You’ve decided – this is the year that the whole family are going to go on a cruise for the first time. It could be you and one, two or more children and it may even be multi-generational. The important thing is you’ve decided on your cruise – you’ve picked the dates, the cruise line and ship and the itinerary. It sounds ideal, but here are a few tips that could make your experience even more fantastic: from before you even book to your actual experience on board.
If you are looking for cabins for three or four people or if you want a variety of cabins near each other (a balcony cabin with an inside cabin opposite, for example) – the earlier you book, the better choice you will have. Most late deals that come along do not allow you to choose your cabin number, so you will not necessarily get the type of cabins you want or where you want them.
It sounds ideal driving up to the port and unloading everything, but it all has to be stored in your cabin!! Have you checked its size? You may want to consider a collapsible buggy rather than a jogging buggy. Do you need a fridge in the cabin? What about baby milk and suitable food? If your child has a nap during the day, do you want to sit with them in an inside cabin or should you consider a balcony cabin, so that you don’t feel that you are quite as stuck in the cabin with them, whilst they sleep?
For safety reasons the Kids Clubs on board only cater for a certain number of children in each age group. Once that number is reached, any more children falling into that age group are allowed on the cruise, solely at the discretion of the cruise line. This applies even if they aren't wanting to attend the Kids Clubs activities.
Have you packed the Ipods, Ipads, mobile phones and other electronic devices your family just can’t get by without, not even on holiday? But more importantly, have you checked that you have enough electrical adapters of the correct type for your cabin voltage, so that you can navigate all the re charging issues successfully?
Whether you are flying to embark your ship or whether you are driving to the port, your children will want to explore the ship IMMEDIATELY. Place your bets that they will want to try out the pool areas right away. So make sure you have their swimming gear in your hand luggage: the kids will not thank you if they have to wait for their luggage to be delivered to your cabin, before they can change and try out the facilities.
After a swim and a charge round the ship, most children will be thirsty. If yours are the type that drink all day long, if it’s warm and the summer holidays, consider a drinks package for them. Check out the deals available either before you go or when you get on board. It could mean they don’t spend the whole cruise constantly asking you to get them a drink!
There really is something for everyone on a cruise and that includes parents!! Many of the cruise lines offer a family style dining time where you start off eating as a family and then the staff from the Kids Clubs come part way through the meal, take the kids off and let the adults finish their meal in peaceful bliss.
Later on, for an adult only, carefree evening – why not book a babysitter or arrange for the Kids to go to the evening sessions in the Clubs. For younger children there may even be a Night Nursery.
Check these out before you book them: does the description of the excursion mean that the whole family will have a good time? Is there a lot of travel involved to get to the actual venue for the excursion? Is it all sightseeing and shopping or is there the opportunity for the kids to let off steam in a water park or on a beach? Cruising is about seeing new places (wrapped up in the old cliché of only unpacking once), but equally it's about building memories for everyone who is on holiday with you. Don’t forget Kids Clubs do still operate on ships, when in port. It may mean you can go and visit that one place you have always dreamed of seeing (which you know will bore the children senseless!) Walkie talkies provided.
There will usually be information available about these last three opportunities, before your cruise begins. Don't hesistate to contact me, Helen Worthington, on 0161 439 5179 with any queries you may have!!