It’s always a good idea to talk to your family and this is especially important when proposing a family cruise. Try and find out what everyone can agree on concerning their essential requirements of a cruise holiday and then plan accordingly. Cruises come in different shapes and sizes – a trip that’s billed as a romantic getaway definitely won’t be suitable for an active family with small children. Honeymoon couples mightn’t have the best of times on a Disney Cruise – though this isn’t set in stone.
If you think of your cruise ship as a type of floating hotel you’ll soon become an expert at what type of cruise will suit your family. You don’t want to book a trip that doesn’t include any family-orientated activities. Always check out the activities before you book your trip. Of course a lot depends on the likes and interests of your family. It’s no use booking a tour which involves pizza creation in Naples if your child hates the idea of cooking. All major operators – including Thomson Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line – offer some kind of family cruise deals to choose from, so it’s easy to pick something that will please everybody.
Packing for your cruise
Preparing for a family cruise trip need not entail drama or panic. You don’t have to include every single article of clothing in your family wardrobe when packing. Leisure is the name of the game on a cruise, though the adults might want to include some type of more formal wear for a smart occasion. Some cruise lines also have children’s activities where a posh frock or bow tie is considered essential. Shorts, jeans and tee shirts and other comfortable clothes are the most important items to include. Don’t forget the swimwear for everyone.
Even though your child might claim withdrawal symptoms if parted from any of their electrical gadgets, you can persuade them that the cruise liner will have a huge range of alternative activities on board. The merits of a digital detox can never be over rated.
Don’t forget the nappies
It’s a sad fact of life that babies need nappies – a lot of them. Some cruise lines provide these vital items, but not all. Ask your cruise line whether they carry nappies on board. The same applies to baby food and formula. You should be able to buy children’s sunscreen on board – but if you have a favourite brand then it’s best to include this in your packing.
In case any member of the family is on prescription medicine make sure that this is included in your packing. Let your GP know well in advance that you need to have a supply for your holiday. Also, anyone with any allergies or medical conditions should carry a card detailing this vital information.
Seasickness can affect anyone. Reserving a cabin in the middle of the ship is one way around this problem. Another solution is to include a motion sickness band or medication in your baggage. Preparing for your medical needs when on a cruise is mainly a matter of common sense.
Spoilt for choice
With the growing popularity of family cruise holidays, the range of activities continues to expand. Both parents and children sometimes relish the idea of being away from each other – some time apart won’t do any harm and gives everyone something to talk about when they get back together again. If this idea suits your family then check out cruises that have child-only activities. Of course there are some kids who really enjoy adult activities – make sure that some of your treats can involve children.
Childcare options do vary and one line will gladly take on responsibility for a baby of six months – another might only offer childcare for older children. Check before you book.
Bags are useful
Travelling around with children usually incorporates a lot of baggage. You could make your life a lot more stress-free if you include a tote bag or similar to transport nappies, sunscreen and other essentials to and from the pool area. Also embarkation can take time – be prepared. It’s a fantastic idea to have some of your vital possessions, such as tickets, cruise documents, etc, close to hand until you are reunited with your luggage.
Fun for all
Very often many generations of a family will only get together at a wedding or other type of celebration. An essential ingredient of a family cruise is inter-generational entertainment. Granny and grandpa may be gaining years but this doesn’t mean to say that they can’t cut a dash on the disco floor dancing with the grandchildren or can’t display a mean imitation when in front of the karaoke microphone.
Many cruises offer specific programmes that are designed with all age groups in mind. Look out for a cruise line that offers themed deck parties, these are always great fun – remember that laughter is the most important ingredient of any family holiday. And if you’re prepared for your holiday you’ll be able to enjoy your adventure on the seas all the more.