What to expect on family cruise

What to Expect on a Family Cruise

Published Wednesday, Jul 07

Family vacations are a great way to spend time with your loved ones!

You can enjoy the sights and attractions together while getting away from the everyday routine all at the same time.

What better way to enjoy your family vacation than floating the ocean on a cruise ship!

A cruise is an excellent choice as a family getaway.

You get to see some of the world’s most famous cities and landmarks without too much hassle.

Many would say it’s also a lot easier than traveling by plane or car! If it’s your first time cruising, be sure to check out these 8 Best Cruises for First Timers.

When taking your family on a cruise, you’ll have plenty of things to do onboard.

You can spend the day splashing in the swimming pools, racing down water slides, competing at mini golf, playing video games, climbing rock climbing walls and so much more.

There’s something for the whole family- kids, teens, and adults!

And if you want to relax instead of doing activities all day long, that’s completely fine too! Cruising is excellent for relaxing (especially those with kids clubs).

So, if you’re ready to pack up your family and set sail, here are a few things you should expect on a family cruise!

Will my kids get bored on a cruise ship?

Some people are worried that their kids will get bored on a cruise ship because there’s not as much to do as they think.

But it’s actually the opposite! There are plenty of things to keep your kids entertained. Most family-friendly cruises will have plenty of pools, water slides, and other activities to keep the kids busy.

Like we said before, there’s something for everyone! 

If you don’t want to spend the entire day doing family activities, that’s also fine! There are plenty of age-appropriate areas for different family members to relax.

Many family-friendly cruise ships will have separate teen and kids clubs where kids can go do their own thing while still being safe and having fun!

Little ones can enjoy games or arts and crafts while the older kids can meet other teens or play video games.

This is also a great time for parents to have some alone time or experience some of the more adult-related activities aboard the cruise ship.

How do I get the most out of my time on the cruise?

This is a common question on family cruises!

There are so many different activities and places to visit throughout the cruise, it can be overwhelming.

Take your time and don’t feel rushed to do everything all in one day!

The best thing to do is choose a few things you really want to see or do, like visiting an attraction in port or attending an event on the ship.

Then if you complete those activities and find you have more time, you can pick additional family activities that involve everyone!

This way you’ll make sure every family member is involved and having a good time.

If there are too many great family cruise events going on at once, make a budget and decide ahead of time how much money you want each family member to spend towards activities.

In many cases, you’ll need to book shore excursions in advance anyway!

Can my kids go on the cruise shore tours and excursions?

Yes! Most kid-friendly cruise lines have family excursions you can book for an additional fee.

You’ll want to plan ahead and book shore activities based on your kids’ interests and personalities.

You know your children best and can judge what they may or may not be interested in. Give them a chance to help you choose the trip excursions as well- it will make them feel more involved and help build the excitement!

Just be sure to double check for age, height, or weight requirements/restrictions before booking.

Are there kid-friendly food options on a cruise?

Another frequently asked family cruise question is whether there are healthy food options for kids or even kid-friendly food options at all.

It’s hard enough to find family-friendly restaurants that have healthier food options on land, let alone on a cruise ship!

Good news for you, you can always check out the menus and food options ahead of time, so you’ll know what to expect.

It’s a good idea BEFORE cruising to research the ship you booked and find out what kind of kid-friendly food they offer.

Many family cruises these days cater to families by providing a wide variety of foods, special family activities, events, reservations, and more!

Most ships will typically have the basic kids menu staples such as chicken fingers, pizza, pasta, fruit, deli sandwiches, and PB&J’s.

Is there childcare available onboard?

Most cruise ships will have some sort of family area or family service for young children.

You’ll want to check for a kids club that offers play time and other accommodations for younger cruise members!

Many times, family-oriented cruises also offer babysitting services from qualified staff on deck so parents can enjoy some private time to relax, dine, or visit the casino if there is one!

How long do family cruises last?

Family cruises can last anywhere from three days to a week or more, depending on your preference.

Some family-friendly cruise lines like Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean offer family-friendly 3-day cruises which are great for those who aren’t sure if family cruising is right for them yet!

There are also 5+ night family sailing vacations available, where families will have plenty of time to take in all the sights and attractions together as they sail to different ports.

Ultimately, you can decide how much time you want to spend on your cruise trip!

Are the cabins big enough to fit my whole family?

Most family cabins on bigger cruise lines are accommodating for groups and families.

They can fit anywhere from three to six people, depending on the room you choose and its layout.

Many cruise lines will also let you put children of certain ages in an adjoining cabin or one located right across the hall.

Be sure to check out family cabin layouts ahead of time so you know how much space your family will have inside!

What are some of the best cruise lines for families?

There are family cruises available for every family and budget!

For example, Disney Cruise Lines is family-friendly without a doubt.

They have family suites that sleep up to six people, plenty of family activities on the ship, kids clubs, family events, kid-friendly shows, and more!

As far as budget cruises go for families with younger children, Royal Caribbean offers a great variety of options.

From Three Night Family Cruises to Two Week Family Sailing Vacations- there’s something on their fleet for families of all sizes.

Other mainstream cruise line options that are great for families and promote kid-friendly accommodations include Carnival, Princess, and Norwegian.

Still, it’s always best to do a little research before booking a cruise if you’re looking for anything specific.

Will I get seasick onboard the cruise ship?

If you’ve never been on a boat before, it might be concerning if you’re afraid of getting seasick.

However, most family-friendly cruise ships are designed in a way that keeps passengers from feeling motion sickness.

The majority of the ship’s cabins/balconies will be placed near the center of the boat, so you won’t feel much rocking.

If you’re still worried about motion sickness, it’s best to bring motion sickness pills with you just in case!

Tips for packing for a family cruise

Planning is key when you’re going on a family cruise vacation. Consider the following cruise packing tips so you can feel confident and prepared once your family sets sail:

Before your family leaves for the port, make sure everyone has everything they need.

Make a checklist of necessities like bathing suits, socks and undies, medications, passports (if necessary), etc.

Pack your things in a suitcase that’s easy to carry and transport.

You’ll already have your hands full with the kids, tickets, and such, so you won’t want to worry about lugging a suitcase around with a bad wheel.

If there are family members who won’t be traveling with you or who will be taking care of your house while you’re cruising, such as grandparents or caregivers, make sure they have everything they’ll need while you’re away from home.

This way they won’t have to worry about getting in contact with you frequently while you’re gone.

Last minute things you should know before going on a family cruise with kids

Consider packing your families’ favorite games or portable activities!

You’ll want to have something fun for members of all ages to do in the family area on your cruise ship (if it has one).

Bring travel snacks!

There will be plenty to eat on the cruise ship, but snacks are convenient for when you’re making your way to the dock to set sail or if there’s a family member with special dietary needs who can’t eat certain foods onboard.

Don’t forget about healthy snacks for the kids!

Have fun together- don’t forget to enjoy each other’s company when you’re cruising.

It may be a while before you’re all able to vacation together again and rare times like these should be celebrated and enjoyed to the fullest!

Let the Family Fun Begin!

Now that you’ve read more about what you can expect when setting sail as a family, you’re off to a great start for your next unforgettable getaway!

Be sure to visit Destinations Travel Guide for more fun and exciting vacation ideas. Happy cruising!


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