While initially seen as catering to middle-aged and older adults who need a reprieve from work and family life, the cruise industry has become increasingly age-inclusive over the years. According to a study by Cruise & Travel, this has led to a rise in passengers from every age group under 60. These younger age groups grew from representing 37% of cruise customers in 2019 to 40% in 2022. Moreover, more cruises are catering to this demand by offering onboard activities and amenities specially designed for kids and teens.
Given these positive changes, you can look forward to boarding your first cruising journey with your babies, toddlers, or kids. While this may be more challenging than arranging a child-free vacation due to the additional care responsibilities, here are some tips to help ensure a memorable travel experience for parents and children alike.
1. Select cruise lines with kid-friendly onboard activities
An essential part of cruising with kids is ensuring they’re comfortable and entertained throughout the journey. So, aside from choosing cruise lines that offer connecting suites or cabins large enough for the entire family, onboard activities and entertainment options are equally important. In this light, Royal Caribbean has exciting spots and attractions for family fun, from zip lines and surf simulators to arcades and movie rooms. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something more luxurious, Uniworld ensures its on-shore activities and facilities are ideal for learning and enjoyment. Its offerings include a gaming lounge, ship tours, and arts and crafts workshops.
2. Ensure the itinerary can be appreciated by all ages
No matter how fun-filled sea journeys can be, the travel experience extends beyond the ship. You’ll want your kids to enjoy and learn from the excursions as much as you are, if not more, so ensuring an age-appropriate itinerary is a must. Fortunately, Explora Luxury Cruises curates a selection of destinations that children of various ages and interests can be passionate about and participate in. Coined as the luxury cruise line’s Multi-Generational Journeys, these experiences include a whale-watching adventure guided by a marine biologist for young minds interested in marine life or a day at a farm for kids with a fondness for nature and animals. Additionally, older kids can benefit from a mix of education and entertainment through culture and heritage tours across European countries like Greece and Italy.
3. Don’t be afraid to overpack
Typical vacation advice focuses on packing less for easier travel. But since your luggage is taken care of as you move from one destination to the next on a cruise, don’t be afraid to overpack and be overprepared for what your kids may need along the way. For instance, bringing the popular stroller Babyzen Yoyo is a good idea, as it’s designed for mums on the go. With its lightweight and compact design, you can easily pack it with you in case your toddler gets tired of walking around while sightseeing. It also helps to have your kids’ favourite pre-packaged snacks or treats on hand, aiding in calming them down when they’re particularly grumpy or fussy on the trip.
4. Teach your kids about onboard health and safety
Beyond learning and enjoyment, your children’s health and safety while on the ship remain a priority. Although family-friendly cruises like the Disney Cruise Line emphasise safety by limiting their onboard capacity and making it easier to spot your kids from a crowd, teaching your kids to follow rules and guidelines is still crucial. These include keeping a safe distance from balconies or railings, especially when there’s no adult to supervise them, as well as walking carefully along passageways and stairwells to avoid injuries and show respect for other passengers.
Ultimately, taking your kids on a cruise requires additional patience and effort. But by introducing them to new sights, cultures, and destinations, you help cultivate their capacity to be curious and experience new things. If you’re in search of more helpful advice and resources on all things motherhood, check out the rest of the articles here at The Motherload®.