How to Go on a Cruise with Kids

Vacations can be very complicated to figure out, and things only get harder to coordinate when children are in the mix. It can be hard to line up what everyone wants out of their vacation, and cruises might seem too limited to be the right choice. If you’re stuck on a boat in the middle of nowhere, there’s not much you can do if your child gets sick of the surroundings.

Luckily, cruises are actually an excellent option for a vacation with the kids, but they need to be planned out properly. We’re gonna have to sidestep the black-tie-only dinner spots, but there’s still a wide variety out there to pick from. So, let’s check out a few steps you should be considering if you want to plan a cruise with your kids.

Pick the right cruise line

Maybe this a little too obvious to state, but we’re gonna say it anyway. This is the very first thing you need to think about, even before you think about where you want to go. Which cruise line you go with will determine when and where you go on your vacation, so it’s of utmost importance.

When picking out a company to go with, there are a few factors to consider. How old are your kids? What are they into? Are you going to want to spend a lot of time together, or are you and your significant other looking for some adult time while the kids get play time? Different cruise lines (and different ships within those lines) offer incredibly different experiences, so you need to do your research. If you want a more refined experience, a smaller luxury line will do fine. If you want your kids to have lots of heart-racing activities to try, look at something like Royal. If you want to do some fun family bonding, maybe Disney is the right choice. You can all get a pic with Mickey! What’s more fun than that?

Look at the itinerary…closely

You may see a cruise to the Bahamas and immediately think “yes,” but it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are other factors to consider, like how long you’ll be on the boat, what kinds of activities are available at each port, et cetera. If your child needs more time to run around or will get bored on the ship, avoid itineraries that have multiple sailing days near each other. If they’re young, try to steer away from ports that feature a lot of walking around or museum visits or anything of that sort. Most cruises have pretty detailed info about what you can do when you’re off the ship, so get deep into the website and read up.

Packing everything you can think of

This goes for any vacation with kids, but it’s doubly true on cruises. If you forgot their medicine, it’s not gonna be super easy to run to Walgreens and pick up some more. If they have sensitive skin, make sure you have more than enough sunscreen for them (and yourself, too, but you can handle a sunburn better than most kids). If you have children that are more of the antsy type, bring along some games or books that can help entertain them if they get bored of the activities on the ship.

Ask them what they want!

Communication with your child is incredibly important (not that you need us to tell you that, but still!). The easiest way to make sure they’re happy with a cruise vacation is to just ask them. Quiz them about where they think would be coolest to sail. Show some pictures of the ports or videos of on-board activities. Their reactions will tell you everything you need to know.

Cruising with a kid has some hurdles that other types of vacations don’t have, but they can end up being the perfect mode of travel for families. Lots of cruises are completely designed to keep kids entertained 24/7, and kids areas/clubs leave you free to do whatever you’d like while they have the time of their lives. There are some logistics, sure, but it’s worth it to figure them out!

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How to Go on a Cruise with Kids
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How to Go on a Cruise with Kids
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Let's check out a few steps you should be considering if you want to plan a cruise with your kids.
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