Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Phil Hopkins
Group Travel Editor & Theatre Correspondent
8:20 AM 11th August 2023

Cruising With Kids – Making The Right Choice

Parents taking their little ones on a cruise need to be aware of certain things that could make their life on the ocean waves a little less stressful.

Here are some handy hints from Panache Cruises:

1.On-board kids club
Before booking, make sure the ship is kid-friendly and able to cater for children. Is there a kids club on-board and does it need to be booked in advance? Make sure your children meet the age requirements to attend the activities too. Also check to see if there is a nursery or creche on-board to look after younger ones. Some cruise lines will also offer a fully accredited babysitting service for an additional fee.

2.Cruises have age requirements
Many cruise lines will have a minimum age requirement for passengers to board. Check it! Generally speaking, babies under six months old cannot embark on a cruise.

Choose a cruise line which offers regular entertainment for kids whilst on board. Check the itinerary in advance to see if there are activities every day to suit your plans. It’s important to see if the kids' entertainment requires a guardian present, or if you’re happy for them to be left in the supervision of staff.

4.Meal times
As well as ensuring that the cruise provides kid-friendly meals that your children will enjoy, also look out for any bookings which need to be made to eat at specific restaurants. Stick to children’s mealtimes at home, as close as possible, to keep routines similar. It’s a good idea to also pack treats and check out the on-board snack bars for in-between meal times.

5.Read through the cruise itinerary

Checking over the cruising itinerary will ensure that the holiday will suit all members of your family. Research beforehand to see if there are plenty of family-friendly activities and restaurants at each destination. See how many sea days there are too - kids are more prone to travel and sea sickness, so too many days in between destinations may be a bad idea. Although all modern cruise ships are fully stabilised, larger vessels will typically move less in heavy seas.

6.Pack a dedicated necessity bag
Having a bag with all of the necessities in one place for little ones will allow parents to access things quickly without having to faff about. Pack all documentation, visas, medication, suncream, change of clothes, wipes, nappies, toys and books in one place - and keep this with you when you board.

7.Family-friendly cabins
Ensure that the stateroom has enough space for the whole family, by either booking a family room or two with interconnecting doors. Check that the cruise line can provide a cot for babies, and suitable beds for little ones with side bumpers. Family rooms will also have extra secure, tall veranda railings, although parents should always supervise children when outside.

8.Pack a travel friendly pram
An essential for walking around with little ones is a pram - but they can often be bulky and heavy. Invest in a pram which can fold up and store well to not take up room in the stateroom. Most cruises allow prams on-board but it’s best to double check first. Some ships will also offer a rent/borrow service for prams.

9.Book a hotel the night before
Even if you live fairly close to the departure port, it’s a good idea to book a hotel nearby the day before to have a stress-free start to the trip. Being close means you can take time getting children ready, leave extra time for boarding early, and get settled in before departure. Staying overnight also minimises the amount of travel required in one day.

10.Plan some parent time
Finally, make sure to have some time to yourselves as parents, away from the children. Booking kids into an activity evening allows time for a romantic dinner or a chance to go for some drinks at the bar. Check if the cruise offers daytime entertainment under staff supervision without requiring parents to be onboard, to explore a destination for a couple of hours yourselves.

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