Millions of parents each year choose to make their annual holiday a cruise in the company of their kids. Several cruise lines, most notably The Disney Cruise Line, specialize in family cruises and can cater for up to a thousand children on each voyage. Before taking your children on a cruise you need to do your research and ensure that the cruise that you have selected is the right one for you and your children. It’s important that everyone in the family is going to have a good time, so if there’s a significant age range in your family, ensure that the cruise caters for everyone. The facilities for toddlers might be great, but what about teens? Here are a few things to consider before you take to the high seas.
‘You mean we’ll be stuck on a ship for two whole weeks!’ If your kids have never been on a cruise before they might be justifiably sceptical about the range of activities available. On board entertainment will vary from ship to ship so choose a cruise line that offers a wide range of activities appropriate to the age of your children. They’ll be plenty of pool-based activities and sports but also look for activities which cater for specific age ranges. Are there family activities? Are kids welcome at adult activities? Will the shore excursions be appropriate?
Children on a cruise usually experience a level of independence that they have never known before, the rationale being ‘Well, they can’t leave the ship and there’s plenty of staff around’. This is true, cruise ships are generally speaking a very safe environment. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give your child clear guidance at the outset of the trip though. They should never go into someone else’s cabin or accept a drink from a stranger. They should check in regularly with you and you should know where they are at all times. If your child is engaged in lots of pool activities, sunburn is an ever-present risk. Ensure that you are using a sunscreen that does not wash off and reapply it regularly.
Have you chosen a child friendly destination? Will it be too hot or too humid? Will your child enjoy the shore excursions and are you confident that they will be safe in this location?
It’s very unusual to experience seasickness on a cruise ship but take along some children’s medication just in case.
Top of the list needs to be a quality sunscreen and an After-Sun such as Aloe Vera. A hat is also important in hot climates. The glare from the ocean can be very strong and even if your child doesn’t usually wear sunglasses, you would be well advised to get them a pair. A pair of trendy Junior Clubmasters which you can customize to your kid’s taste is always a good option. Be aware that some pools are filled with salty water, so a pair of swim goggles is probably a good idea also.