Planning a family cruise can be a hassle, but that doesn’t mean you should leave the kids out of the loop. Consider having your children help with your itinerary and packing decisions to get them involved in the excitement of the trip. This is a great way for the whole family to bond and has fun while preparing for the cruise. Here are 8 ways to involve your kids in planning your family cruise.
When you’re planning a family cruise, everyone’s going to want to have a say in when you go, how long, and what to do when you get there. But you, as the parent, are the sole decision-maker. The best way to involve your kids in the process is to use their natural enthusiasm to your advantage.
Here are a few tips:
Planning a cruise for your family can be a real challenge. Between making sure everyone is paired up with a compatible roommate to navigating the ship’s many activities, it’s hard to know where to start. No matter what kind of cruise you’re planning, there are sure to be a few things you can do to make it a vacation your kids will remember for years to come.
Want your kids to be excited about a family cruise? Let them help you make a plan! Children are told what to do for the rest of their lives, which can make them cranky and irritable, even if you offer them fun activities. A small contribution to ensure the anticipation of the next family holiday by the sea. Here are some ways to get the whole family involved in planning your cruise.
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1. Ask the children where they want to go.
If you have to choose between the Eastern and Western Caribbean, or between a cruise to Bermuda and a cruise to the Bahamas, ask your kids for their opinion. Don’t give them the entire cruise brochure or they’ll demand to be taken on a 14-day odyssey through South America. Instead, ask them to explore two or even three possible paths and weigh the pros and cons of each. Just make it clear that if your kids can’t agree, the parents have the final say.
2. Let them choose their own boat or cruise line.
You think all the bells and whistles on a modern Royal Caribbean ship are worth it, but your spouse insists on a Free at Sea package from Norwegian. Call the children to break the deadlock. You can have an opinion on the options on the upper deck (surfing or go-karting) or the location of the kids club. Not only will they be happy to give you feedback, but they can also give you new insight into the choices that will help you make a final decision.
3. Give your opinion about the threshold.
When planning a cruise, the first thing you do is choose a ship and an itinerary. Next, you must choose your cabin(s). Families have several options when it comes to standard cabins. As well as regular beds that can be separated or pushed together to form a double bed, there are other options for children: pull-out sofas that turn into beds, and beds that can be detached from the wall or ceiling to look like bunk beds.
Some cabins have both. If you can’t imagine you and two kids fitting into a regular cabin, there are other considerations. You can buy a specially designed family cabin with a separate room for each, adjoining cabins with a shared interior door for extra space (remember that an adult must be booked in each cabin, although no one controls the sleeping areas), or you can treat yourself to a suite for even more space.
MORE: Carnival Cruise Line’s family port cabins Staterooms specifically designed for families are Family Harbor Suites on Carnival’s Vista Class ships, which have two dressing rooms, a privacy curtain, and a breakfast and snack area just for families. Many Disney Cruise Line cabins are also designed for families – with the concept of separate bathrooms and privacy curtains.
It will be easier to make a decision if you ask the whole family about the different options. Whatever category you’re in, discuss the best place for everyone, etc. If you have older kids traveling alone, choose a memorable cabin number so they’re less likely to forget….. Take a look at the A111 versus the R217. Seeing where you’re going to live during your trip can make the trip even more real, and everyone will love it!
4. Make a countdown for the duration of the trip.
If you search on Pinterest or Google for something like holiday countdowns or kids’ holiday countdown crafts, you’ll find plenty of ideas, from prints to craft projects. You can start the countdown right after you tell your family about the trip, or wait a month or two to create a real buzz.
You can even give your kids an object to use during the trip for certain stages of the countdown (e.g. the three, two, or one-week mark). Buy a new pair of sunglasses or a chic outfit for a formal evening. And let’s face it… the countdown won’t just be for the kids. Adults also like the countdown….
Even the Shipmate app has a countdown timer to count down the days (and hours!) until your deposit. READ MORE: 11 theme parks for families near cruise ports.
5. Make the selection of shore excursions a family affair.
One of the best ways to get kids involved is to choose shore excursions together. If your family members have different ideas of what a day on the dock should look like (like a day at the beach, a zip line, or a historical tour), work together to make sure everyone gets a little of what they want and make the trip all the better.
A good way to do this is to look for shore excursions that include a variety of activities. Many tours also offer time on the beach, for example. Mountain bike tours in a nature reserve may also include a lesson on the local culture and wildlife. You can also have each family member take one of the port days during the cruise, so everyone can do what they really want to do.
