Tips for Cruising with Kids for the First Time

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Cruising with your children allows both you and your children to travel and see the world while bonding as a family. Cruisers are usually family-friendly, which means they will offer a whole range of activities for your little ones while you relax. However, it takes some planning, so if this is your first cruise with your children, consider these tips for a stress-free and fun vacation.

ships steering wheel
Heading out to Sea can be great fun
Be informed

Before booking your vacation and paying for anything, you need to get as much information as possible on all your cruise options. There are many cruise lines to choose from, so do your research and find out which one will work best for your family. Learn what the cabin size and the position are, what childcare options they offer, if the family activities are age-appropriate for your children, inform yourself of meal options and the prices of each line.

First time Cruises with kids

Before opting for an itinerary, make sure you’re familiar with the number of days at sea, which shore excursions they offer and what the ports of call are. If you want a carefree vacation, you need to make good choices, which requires you to know exactly what your options are.

Pack properly cruise essentials
little girl and her suitcase
Packed and ready to Cruise

When you arrive at your cruiser, don’t expect that you’ll have access to your room or your luggage straight away. That’s why you need to have a handbag packed with essentials, including a swimsuit and some sun cream, as well as your documents and the things your child may need. Although most cruise lines are children-friendly, not all of them have stores that sell diapers, wipes, formula or baby food, so be sure to pack plenty of those.

You should even consider bringing an extension cord with multiple outlets since your cabin could come with only one or two power outlets. Pack clothes for the different weather, layers being the best option, especially if you’re visiting several countries with a different climate. Make sure you have backpacks so that you can pack for any shore excursions. Take advantage of the ship’s activities

Things we need to shop for and pack for a cruise

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If you want to take some time during your cruise to relax as a couple, without your kids, you need to know precisely what types of activities are available for children and if your kids are of an adequate age to participate in those activities. Some lines allow smaller children to take part in their programs and activities only under parental supervision, so find a cruise line that offers various activities for keeping kids entertained that don’t require you to be there.

There are cruise lines which offer kids-only activities during the day only, but others can provide you with a Night Owls program from 10 pm till 1 am. This is group child-minding for children aged 1-11, which can allow you to go “out” with your kid’s taken care of. However, you might have a problem with any type of sitting if your child is less than one year old, so ask about that before booking the cruise.

Choose the right ship
chess board on the ship
Kids playing chess onbaord

Depending on the structure of your family and, more specifically, your kids’ age, you have to be very careful when choosing the ship for your cruise. For instance, if you have younger kids, you might want to find a cruiser that has various cartoon or action film characters onboard. They usually join kids’ club activities, which can be very appealing for your child. If you have babies, look for a ship that has an onboard nursery. You should be especially careful when travelling with teenagers since they can be particularly demanding with the choice of activities.

Things to pack for a cruise for kids.

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Crusies with Teens

Although all the activities for teens are supervised, they might meet somebody during that activity and end up roaming the cruiser in smaller groups, or even in a couple. They might even start hanging out with older children. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your teenager about some ground rules and cover all the topics you would if they were going to parties at homes, such as alcohol, drugs, sex or bullying. Discuss your expectations with kids

Cruise ship docked
Crusie Ship shore activities

Before setting off, make sure your children are aware of all your expectations, and that you’re aware of theirs. They need to know all the rules for onboard behavior, and if your kids are older, inform them of exactly how much freedom they’ll have on the cruiser, when they’ll be allowed to be without you and when you expect them to join you for various activities, such as family dinner or certain excursions.

Cruisers can be a great way to spend a vacation with your family since they offer appropriate activities for you, as well as for your kids. So, follow these tips to make your cruise enjoyable and memorable for all of you.

Zara is a regular contributor at The WellnessInsider, a traveller and a mother of two. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about spreading the word about fantastic places to visit and creating a better world for the generations to come.

Please find 2 more articles on the Wyld Family Travel website for your reading enjoyment. Just click the image to be taken to the articles for reading


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Tips for Cruising with Kids for the First Time

6 thoughts on “Tips for Cruising with Kids for the First Time”

  1. I just went on my own first cruise this year, and based on our experiences, I would say your recommendations are spot-on. I look forward to the day when we can cruise withour grown kids and our grandchildren!

  2. Very complete article on how to go on a cruise with kids, and great tips without kids too. My parents did not take me on a cruise when I was 7 (in 19## lol) because nothing was set up for kids back then.

  3. As someone who has never cruised, I found your post really helpful. I never would have thought to pack an extension cord with multiple outlets. I look forward to someday taking my first cruise and hopefully packing for it like a pro thanks to your tips!

  4. As a cruising family of over 20 years, we loved this post! Definitely a must-read for those first-timers. My favorite part was when you mentioned talking with your teens about drugs, alcohol, etc. That seems to be such a missing element from so many parents, thinking their kids are somehow to going to magically skip over that chapter of life.
    Well done and great tips. I enjoyed the photos, too.

  5. The extension cord tip is GOLDEN! Thank you! We are cruising for the first time later next month and I cant wait! I never considered that plugging and charging my laptop and our phones and camera would be an issue!


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