Holidays with kids can require a lot of extra planning, ensuring you choose a child-friendly destination, with facilities to suit and of course, entertainment galore. Cruising can be the perfect option for a holiday that appeals to the whole family, catering to all ages with a range of activities and facilities right there on hand. Not only that, but there is the added benefit of included food and drinks on board, making cruises a cost effective all in one holiday package option for families.
However not all cruise ships and on-board facilities are aimed at catering for the whole family, therefore we have put together a list of some of the options for kid-friendly cruises as recommended by our Brisbane Kids readers.
Plan ahead for your cruise especially with when you have kids. Note the time of year, where you might want to head and do some pros and cons lists about which cruise ships will offer the best experience. Check out prices booking direct but also head down to your local travel agent to see if they have any specials on offer.
Tips for taking a cruise with kids
- Use a travel agent if you can, they come with advice and experience.
- Arrive the day before your ship sails. A) you won’t miss the boat B) you will have time to overcome any travel related anxiety
- Dress for the climate you are planning to head to, pack more than one pair of togs because they will be your main attire.
- Consider packing warm gear for the evenings.
- Pack some going out clothes for the restaurants and casinos.
- Most boats have onboard medicine but stock up none the less especially on sea sickness tablets.
- Ask about bathtubs when booking- sometimes you will find rooms with them which can make life easier with kids and give you a moments peace.
- Know your babysitting options before you head along. What is free, what will you need to pay for.
- Check out cruise forum boards for reviews and tips on particular cruise ships.
- Pack lots of babywipes and lots of antibacterial wipes.
- Aim to hook your kids up with new friends straight away. Often there are orientations you can head to on the first day- make the most of them.
- If you travel often find out if they have discounts for loyalty
- Pack a carry on bag with some togs for the first day so while you are waiting for your luggage to arrive in your rooms you can enjoy the facilities and relax!
- Buy some cheap 2 way radios for the kids- it is a great way to keep in contact on a ship that likely has very little (if any) mobile coverage. AWESOME for teens who want their freedom but still need to be in touch.
- Take a power board
- Take a windbreaker
- Pack some workout clothes (I know what you are thinking) but even if you arent planning to get fit- there are lots of awesome exercise classes on Cruise ships and it is a perfect chance togive them a go.
- Lots of suncream and hats are a must as well as sunsafe rashies for the kids
What you can expect for your money
When you book for a cruise with kids what you receive will largely depend on the cruise ship company but at a minimum you should have included
- Most onboard entertainment
- Buffet food and drink options (excluding alcohol)
- Kid Club (YEAH!)
If you are looking for a wider range of cruising destinations, Princess Cruises offers a large range of itineraries cruising around the world. On board they have Youth Centres for 3-12 year olds and Teen Lounges for 13-17 year olds, with experienced staff providing daily entertainment and activities, such as craft projects, games, movies and talent shows to keep the younger cruisers happy. They also have a partnership with the California Science Centres, offering workshops for older kids. Their ship, Sun Princess travels frequently from Brisbane, however there are plenty other options from different ports also. http://www.princess.com/
One of the favourite parts of a Carnival Cruise for kids will likely be the onboard water park, along with swimming pools, mini golf, basketball and other child-friendly cruise activities that will be sure to delight. They also have kids play zones, complete with optional activities that are age appropriate, such as treasure hunts and obstacle courses, all included in the general cruise ticket price. You will need to travel to Sydney for departure on Carnival Cruises however, with no Brisbane port options. http://www.carnival.com.au/
P & O Cruises
As one of the big names in cruising in Australia, P & O Cruises pride themselves on being family friendly, with facilities to appeal to all ages, from swimming pools, the adventure park and games rooms, to big screens and kids clubs aimed at different age groups. They also have a range of live shows and onboard entertainment suitable for the whole family, and day trip options to expand on the holiday adventure. Pacific Dawn has recently received a refurbishment, and travels several different itineraries from Brisbane, including Island Hopping or Northern Queensland options. They offer adjoining room options for larger families or groups. http://www.pocruises.com.au/
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Priding themselves on cruises that cater to the whole family, Royal Caribbean cruises include Adventure Ocean Youth programs, Fischer Price Playgroup and the Dreamworks Experience, featuring Madagascar on board. They have character appearances from the kids favourite Dreamworks films, such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, while also offering activities such as mini golf, ice skating, rock climbing, and the world’s first carousal at sea, giving endless options to keep the kids entertained on board.
They also offer family friendly dining, providing fast dining service for 3-11 year olds, before picking up the kids for more kids club activity time while parents enjoy their meals without the need to occupy children. They do offer occasional Brisbane departure, and much more regular departure from Sydney.
The Benefit of Choosing a Child-Friendly Cruise for Your Holiday
- You have meals together
- You can watch shows together
- They have kids clubs (check in advance what age groups and activities they provide)
- in-built babysitting
- Lots of on-board activities
- Fancy meals for date nights (kids can go with the sitter < dream >)
- You get to see new places but you don’t have to do any driving or lug your gear around
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