CRUISING WITH TODDLERS AND BABIES
We took our 4 young kids on a cruise. Heres how we did it and all the info I would have wanted to know before going.
Our kids were 7, 3, 22 months and 6 months. Yes I know we’re crazy… and yes everyone who saw us on the cruise thought we were too. Not gonna lie, I was getting pretty fed up at hearing “you have your hands full” by the end of 8 days.
WE BROUGHT SOMEONE TO HELP WITH THE KIDS
Just want to make this really clear and up front. We brought someone to help with the kids. We went on this cruise with my husbands family. None of whom have kids. My In laws really wanted our kids to come… we did not haha. So we decided to meet in the middle and we paid for my sister in law’s friend to come with us. We paid for her cruise and flights in exchange for her helping with nap times and watching the kids at night so we were free to go out. One of my SIL’s is single so they shared a room making this option more affordable for us because she didn’t need her own room.
DO YOU NEED TO BRING SOMEONE FOR IT TO BE WORTH IT?
There’s other ways to do this than bringing someone. Cruise lines offer kids care and babysitting but because of the age of our children we would have been spending a lot of money getting care for our babies. We did the math and ultimately decided we would rather our kids be with us being watched by someone we know then paying someone we don’t know on the boat to watch them, or paying someone at home to watch them.
If bringing someone to watch your kids isn’t an option, I maybe would wait until the youngest is 3. This way they can go in the kids care for free and are past the napping age. UNLESS you are okay with the mindset that you’ll have your kids with you the whole time and you’re okay with that. Personally, we absolutely loved our time to ourselves and it really reset us each day. But, I could totally see myself going on a cruise again before my kids are three and just having a different mindset of how the trip will be. Maybe we would pay for a few nights for someone to watch the kids and the other nights just hang out in the adjoining room.
WHAT TO KNOW WHEN PLANNING YOUR TRIP
A few things first. Cruises are not designed for families with 4 kids. Their rooms, their prices, everything. It was extremely frustrating figuring all of those details out. We had to make a lot of calls to get two adjoining rooms because a travel agency had purchased every other room for some reason. The whole “kids sale free” is an absolute lie so don’t buy into that.
Not all cruise lines are designed for young kids!!
A lot of cruise lines won’t let kids under 3 in the pools at all. We went on Royal Carribean, which has a small play area for kids under 3 or still in swim diapers. But they are extremely strict about any other kids being in there. In order for my 3 year old to play with our 2 year old I had to put a swim diaper on her even though she was already potty trained.
It wasn’t too big of a deal though because they had a kid section right next to the baby pool so I could sit comfortably playing with the babies while also keeping an eye on the older two.
IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT
It’s not always going to go perfect. Almost everyone was so nice about our kids and enjoyed watching the chaos. But expect a few grouchy people to make comments to you about how loud your kid are. One particular night while trying to get dinner my younger three were all crying at once. Kaden was off getting food for them and I just couldn’t meet all their needs alone. This lady loudly got upset and was making comments about my kids. I was already overwhelmed and on the verge of tears and that was my tipping point. I was so embarrassed by my response, I didn’t ever want to go in the restaurant again. Luckily I got over it and passed it off as a rough night so that my kids and myself could still eat.
Would I do it again? Yes absolutely!
Honestly, we've already talked about planning another cruise. Our kids talk about the trip constantly. There was something for everyone and it was really such a fun relaxing way to see new places with our kids. There were a lot of activities that pushed our kids out of comfort zones and helped them face fears.
I feel like cruises use to be an inexpensive way to travel with kids. I don't feel like that was the case for our trip. We had an interior room for our kids and a window room for ours. We didn't splurge on much but it was still pretty expensive just because of how many kids we have. However, we were going on somebody else's trip and mixing lots of schedules so our options were limited. I hope in the future we can figure out making it a more inexpensive trip.