Cruising with small kids can be relaxing and fun at the same time. Mom & dad don’t have to cook or clean, and we can enjoy being present with the kids. If we do want to go have quiet time we can take them to kid’s club and know that they are safe and having fun. Also, our two youngest kids get car sick, but have no problems on the big ships. Cruising is so nice for us to see different places and avoid the car as much as possible. For us it is also budget friendly by how we book it during kids sail free and our room choice. We hope you’ll try a cruise vacation with your kids someday too!
1. Kids’s club
Kids club has been a big hit with our now 4 year old. He has been on 2 cruises and has 2 more planned within the next year. All he talks about is his friends at kid’s club. They have scheduled activities and we often picked him up with a full face of “Iron Man” mask painted on. On your seas days they have a morning session, and afternoon session, and then and evening session. You have to feed them meals on your own but that still leaves you plenty of adult time if you are wanting to relax. For the evening session they will pick them up at the entrance to the main dining after they eat their entrée so that you can finish dinner in peace and they can go play, or you can take them when you are done. On port days you are able to drop them off for the day and they will feed them lunch if you want to venture into port without the kids. At night they do charge a fee for after 10:00 pm but you can still go out and enjoy a show or after dinner drink while they have fun, and pick them up in time for bed. When we have dropped off younger kids we have received a cell phone that only works on the ship for them to call if there are any problems.
2. Splash Away Bay & H2O Zone
We may be a little biased but we love the “amped” ships that have Splash Away Bay! The slides, splash pad, and shallow pool are never ending fun for kids. The diaper area is separated and the big kids are not allowed to go in there, and they do patrol this. I have seen some different versions but on our most recent cruise, Liberty of the Seas, the splash area was huge. Plus, it was right by the soft serve ice cream station. Winning!
3. Soft serve ice cream
Need I say more. Some ships have it as serve yourself and some have somebody serving for you, but either way it’s all you can eat. I will say I have many pictures with ice cream covered faces and they are so stinking cute. Plus the kids get ice cream all over themselves and the go wash it all off in the water! The flavors rotated between the usual chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. We bring our own gluten free cones for those of us that eat GF. I keep a box in my backpack and whip it out when I go to make my ice cream. If you are gluten free check out this post that goes more in depth with eating gluten free on a cruise.
4. Mini golf
The kids loved going to play “Gator Golf” as my 4 year old called it. I think he probably saw too many commercials for Gator Golf on TV, ya think? Marc would usually take them in the afternoon while Sara was napping, or after dinner to get some energy out. It’s your basic mini golf but on a ship with amazing views!
5. Taking a little extra food from breakfast for snacks
Kids eat like 15 meals a day, right? We could always order room service but then you add on the tip and I just don’t want to have to do that. So at breakfast we grabbed a couple extra pieces of fruit, yogurts, or milks and took them back to our “cooler” (aka a fridge that doesn’t get as cold). You can always go up to Café Promenade and they have little sandwiches and dessert, or go to Sorrento’s a grab a slice of pizza. I know Windjammer did one day that they served snack and that was really nice and all the good tables by the windows were open!
6. Cabin door decorations
We just started doing this on our last cruise. You can get really fancy with names and all or just go to the craft store and grab a packet of bulletin board decorations. I don’t put names up because I don’t want anybody else being able to call my kids by name, although they are super cute. We just go a pack of ocean animals and some double sided tape and stuck them all over the door. It helped the kids be able to know which door was ours in the long hallways. We also had a magnetic dry erase board for the bigger kids to let us know where they were.
7. Fan or noise machine
I know not everybody has noise when they sleep but I have found the kids sleep so much better when they do. We did not bring a fan on our last cruise but our room stewardess was able to get one for us. We had a room right along the promenade where they like to do late night concert and parties, so it definitely helped with the noise. If you are towards the bottom of the ship sometimes you can hear the engine or anchor drop which could wake up peacefully sleeping kids.
8. Promenade view room
Some people may love their balcony rooms, and I would too, but we have found a special room! If it’s available we book the Ultra Spacious Family Promenade view room (it’s a 1Q category). We love it because it holds 6 people! It is double the normal size room with space to actually move. On the Liberty we had a bathtub with a detachable sprayer. It also had a walk in closet where we could store all the suitcases and had tons of hanging room. There were 2 huge windows that look down to the promenade and you can do some good people watching during naptime, haha. One more amazing tip is if you book during kids sail free, you get all 4 kids free. You still have to pay taxes and fees, but that has saved us so much and allowed us to travel more.
9. DreamWorks Characters
I can’t say that this would be a deciding factor for me, but it would be a fun bonus activity for the kids. On the Oasis, Quantum, and select Freedom and Voyager Class ships they have the DreamWorks Experience. You can do meet-n-greets, watch parades, and have breakfast with the characters.
10. Dinner in the Main Dining room
Almost every night we made it down to eat in the main dining room. When booking we chose “My time dining” but we wanted the same wait staff so we ended up making a reservation for the table anyways. Every night they had the kids’ favorite appetizers ready. They noticed that the kids only picked out the strawberries from the fruit cup, so they brought only strawberries and sometimes they even got 2 cups. Ryan pre-ordered his gluten free food the night before so they had it prepared at the same time as our regular food. Sara ordered a steak just about every night and they even cut it up for her so that I could enjoy my food while it was hot. That means a lot for a mom with small kids! We did have some small little activities for them to stay busy, because it is a lot to expect of them to sit through a long 4 course dinner. Also if you want to send them to kids club half way through dinner they will pick them up at the entrance.
We love cruising with Royal Caribbean! There are so many things to keep your kids busy and make lots of memories. If you want to explore a cruise vacation for you family you can visit the Royal Caribbean page and just start searching by destination, the port it leaves from, or ship choice. Although traveling right now can be questionable we have hopes that we will be out there having fun and exploring the world soon!