Cruises offer the perfect family vacation. However, many parents are hesitant at first to book a cruise when they have toddlers or a baby in tow. With the proper planning and right activities, a cruise can be one of the best trip ideas for families with young children. Follow this guide to have a successful family cruise without unexpected surprises or unnecessary hassles.
Have Necessities On Hand
If you plan on bringing a baby on board, there are several necessities you will need to pack in your carry-on bag – don’t put diapers or formulas in your main suitcase because it’s common for passengers to be separated from their luggage for a while after boarding. Having a few snacks and toys with you will help you keep your child happy. Budget Travel recommended calling ahead and asking if the cruise rents strollers for the ports. If so, you can book one ahead of time to ensure they don’t run out and that you don’t get stuck carrying your little one all over your destinations.
Choose A Family-Friendly Itinerary
When you take children on a cruise, it’s a good idea to choose a ship that stops at ports that are family-friendly. Most stops along the Caribbean are good options, as they have sandy beaches and lots of room for the kids to run around. Your main priority should be to find an itinerary that has a decent number of stops. NewParent magazinewarned cruisers that booking a ship without enough ports may end up being a nightmare as you deal with fidgety toddlers.
Book A Ship Made For Kids
Disney Cruise Lines is a go-to for many parents, not merely for its kid-oriented activities and atmosphere, but for its discounts for babies and children under the age of 2. According to iCruise.com, travelers can get up to 50 percent off child fares when booking with the cruise line. Disney Cruises, along with Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, also offer special amenities like extra large rooms for families, playgrounds onboard and babysitters so the adults can have a night to themselves. Be sure to ask before you book if your cruise line offers all of the necessary features like booster seats – some cruises are better about providing these amenities than others, so it’s a good idea to do your research.
Make Safety A Priority
Although choosing a cabin with a balcony can be tempting, it’s always best to play it safe and opt for an interior cabin. You can book a couple of adjoining rooms, one with a balcony for the adults and another interior room for the children if there’s an older child to watch them. Many cruises have rules and exact times when the young ones are permitted to join in with the ship’s activities. Regardless, it’s smart to check the cruise’s schedule of events for the day to see which activities would be suitable for young kids. Cruise Critic also advised reminding your toddlers how to stay safe near the boat railings
Have The Right Expectations
Traveling with family is always fun. However, there are certain expectations you should have when it comes to caring for a toddler or baby onboard a cruise. For example, be prepared to wake up before most of the cruise shops and restaurants have opened if you have a child that tends to get up early. Plan ahead for a babysitter if you want to spend some alone time at the spa or at a show one night. Book a babysitter in advance, because on many cruise lines it can be difficult to snag one last-minute. Never assume that one will be easy to find an hour or two before you leave.