5 Tips for Cruising with Kids

This March our family took a cruise on the Carnival Breeze.  We loved it!  

Every. Single. Minute. 
The cruise was fun, yet relaxing; entertaining, yet peaceful and my husband and I got to actually spend time alone together without having to pay a babysitter.  It was blissful. 
While this was my first cruise with my boys, I am no stranger to cruising.  Here are my tips for making a cruise with your kids your perfect vacation. 
1. Pick a cruise that is family friendly
Not all cruise lines boast an itinerary or amenities that suit children.  Look for ones that do.  Check out their options for pools, activities, youth programs and ports of call that your family would be interested in. Do your research. 
2. Register for the Youth Programs Early
Yes, you are going on a family vacation, but you are also looking for some time with your spouse right?  Register you kids for the youth programs.  Drop them off (expect some crying – about the same as you would at daycare) carry the pager/cell phone assigned to you and head off to do something you cannot do with kids – suntan, go to the spa, read a book.  The Youth Staff will call you if there are any concerns. 
3. Eat in the Dining Room (Early Seating)
Your ship will have a great buffet and 24 hour room service, but eat in the dining room.  Make a point of it.  Why?  The food is better for one, but two it is a chance for your family to have a nice meal together with excellent service and an understanding from your fellow cruisers that it is just fine to bring your kids to this fine dining restaurant
 cruise elevator
4. Choose You Cabin Wisely
Does your family need space?  Do you like to spread out?  Are your children afraid of bunk beds?  All of these are important questions when choosing a cabin.  Sure, the inside cabin is much cheaper, but it is also smaller, has no natural light and you are almost guaranteed that at least one member of your family will be in a bunk bed.  Check the layouts, call a travel agent, and make the decision that is right for your family.  It might cost a bit more, but your sanity will thank you. 
5. Relax and Have Fun
This might seem counter-intuitive, but I see so many people on vacation that are uptight, stressed or anxious about what fellow cruisers think of you and your family.  Take it easy.  Enjoy your vacation and take solace in the fact that unlike home, if your child has a temper tantrum on the ship, you will never see these people again.  In fact, the ship is so big you might not even see them again that cruise!
– Photo – Cruise Ship Glass Elevators are a favorite of kids. 
Kerrie blogs at Family Food and Travel.  She is a mom of twin boys (born March 2010) who she often refers to as the ‘twinado’.  Kerrie loves, writing, travel, photography, and fabulous food.  Prior to kids, Kerrie was an avid reader and scrapbooker and hopes to one day return to those activities.  Kerrie once considered herself successful, that was until she attempted toilet training twins.


  1. Oh, I want to go on a cruise so badly! Your tips just made me want to go more! I hear that they are excellent for kids because the activities are fun, mom and dad get a break without too much worry, and there's no cooking and cleaning for anyone! Thanks for sharing these.
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  2. lizlampman says

    Great tips! I got curious and just searched for images of what the cabins look like… they actually look nicer than I thought. I wouldn't have minded sleeping in a bunk bed when I was a kid but I guess its not every kids idea of an adventure!
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  3. wisteriagirl says

    I would love to on a trip somewhere!! A cruise would be wonderful. My Mum, Sister, nephew and my daughter went on a 3 week Med cruise about 2 years ago. Joel, my nephew was only 10 at the time and he loved this trip so much.

  4. I am so so so torn on the whole cruise thing. It does sound like a wonderful for vacation for the kids though!

  5. We did a cruise with our girls last year for Reading Week (also with Carnival) and LOVED it. Can't wait to go again! My two-year-old had fun in the Glass Elevators as well. I also recommend dining in the dining room; it was a chance to teach our girls about manners and nice restaurants, the servers were always nice, and I loved the food. 🙂
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