I recently returned to work from a 12-week absence after giving birth to my second child. While most of my time at home was spent changing diapers, cleaning house, and trying to satisfy the growing list of demands from my two year old (as well as the baby), I also found my mind wandering to far off lands. Leisure travel has taken a serious hit in our household over the past two years. But now that we have grown to a family of four, it’s exciting to think about the endless opportunities that present themselves for family travel.
When I think about cruising, the industry I’ve worked in for the past seven years, I have a totally different view of it compared to when I started in this business as a single woman. So I’ve created a short list of the top cruise line features I’m most interested in introducing my two little boys to, when the time is right:
Disney Cruising, In General
Millions of people simply can’t be wrong. And when it comes to the new Disney Dream, it seems the Imagineers stopped at nothing. I would love to see my children’s faces light up when animated characters personally interact with them in the Animator’s Palate dining room…a real “how did they do that” moment. It’s also amazing to think that my 12-week old is already eligible for babysitting in the It’s a Small World Nursery![box] Get our Free E-Book on all the Cruise Lines Family Policies[/box]
Royal Caribbean’s My Family Time Dining
How many times have you wanted to linger just a bit longer at the dinner table but your children are already finished picking at their plates and asking to be excused? Royal Caribbean’s My Family Time Dining features an expedited dining service for the kiddos ages 3-11. Once they’re finished, the Adventure Ocean staff picks up the children so the adults can enjoy the rest of dinner at their own pace.
Up All Night with Carnival
I’m a stickler when it comes to bedtimes. So when I first heard that some of the cruise lines offer in-room babysitting, allowing my spouse and I to have a night out on the ship while the kids slept, I was very intrigued. At the time of this writing, Carnival Cruise Lines did not offer that service. However, if you think your kids are up for it, they can opt for Camp Carnival Night Owls! For a fee, this late night program runs from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. for children ages 2-11. It’s supervised, of course, and filled with kid-friendly activities.
NCL & Nickelodeon
On weekends, my husband and our two-year old enjoy watching Spongebob Squarepants videos as a special treat. So I’m curious to see what NCL’s partnership with Nickelodeon is all about. I am sure both of them would love to interact with Spongebob, Dora the Explorer and other characters during Breakfast with Nickelodeon. And who knows, maybe by week’s end, our family would be ready for the signature messy game show, “Slime Time LIVE!”
These are just a few samples of the many options available for families aboard cruise ships. So I hope my little ones aren’t all grown up by the time we take our next cruise. It would seem like a darn waste of creative energy. A travel consultant who specializes in cruises can help you pick the cruise with the children’s options right for your family.[box] CruiseSource – Your Source for Family Cruising Advice & Deals
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