With the holidays coming up, and kids out of school for a couple of weeks, some families may be considering taking a cruise. Here are some thoughts sent to us by Jeralyn Nelson of HouseSittingJobs:
Cruises have become a popular vacation option lately because they offer multiple stops and plenty of activities both onboard the ship and off, and many of them have started catering to families, planning the entire cruise around kid-friendly events. If you’re toying with the idea of taking the kids on a cruise for your next family vacation, then check out these pros and cons and see if they help if your decision making.
- More and more cruise lines are taking families into consideration and ships are more kid friendly now.
- Many of the cruise lines (Norwegian, Royal, Disney, and MSC) are catering to kids with ships that have attractions such as water slides, kids’ clubs, kids’ camps, mini-golf, outdoor movies, and video arcades.
- There are plenty of things for the kids to do so parents can enjoy some time alone. Cruise lines have increased their staff to include camp counselors and others to work strictly with the kids on board.
- There are teen clubs where teens are free to dance the night away in a non-alcoholic environment or just hang out and make new friends.
- One cruise line (MSC) even lets kids cruise for free.
- Most cruise lines will accommodate the tastes of your child and several even make their own baby food, but you will need to request this ahead of time.
- Room service is free so if you would rather feed your child away from the crowds and distractions of the dining room you can.
- Staff members are willing to babysit on the ship during their off hours so that you can get out and take in a show. Some parents prefer to bring their nanny or a babysitter with them on the cruise, and the cost for an on board babysitter can vary.
- High chairs are available in the dining room, or you can have one brought to your state room.
- Some cruise lines even have classes geared toward teenagers like photography and film making.
- Some cruise lines have not gone the extra mile to include very many kid friendly activities, so you’ll need to do some research ahead of time to see if they have or not.
- Even on the cruise lines that have been touted for their kid friendly programs there is often not enough for the kids to do.
- Typically kids have to be at least 3 to go into the kids’ clubs and they have to be potty trained.
- The tweens (8 to 12) struggle to find their place. They are too old for many of the kid areas where they are doing crafts and games, but they are too young for the teen club areas. Depending on the kid you may still find them saying that they are bored.
- While some cruise lines have added many kid-specific things to do there aren’t very many family friendly activities. So if you are looking for a place that you can do something as a family the cruise ship may not be the place.
- Most cruise lines charge full price for kids.
- Most of the state rooms only have a stand up shower so if your child can’t take a shower you will need to bring an inflatable bathtub with you.
- Toddlers who are not potty trained cannot use the pools. Pools on the cruise ship are usually highly chlorinated and it probably wouldn’t be good for young kids anyway.
- There aren’t many outlets in the room so you will want to bring your own outlet strip to plug in cell phones, iPods, DVD players and the like.
- Closets are very small and filled with shelves, so keep that in mind when you are packing. There are a few drawers, but not enough for everyone to have their own if you’re all in the same room.
Before booking a cruise with kids in tow, consider the pros and cons to evaluate if family cruising is right for you.