11 expert tips for cruising with kids | rad family collective
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This post is a follow-up to a previous one titled: 10 day South Caribbean cruise | rad family collective, where we followed my friend Kendra Scheerer and her family through warm waters and the islands of Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Martin, Dominica, and Tortola.
11 quick tips for cruising with kids
My friend Kendra Scheerer recently shared all about her family's fantastic 10 day cruise through the South Caribbean. Take a minute to check out their story! Kendra loves helping other families seek out new traveling adventures together.
An expert on cruising with kids, Kendra shares several spectacular tips to consider when you decide to book a cruise vacation with kids. I would have never thought of half of these! But I'm not an expert on cruises with kids... yet!
Sharing is caring, so here are Kendra's tips for cruising with kids:
1. Consider cruising in the low season to save money.
The Scheerer family cruised in February when prices were lower and crowds were smaller. Consider cruising with another family that you all enjoy being with. More kids equals even more fun for your kids. Or...
2. Choose a 7 day family cruise during more popular times.
Keep in mind, less families cruise while their kids' schools are in session, so if you desire for kids to make play buddies and new friends on the boat, choose a 7 day cruise and book it during a more popular time of year like Thanksgiving week, winter break, or spring break time periods.
3. Book a cruise ship geared towards families with kids.
Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ships are geared towards families with adventurous kids. Boasting a H2O Kids' Water Park, Rock-Climbing Wall, Ice Skating Rink, FlowRider® Surf Simulator, Dream Works Experience, and more, you can understand why this rates as a top pick for cruising with kids.
4. Try to book at least 9 months out.
Booking your cruise nine months out will most likely provide you with more dining and excursion choices (book separately). If you book your cruise last minute (which could save you money!), you very well may have less choice about dining times. Some ships are becoming more laid back on dining times, so know before you go.
5. See what others are saying.
Cruisecritic.com is a fantastic place to read honest reviews about different ships and check out any awards they are known for. Don’t pick anything with less than 80% satisfaction rating.
Keep in mind, the cheapest rates for Caribbean cruises are typically offered between September and early January, with the exception of holiday weeks. Bargains are also found between mid April and the end of May (according to CruiseCritic.com).
6. Interior rooms are the least expensive deal for lodging.
As a family, your best bet might be reserving two rooms connected with a door between. It may be snug and cozy, but remember, you only use your room for sleeping, showering, and dressing.
Moms and dads: a dark room is perfect for taking turns enjoying a long afternoon nap.
7. Take advantage of the free room service
Once on the boat, know from day one that room service is FREE! Take advantage of it on those mornings you know you will be hopping off the boat early for your day's excursion off the boat.
8. Research different excursions ahead of time.
Check out what other families recommend for island days at TripAdvisor.com. If you book your excursions ahead of time, you're likely to save money versus if you book them while on board the cruise ship.
9. Embark on an adventure every day with your kids!
Again, plan ahead and involve older kiddos in the research of the islands too. Give your kids buy-in by letting each one pick at least one excursion they'd really like to do together as a family. This will also help your kids discover new activities they didn't even think they would like!
10. Kids are very safe on the boat, but...
This probably goes without saying, but please know where they are at all times and have them report in to you when they change locations! Have a system in place to communicate (ie. a specific place in your room where you leave notes for each other especially if cell phones aren't an option).
Or designate a place and time for everyone to meet up when everyone splits up on the boat. Use a buddy system on and off the boat. This is pretty much a non-negotiable in our family. Develop a plan and use it from day one.
11. Don't be afraid to change course.
Kendra's above 10 tips reminded me of this final family travel tip:
Remain flexible - pretty much our rad family travel mantra.
Even with a plan, don't be afraid to change course. Do what works best for your family and what will help you make first-rate memories together. Remember, it's your vacation. Keep it fun!
We are so grateful for Kendra sharing her cruising tips with us! I can't wait to put them into practice.
Please check out Kendra's Facebook page called My Tribe Travel Consulting. When she's not homeschooling her four children, Kendra enjoys helping close friends and family plan adventurous vacations just like the Caribbean cruise she shared with us here.
Have you been on a cruise with kids? What advice would you give to families thinking about cruising with their kids for the first time? We'd love to know, so please share below!
P.S. If you know a family thinking about taking a cruise for the first time together, please feel free to pass this post on to them. Thanks!
Top opening photo credits: Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_costin79'>costin79 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>