Tips for Family Cruising Holidays
It was with trepidation that The Urban Mum booked a family cruising holiday
Despite hearing ‘those cruise holiday stories’ she threw caution to the wind; willing her golf loving husband and two teen boys to embrace her enthusiasm for a voyage on the high seas.
A departure from our usual style of family holidays the result was mixed. Upon return there remained; one uber relaxed Mum, one sea sick Dad, one teen declaring the holiday ‘one of the best’, the youngest teen swore as he disembarked that he would be looking for another family if ever forced to cruise again.
With this is mind, browse our Tips for Family Cruising Holidays – lending a successful start to your Cruise holiday.
A happy note: upon looking at the post-Cruise photos, the youngest decided the holiday wasn’t really so bad – he conceded he might give Cruising a second chance, on a smaller ship.
A Great Start
Departing Sydney Harbour makes for a spectacular beginning – make sure you enjoy the experience with cocktail in hand on the upper deck.
Pre-purchase lanyards for each member of your family to attach your room key, (if you forget they can be bought on-board ). They dramatically lessen the chance of loosing the key (used for room entry and as a charge card in the various outlets).
Additionally, I cannot impress enough how important it is to pack copious amounts of Sea Sick Medication (and nausea prevention wrist bands), begin taking them prior to departure. Motion sickness can affect even those blessed with iron constitutions (the husband and youngest teen can attest to this as our ship navigated the rolling South Pacific ocean post a cyclone…).
Check the allowance for alcoholic beverages and pack some ‘bubbles’ to enjoy on your balcony (see note below).
Which Cabin Style
An absolute must is to book a Balcony Cabin; the sensation of cruising in the middle of the ocean – with sliding door open allowing the sea breeze to waft in – is superb. Ditto to enjoying a glass of bubbles at sunset.
Unless you don’t mind sharing a swim with hundreds of fellow guests (I do), the best time of day to enjoy the swimming pools is early morning while everyone else is sleeping or at breakfast.
Where to Dine
Pre-book a dinner sitting in the Dining Room (most ships have this option); on the first night investigate your preferred table and request this for every evening. Generally you will also be served by the same waiter which makes for a convivial experience.
Participation is the Key
Join in; get dressed up, mingle with the Guest Services Team, go to the shows, dance the night away – honestly even if it isn’t your ‘thing’, the cruise will be enhanced by simply giving the myriad of options a go (hello afternoon ‘Bingo’ I’m looking at you…). The entire cruising experience is a slightly surreal, happy environment – so relax and enjoy the ride.
Ship or Shore?
In hindsight we should have by-passed the shore excursions and remained on the ship, enjoying the facilities in relative peace and saved ourselves the time spent waiting for the tender (transfer boat). Naturally this advice depends on the Ports your itinerary includes.
Exercise, or at the very least stay active – use the stairs instead of the lifts, go to the gym, try the yoga classes, hang out on the decks at one of the (many) activity hubs. It is no secret that most ‘cruisers’ put on several kilos over the duration of a Cruising Holiday (and noone wants that ‘excess baggage’ as a holiday momento)!
The big question is whether we would book a Family Cruising Holiday again…yes and no…a boutique ship (less guests), with a cruise itinerary that travels in sheltered waters (the Mediterranean perhaps) would be a better preference for our family.