Especially as the holidays approach, people plan fun and exciting vacations for the whole family. Cruising with kids is an easy way to show them new sights and keep them entertained during long holiday breaks.
However, there are few things to keep in mind when cruising with kids that may be a little different from adults-only cruising. Check out these tips to make cruising with kids of all ages easier.
Talk to Other Cruisers
Cruise message boards are a great resource for discussing traveling with children with other parents and caregivers. Participating in a cruise message board allows you to get an inside view from people who have actually traveled with children.
They can explain which activities went over well for their children, which cruise lines are the most family-friendly, and which cruises offer the activities you think your family will enjoy most. Real-world cruisers will be able to give insight on which cruises are the best for kids and identify some of the most popular activities.
Enlist the Help of a Cruise Planner
Planning your family’s cruise on your own may seem like the easiest and most cost-effective way to book your trip. However, a qualified cruise planner can assist you in planning the best trip to meet you and your family’s needs.
Cruise planners know all the ins and outs of each cruise line. They can tailor their recommendations for you based on the age and interests of your children. In addition, cruise planners have access to the best deals and can clue you into excursions that are not regularly publicized.
Get Your Kids Involved
This may seem obvious, but depending on their ages, a discussion with your children before cruising is essential. Talking with your kids before the trip gives them a good overview of what they can expect on the trip as well as what type of behavior is expected of them. If there are any specific rules that you plan to enforce, make them explicit before the cruise and be sure that your children understand.
Let them get in on the planning by choosing which activities interest them most. This will help you when consulting with a planner or booking on your own. For older children and teens, discuss the level of freedom they will have while aboard the ship and while docked. Establish rules for checking in or meeting up with parents or other adults. Show your children all the options that you’re considering and let them get in on the planning process.
Do Your Research
One of the most important aspects of any cruise is the activities. Research various cruises to see what they offer that will be age-appropriate for your children or other younger family members. View the layout inside of the cruise ship so you will be easily able to access all child-friendly activity options as well as pools and restroom facilities.
Additionally, consider what excursions are included in your cruise package and determine if these are appropriate for the children you will be bringing. If you have young children, familiarize yourself with any policies regarding potty training and the use of onboard pools.
Don’t Forget about Childcare
Many parents like to have their children with them the entire time they’re cruising. However, there are some activities and excursions that are adults-only. Most top cruise companies offer onboard nursery and daycare services for small children.
These daycare facilities are held to the same standards and regulations as on-land childcare centers. This may help alleviate the worry of leaving your little one for a few hours. If you are not comfortable leaving your child at a child care center on the ship, consider bringing a caretaker along to keep an eye on any children while you engage in adult-only activities.
Make Cruising with Kids Easy
If you follow the tips outlined here, planning a cruise with children doesn’t have to be stressful. Always remember to consider the things your family normally likes to do and try to choose activities and excursions based on the ages and interests of your children.
Options include obstacle courses, water parks, and even bumper cars. Depending on their age of your children, consider choosing a cruise line that is specifically tailored to kids and families.
If you’re having trouble finding a cruise line that meets your family’s specific needs, consult with a cruise planner who has the resources to book the perfect package. There are a variety of children-friendly cruise lines to choose from and with further research, you can find the perfect fit for you and your family.