Like many parents I had reservations about cruising. Having experienced a cruise, all those concerns have been blown away and I’m left with a big desire to get my family on a cruise asap. Here are my top tips for cruising with kids.
1. For younger children, help them navigate the ship by showing them how to use the onboard interactive maps.
2. Stick a picture on your stateroom door to help younger children identify ‘home’, it’s easier to forget a number”
3. Use the onboard seaspass account to maximise freedom for your older children and teenagers. Set a daily budget that they are able to use on their own. Not only will they feel grown up but it will help them learn to budget too.”
4. Queuing to board the ship can be a bit laborious, especially if you’ve just done a similar thing at the airport. Take snacks and entertainment to smooth the way.
5. One of the great things about being aboard a ship is it’s a confined space. When cruising it’s impossible for kids to be kidnapped or wander off and get lost for any length of time. You can afford them a bit more freedom than you might do on land, so take advantage. Some parents worry about kids going overboard, it was a concern of mine. I can say with experience now that it would be impossible for a child to go overboard by accident. The only way a child could go overboard is if they climbed a railing, which the vast majority of kids wouldn’t consider doing. Kids that are old enough to be with friends for short periods of time would instinctively know not to climb the railing. As a parent I would also give my kid a short talk about staying away from the railings to make clear the ‘dangers’. Also, some barrriers are plexi glass which would be pretty difficult to scale, other railings are tilted inwards to make it more difficult to climb. To my knowledge no children have gone overboard.
6. Encourage your kids to join in with clubs and activities aboard the ship. The opportunity to meet and mix with many nationalities doesn’t come along every day.
7. UK kids tend not to be used to much sun (!). Teach them how to use and reapply sunscreen and set a timer on their watch to remind them when it’s time to reapply . Burnt kids aren’t happy kids.
8. Take advantage of the free entertainment on board and try something new. Give each member of the family the opportunity to choose one activity that the rest of the family must participate in. Cruising is a great way to reconnect and have interesting new experiences with your family.
9. Check the Daily Compass (a daily planner of all teh events onboard for that day) and help your kids make a plan for the day so they don’t miss out on anything.
10. If you have a baby and you wish to use childcare facilities don’t forget to take a budget with you. There’s an additional hourly surcharge for this service.