If you read my blog often you will know we absolute love to travel and you also may have read in the last year we have talked A LOT about wanting to take a cruise. At first we couldn’t decide whether to take a family cruise or a cruise with a few couples we have decided that a family cruise is probably the best option after hearing so many of your amazing experiences and recommendations. After doing a lot of researching for our family travel plans for 2016 I have come up with some top tips to guide you in planning your own family cruise vacation as we have done.
Seven top tips to help you plan your family cruise vacation
A cruise holiday promises heaps of fun for the whole family. For those who haven’t set sail aboard a cruise before, you could be missing out. Many cruise liners offer a huge array of facilities from kids clubs to child-friendly restaurants and even cinemas. It’s not only stress-free, and cheaper than you’d think, but you can also visit numerous destinations and the best part is…you only unpack once. For any first timers, follow these essential tips below for planning the voyage of a lifetime.
Pick the best destination
From European city tours to Antarctic expeditions and island hopping fun, there’s an endless variety of cruise itineraries to choose from. The adults may want to explore historic attractions but if you’re with younger children, they will likely be much happier frolicking on the beach than visiting one museum after the next. The Caribbean is a great destination for families, offering an array of thrilling activities.
Choose the perfect ship
(Image by Pixabay used under the Creative Commons license)
Once you’ve decided on a destination, it’s time to compare all the ships. Expect a huge selection in all shapes and sizes, many offering something unique. Some are more tailored for those with younger children, offering babysitting services and supervised activities. Alternatively, for those traveling with teens, you’ll want a cruise that caters to this age bracket with game arcades, water parks, rock climbing and so on. The more facilities, the happier the child, which leaves you more time to relax.
Check the cabin options
Before booking, you’ll have a choice of cabins to choose from. Most liners hold a maximum of five people per room but that could be uncomfortable. Instead, why not book multiple cabins with adjoining doors? The parents can enjoy the added option of a balcony whilst smaller children can have theirs without. As operators charge per person, it’s often just as cost effective to book multiple rooms than share one large cabin.
Check visa requirements
Although many travel agents should provide advice on visa requirements, it can be wise to check for yourself. Arranging a visa well in advance can avoid possible issues as you arrive at new ports. Especially for those with mixed families like ours sometimes I need a visa but the kids and hubby don’t. Depends on what country you are from and where you are going to.
Book your excursions
Do your homework before leaving and you can decide which on-shore excursions are worth visiting. These can be booked in advance, saving time on the day for more fun-filled activities.
With the big trip looming, your final task is something most of us dread. Packing for the family can be stressful but make a list a few weeks earlier and you shouldn’t forget any of the essentials. These include plenty of sun cream and hats. The sun’s rays can be particularly strong at sea. Even if you’re traveling to a hot climate, warmer clothes are also required for the evenings which can be cool on deck.
Find a deal
Finally, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck. Although it may seem cheaper to book yourself, it can actually be much more affordable to book through a travel agent. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, many agencies are happy to include extras such as room upgrades or complimentary excursions. We have found it’s less stress and easier to stay organized when you get help.
Follow this guide and you can look forward to an unforgettable family cruise. What do you think? Would you take your whole family on a cruise? Or maybe you already have experienced a family cruise, can you add any tips and advice to this? Would love to hear from you comment below.