Cruising With Kids 101
Cruises are no longer the exclusive, floating havens of besotted couples or twilight holiday makers – children are an integral and unforgettable staple of mega-ships, bringing onboard their skittering little cases, a buoyant sense of juvenile adventure and addictive curiosity. Many people imagine kids to be a berth-side burden, a drain on the upbeat ambience of a well earned (and planned!) time away from the sounds and reminders of real life. Over 1.5 million families disagree.
Kids are boarding everywhere; so instead of leaving the little ones and at home, it’s time to expand their horizons – quite literally!
Getting Some You Time
Packing up the kids isn't necessarily bidding goodbye to romance and an adult-friendly escape. Cruise companies, both locally and internationally, recognise the essential perk of on-ship childcare, giving parents a little time out to enjoy a full banquet of services and attractions. Before jumping for joy or gulping back a hesitant breath, do your research.
Cruise companies are transparent about their services – so what questions does a parent ask before booking? If you've dived into the childcare world before, the following will be very familiar.
• What is the care ratio? How many kids per counsellor?
• What qualifications do cruiseline carers hold?
• Are they suitably checked against current Working With Children records and First Aid Certificates?
Tip: Keep an eye out for supervised kids clubs and special offers.
Sample Family Steerage
Before setting sail into the blue yonder and crossing time-zones, trial something closer to home; Australian cruise branches offer local port to port cruises to provide a short taste of holiday life on the high seas. Not only will you be able to gauge if your family suits the structured meal times, planned activities and limited space of some ships, a short trip removes the pressure of a will-they/won’t-they guessing game. Your kids might be well-mannered, polite and curious kids on dry-land, but rolling decks aren't for everybody.
Tip: Try a five to seven day cruise from Brisbane or Sydney.
Establish Rules Early
Kids are active, energetic members of any family; while your fellow cruisers will understand youthful exuberance and heightened spirits, keeping younger members in toe with cruise expectations might take a few dry-land chats. Let them know they can’t be in certain areas without parental supervision, explain pool safety (dive bombing is fun – though not allowed) and check with the cruise line regarding any additional limits, eg. P&O Cruises requires a legal guardian accompany kids under 13 in public lounges after 9:30pm.
Tip: Pool activities are rarely included in the youth programme. Always make sure your kids are supervised by an adult when swimming or playing in the pool.
Cruises don’t have to be an expensive alternative to the family car-trip. Trade "are-we-there-yet" for "can-we-go-again" and begin a new family tradition. Are you still worried if family cruising is the right fit for you? Consider this. Family cruises (also known as cruising with kids) reside in the top 10% of popular holiday ideas. Will you join one million cruising families this year?
For the hottest family cruise deals, visit our website or call one of our Cruise Specialists on 1300 954 661 today!