Tips for Cruising with Kids for the First Time

This is a guest post.

Cruising with your children allows both you and your children to travel and see the world, while bonding as a family. Cruisers are usually family-friendly, which means they will offer a whole range of activities for your little ones while you relax. However, it takes some planning, so if this is your first cruise with your children, consider these tips for a stress-free and fun vacation.

Be informed

Before booking your vacation and paying for anything, you need to get as much information as possible on all your cruise options. There are many cruise lines to choose from, so do your research and find out which one will work best for your family. Learn what the cabin size and the position are, what childcare options they offer, if the family activities are age-appropriate for your children, inform yourself of meal options and the prices of each line. Before opting for an itinerary, make sure you’re familiar with the number of days at sea, which shore excursions they offer and what the ports of call are. If you want a carefree vacation, you need to make good choices, which requires you to know exactly what your options are.

Pack properly 

When you arrive at your cruiser, don’t expect that you’ll have access to your room or your luggage straight away. That’s why you need to have a handbag packed with essentials, including a swimsuit and some sun cream, as well as your documents and the things your child may need. Although most cruise lines are children-friendly, not all of them have stores that sell diapers, wipes, formula or baby food, so be sure to pack plenty of those. You should even consider bringing an extension cord with multiple outlets, since your cabin could come with only one or two power outlets. Pack clothes for different weather, layers being the best option, especially if you’re visiting several countries with different climate. Make sure you have backpacks, so that you can pack for any shore excursions.

Take advantage of the ship’s activities 

If you want to take some time during your cruise to relax as a couple, without your kids, you need to know precisely what types of activities are available for children and if your kids are of an adequate age to participate in those activities. Some lines allow smaller children to take part in their programs and activities only under parental supervision, so find a cruise line that offers various activities for keepingkids entertained without you having to be there. There are cruise lines which offer kids-only activities during the day only, but others can provide you with a Night Owls program from 10pm till 1am. This is group child-minding for children aged 1-11, which can allow you to go “out” with your kids taken care of. However, you might have a problem with any type of sitting if your child is less than one year old, so ask about that before booking the cruise.

Choose the right ship

Depending on the structure of your family and, more specifically, your kids’ age, you have to be very careful when choosing the ship for your cruise. For instance, if you have younger kids, you might want to find a cruiser that has various cartoon or action film characters onboard. They usually join kids’ club activities, which can be very appealing for your child. If you have babies, look for a ship that has an onboard nursery. You should be especially careful when traveling with teenagers, since they can be particularly demanding with the choice of activities. Although all the activities for teens are supervised, they might meet somebody during that activity and end up roaming the cruiser in smaller groups, or even in a couple. They might even start hanging out with older children. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your teenager about some ground rules and cover all the topics you would if they were going to parties at home, such as alcohol, drugs, sex or bullying.

Discuss your expectations with kids 

Before setting off, make sure your children are aware of all your expectations, and that you’re aware of theirs. They need to know all the rules for onboard behavior, and if your kids are older, inform them of exactly how much freedom they’ll have on the cruiser, when they’ll be allowed to be without you and when you expect them to join you for various activities, such as family dinner or certain excursions. Cruisers can be a great way to spend a vacation with your family since they offer appropriate activities for you, as well as for your kids. So, follow these tips to make your cruise enjoyable and memorable for all of you.


  1. I remember my first cruise as a kid. It was a blast

  2. This was really helpful! Thank you! The concept of going on a cruise with the kiddos is a little intimidating! This really help!

  3. These are great tips, thank you so much for sharing! I have actually never been on a cruise myself, so I would have no idea what to expect.

  4. I'm sure a lot depends on the cruise line!

    1. All these tips are pretty universal whatever line you cruise on. ;)

  5. This is usefull information for when I take my kids on a cruise next Summer.


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