We decided in 2014 to try our very first cruise. I was actually quite hesitant but my hubby assured me it was safe and there was plenty to do for kids. Our first cruise was on Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the seas which is a smaller ship in their fleet. Alysse was 7, Max 5 and Jay 9 months. We instantly were hooked ! We did a 7 day cruise from Sydney to New Caledonia and back, with stops at Isle of Pines (which was a place I had always dreamed of visiting) and Noumea, both were beautiful places.
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
Having 3 kids we have to get a Grand Suite or higher which makes it a tad more expensive , but we get a few perks with this room like free drinks in the fancy pants Concierge room from 5.30-7pm each night and again after 8pm, breakfast in the Chops Grill instead of the buffet (so our meals are cooked to order), priority boarding and tendering on port days aswell as occasional cocktail event invitations etc. To us this makes it all worth the extra money for the room, which includes a balcony, double bed, pull out double sofa bed and massive bathroom with a bath.
The balcony of our Grand Suite
The best thing about cruising is the activities for the kids - depending on the ship ( I will cover each ship individually in my cruising section) there is everything from rock climbing, mini golf, ice skating, swimming pools & spas, basketball courts, kids clubs, movie theatres, and various shows like magic, comedy etc. There is literally not enough time to get bored !
The food in the dining room is incredible and the staff couldn't be more attentive if they tried. After dinner you can head to a bar for a drink, to the theatre for a show, shopping in the arcade, jump in the hot spa or watch a live jazz band.
Most cruises will often have a couple of formal nights and its so nice to see everyone dressed up and in suits and ball gowns. Everyone's take on "formal" is different so you will see all types of outfits from cocktail dresses to full length ball gowns, aswell as tuxedos.
Here is my tips for cruising:
Seasickness - if you suffer from seasickness, there are free tablets you can collect from the guest services desks at all hours, aswell as other natural remedies in the gift stores. We have had a couple of very rough days on our cruises, and although we didn't get sick there were alot of sick bags around the place that day !
Cruise line - Pick your cruise line carefully. Make sure you research exactly what is on board, especially if you are taking kids. There wouldn't be much worse than setting sail for a 14 day cruise with the kids and then realise there is very limited activities onboard for kids. Royal Caribbean are our favourite but having only sailed on this cruiseline, we have nothing to compare to. But they have a huge amount onboard for kids and often have some fantastic specials.
Destinations - Work around the places you want to visit. Some people cruise for the sea days, and aren't too bothered about where they visit , whereas others cruise purely to see a whole heap of places and don't want a cruise that has too many days at sea. Personally we choose a bit of both, we love exploring the new places we dock at but also love the long beautiful days at sea.
Kids club / Child care - Make sure if taking kids you check whether the ship has a kids club or daycare facilities, which most will. The last cruise we went on they refurbished the ship after we booked and we were extremley dissapointed when the baby kids club for under 3 was left off the plan. Luckily the ship was so big and busy that the kids really didn't use the kids club often as we were just constantly busy, but was handy being able to get a babysitter one night so we could escape for a few rounds on the roulette table!
Enjoy ! Cruising is a fantastic holiday for everyone, and I guarantee you will have the most amazing time xx