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Should I Take My Kids On A Cruise?

When you see commercials for family cruises, don’t they look FUN? They are! Cruises offer endless activities and amenities for families that you don’t get anywhere else. They’ve got you covered from morning until night with things to do, ways to relax, and all kinds of unique experiences.

But as most parents know, traveling with kids can be hard. And going on a cruise is no exception, unless you are prepared. That dream cruise can be an unforgettable trip if you know the right questions to ask beforehand. Just like other vacation packages, every cruise is different and offers varied experiences. Selecting the one that is right for your family can make all the difference.

It also helps to prepare your kids for what to expect. Tell them all the fun they can have on a cruise, and also give them the opportunity to ask questions and offer ideas. Show them photos and online videos of the boat to get them excited. With a little pre-planning, cruising with kids can be AMAZING!

  • Fly in the day before, because life happens. Flights get delayed and storms cause cancellations. Can you image the stress of a delayed or rescheduled flight when you have a cruise to catch? No one wants to be racing through the airport with little ones in tow. Or even worse, explain to a three year old that they’re going to miss the boat. If you’re cruising in a different time zone, arriving a day or two beforehand also gives everyone a moment to adjust. That way, when you finally come aboard, the kids (and adults) will be refreshed and ready for fun.
  • Talk to your kids about safety and rules. Cruises can be crowded and there will be lots of strangers. Reinforce your rules about staying close by and never wandering off no matter how much fun something seems. Talk about when you’ll be together for family time and when you’ll be apart. For example, younger ones can enjoy the kid’s club onboard and tweens/teens can hang out in their common areas at designated times. If it’s important for you to share family meals or time at the pool, make sure that’s all laid out beforehand.
  • Speaking of the kid’s club…find out all the details before you go. Most cruises have clubs for kids of different ages, but each one varies. Some only accept children over six months old, some over 2 years old. Kids are often divided up by ages (make sure all your kids would be happy with their assigned groups). There are cruises that don’t have clubs and only offer private babysitting at an hourly rate. And just because your best friend used that cruise line last year, doesn’t mean things will be the same for you this year. Always do research to make sure the accommodations match your family’s needs.
  • Check out the water play. The pools on certain boats are more extreme than others, so make sure it aligns with your kid’s adventure level. Is your child all about zip lines and wave pools? Or are they more the lazy river type? Did you know that some boats don’t allow kids in diapers in the pool? Sometimes there is a designated splash area for the little ones.
  • Most importantly, find activities your kiddos with love. Cruises offer clubs for kids in a wide range of ages and all sorts of activity preferences. Is your child crafty? Movie buff? Sports fanatic? Thrill seeker? Gamer? Amazed by sea life? Or perhaps they don’t care for much activity and they’d rather lounge by the pool? Since each cruise is so different, find one that offers things that will really make your kids happy.

With a little pre-planning, a cruise can be a fantastic experience for kids of all ages. Even the sheer magnitude of the vessel will knock their socks off! All of that over-the-top fun will provide family memories that will last a lifetime!