Disclosure: My recent Royal Caribbean cruise aboard Liberty of the Seas was part of a press trip. My thoughts and opinions are always my own.
Taking a cruise could seem intimidating to parents who feel like a vacation for the family is less than relaxing. Thousands of people in a single area, lots of pools, and plenty of places to get lost. There are a lot of reasons for families to avoid cruises. But for every potential negative there are plenty of positives as well. Taking a cruise with your children can be one of the most enjoyable vacations you’ve ever had!
Childcare is included for those times you really just need some time away, lots of on-board entertainment for all ages, and more dining options than you can shake a stick at! Many cruises are even geared towards families with children. So what are some things you consider before cruising with children?
1. Size Matters
Parents and cruise directors know that kids get bored easily and need lots of things to do. By choosing a larger ship there are likely to be more options onboard. This could range from a variety of water attractions like Royal Caribbean’s Flow Rider surf simulator, onboard 9 hole miniature golf course, special kids shows and fun classes, like cupcake decorating classes. Sure this also means there’s more places to get lost but even the largest ship is enclosed. Should you be separated from your child the staff are expertly trained to handle the situation.
If it’s important to have childcare options then be sure to check with the cruise before you book. Some offer childcare programs during the day and babysitting services at night while others don’t. Royal Caribbean offers sitter service that allows parents to enjoy an evening show without any distractions. There also may be age requirements in place. Some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean offer an early dinner time where your kids can eat dinner in the dining room and then are picked up by kid’s club staff. Small things like this can make the vacation a lot more enjoyable for everyone.
3. Traveling with Teens
Just as important as keeping little kids happy is keeping older kids happy. They might not be old enough to enjoy “adult” activities or entertainment but they’re too old to want to attend a character breakfast. Make sure there are plenty of “older” activities onboard. Internet café’s, video games, and teen friendly dance clubs like Royal Caribbean Fuel Teen Disco or night activities are a few offerings some ships have. Know what interests your child and make sure the ship meets their needs too.
4. Selecting Cabins
When choosing a cabin it’s important to be realistic while considering your budget. If you are trying to save money, it might seem like a great idea to cram your family of five into a small, interior cabin. But, take heed and don’t’ make your family miserable to try and save money.
Consider a family room or two adjoining rooms instead. If you have small children that still nap or are light sleepers, avoid booking a cabin near any night activities or below sundecks. The scraping of chairs and pounding of music late into the night won’t lead to a peaceful night’s sleep for anyone. Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas offers 1,817 various staterooms: 1,084 Ocean View (842 with balconies), 733 Interior (172 Promenade View) and 855 Staterooms with third/fourth berths.
Most people take a cruise for the destination stops. Get your kids (if they’re old enough) in on the planning. What would they like to do when the ship docks? Present them with the options that fit into your budget. Also keep in mind you can book excursions that aren’t affiliated with the cruise line. Do some research ahead of the planning meeting to discover all that is available in the port stop. If kids are involved in the vacation planning from the beginning they’re likely to have more fun during the trip.
Have you enjoyed a family cruise? What are your reservations regarding bringing your family on a cruise?