Getting ready to hit the high seas with the kids in tow? You’ve made a good choice. A cruise has to be one of the most fun family holidays, not to mention, one of the most affordable. Most cruise packages will include your accommodation, meals and entertainment – making it easy to budget throughout the entire trip. These days, cruise lines are making sure they take care of their youngest passengers, with innovative kids programs and oodles of family friendly entertainment. To help make your holiday one to remember, here are our top tips for cruising with kids.
1 Packing may be a chore but it’s important you do it right. Consider the weather at your desired destinations, pack swimmers and sun smart gear, any family medication – including sea sickness tablets, and appropriate clothing for dining and formal nights. Check our cruise packing tips for more helpful reminders. Also don’t forget to bring a few favourite toys in case anyone feels a little homesick. Walkie talkies might also be helpful since mobile reception can be sketchy at best.
2 Find out what’s on offer for the kids. You may be surprised at the incredible variety of entertainment for energetic little ones, from treasure hunts to live character shows and parades. Meet Mickey Mouse on a Disney Cruise, Kung Fu Panda on a DreamWorks Cruise or even SpongeBob on a Norwegian Cruise Line adventure. Little girls can even live in a Barbie World with Royal Caribbean International’s exclusive Barbie Premium Experience.
3 Sign up for the kids club and let the kids run wild. Not only will they be entertained from dawn til dusk but parents can enjoy a little ‘me’ time. Be spoilt with luxurious spa treatments, join a fitness class or simply retreat to the adults only serenity area. Many larger ships will also offer great facilities for teens including buzzing arcades, teen lounges and even disco parties. Plus there are sure to be amazing activities you can enjoy as a family like water parks, ice skating rinks and rock climbing walls.
4 A little planning will go a long way. Decide what shore excursions you would like to do and book them ahead of time to avoid missing out. When you hop onboard, explore the ship to get your bearings and find out where the main facilities are located. This will help maximise your time at sea and hopefully prevent you getting lost – these ships can be huge. Also check the daily itinerary and plan your activities each evening so everyone is happy.
5 Even if you are travelling with the fussiest eaters, you will have no problem getting everyone fed. Most large cruise ships offer sumptuous buffets and plenty of additional eateries (which may charge an additional dining fee). Make sure you shake things up and try a few different areas and cuisines. Of course, it’s hard to go past all that pizza and ice cream. On the first day, find out how each dining area works - some may have specific times and seating arrangements and others will happily offer complete flexibility.