Will Your Kids Enjoy a Cruise Vacation?
Many parents take a cruise vacation without their kids because, sometimes parents need a break. If you are thinking taking your children along, though, they will not be disappointed. A cruise is also a very affordable vacation and great fun for the whole family.
Here is what kids of all ages seem to love…24 hour food options where they can order anything on the menu (and as much as they like), heated swimming pools, hot tubs, sports, games, arcades, movies, the ocean, meeting new kids from all over the country and exotic family excursions.
Children adjust quickly to life on a cruise ship. Most cruise lines offer kids clubs for specific ages (usually 3-17 with exceptions, such as Camp Carnival accepting children as young as 6 months old) run by trained and licensed youth counselors. These clubs are usually free, but some of the optional activities (like shore excursions, parties, and laser tag) may include a small fee. Your children will be safe, and having a wonderful time while you escape for some relaxation.
If you have older children, they may be reluctant to go to the kids club, but convince them to attend the meeting on the first or second day of your cruise vacation. They will be glad they went. They will meet other kids their age, which will make for a more enjoyable time for them…and you. A cruise gives your teen or “tween” a chance to split time between making new friends, and spending quality time with the family. The teen areas are similar to a large dorm room offering music, games, large-screen TV, a lounge area with bean bags, internet café, moviemaking software, karaoke machines, fitness classes and pool parties just for their age group.
Most cruise lines have staterooms that accommodate 4 or 5 comfortably and suites that can handle as many as 7 passengers, so it is extremely affordable for a family of any size to go on a cruise vacation together. Also, all Disney Cruises staterooms have split bathrooms (one bathroom has a toilet and a sink, while the other has a bathtub/shower and a sink) which make it much easier to get ready for dinner and excursions.
Most cruise lines have a third/fourth/fifth passenger rate that generally applies to children as well as adults. This rate is greatly discounted from the rate for the first two passengers, often by 50%. Many cruise lines also allow children 2 and under to sail for free!
You will find that many other families have made the choice to go on a cruise vacation, and on any of the large cruises, you should expect that there will be at least 100 children aboard.
On standard cruises, you will have many family-friendly entertainment options. Expect a family comedy show, followed later by an adults-only comedy show on most cruise ships. Some of the revues and night-time shows will feature tasteful, yet scantily clad women. Call the information desk and ask questions about the show, if this concerns you.
ShipOuts has noticed that ages 8-12 are the hardest to please on a cruise vacation. They are too old for the crafts and finger-painting, but too young for the discos and late night video game and pool parties. The cruise lines would be wise to create some additional activities for this age group. Princess cruise vacations, with their Junior Chef at Sea program and 300 foot screen movie nights, is one exception. Overall, though, all of cruise ships provide a great experience for any age.
Modern cruise ships often have many attractions for children and teens alike… including rock climbing walls, arcades, corkscrew water slides, surf simulators, movie theatres, laser tag, ice skating rinks, zip lines suspended 9 stories high, putt-putt golf, and kid discos. A cruise vacation is a fantastic family vacation, and long after your children have grown you will have fantastic memories to cherish and share.
All cruise lines have excellent family and children’s programs but some seem to especially cater to this crowd…like Carnival, Holland, or Princess, and of course, Disney Cruise vacations.
IMPORTANT - Any minor child traveling without EITHER parent listed on their birth certificate, will be required to show a letter signed by the absent parent AND notarized. Get the Form Free
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