Why we love cruising
We have just booked our 4th cruise on Royal Caribbean sailing later next year and are SO excited - Cruising is our absolute favourite family holiday and below is our reasons why!
Royal Caribbean are a fantastic cruise line for kids - We haven't sailed with anyone else as yet purely because we accumulate points each time we sail and work our way up the "ranks" - which means extra discounts, and little extra bonuses along the way but will defnitley try another cruise line at some point ! I would love to try Carnival or Disney !
The voyager of the seas, like the explorer of the seas we sailed on last year has rock climbing, ice skating, kids clubs, swimming pools and spas, basketball court, and mini golf just to name a few. The kids were always entertained, happy and I never once heard "I'm bored". My kids always found friends and would plan times to meet them at the kids club or pool 🙂
For those worrying about the safety of kids and balconies / falling overboard - we went around our whole ship and found the ONLY way a child could fall off our ship was if they climbed the balcony and jumped. The balconies on our ships have always been glass and would come up to my kids chests making it impossible to "fall over". The only open part of the ship is the very top deck where the running track is and this is more balustrading than glass. Again the only way to fall off would be to climb and jump. The rest of the ship including the pool area is all inclosed with glass windows. So as long as you keep your little climbers away from balconies you do not have to worry about them falling overboard. My kids were never allowed on the balcony without us there and the doors were actually quite hard to open and they couldn't even work it out even if they tried.
We find cruising is a great way to test out other countries / islands to get a feel for it first should we ever want to come back. Sometimes you might find that the day stop just isn't enough to see everything , but at least you can get a feel for whether you think its a place you might like to come back to. We had places in mind for holidays, but once we visited there for the day we decided its not somewhere we would probably come for a full week or more holiday, which saved a lot of money and disappointment !
I love the fact that once you have paid and booked your cruise, all your meals are included. Even though you pay for it in your price of your cruise, its great to just get onboard, and know that you aren't paying out anything else for meals (besides port excursions). When you holiday with 3 kids, you are constantly forking out money for snacks , lunches, drinks and feels like your forever spending. On the cruise they can just eat to their hearts content anytime of the day. (Including free ice cream on the pool deck all day !)
This is a huge plus for me - even though the thought of no internet for a week or more seems daunting (especially when we run two businesses), I absolutely love that the temptation of flicking through Instagram and facebook isn't there as you literally can't. I will generally take my phone and find a wifi café or restaurant on our shore excursions to quickly keep in touch with friends and family, but I LOVE the week of family bonding and no internet to distract us. Of course there is the option to purchase the wifi onboard but depending on which ship you are on it cant be very hit and miss.
For the adults
If your sailing without kids, or the kids have gone off with friends to the kids club, there is plenty to keep you occupied - from bars, to the adults only swimming pools, reading a book on the deck overlooking the ocean, to theatre shows, day spas and casino - there is so much to do ! We met quite a few friends with kids who we would meet up with for drinks, so its a very sociable holiday.
Cruising can be a very affordable holiday for families (unless you have 3 or more kids like us and the price will jump a bit as you will need a grand suite or two rooms). But even then we have found it very affordable for all the meals and entertainment that's included.
On Royal Caribbean ( it may be similar on a few cruiselines also) babies and toddlers are not allowed in the pool unless they are toilet trained - so definitely keep that in mind if you have a toddler who loves the water and you are sailing somewhere warm. The pools can be quite cold depending on where you are as they scoop up the ocean water, and it can also be windy on the pool deck when you are cruising so our kids weren't always bothered about swimming in the pools. The spas however are beautiful and warm !
Our kids favourite holiday is definitely cruising....my 6 year old was in tears last year on the last night as he didn't want to get off ! Their favourite part is getting the kids program on the bed each night telling them what activities are on in the kids club the next day, and what theatre shows are on in the evening. Their favourite was the magic shows! All the staff are fantastic with the kids and will do everything possible to ensure they are happy. !If your kids are prone to seasickness, take along some kids kwells just incase or some natural remedies. Last year we bought a little bottle of something in the gift shop that you dab behind their ears - I think it was mind over matter as within 2 minutes they were fine.
I hope that gives a little insight about cruising with kids - its not for everyone and I have met a few people lately who were really disappointed - mainly those with babies as they felt they went a little stircrazy, but for us its our favourite holiday!