Cruises are popular but those who have not experienced a family cruise are advised to follow some simple steps in order to get the most out of their vacation.
By: Laura Chapman
In the days before air flights were taken for granted by the majority of travellers, travelling by boat was deemed to be the most effective means of getting from A to B. Nowadays most people travel abroad by plane and the main function of passenger boats is rest and relaxation as more and more holidaymakers choose to go on cruise vacations each year. Cruises are popular with people wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get away from it all. They are also becoming increasingly popular with families because parents find it less stressful if they are able to keep an eye on their children whilst they are cruising. Those who have not experienced a family cruise are advised to follow some simple steps in order to get the most out of their vacation.
Do your Research
Beth Harpaz, travel editor for cruise news and review website Cruise Critic, advises parents who are thinking of taking children on a cruise to check out what organised activities are available for them to participate in before booking the vacation and look into what age groups they will be divided into. She says that whilst some kids don’t mind mixing with children who are a few years older or younger than them, this might prove problematic for others. Some cruise ships that offer sports and other entertainment for youngsters tend to lump them all in together, which might not be the right thing for your kids so it is important to do your homework and find out whether or not this will be the case.
Choose a Suitable Destination
When planning a cruise for your family, it is essential to choose a destination that is tailored towards your children’s tastes. Michele Wanke of cruise information website IloveToKnow Cruises suggests that if your kids are fans of the great outdoors then you might want to opt for a cruise that stops off in Mexico, Hawaii or the Caribbean, whereas if they are into fishing and snorkelling then the Bahamas would be the ideal location. If you take them somewhere where there is plenty to do for adults but nothing that they are interested in then they are likely to get bored and become crotchety, which will negatively impact upon your holiday.
Cruising with a Baby
If you are taking a baby with you on your cruise then it might be worth contacting the cruise line in advance to see what facilities will be provided. Most ships offer bed rails, cots and high chairs and sell diapers, baby wipes, strollers and baby formula but this is not always the case and you don’t want to risk having to go without something that is essential. Some companies only provide cribs if you request them well ahead of time. If this is the case then it is advisable to get your request in as soon as possible and avoid leaving it until the last minute. Similarly, if you don’t want to pack a large amount of baby clothes to take on your trip and plan on washing some clothes on the ship then it is essential to double check that the boat will be equipped with laundry facilities. Some cruise operators allow babies to paddle in the onboard swimming pool whilst wearing diapers and others do not so you might want to look into whether your little one will be able to use the swimming facilities as well. Certain ships are better suited than others to children who are not yet potty trained, as they are equipped with special filtration systems in case something goes wrong.
The most important thing to remember when cruising with your family is that the primary purpose of your vacation is to relax and have fun. Try and keep your children occupied with as many activities as possible so that you have time to do the things that you want to do and plan everything out in advance so that nothing is left to chance. That way, you will be able to have a relaxing, rejuvenating holiday without any unforeseen hiccups putting a blight on things and return home feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever challenges life throws at you with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.
Photo: Mental Dribble