As most parents know, travelling with kids is not always a vacation. Some parents look forward to getting back home from the vacation so that they can finally get some rest! If this is how you feel, planning vacations cannot be much fun for you. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case if you plan a cruise vacation. You can put the days of being exhausted behind you as you finally enjoy some much-needed peace. A cruise trip is one of the best ways to take the stress and work out of your vacation. The best part is that there are many cruise ships to take you to virtually any destination.
If you are hoping to sightsee, you can see a different location each day without the hassle of hiring a taxi and changing hotels or beds. If you are looking for some relaxation, you can send the kids off to the kids’ club leaving you time to enjoy the view or read a good book. Unlike when you are staying at a resort or hotel, you do not have to constantly worry about your kids wandering off.
When on the cruise ship, you know that your kids will not get lost and there is a lot to keep them entertained especially on large ships. As long as the children are fed, entertained through the free children’s programs and they are getting plenty of exercise, you can relax during the entire trip. Following are some questions to ask yourself when booking the cruise.
1. Does the ship have a kids’ club?
Most cruise ships have supervised children’s program, that come in very handy when you want spend some alone or couple time. Having someone else looking after your kids for a couple of hours each day will free you to do some of the things you really enjoy. Find out if the ship has a kids’ club and ask about the different activities available onboard. Most clubs are divided into different age groups, with each group meeting in its own clubroom. Counselors are available for each group and they offer a wide range of activities, both daily and nightly. Remember that most programs admit kids three years and above.
2. What kids’ activities are available?
When planning the trip, you need to find out the kids’ activities that are available onboard. Depending on the age of your children, you have to ensure that there are activities that they enjoy to keep them occupied. It is important to know that most kids’ programs do not admit very young toddlers or kids that are not potty trained. Do not hesitate to ask all the relevant questions regarding the activities when making the booking. Find out if they have child-friendly pools and how kids are supervised.
3. Where will the cabin be located?
When you consider the size of the modern cruise lines, you know that cabin location is a big deal. When you think that it can take you ten minutes to get from one place to the next, you realize how important it is to be centrally located. The frequent movement from the pool to the eating areas, kids’ club and sports deck can prove to be a real nightmare if you have to walk for ages. Booking a cabin that is close to the kid-friendly areas can be a huge relief.
4. What hours do the kids’ clubs operate?
It is a good idea to find out the schedule of the kids club so that you can plan accordingly. The opening hours can end up dictating your schedule during the entire cruise. The hours will vary from one ship to another and sometimes the club is open throughout from morning to evening. On some ships, the club is open for the morning hours before closing and opening again after a two-hour lunch break and closing again during dinnertime. During days in port, the club hours are different, and in many cases, they charge an hourly fee. You may not be able to leave the kids on the ship as you go exploring at the port.
In addition, find out about the activities available at each port and note that while some ships offer many kid-friendly shore excursions, others do not have many options. Needless to say, you also need to find out the age restrictions of these cruise excursions.
5. What are the dining options?
While cruise programs will allow you flexibility during the day, evening meals are usually fixed. This means that you have specific times for dinner and this usually means that you can be assigned an early or late dinner. This can be tricky when you have kids because it will either mean that you eat earlier than you would like to, or later than is ideal for the kids. Find out if you have options when it comes to dinner times and if there are foods that can be available if you choose not to be in the dining room at the specified hours. In many cases, a buffet is available all the time and you can also order room service.