Cruising with children
If you’re feeling a little nervous about cruising with children, don’t be. The fact is that cruises aren’t just for retirees, singles, or couples. There are also many family-friendly cruises out there, that can make cruising with your little ones enjoyable for both young and old. You just need to make the right choices! Here are some pieces of wisdom that will help mums, dads and little ones have the best time possible while out at sea, during their next holiday.
Choose a Great Fit between your Child, Ship & Destination
Spend some time doing research or speak to one of our MyCruises experts on your cruising options and ensure to choose one that is suited to your child’s needs and temperament. For example, if your little one is quite active and finds it hard to sit still, then consider selecting a ship with a Kids Club. If your little one doesn’t have a regular sleeping pattern and often sleeps on the go, make sure to research a cruise which offers flexible dining options for parents, such as a 24 -hour buffet or anytime dining. If your child loves the water, consider a South Pacific or Caribbean cruise to spend your days by the beach, or if you’re after a more cultural and educational experience for your children, a European or Alaskan cruise would be ideal. Look for safe and fun destinations that will have something to offer the whole family.
Kids Club for all ages
Ships that offer baby-sitting options or feature an onboard Kids Club are obviously ideal as this gives you the opportunity to have some you time by hitting the casino, grabbing a few casual drinks at the bar, or sitting back and watching that enticing cabaret show. Don’t forget to check the age restriction policies on the ships and keep in mind many cruise lines differ. For example, Royal Caribbean require infants to be at least 6 months old for most of their cruises, while others have a minimum age requirement of 2-3 years. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, the Kids Club & onboard activities & entertainment will cater for all ages such as mini golf, pizza making class, karaoke, bumper cars and sky diving simulators for example.
Pick the Right Cabin for your Cruise
Like it or not, its highly likely that you’ll have to spend more time in your cabin during the cruise than others, as someone will need to keep an eye on your little one while they’re fast asleep. But don’t fret, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to miss out on anything at all. For instance, when selecting a cabin, try and choose one with a balcony during the warmer months. This will allow you or your partner to soak up some nice rays just outside your room while keeping a watchful eye on your child – without feeling like you’re missing out on the gorgeous weather outside. Also, you might want to look at a cabin with a divider, this allows your child to sleep, whilst you catch up on some reading. Interconnecting cabins, or family suites are perfect for families by offering extra space and convenience, so you enjoy your cruise.
Try a Shorter Cruise to Start
If it’s the first time you’ll be travelling with your child on a cruise ship, then don’t make the mistake of assuming they’ll be able to handle a 16-day transatlantic voyage. Instead, test the waters first and book a shorter cruise to gauge your child’s sea faring ways; two to five days is often best. If your child can handle life out at sea, and you’re able to have a great time, then you can always book a longer cruise in the future.
Our Best Picks for a family fun cruise!
Rock climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, and surfing and sky diving simulators can be found on most Royal Caribbean ships. These ships not only cater for your older children, they also have a complete children’s program onboard – Adventure Ocean which accommodates all age levels from 3 – 17 years old, and their Royal Babies program for 6 months – 3 years. Many of their newer ships feature science labs and even theatres where youngsters rehearse before putting on a mini performance for their families. Younger teens can participate in sports tournaments, karaoke and arts and craft workshops, whilst the older teens have video games, pool parties and casino nights where they can practice their DJ skills. The ships offer a wide range of casual family friendly dining options such as New York style pizza and Johnny Rockets burgers and hot dogs. Royal Caribbean’s family suites are amongst the best with spacious lofts, themed suites and interconnecting cabins.
Our favourite Royal Caribbean ships for families: Ovation of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas & Symphony of the Seas
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival ships are well known, and much loved all over the world for being the FUN ships.
They have built their CHOOSE FUN brand around providing family fun cruise holiday experiences with some of their ships home ported in Australia year-round. The Green Lightning & Green Thunder Waterslides have become very iconic features onboard the Carnival ships, along with their collaboration on select ships with the whimsical world of Dr Seuss. The Seuss at Sea experience entails a Waterpark, special onboard character parades, interactive story time, arts & crafts and even a Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast. Carnival Cruise Line has also partnered with Build-A-Bear Workshops on some of their ships, where the kids can use their creativity to bring a new stuffed friend to life. Carnival also has their Camp Ocean Kids Club, Circle C & O2 clubs designed for ages 2 –17 yrs old providing fun and entertainment for all. Popular eateries such as Guy’s Burger Joint & Blue Iguana Cantina can be found throughout majority of their fleet. Select Carnival ships feature the high ropes SkyCourse challenge, SkyZone indoor trampoline park & SkyRide, and their brand-new ship Mardi Gras, due to set sail in 2020 features the first at sea roller coaster!
Our favourite Carnival ships for families: Carnival Splendor, Carnival Panorama & Carnival Horizon.
MSC may not necessarily be front of mind when thinking about your family cruise holiday, however the European cruise line has recently won awards for being the Best Cruise Line for Families, and one of their ships, MSC Seaside has won an award for being Best Family Ship.
MSC offers affordable family pricing, with Kids Sail Free promos year-round across their ever-growing state-of-the-art ships. Innovative activities like Fun Time Dinner, Happy Dinners and Kids Around the Clock lets everyone in the family do things their own way – even at mealtimes and late at night. MSC have carefully curated shore excursions with qualified guides to cater for families to ensure they are getting the most out of destinations that will be enjoyed by all. In addition to the outstanding Aqua Park facilities onboard, some of their ships offer the extra adrenaline rush of sliding down a zip-line, driving a full-size Formula 1 simulator or enjoying a fully immersive VR experience, not to mention the multi-sensory experience of interactive XD cinema and the amazing Video games room. On their newer ships, they hold a special entertainment event called LEGO® Experience On Board: an entire day dedicated to fun LEGO activities for the whole family to enjoy. Along with their comfortably appointed Family cabins, their Kids Club and Baby/Toddler services, caters for all children with a vast array of entertainment and activities tailored to your child’s age.
Our favourite MSC ships for families: MSC Seaside, MSC Bellissima & MSC Meraviglia
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL’s onboard laid-back style is perfectly suited for families travelling with children. With no formal nights, no set dining times, and a complimentary Youth Program (6 months – 17 years old), it’s no wonder why NCL is such a great match for families who are after a relaxing cruise experience. Dodgeball, Go Karting, and laser tag are just some of the countless activities that can be found throughout NCL’s expansive fleet. Hang out on the largest multi-level high ropes course at sea, or whoosh over the side of the ship on the Ocean Loops waterslide in the Aqua Park. For the younger children, they offer Circus School, arts and crafts & cupcake decorating, whilst the older children can enjoy themed parties, video games and the Sports Complex. NCL’s cabins and suites cater for all family sizes, they even have family cabins & 2 Bedroom family suites conveniently located near the kids’ area. Whilst the children are occupied in the Kids Club, why not treat yourself to the perfect escape in Vibe Beach Club or Spice H2O – the outdoor adults only spaces onboard to relax and unwind in the sun. NCL offers a very well-rounded balance of fun, entertainment and relaxation that will appeal to the entire family.
Our favourite NCL ships for families: Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss & Norwegian Getaway.
Feeling confident about going on a relaxing yet fun cruise with your young family? Then call us today and have a chat with one of our friendly MyCruises consultants. They’ll be able to alleviate your concerns and book your family a memorable holiday on the perfect cruise ship for you.
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