Take The Kids On A Cruise? You Bet. Here’s A Few Tips.
A cruise offers the chance to enter a totally different world and that’s appealing to all ages. So bring the whole family along. Most cruise lines have special children’s rates and provide lot’s of entertainment specifically aimed at youth. Many cruises have trained personnel whose sole job is to supervise the wide variety of children’s programs. One example is Princess Cruises’ Love Boat Kids program. It includes complete Youth and Teen Centers and a toddler's play area and theatre.
The kids can enjoy movies, games, arts & crafts, computers and more. Teenagers are notoriously difficult to entertain. Being stuck with Mom & Dad for a week is especially hard their mood. Cruise lines such as Disney, Carnival, Princess and others have set up adult-free zones and special “nightclubs” that provide a wide range of activities and a place to hang out with other teens. Of course, you would expect that a Disney cruise would be geared towards kids.
And you are right. They provide a whole array of age-appropriate activities including children under three. When dining onboard with the family you will normally find that the earlier dinner seating is less formal. There will be more families present so it makes it much easier to get a table with other kids close to your own children’s ages. If you ask, the server may be able to seat your family alone. Even though many cruises cater to kids, it’s not a good idea to bring small babies. They demand so much attention that you just cannot enjoy the cruise experience. Children are usually more prone to sea sickness so it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor what medication to bring. There are a lot of amenities that are not necessarily obvious like ice, extra blankets, pillows, games, crib or high chair, etc. Just ask your cabin steward what’s available.
The crew is more than happy to help you have a pleasant stay. Stops at ports of call are typically brief. You don’t have to spend your brief visit browsing the same old duty free shops. Do a little research ahead and you can find some interesting local spots for the family to visit such as a museum, zoo or beach. It’s a good idea to get the kids involved in the activities immediately rather than waiting a day or two. This gets them involved and lets them feel a part of the program. Joining in later they may feel like outsiders and have a more difficult time interacting with the kids who already know the ropes. Even though the programs are there to be used, don’t forget that this is a family vacation. Be sure to allot plenty of time together. The kids can have a lot of fun with the planned programs but they also need time with Mom & Dad.
Before you book a cruise, be sure to ask a lot of question of your travel agent or the cruise line. Don’t accept vague answers. You want to know exactly what the cruise lines attitude is towards families. Let them know what ages your children are and get specifics on the activities, programs and training of supervisory crew. Choosing the right cruise line and ship can make all the difference in the world.