Finally, for families with very different interests, it may be the best solution not to participate in the visit. Instead, plan a route for yourself and explore the port on your own. Shuttles, taxis, and other transportation are generally available to take you to all the attractions you want to see, and many ports are easily accessible on foot.
6. Choose specialty restaurants together.
If you want to expand your horizons and try some specialty restaurants in addition to all the amenities on your ship, consider including your children in that decision. It is assumed that you visit these places as a family, although you can of course take the children to the youth club for an evening and treat yourself to a special dinner.
If you plan to visit a certain place together, discuss what each of you likes to eat and plan your meals accordingly. If your family likes steak and potatoes, reserve a table at the Steakhouse. The choice is huge on some ships these days, from Mexican and Asian fusion to Italian, Brazilian, and good old American barbecue.
The best part? Special meals on cruise ships usually have a fixed price and are almost always considerably cheaper for children than for adults.
7. Let them design family t-shirts or caps.
A fun cruise tradition is to have matching T-shirts or caps printed for your family on embarkation day (or any other day of the cruise), perhaps in honor of an important holiday or group theme. Kids can be picky about dressing to their parents’ taste, but you’ll get more acclaim if you let your little artists help design.
You can sketch ideas together and create and print a design based on those ideas, or you can design the set yourself using fabric paint and other materials to create your own masterpiece. If you want all the shirts to be the same, we recommend printing a fun design.
If you don’t mind them being different, let them do their own thing! In addition to decorations, many families put their last name on t-shirts, followed by the family’s holiday or cruise and the year (or month and year if you cruise more often). No matter how much help children give, they are more likely to dress appropriately if they have a say in what they wear. Don’t forget to take a family photo on the day you wear them!
8. Have the children make the door decorations.
Does your family like to decorate their door or cabin during a cruise? It’s a great way to put kids in charge. Give them a budget on Etsy or Amazon or have them design signs and posters to hang. If you opt for DIY, there are plenty of ideas online to get you started, or you can let the kids’ imaginations run wild and see what they come up with.
But before you do, check your cruise line’s rules regarding door decorations. In general, they are still allowed, but in recent years the rules have become stricter regarding the materials from which they may be made. If you don’t like restrictions, buy some cute door magnets – they’re metal!
The beauty of door decorations is that they are not only beautiful, but they are also a way to help your family identify your cottage. It’s easy to get lost in the long, wide hallways, and it’s easy to forget your cabin number – especially since it’s not printed on your cruise card for security reasons.
If you know the hallway, you can at least find your cabin by the door decorations – which is also much easier on the kids. We hope you can use some of these ideas to get the whole family excited about your next cruise vacation!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I plan a family cruise?
The process of planning a family cruise is not a simple one. From booking a cruise to choosing a resort, to managing your expenses, there is a lot to consider. Although, it’s not impossible and with a little work you can plan a great family cruise and have a vacation you will always remember.
Traveling with young children can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a challenge. Planning activities for your kids that you all can enjoy as a family can be hard enough, but adding in the logistics of packing for a cruise and planning where to eat every night can be overwhelming. So, how do you plan a family cruise?
Start by making sure you plan a cruise with activities your children will be interested in. You might want to bring them along when you pick out your cruise, or you might want to look online at sites like incredibletraveling.com to find the right cruise for your family.
How do you cruise with kids?
After the kids are fed and bathed, the staterooms are bedecked with stuffed animals, and the suitcases are zipped up with clothes and toys, it is time to head to the cruise ship. The fun is just beginning, and you’re almost ready for the trip of a lifetime. But did you know that there are ways to make your cruise even more enjoyable for the kids? Planning a family cruise isn’t easy, even if you’re traveling with seasoned cruisers.
How do I start planning a cruise?
If you’re considering a cruise for your next vacation, you’re not alone. Cruise vacations are among the most popular family vacation choices today. In fact, more than 20 million Americans took a cruise in 2015 alone. But if you’ve never been on a cruise, the prospect can be a little overwhelming – where do you even begin to plan your trip?
Planning a cruise is much like any other vacation. There are a few key steps you should take to ensure your family’s vacation is one that you’ll all want to remember for years to come. The cruise ship industry is booming.
One of the main reasons that cruise vacations are becoming so popular is that they are an affordable way to travel. However, with so many cruise lines to choose from and so many different cruise styles to choose from, it can be overwhelming to try to plan your first cruise vacation.
(Incredibletraveling) is a travel blog with lots of information about planning family cruises. We have collected useful information on our site that will help you plan your first cruise vacation.