Sooooooo excited to share that we just booked a seven day cruise on Royal Caribbeans Allure of the Seas, setting sail out of Miami at the end of April. It’s part celebrating Damon’s new job and part big blow-out vacation since I won’t be able to travel much after this.
Now, you’re probably thinking – they’re going on a cruise with two young kids, while pregnant!?! And you’re right – this is a daunting task, but we’ve taken some pretty big precautions to ensure that a good time is had by all:
- The Cruise Line
- Selecting a right cruise line is very important. Some cruises are geared more towards young couples, like Carnival, or older crowds, like Celebrity. The most popular family cruise ship is Disney. But they cost 3x’s more than other cruises, and, our kids aren’t into DIsney characters, just yet, so it wasn’t a good fit for us.
- We landed on Royal because they have a wide variety of activities for kids and have kids friendly pool play areas that those who are not diaper trained can use. That’s perfect for our water loving kids.
- The Ship
- I did a lot of research on which ship we would take. Not all cruise ships are outfitted with the kids play areas – these are relatively new in the past few years. So it actually made it easier to choose a cruise ship – since there weren’t a lot.
- When cruising in the Caribbean, there are two standard choices – Eastern and Western. Eastern usually has prettier beaches and more days at sea, while the Western cruises have more days in port. We chose a Western cruise as it goes to many of our favorite places (specifically Cozumel).
- The Stateroom
- There are many rooms sizes to consider – the smallest are interior room, them ocean view, balcony, and finally staterooms. I usually suggest a balcony room for those with young kids as it gives lots of places to spread out their toys and not feel on top of each other. It’s also a great way to give yours kids some quiet downtime without missing out on the wonderful, ocean breeze. I have found its really important to provide the kids a quiet place to relax, away from all of the excitement of the cruise.
- We chose the Owner’s Suite – it has a lot of room and it includes the Sky Package. This package gives you a personal escort to your stateroom (no waiting in line to board the ship, then finding the room on your own), includes drink packages for everyone, and guaranteed seats for all of the shows onboard. This makes vacation with kids much easier.
- Additionally, most of the suites come with bathtubs! Which means you can actually clean your kids while on board (Most of the balcony and below rooms only have showers).
- Alone Time
- This is very important part of vacation and cruises have some wonderful options, such as in-room sitters and kids clubs, where they can play with other kids their age and supervised by qualified ship staff.
- These are wonderful options, but not great for us as our kids don’t do well with strangers, so we invited my parents to come along with us and they agreed to watch the boys so Damon and I can go off on our own for a bit.
So that’s what we have planned, so far. We leave in 52 days and it cannot come fast enough. I hope that we have enough ate-up for us to have a smooth vacation. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.