12, and does not have his own phone, so I’m happy to share some ideas of what’s worked for us and what you may try for your family. I’m sorry to say that the wave phones are no longer available on the ships.

    The age range for youth clubs recently changed, so please note that your son can enjoy the Edge club during your cruise. My son loves the camaraderie with other tweens, video games, cruise-long “hero vs. villain” team competitions, guided scavenger hunts around the ship, snacks, and a taste of independence as there is no formal check-out procedure here. As a family we discussed prior to sailing what was appropriate and what we would be comfortable with if we granted him this freedom. For example, he can leave the Edge club to get some ice cream or quick service food and return to the club to enjoy it. Or on sea days we’ll say he can watch Funnel Vision or play on the sports deck but be sure to wear fresh sunscreen or stay in the shade. We don’t allow him to swim without us, for example. My son always wears a watch, and we have timed check-ins together in person at a designated place (such as Edge) to see if he wants to stay longer or join us.

    “Old school” methods work well onboard in this disconnected environment. You can pack a magnetic whiteboard for your stateroom door and leave each other messages such as “getting some food” or “watching a movie in the theatre” to share plans and where to find each other. Sticky notes are also useful for leaving on the door or inside the stateroom with your whereabouts and next meet-up. Having set times to connect throughout the day has been helpful - we plan our meals together unless we’re enjoying an adults-exclusive Palo brunch and he is enjoying Edge. You may use your stateroom phone or any phone onboard to call the Edge and check on him anytime.

    If your son has a smart watch, you may find it has texting abilities without having a phone connected to it. Services such as iMessage and WhatsApp are pretty reliable onboard without purchasing an internet package. If you’d like more consistent connection with your son, you may choose to share another adult’s phone so he can communicate with you on demand. With access to another trusted adult’s device, he can use the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App for chat-only features given his age. You could entrust him with this phone only during the times you are separated onboard.

    A Disney Cruise Line vacation is a wonderful, safe way for our tweens to try some independent activities. We always take time on our first day to explore the ship together and confirm that every family member knows how to get to our stateroom and any major locations together. Please also share with your son that he can trust a friendly Disney Crew Member for help or directions at any time during his explorations. I’ve found with some pre-cruise prep, clear boundaries, and a family communication plan, we don’t need our usual high-tech devices to stay connected and relax onboard.

    I hope this gives you some ideas for preparing together. Your family is going to have an incredible adventure to kick off 2024! Please let us know what other questions you have as you finalize the details of your cruise.

    Wishing you a magical vacation, 
thumbnail image for Amy

Meet the Panelist: Amy, Virginia

Hi friends! I'm Amy, a lifelong Disney dreamer from horse-and-wine country, Virginia. My family of three is BIG on fun and treasures every adventure together. We've been making memories at the Walt Disney World Resort and aboard Disney Cruise Line since my son was a toddler; we love our family traditions balanced with "what's new" each visit. I have a passion for Disney details, a love of digital tools, and an eye for practical planning. I can't wait to help you make the MOST of your magical vacation! Learn More About Amy

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