One of the greatest lies ever told is to travel before having kids – as you won’t be able to enjoy it once the little ones come along. While it is true that traveling as a family has its challenges, cruise liners are breaking the stigma, creating all-inclusive vacations that check the box on everyone’s wish list, regardless of age or interests. Read on to see how cruising has become a game-changer for parents and children traveling together.
Once the planning and packing are complete, parents often struggle with keeping their children entertained while traveling. Many hours are spent checking off lists and filling additional luggage full of books, games, and electronics to ensure that boredom doesn’t strike, followed by the all too familiar phrase, “are we there yet?”
Fortunately, cruising has taken that hardship off the plates of parents. While coasting from one destination to another, kids’ clubs are available onboard so that kids can hang out with peers their age. At the same time, parents can enjoy the fruits of their labor – whether in the adults-only areas or simply enjoying a good book in the ever-sought-after peace and quiet.
Take Royal Caribbean, for example; they didn’t just create an onboard kid’s club – they mastered it with their award-winning, complimentary Adventure Ocean Youth Program! With options ranging from babies to teens – each with their dedicated areas onboard – the program hosts plenty of entertainment and adventure that will expand imagination in interactive spaces designed just for them.
Traveling with an infant or toddler aged 6-36 months? The Royal Babies and Royal Tots program includes engaging playgroups for parents and their little ones to interact in a family-friendly, fun-filled space. Select ships allow for nursery drop-offs for times when parents want a moment alone.
The Aquanauts program is for children aged 3-5, where they’ll have an opportunity to conduct exciting experiments and become Certified Jr. Adventure Scientists. The Explorers program covers ages 6-8, packed with exciting cruise activities, including themed parties. Ages 9-12 will love the Voyagers program that puts the “fun” back into learning.
And when you thought that you’d never be able to convince your teen that family vacations are still cool, the Royal Caribbeans teen program gives these almost adults a holiday all their own. Ages 13 and up will have the freedom to join pre-planned events, hang out in teen-only spaces like the laid-back teen lounge, or dance their heart out in the teen-only after-dark nightclub.
In addition to age-specific programs, families cruising together can enjoy many on-ship accommodations to make the experience even more memorable. From art programs, movie theaters, family libraries with storytimes, ice rinks, bowling alleys, Broadway-worthy shows, water parks, and more, kids will be raving about their family vacation to all their friends back home.
After all that entertainment, it’s time for families to get down to business…where to eat? Long gone are the days of formal, time-specific dining rooms being the only option. Parents can rest assured that both their picky and adventurous eaters will have plenty of options when it comes to snack and mealtimes, with the average ship offering 10-20 restaurants and grab-and-go options. From hot dog and burger joints, BBQ, sushi, sandwich deli’s, Italian eateries piled high with pasta, pizzas, and gelato – there’s something to please every palate.
While you can still enjoy a luxury coursed-out meal in the Main Dining Room, many cruise liners have updated the experience for families, making it easier for parents to relax and feel less stressed during meals. For example, Royal Caribbean offers My Family Time Dining for ages 3-11. It aims to help kids complete dinner in the Main Dining Room within 45 minutes. Once the kiddos finish their meal, they’ll join their age-appropriate Adventure Ocean program, freeing parents to enjoy coffee and dessert at a more leisurely pace.
Now that the family has been entertained and fed, it’s time to get some shut eye. Many cruise liners offer spacious family staterooms for three or more parties and connecting rooms for multi-generational families traveling together. Want to really impress them? Royal Caribbean offers the Ultimate Family Suite – the first and only one of its kind available exclusively onboard the Symphony of the Seas. Encompassing two stories, the Ultimate Family Suite offers your very own in-suite slide, air hockey and tennis table, and a living room stocked with video game systems and all the games and movies kids will love. Parents can escape to a separate master suite to unwind or enjoy the private balcony with its very own jacuzzi. If that’s not enough, the suite comes with a Royal Genie who can coordinate exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences designed for your family!
To top it all off, cruising is one of the most affordable ways to take a vacation with the whole family. Royal Caribbean regularly offers promotions where kids 12 and under sail for free!
While enjoying the onboard experiences and once-in-a-lifetime excursions, cruise liners are making public health and safety a top priority now more than ever to ensure families make it home happy and healthy. Guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated, having received their last dose in the vaccine series no less than 14 full days before their sail dates.
Additionally, vaccinated guests aged 12 and older must show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than two days before boarding day. Unvaccinated children aged 2-11 must show a negative test result taken no more than three days before boarding day. Guests under two years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test.
Contact your Acendas Vacations Travel Advisor to learn more about special cruising offers.