Tag Archives: Cruises

Cruising With Kids

By Steven W., our family blogger

43_2523216.JPGCruising can be an ideal way to travel with young children due to the many onship activities and programs for your children, and due to the convenience of your cabin and the dining room when returning from a day long excursion.

We enjoyed a 15 day Hawaiian cruise aboard the Diamond Princess last November with our 1 year old and 4 year old. Here are some unique travel tips we learned that other families may find useful:

1) Get online early

On the first day that online access is available for your cruise, sign up for the children’s program (“Princess Pelicans” for our cruiseline), Reserve shore excursions, and make spa appointments. If you wait just a day or two later, the prime times will be booked already.

2) Create a master calendar

Write down dinner reservations, shore arrival/departure times, spa appointments, excursion info, and any special event times you don’t want to miss. There is so much to see and do during the cruise, that a master calendar really helps you get the most out of your vacation.

3) Pack a wristwatch for each adult

You may think that you won’t need to know what time it is during your cruise, but you will. There are few if any clocks on board, not even in your cabin. We had to turn on the television to see the time. Cell phones could be useful, but they should be off. A waterproof watch is useful both for the spa and the beach.

4) Pose for pictures every night before or after dinner

Unlike most professional photographers, there is no sitting fee charged for the photographers aboard the ship (depends on the ship). So, gather up your family and pose for pictures every night before or after dinner. You won’t have to pay or buy anything, and who knows, one of the photos may turn out great!

Bring your own USB memory key to get digital copies of your photos. And wait until the end of the cruise then buy several photos in a package deal.

27_2506443.JPG

5) Eat dinner at the same table every night

This may sound boring, but if you want to enjoy your dinner, it is best to find a good waitstaff, and then stick with them for the duration of the cruise. Your child’s needs (highchair, milk before you order, extra alphabet soup) will be met quickly as the waitstaff gets to know your family, leaving you with more time to relax and enjoy your meal.

One more tip: pack a goodie bag of inexpensive little toys for each child for each night in the dining room. This will keep the kids entertained while waiting for the adults to order and the food to arrive.

6) Rent a mini-van (with a carseat) for excursions

On most, if not all, of the Hawaiian islands, I would recommend renting a minivan.
We did this at Hilo and Kauai, and it worked out great. You can go at your own pace, see the sights you want to, and stop whenever the kids need a meal break or potty stop.

Every island stop had rental car shuttles to take you to the airport to get your vehicle. Plan on spending an hour to get the car and an hour to return the car, reducing your time by two hours. But it is well worth it for the flexibility it gives your family, and much less expensive than the organized excursions.

7) Use the porter

When traveling with kids, a porter is a necessity, not a luxury. Don’t try to save $20 by unloading and loading your luggage yourself. They help with luggage during arrival and departure. Tip generously upon arrival and you may find your luggage gets to your room before you do.

Happy cruising, and let us know if any of these tips helped you! Email us your tips!!

Related Articles:

Cruising for Christmas

One of our staff is going on a cruise over Christmas.  She’ll be in warm weather, we’ll be here in Minnesota.  The good news is it hasn’t snowed here (Minnesota had two servings of winter last year, so it looks as if we may be evening out for the 2011-2012 season).

The better news is that our team member is checking out this list of special things to pack on a cruise.

Special Items

  1. Big items
    If you’re bringing bigger items (golf clubs, scuba gear, strollers), check with the cruise line to see if these items are available to rent. It might save you some extra room and travel expenses.
  2. Extra cash
    Bring plenty of cash for your end-of-cruise tips. Some cruise lines will add suggested gratuities to your onboard account which you will take care of at the end of the cruise. Check with your cruise line’s policies so that you know when and what will be charged.
  3. Be sure to pack a good watch.
    You’ll need to watch the time on your shore excursions in order to make it back to the ship on time.
  4. Small day bag.
    Also, consider packing a small day bag to use just for your shore excursions to carry your money, ids, camera and any other essentials.
  5. Pack a carry-on bag just for the boat
  6. When you check in to the ship, your bags will go through security and might not be brought to your room until a few hours later. Pack all important items that you might need in your carry-on (meds, special needs, swimsuits, other entertainment items).
    • Do NOT put valuables in bags you are checking (electronics, jewelry, camera, money, credit cards, etc.). Put them in your carry-on if you can.
    • Bring all medications in your carry-on. They should be in their original labeled container. Bring prescription copies as well as a list of the generic names.
  7. Be sure to leave room in your luggage for souvenirs, clothes, gifts, etc.

Have fun if you’re cruising this holiday season!

Vacations: Cruising with Kids

With colder weather and holidyas seemingly around the corner, thoughts of vacations are looming on the horizon (hopefully a warmer horizon.)

Our family blogger Steven has seven tips for cruising with kids – our favorite is #5:

Eat dinner at the same table every night
This may sound boring, but if you want to enjoy your dinner, it is best to find a good waitstaff, and then stick with them for the duration of the cruise. Your child’s needs (highchair, milk before you order, extra alphabet soup) will be met quickly as the waitstaff gets to know your family, leaving you with more time to relax and enjoy your meal.
One more tip: pack a goodie bag of inexpensive little toys for each child for each night in the dining room. This will keep the kids entertained while waiting for the adults to order and the food to arrive.

Thanks Steven!

– Susan