If you aren’t planning a summer trip that involves sinking your toes in the sand or sitting around a campfire, chances are you’re contemplating a family cruise. With elaborate shows, buzzing arcades, fun water parks and an abundance of innovative kids’ programs, cruises are an ideal option for families of all sizes, styles and budgets.
So, if you’ve decided to spend your holiday on deck, here are the best tips for planning a cruise vacation with your family:
1. Choose the right cruise for your you
When it comes to finding and securing the best cruise deal, the key is conducting plenty of research and relying on many sources. Start by consulting a variety of reputable cruise retailers and deal-focused sites, to get a sense of the current offers available and compare quotes. Don’t shy away from asking for additional discounts or special promotions available for families. Many kid-friendly cruises nowadays even offer “children sail free” packages, so be aware of special bargains and alerts when you start planning your cruise vacation.
2. Don’t compromise on cabin space
While you can manage to squeeze a family of four into a cabin, you need to realize that standard cabins are quite small and provide very little space for families to spread out. And even though cribs and play yards are available on most ships, they will inevitably take up the little space you do have. That is why the best idea might be to opt for a family mini-suite or even a family stateroom that will give you all the space and freedom you need.
3. Put your trust in a travel agent
Even if you’ve done the work and found a list of cruises that’s perfect for you, choosing an itinerary that satisfies the needs of all your family members can often present a challenge. To help you wade through hundreds of sailings and countless offers, seek the help of a reliable cruise specialist. They can steer you in the right direction and help you avoid paying a hefty sum for additional charges, such as booking fees, and they might even lend you their expertise throughout the decision-making process to help you get the best deal on your pre- and post-cruise transportation costs.
4. Prepare your documents in advance
If you are cruising abroad, it would be best to sort out your passports, as well as any necessary visas, well in advance, in order to avoid any potential problems along the way. In either case, it is essential to secure great cruise travel insurance, especially when traveling with your family, to ensure you are safe and protected, no matter what comes your way.
5. Pack light and smart
Since you’ll be spending most of your time in the water or by the pool deck, make sure to pack several swimsuits, especially if you’re traveling with kids, to ensure you always have a clean and dry one on hand. Beach cover-ups and lightweight shorts and T-shirts are your best friend, but don’t forget to pack some evening attire, as well as certain day outfits for on-board activities and excursions.
6. Don’t forget about entertainment
While you might want to use this vacation as an excuse to take a break from electronics, children tend to get bored very easily, even with so many entertainment options available on the cruise. That is why it’s crucial to pack some toys, as well as a tablet or even a laptop filled with movies and TV shows that will keep your kids busy and entertained.
7. The early bird catches the worm
When traveling with children, the best idea would be to arrive a day before your cruise. This will prevent a hectic and stressful day of rushing to get out of the airport or parking your car, getting to the port, checking in and going through security. Plenty of cruise port hotels offer promotions, such as ‘park and cruise’ deals for those who are driving or even free shuttle services to the port, which is another bonus of arriving a day early.
While it can often be a challenge to plan a cruise vacation with your family, the above-mentioned tips and tricks will ensure everything is smooth sailing on your next trip.
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