It’s 21 Days before your cruise and your kids are counting the days till they are swimming in the pool, ordering room service and staying up late at night! There is so much to talk about kids and cruising that we really had to narrow down the most important things for you to do today. So lets begin the prep for bringing your kids on a cruise!
Before you cruise with your children
- If you are traveling as a single parent and leaving the country, make sure that you do not need legal written consent from the other parent to take your child out of the country. If you do need it be sure to get it notarized.
- Check that your stateroom has the correct bed set up for you and your kids. Check the website.
- Confirm all cribs or child’s special needs with your Travel Agent.
- Order drink packages for the kids.
- Make your shopping list all of the accessories you need to keep them happy, busy and looking sharp while aboard!
EXAMPLE – We heard this story of grandparents traveling with their two little grandkids. They thought that there was a pull out couch in the cabin. Come to find out that there wasn’t a couch, but bunk beds! The kids were too small for bunk beds, so they got the beds! And yep…the Grandparents got the bunk beds! They laughed for years about that. But you may not!!!!
BE INFORMED ABOUT WHAT KID’S STUFF THE SHIP HAS TO OFFER AND SHARE IT WITH YOUR KIDS NO MATTER THEIR AGE. GET THEM INVOLVED BEFORE THEY CRUISE!
Cruise Line Kid’s List
Yep, go to your cruise line’s website and search the following.
- Check out the cruise programs for each of your children. Look at pictures online. Show them to your kids! Let them get excited! Usually the kids programs are broken up into age groups. Check if your kids will be together, or separated by their age. Usually this can be remedied aboard if they are close in age by letting the older one go into the younger groups.
- Check out the babysitting options onboard. Prices, hours, etc.
- What are the dining options for your kids? Buffets, cafes, etc. Do they charge for room service?
- What are the kid’s shows/entertainment on your ship? Characters? Video Arcades? Extra costs?
- What kind of kid’s sports or outdoor activities are there? Basketball, rock climbing, ice skating, comedy classes?
- What are the drink packages or water packages available for kids?
- Do you want to embrace formal night with your kids? Buy their formal clothes!
- Let the kids help choose the shore excursions!
- If you have teens with you what are the ships curfew for teens?
- Is there a teen disco aboard?
- Is there a movie theater?
- Do you want to arrange cabin decorations for your arrival? Birthday decorations? Bon Voyage?
- Do you want to order gifts from the ship online to be delivered to your cabin? Beach bags? Towels? Hats? Kids totes?
HINT – There is almost always a Kid’s Talent Show! If your child has a special talent, bring what they may need? Music! Instruments! Karate Clothes! Costumes! Props!
HINT – You can actually ask your Travel agent to have the cruise line send you an example kid’s itinerary to see what a day in the life of your child will look like.
HINT – SCHMOOZE! We always have our kids bring a gift for the Captain! Whether it’s a hand written letter, or a crayoned picture or even something like Girl Scout cookies. We like to train them young to respect the staff onboard. You also never know what the Captain will send back to your child! Making life long friendships with staff starts early and can pay off handsomely over the years.
Going on shore with your kids
- Do some research online with your kids of the ports that you will be visiting. Watch videos of the culture and the people.
- What special clothes or accessories do your kids need for the port? Beachwear? Water shoes? Walking Shoes? Sun hats? Sunscreen? Sunglasses? Water bottles?
- Will your kids carry their own backpacks on the port?
- Will they have their own camera?
- Teach your children how to say hello in the native language of the ports you will visit!
Here are some of our favorite things to increase the kid’s engagement on their cruise!
- Look up nautical terms for them to learn.
- Get them a travel diary.
- Teach them how to take pictures with your camera or their own camera.
- Let them pick out a beach bag, backpack or port bag to use. (You can use it for travel days, too)
- Find Sea life or marine books to read before the cruise.
- Binoculars! Nothing like letting them search for whales or mermaids!
- Teach your kids how to be an Explorer of the World with this Portable Life Museum.
Cruising with teens
Ah, the teen is a different kind of sea creature all together! They will probably be hard to keep by your side with everyone and everything that is aboard for them to do.
HINT – Set their boundaries and make an agreement with them before the cruise as to what your expectations are of them.
- Which meals must they have with you?
- When do they need to check in with you and how? Notes in your cabin, phone messages, texts?
- What is their curfew very night?
- Lay down the no alcohol rule!
- How late can they sleep in ever day?
HINT – We set the rule that they cannot go into other kid’s cabins or have other kids in your cabin if you are not there. It’s a safety procedure that we have come to be very grateful for!