First time cruising with children

While a lot of people absolutely love going on a vacation, especially on those nice private charters where everything is taken care of for you, and all you have to do is enjoy, planning things out is definitely a challenge. And if you also have children you intend on taking along with you, that challenge is a lot more difficult, especially with small children. They make things a lot more complicated and you need to know how to deal with all the hustle that comes when traveling with family.

First time cruising guide:

With that in mind, going out on a cruise with your children and making the most of it isn’t all that far-fetched. All you have to do is consider a couple of things when planning, and you should be set for a beautiful cruise with your kids.

Set Some Ground Rules

When children go out on their first cruise, you’ll find that almost everything is new. And their desire to explore and have fun every minute is something you’ll need to deal with because they can get in trouble very quickly if they do that out on the water, or in a city, they’ve never been to.

If you want to make sure that doesn’t happen, it’s important that you set ground rules your kids need to respect, and by all means, do this before you embark on the cruise. Cruise ships do come with their own rules and etiquette, which you’ll need to introduce your kids to, and you should make sure you explain that they should absolutely stick to the rules.

Both you and your kids head out with a single goal – to enjoy your cruise and have fun while exploring new destinations. If you set reasonable expectations for them (and for yourself), you’re already halfway there.

Go for a Small Ship Cruise

When your kids see all the things they can do on a large cruise ship, from pools to theme parks, it’s understandable that they’ll want to go there. However, there are multiple reasons why a small ship is a better idea, and that’s in addition to the obvious advantages of small ship cruising.

The first reason is the fact that you have an almost one-to-one ratio of staff to guests. If you or your children need something at any point, chances are you’ll get a staff member available to assist you within a couple of minutes. This is a seriously underrated advantage of a small ship.

But the second, and arguably a lot more important reason when you’re cruising with children, is the fact that you can keep your kids in check much easier on a small ship. It’s almost impossible for them to get lost, and even if something does happen, there’s plenty of available staff to help. And best of all, wherever you are on the ship, your kids are well within walking distance and you’ll be able to get to them within minutes.

If you want to make sure your kids enjoy the small ship cruise and don’t feel like they’re missing out, a good idea would be to include them in the planning stage of the cruise. Show them the options you’re considering, and ask them what their wishes and preferences are. You can make a family bonding activity out of this, and children tend to act a lot better if they know their wishes are being listened to.

Be Selective With Excursions

A cruise will give you a couple of options when it comes to shore excursions, and you should aim to go for ones that are kid-friendly if you want everyone to have fun. It’s a good idea to involve your kids in the planning stage, as they’ll be able to tell you what they like and dislike, and you’ll pick something everyone enjoys.

For example, going on a ride with ATVs isn’t the most family-friendly activity. On the other hand, visiting a wildlife reserve that’s full of exotic animals will make your children’s jaws drop, and they’ll remember the experience for years to come.

Here’s a tip that might come in handy – do the excursions planning as early as possible. Some of the excursions on cruise ships might come with limited availability, and the earlier you book, the better your chances of something you like being available.

Choose the Right Rooms

Last but not least, a family trip is a lot better if you choose the right room. While some small cruise ships offer large staterooms that fit an entire family, even if this isn’t the case, you’ll probably be able to get two adjacent rooms and still have your children close.

A thing to note here is that you should make sure you let the staff know about this well in advance, so they can consider it when they’re planning things for the cruise. That rule that says “the earlier you book, the better”, definitely applies here. 

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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