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  >  Advice   >  6 tips for cruising with kids

With delicious dining, endless entertainment, kids clubs for all ages, and plenty of fun to be had, cruising offers something for every family member. Whether you are cruising with a toddler or teens, these tips will help you have a great trip when you are cruising with kids.

1. Choose the right ship

Young children will find plenty to keep them entertained on any of the family friendly lines sailing around Australia. However, tweens and teens tend to favour larger ships like the Royal Caribbean Voyager and Quantum class vessels. With activities such as boogie boarding, surfing, ice skating, bumper cars, basketball, rock climbing and roller skating, you will never hear those dreaded words ‘I’m bored!’

2. Choose the right family cabin

Inside rooms are the most affordable and ideal for a sleep in due to the lack of light. Balcony cabins provide additional space for adults to relax outside while junior cruisers have a nap. Some cruise lines have dedicated family rooms featuring ingenious privacy partitions and bunk beds which pull down from the ceiling. If the budget will stretch, a suite provides additional space for larger families or you can opt for connecting standard cabins.

3. Cruise ship kids club tips

If your child is not used to kids clubs, the first session could feel overwhelming due to the number of excited children onboard. It can be wise to delay your visit by a day or two so the atmosphere is more relaxed. Start with a few short stays and any worries about Mum or Dad not coming back will quickly disappear. If you want to check how your little one is going, call the kids club rather than dropping in. Even if they are having fun, young children can become confused and upset if you turn up and then leave again. We’ve got loads of great cruise ship kids club tips if you want to know more.

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4. Cruise ship teen programs

Unlike most land-based kids clubs which tend to cut off at age 12, children as old as 17 are catered for with cool teens-only clubs and activities such as movie making workshops, mocktail classes, and karaoke nights. Encourage teens to attend on the first day, even if they aren’t keen, as this is when friendships are formed. If your child skips this session but decides to join in later, it can be harder for them to make friends.

5. Cruise ship family dining tips

If your kids aren’t fond of long mealtimes, the family dining program offered by Disney and Royal Caribbean will keep everyone happy. Kids are served within 40 minutes then collected from the restaurant by a kids club staff member. Having dinner at the buffet is ideal if your family wants to catch an early show. If your kids need some down time, a relaxed room service dinner can help them chill out before the evening activities.

6. Cruise ship family shows

Seeing a lavish Broadway-style production show is a thrill for most children. Spending a night at the theatre without worrying how much the tickets cost is a thrill for parents too. Comedians often do an early evening all-ages show so you can bring the kids. Theme parties such as P&O Cruises’ Gatsby and Bianco evenings are also suitable for everyone. These kick off around 9.30pm so youngsters can drop in and join the fun before bedtime.

Disclosure: The writer loves cruising with her family and exploring new destinations in Australia and beyond. 

Want more great cruise advice? Check out our tips for choosing the perfect cruise, cruising with grandchildren, cruising with tweens and cruising with kids of all ages, solo cruising, the best activities on Ovation of the Seas, doing a Transatlantic cruise with kids, cruising in Australia or Papua New Guinea, Iceland cruise tips, cruising on a megaship, scoring a bargain cruise fare, cruising the Mediterranean, making the most of a cruise ship kids club, luxury cruising with kids, and the Byron Beach Club onboard P&O Cruises. We have also reviewed Disney Wonder, Pacific Adventure, Celebrity Edge, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, Pacific Encounter, Carnival Splendor, Voyager of the Seas, Nieuw Statendam, Viking Helgrim, Pride of America, Coral Expeditions in Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef, Celebrity Solstice, and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.