If you are a mom who has gone on a family vacation, then you know “mom on vacation” is pretty much the same as “mom at home” just without any possible break (like school or babysitters) so you are in mom-mode the whole time. The puts a little bit of a damper on taking the kids with you while you travel.
Enter, the cruise vacation! What’s so great about a cruise you ask? Two words: Child Care!
I didn’t even know this was a thing on cruises, except for maybe the Disney cruises that seemed a little expensive. And not all cruise lines offer it, so be sure to check before you book. We took a Princess cruise on the Island Princess and they had a great Kids Club that offered child care for ages 3 and up. They could go from 9AM – 12, then 1PM – 5PM, and back again 6PM – 10PM. Late night times were also available for a fee of $5/hr.
My son LOVED it! They had an activity planned every hour and there were tons of games to play, toys and movies. The funny thing was the average age on the boat appeared to be 65+ so there were very few kids on board. In fact, there were seven children total on a boat of almost 3,000. But they made sure those seven kids had a great time. Every morning my son would beg to go to the “Little School” and then beg to go back after each break. And this is a kid I usually have to drag to preschool every week. And since we were on the boat for Halloween, they even set up a special trick-or-treating event for the kids to parade around the ship and get candy at every store or help desk.
You also had the option of letting them stay on the ship during port days, but we wanted him to get to explore with us, so didn’t take advantage of that. It was a family vacation after all!
Our cruise was 10 days long and took us to Grand Cayman, Panama, through the Gatun locks of the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Colombia and Jamaica. We got to relax and explore and eat, eat, eat! And the Kids Club made it possible for us to actually spend some alone time together, and time with my grandmother, brother and sister who were also on the cruise. We even got to spend some time playing Scrabble, which we haven’t been able to do pretty much since Keelan was born. There’s no way we’re letting him near that bag of tile letters or we’d never have a complete set again.
Some pics from our adventure:
Being on the ship was nice as well. They had a theater, spa, mini golf course and two really nice pools. There was also an adults-only “Sanctuary” on one of the top decks, but it was an additional fee and I never saw a lot of people in there since the whole ship was pretty much just adults. Every time Keelan was with us people would comment “I had no idea there were ANY kids on this ship!”
I think the only drawback of being on the ship was the expensive Internet combined with slow Wi-Fi made it pretty pricey to try and keep up with any e-mail and blog stuff. I think I managed to post on Instagram twice and check my e-mail a couple times and blew through $110 worth of Internet access. Luckily I had put the blog on auto-pilot and prepared enough posts to auto-post every few days so my traffic didn’t drop the way it did when we went to Ireland and I put the blog on vacation.
Overall we had a really amazing time! I highly recommend giving a cruise a try if you are a tired mom who would love a chance to actually relax on vacation, but don’t want to leave your kids at home. And if you can, go for the room upgrade. We went with a mini-suite and had plenty of room plus it had a pull-out couch so we didn’t need to pack a travel bed. The regular full-size bathtub was also a handy bonus!
I’m happy to answer any questions about our cruising experience if you are thinking of giving it a try. I’d also love to hear about other cruise lines that have great child care! I’m already thinking about our next adventure at sea. 🙂