It’s hardly any surprise that cruise ship holidays have become popular among families in recent years. This type of getaway originally was favored by an older generation, but both young and old are now setting sail to any number of worldwide destinations. Cruise holidays are quite the no brainer for families due to the hassle free nature of cruising, number of cruise itineraries available, and the range of on-board activities, entertainment and facilities – everyone can find something that they’ll enjoy. However, to avoid problems and ensure the best holiday possible (or try to anyway), here are five tips and tricks for preparing for a cruise with the family.
Five Tips for Preparing for a Cruise with the Family
Look for family friendly cruises
There are certain itineraries, operators and ships that cater for the specific wants and needs of families, so be sure to pick one of these. Some cruise lines will have minimum age requirements for access to certain facilities and off-shore excursions, which could mean you’ll have some very unhappy children on your hands if participating in certain activities or experiences isn’t possible. (Even Disney has age requirements for activities, so check in advance.)
Choose the right cabin
A lot will depend on your budget and family requirements, but choosing the right accommodation on a cruise ship is crucial. A family stateroom is probably best for those with toddlers and young children, but teenagers will appreciate their own space in an adjoining cabin. I have also found that having a balcony is huge when traveling with kids. Adults can sit outside, enjoy the ocean while the kids are sleeping off the days activities.
Pack the essentials (and the comforts of home)
Even though going on vacation is an exhilarating experience for kids, they can get scared or start missing home quite easily. Make sure to pack some of their favorite clothes and toys just in case. Don’t go overboard with the toys but a week long cruise is not the time to give up that special blanket, doll or change the bedtime books. These items should be in addition to essentials such as wet wipes, sunscreen and seasickness tablets. (You will pay much less for these items by bringing them with you.)
Check AND sign up for kids clubs and activities in advance
While being with the family is important, you and your partner will also want to spend some quality time together away from the kids. Thankfully, most cruise lines and operators will have clubs for children of all ages, allowing you to rest and relax for a while. But when it comes to having fun as a whole family, free activities such as splashing around in the pool can be just as fun as venturing off elsewhere.
Come up with a schedule
It’s a good idea to come up with a schedule for your cruise ship holiday. That way, kids won’t be sleepy or overactive from staying up late and you’ll be able to make the most of your time away. Stay on the ship some days and take advantage of the facilities, but be sure to explore the most interesting and family-friendly ports of call the rest of the time.
Keep these pointers and pieces of advice in mind and you’re bound to have a successful cruise with the family.
Planning a cruise? Make sure to see my other cruise tips.
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Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.