Smooth Sailing: Tips for Cruising with Kids


A cruise ship.Last month my family of four embarked on an epic adventure via a cruise. When friends asked if we would be interested in joining them on this vacation, the two biggest selling features were: 

  1. No flights. We only had to drive about 90 minutes to board our cruise, an amazing perk of tri-state living. 
  2. All-inclusive. Need I say more? 

Having survived and created amazing memories during this break, I am excited to share what I learned, hoping it may help you experience smooth sailing too. 

First, we chose to go with another family we are close friends with and have kids that correspond to ours. 

This worked out perfectly because we could hang out in various ways; the moms had time in the adult pool area, the dads got to play (and dominate) adult dodgeball, and the kids could hit up the ice cream station together. Since our children weren’t into the kids club, having a buddy other than their sibling on the trip made it much more fun. Once we established a meeting place, we let our tweens go to the teen club and explore the ship together. 

Next, even though the ship had a TON of activities to keep everyone busy, I brought some small activities to keep the kids entertained while we were sitting. 

Dinner for eight takes some time! For the eight and nine-year-olds in our group, we packed Wikki Stix and dry-erase activity books. The books had various games like tic-tac-toe, crosswords, mazes, etc. When that got old, we let them play Heads Up! on our phones, and this was hours of entertainment for all of us (check it out in the app store).   

One thing we couldn’t predict was the weather. Unfortunately, that meant we missed the port in the Bahamas one of the days, and it rained all day. Prior to the trip, we learned from a social media group that when the ship is in port, they open up the reservations for the add-on experiences and offer them for free. Fortunately, we could still book a free indoor skydiving session during the planned day in port. The cruise director also added a bunch of activities to the itinerary that day, so we participated in an impromptu juggling lesson with one of the entertainers.

Something we also planned for in advance was motion sickness. 

Although we were in a storm, no one in our group felt sick. We were prepared with Dramamine and sea bands, just in case. These are a necessity for cruising, whether you use them or not.  

Finally, all the adults and the tweens in our group downloaded the cruise app beforehand. 

Having the app and a good idea of the upcoming onboard activities was so helpful. We could all pick what we liked, add it to our schedule, or make a reservation. This allowed us to do almost everything over the seven days, from climbing the rock wall, trying out indoor skydiving, seeing shows, dining in specialty restaurants, playing trivia, driving bumper cars, solving an escape room puzzle, and even taking a gym class.

We loved our time on board the ship and the excursions at the port. Everyone in our party got to spend the week doing things they were interested in and experiencing new things. This won’t be our last time staying in an on-water resort!

Where will your next family vacation take you?  


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