How to Pick the Best Pre-Cruise Hotel for Your Family

Families have different requirements when choosing a hotel for the cruise than couples. Arriving early in Miami, Rome or another cruise port will ensure that your stay will be a fun and stress-free part of your family vacation. You don’t want to start your cruise stressed and sleep deprived.

This is how you choose the best pre-cruise hotel for your family.

Search for suites and room dividers.

(Photo courtesy of Hilton Double Suites)

Most hotel rooms for four people have two double beds or one queen-size bed. This means the kids have to share a bed (hello war blanket) or the parents have to separate and try to each sleep next to the wriggling and drooling bed pig. If your kids go to bed early, you may need to stay in the bathroom at night to keep the room dark and the kids quiet.

For the best stay, look for real hotel suites with a separate room behind a closed door or rooms with partial walls separating the sleeping area with a sofa bed. Everyone will sleep better in their own room. You have to go through the lists. The hotel calls the lounge any extra-large or luxury suite, whether the room is behind a wall or not.

Hotel facilities for children are a priority.

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(Photo courtesy of YVE Hotel Miami)

Families have different requirements for a hotel than business travellers or adults on a romantic holiday. Maybe you don’t need to play sports during your family vacation, but you do need a bathtub for small children to bathe in. A mini fridge is needed to keep milk and snacks in the bedroom, and childproof balcony doors give peace of mind to parents traveling with curious babies or toddlers.

You may also prefer a hotel room with a sink outside the toilet/shower, so one child can brush their teeth while the other is in the shower.

Insist on a free breakfast.

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(Photo courtesy of YVE Hotel Miami)

The hotel’s free breakfast is a perfect service for families and deserves a special mention. Eating at the hotel makes mornings much easier for the family. You can take turns eating if you’re not all ready at once, bring food to your room and even bring fruit, boxes of cereal or small milk cartons as an early morning snack before you board the plane.

Kids also love the waffle machines and choice of cereals, and the free coffee is usually better than the coffee you can get in a hotel room. And no one will complain if your kids come in jogging suits or pajamas.

READ MORE: Three nights versus seven – What’s the best cruise for the family?

Make sure transportation options are appropriate for your family and your budget.

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(Photo courtesy of Uber).

Hotels that offer free transfers to and from the cruise port and airport can save families money, but they don’t work with car seats. If you are travelling with babies or young children, make sure the transport options are suitable for you.

If you take a taxi or Uber, choose a centrally located hotel between the airport and the cruise port to save transit costs. If you’re coming by car, keep parking costs in mind and look for hotels that offer parking and cruise packages. Close enough to the cruise port to walk there? Make sure you can handle all the bags and strollers – these well-behaved kids probably won’t be carrying their own stuff.

Choose hotels near children’s restaurants.

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(Photo courtesy of Walt Disney)

It’s hard enough to find the right restaurant when your kids are complaining about being hungry. You also don’t want to have to hail an extra-large Uber or put car seats in a taxi. Choose a hotel with a central location in the city center, just steps away from the children’s restaurant, so your family can easily walk to the shops.

You can even inquire about local takeout options before you book, in case it’s easier to order a pizza or sandwich from your room the day before your cruise.

If you plan to eat at the hotel, make sure the on-site restaurant is kid-friendly. We once stayed at a hotel where the restaurant was located at the bar and families with children had to sit at tables in the lobby to eat. You don’t want your only hotel restaurants to be economy room service or a gourmet restaurant with a celebrity chef.

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Ask about availability and rental price.

Do you need an extra bed in your hotel room? You may receive an additional fee for using one of these devices. We were surprised that some hotels pay extra for cots. So ask before you book to avoid unpleasant surprises on your final bill. Additionally, ask for a cancellation in advance if the hotel has a limited number of rooms, and make sure your room is spacious enough so your parents don’t trip over it. The same strategy applies to cots or saddle bags that you may want to borrow from your hotel.

READ MORE: Cruise offers for families: where children can swim freely on the cruise ship.

Go to the pool.

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(Photo courtesy of the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown)

Most kids love swimming pools. Your stay at the hotel will also be greatly enhanced by the indoor pool. Kids can romp in the pool while you relax in the jacuzzi, and activities are planned before you even disembark. And if the pool is indoors, bad weather won’t cause frustrated tantrums.

Insist on free Wi-Fi.

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(Photo courtesy of Pixabay/StockSnap)

Your tech-savvy kids will bring their tablets and phones on a cruise vacation (or at least demand the use of yours), and they’ll definitely want to spend time at the hotel watching cartoons, playing video games, or texting their friends. Choose a hotel with free Wi-Fi connection to avoid tantrums, and your final bill will be low. Some hotels that normally charge for Internet access offer it free to members of their loyalty club. So make sure you sign up for all free programs before you travel.

Forget the pretty scenery.

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(Photo courtesy of Loews Miami Beach Hotel)

This should go without saying, but just in case. if you are travelling with young children, look for the simplest rooms in terms of facilities. Avoid luxury hotels with lots of antiques and unnecessary bells and whistles, or chic boutique hotels with decorative embellishments. I experienced a cruise where I tried to stop a one-year-old girl from eating decorative rocks in the atrium, and I can attest that hotel rooms with as few things as possible that you can break, spill, eat, put in your pocket, or take for your child are the best.

Let me see later!

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frequently asked questions

What are the advantages of booking a cruise package in advance or by mail with the cruise company?

Hotel benefits before and after the cruise | TravelPulse

Does the cruise line offer packages before or after the cruise?

Most cruise lines offer convenient packages of one, two or three nights before or after the cruise, which include hotel, airport pick-up and drop-off, and port transfers.

What is a pre- and post-package?

Pre/post cruise vacations are usually an all-inclusive land tour before or after the cruise, with travel by coach, train or luxury car and overnight stays in the best hotels. For guests who really want to discover a destination, this is the ideal way to explore the coast.

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