This question was answered on our Cruise IQ show on January 22, 2018.
There may be times where parents would like to take part in an excursion or activity ashore that is not suitable for children. Depending on the cruise line, children may be left in the care of the counselors in the cruise line kids program. Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean allow parents to leave children enrolled in their kids programs onboard while the parents go ashore. Norwegian Cruise Line also allows this, but may require a parent or guardian to stay onboard if there are special requirements. While it is generally allowed, there are some important points to keep in mind. Make sure your child is comfortable within the program and with the counselors. Give children the opportunity to experience time alone in the kid’s club when you are onboard and see how it goes. It may also be difficult or impossible for the ship to contact parents or for parents to contact the ship while ashore. Try to keep your planned excursions to the morning hours to avoid cutting it close to the ship’s departure time. Make sure to leave any medications and special instructions with the counselors and also information them of what your plans are ashore, especially if you are doing an independent tour. At the end of the day, the decision to leave children onboard is a personal one and each parent will know if they feel comfortable with the idea.