Planning a family cruise? Good call! A cruise is a great way to vacation with a large family. Once you get there, the itinerary, dining and entertainment are all taken care of, so you can just enjoy time with the family. I have taken two cruises to the Bahamas with my entire family in the past year and I hope to do it again because we had such a good time.
Here are my tips for cruising with a large family.
1. Don’t be intimidated by booking two rooms
On the Disney Cruise Line, you can book adjoining rooms that feel like one large room. I originally felt like a Disney Cruise was impossible to afford, let alone two rooms, but as I researched further, I found that there were affordable cruises, even with two rooms, to accommodate our family of six. On another cruise line, I could not get adjoining rooms, but I was able to get two rooms next to each other which was also fine.
2. Pack smart
It’s a lot less stressful to go on vacation when you have less to haul around. Cruise staterooms are small and luggage fees add up fast if you are flying to your port. Warm destinations require less bulky clothing. I have found that kids can wear most outfits twice.
3. Bring the proper documentation
Passports are the best documentation for everyone in the family. However, for most cruises, kids can board the ship with a birth certificate only. Check with your cruise line to make sure. I was told I could bring copies of my kids’ birth certificates, but they needed to be a good copy on which the seal was clearly visible.
On our most recent cruise, we accidentally trashed our kids birth certificates in the hustle and bustle of our travel to the port and had to have a friend fax new copies to our hotel. They were not very good copies – for obvious reasons – and the cruise line was hesitant to allow us to board the ship. This was not fun for us and we will spring for passports for future travel.
4. Take advantage of the kids club
We have taken our kids on two different cruise lines, Disney and Royal Caribbean, and were impressed with both kids clubs. They give you security bracelets and have activities for all ages. Some of our kids did not want to participate in the kids club and that was fine with us. Some of our kids wanted to go all the time. Kids clubs are a great option that made our vacation more fun.
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