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CRUISING WITH KIDS

GENERAL INFORMATION

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Image credit: Disney Cruise Line

What to expect on cruises

Changing views, exciting destinations, on-board activities and an endless supply of fun - why not take your kids on a cruise for their next holiday!

Travelling with your children can be an extremely fun experience, especially if you're on the high seas! There are always a lot of things to consider when travelling with your children. Here we answer some of the top questions and concerns that families have when planning a cruise holiday with kids.

Are fares discounted for babies and kids?
Here’s an important one that all parents will appreciate, where can I save money? Some cruise lines will offer promotions, MSC Cruises, for example, have an offer that children under 18 travel FREE when sharing a cabin with two paying adults. Terms and conditions attach to these kinds of deals, so always read the fine print.

Image credit: MSC Cruises

Are there activities for kids on a cruise or will they get bored?
The great thing about this day and age is that more and more families are travelling with young children. This means that it’s almost a pre-requisite for hotels and cruise lines to entertain the little ones.
Cruise lines that promote family cruises always provide a range of activities for kids. Certain cruise lines, such as P&O Cruises, promote a variety of on-board activities for people of all ages – young kids, teens, adults and even the elderly. You may even expect to find public areas that are for children only, somewhere they can run amuck (under supervision, of course) while mum and dad go off and relax. Many cruise lines have kid’s clubs that supply an abundance of exciting activities that are designed to entertain your children while at sea.

Image credit: P&O Cruises

What if my child has special needs or my child is sick?
Cruise lines will need to be advised if your child has special needs (physical, medical, and so on). Cruises generally do not offer one-on-one supervision or administer medication; it is up to the parents or guardians to do this.

Image credit: Disney Cruise Line

Will the cruise supply kid-friendly food?
A child not liking vegetables is a cliché for a reason; so many little ones can be quite picky but not to worry. Any cruise that accommodates children will have a kid-friendly menu, as well as a standard menu for more adventurous kids (sometimes able to request a half-portion). Dietary restrictions are noted and the cruise line will accommodate to the best of their ability.

Image credit: Disney Cruise Line

What if my kids can’t sit through a whole dinner?
Who else gives their kids toys or an iPad to keep them quiet while the grown-ups finish their meals? It’s understandable that a holiday is the one time you want to relax and indulge for as long as possible.
Dinners on a cruise can be longer than the typical family meal at home and there are ways around this for the kids. You can either talk to the dining staff about expediting service (you may have to order your food in advance), try an early dinner seating, eat in your room (but no one wants to do that every night) or try the buffet restaurant (if available).
The best option, which is not always provided, is some cruises offer child-minding services for after their meal. The kids are whisked away by professional child-minding staff members, allowing the adults to finish their meals in peace.

Image credit: MSC Cruises

Can my whole family fit in one cabin?
It depends on the size of your family! Standard cabins fit two people, sometimes three-four. Designated family cabins sleep five-six, and some up to 14 in a series of interconnected rooms. You’ll have to check with your specific cruise line to see what they offer.
Remember that you will be sharing bathrooms in a room of four, which might be difficult. The interconnecting rooms (or rooms across the hall) might be easier. Keep in mind that some cruises require children of a certain age to be with an adult at all times, so your kids might not be able to share unless you’ve got an older teenager to act as their guardian.

Image credit: P&O Cruises

Does the ship provide cribs, strollers, bottles or purees for my baby?
What about diapers, baby meds and other kid necessities I forgot to pack? All valid questions. The best advice is – be prepared. Bring extra of your own stuff, don’t get caught out.
Most cruise lines provide cribs, sunscreen, toothbrushes, toothpaste and children’s shirts. Most DON’T provide diaper pails, bottles or bottle warmers (Disney Cruise Lines is the exception). If you’re lucky, your cruise will provide puree food, but this is not the norm. Bringing your own is still the best option as most cruises will provide a mini fridge or storage for baby food.

Image credit: Disney Cruise Line

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