Have you ever been on a cruise? The Husband and I have been on 4. It’s absolutely the BEST vacations we have ever been on. We love the entire experience for cruising!! From the fun and interesting people that you can meet. The activities on board are abundant! You can do as much or as little as you want and everything is included!!
Depending on the cruise line and of course the destination there are TONS of things to do no matter how old you are!! Swimming pools, basketball court, you can play mini-golf to ping-pong! You can play video games in the arcades!
Most ships even provide a kids club so you can have the day with adults or just sit by the pool or my favorite sit on the balcony of your cabin and enjoy the ocean! Kids clubs are like kids camp on water! So many things to do from scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, movies, even themed parties! I promise your kids will have so much fun and make new friends!
Food. Ahhhhh the food. My best advice is to pack stretch pants to come home in. HOLY MOLY there is a LOT of food. A LOT OF EXCELLENT food. Kids and adults both can find foods they love! YES! Even the pickiest of eaters will be in heaven! It doesn’t matter if your kid lives on Peanut Butter and Jelly (there’s a sandwich buffet) or pizza (A pizza buffet I dare you to try to walk by without grabbing a slice!). The dessert bar? Ohhh you have NEVER seen a dessert bar until you have been on a cruise. There are restaurants on board as well, which may not be covered in the all-inclusive payment. The Husband and I usually book one romantic dinner every cruise.
Sleeping. Most cabins fit two people but can fit up to 4 pretty comfortably with the pull-out sofa. Some cabins even have bunks that pull down from the ceiling.
Destination. The main reason to take a cruise is usually for the destination. Hawaii? FANTASTIC!! Alaska? Don’t even think about it just book it!! Next for me? The Mediterranean. Specifically the Western Mediterranean. The itinerary that focus on Italy’s west coast. Depending on the cruise you could visit Rome and Florence, France’s glittering Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Seville, Gibraltar and Portugal.
Excursions. Before you cruise it’s a great idea to sit down with the family and decide which excursions you want to do. Many of the tours and activities are family friendly. The excursions also break down the exertion level, lots of walking, climbing, height regulations as such. Since The Husband has MS we always read the entire description because a lot of walking will not work for us. If you are traveling with a 2-year-old that might not work for you either.
Don’t forget private tours and shore excursions from Civitavecchia Rome. I would love to see the film studios where some of the famous Fellini films were produced! Of course I’m all for just gazing into the beautiful blue water of the Mediterranean.
Another important tip book as much as you can before you get on the ship!! Spa appointments, shore excursions, specialty dining and especially register your children for their programs in advance of boarding the ship or you might not get in. Programs and shore excursions book up quickly.
Packing. A couple of things that we have found very useful when we cruise. First a powerstrip. If you travel like we do with a lot of electronics; iPad, iPod, Game-boy, Phone (which is out of service the entire time at sea), curling iron and so on; there are usually only 2 electrical outlets in the cabin. The powerstrip is a lifesaver!! Next up is metal binder clips. The big ones, I keep about 6 in my suitcase all the time. I use them to close the curtains tight. I’m on vacation. I am sleeping in!! The clips insure a dark room. Smart huh??
Don’t forget sunscreen! You are on the water you will get burned without it. Another hint from me (yes, from experience!) a string or glasses strap. Yup, lean over the rail to look at the dolphin alongside the ship and bam….. off to the ship gift shop you go for new shades! Another MUST is pack bathing suits in your carry-on luggage so that kids can hit the pool as soon as they get on the ship; because they no doubt have already been waiting in line long enough for the whining to begin.
Medical. Ships do have medical centers on-board to help with sea-sickness. Speaking of sea-sick, pack some Ginger lollipops; they are the GREATEST remedy!! It’s also a good idea to pack some Tylenol for you and the kids too.
Remember; when you chose a ship for your family cruise, be sure to check out the ships features, itineraries, amenities and what’s important to your family.
Learning about your ports of call in advance is really important. Know what you want to do even before you get on the ship. Book your “must-do” excursions in advance before you get onto the ship. Popular tours sell out – sometimes well before the ship sails.
All this cruise talk is making me antsy!! I need a cruise!! What about you? Are you a cruise lover? Where have you been? Where would you love to go?