Following our recent post where we listed the 10 truths about travelling with kids, we thought it would be interesting to explore different types of family holidays, and how they fare in terms of child-friendliness and the overall experience. To start off with, we are exploring the notion of ‘cruising with kids’.
Francesca Pace founder of Gaia and Nina Blog, recently went on a cruise aboard the ‘Harmony of the Seas’ to the Western Mediterranean, with her family and was nice enough to give us an inside peek into the experience. Since we like to ‘keep it real’ here at BuzyMummy, thanks to some first-hand experience and research we have carried out on the topic, we will give you both the PROS and CONS of cruising with kids.
We must add that, naturally the experience depends on which cruise ship and journey you choose to venture on, however we hope this list will help you become more aware of what to look out for when booking your cruise, or at least be prepared for certain things that would otherwise have caught you by surprise.
1. The possibility of boarding a cruise directly from Malta, meaning no plane-rides and long walks through the airport with heavy luggage and kids in tow. Just board the ship, check in and you are in your new holiday home for the next week or so.
2. Many cruise lines these days (including Norwegian, Royal, Disney, and MSC) are catering for young children, offering attractions such as water slides, kids’ clubs, kids’ camps, mini-golf, outdoor movies, and video arcades.
*top two images are courtesy of Grazielle Camilleri.
Most cruise ships are now catering for young children
3. There are plenty of activities for kids, so parents can enjoy some time alone. Some cruise lines have also increased their staff to include camp counselors and others to work strictly with the kids on board and some also offer babysitting services in the state rooms.
4. Some cruise lines even lets kids cruise for free.
5. When it comes to food, most cruise lines will accommodate the tastes of your child and several will even make their own baby food from scratch, but you will need to request this ahead of time.
6. Room service is free so if you would prefer to feed your child away from the crowds and distractions of the dining room you can.
7. High chairs are available in the dining room, or you can have one brought to your state room.
8. Fresh air. When travelling by car, train or even airplane one thing that is for sure, is that the air is anything but fresh and it can actually get quite stuffy and claustrophobic. With cruising, you can enjoy the freshest, least polluted air whilst you enjoy the breathtaking view.
9. You can choose where to eat and whether to dress up or to go casual.
10. You get to go to exotic places while staying in a luxurious hotel. No need to change rooms during the trip.
You get to visit many exotic places in a short time.
11. They really do spoil you on a cruise. Someone takes care of your cooking, cleaning and entertainment so you can just focus on making the best out of the holiday experience.
12. Some cruise lines have not gone the extra mile to include child-friendly activities, so you’ll need to do some research ahead of time, to avoid the risk of your children telling you they are bored whilst you are on board a cruise.
If a cruise liner does not cater for young children, they may get bored, especially on days ‘at sea’.
13. Typically kids have to be at least 3 years old to go into the kids’ clubs and they have to be potty trained.
14. Most cruise lines charge full price for kids.
Some cruise lines charge for young children
15. Most of the state rooms only have a stand-up shower so if your child is too young to take a shower you will need to bring an inflatable bath-tub with you.
16. The fact that you are made to pass through security every time you disembark and embark the ship can be inconvenient especially if your child is peacefully sleeping in the pushchair and you need to take her out to pass through security.
17. Toddlers who are not potty-trained cannot use the pools. Pools on the cruise ship are usually highly chlorinated and it probably wouldn’t be good for very young kids anyway.
Kids must be potty-trained to use the pools on board the ship.
18. WI-FI is limited and expensive on board a ship, which can be a good thing if you are happy to cut off from the virtual social world whilst on holiday.
19. State rooms tend to be quite small and storage space is limited, so keep that in mind when you are packing. There are a few drawers, but not enough for everyone to have their own if you’re all in the same room.
20. Stays in ports of call are relatively short and it can be disappointing especially when it is a place you have taken a liking to,and would prefer to have more time to explore it further.
Limited time in some locations where you wish to stay longer can be disappointing.
Can you think of any other PROS and CONS when it comes to cruising with children? We would love to hear from you, please give us your feedback in the comments section below.
Thank you also to M&J Photo Studio International for the photography of Gaia and Nina wearing L’Enfant D’Or as can be seen in the images below. Click here to view L’Enfant D’Or’s entire collection. Shipping to Malta is free.