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Cruising with kids

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My family ... DH, myself, our two sons ... have an opportunity to go on a three-night cruise. We have never been on a cruise. We have never particularly wanted to do so. This is a family thing that would be completely paid-for, however, so we feel that we at least need to consider it.

DH has tremendous qualms about taking the boys, who will be ages 7 and 5 at the time. DS1 has special needs that make him much younger intellectually, has a great love of water and, occasionally, little common sense. :)  DS2 is very, very adventurous, with little fear of anything.

You can see why DH would have qualms.  ::) I suppose that I do, too, but I wanted to do some research to find out what a cruise ship is like with kids. Is it safe? I know a lot of families cruise, so it seems like there must be extensive safety precautions. But we've never even looked into this before, so I have very little idea what it's like.

Any advice or perspective would be greatly appreciated.

Do you know what cruise line and ship? You can often find information on what is available, and some cruises are more suited to children than others.

Most of the ships are pretty safe. You'd have to work to get overboard, but we're talking railings. If your children might climb those railings then I think this might not be the best plan. If you can explain to them that that is dangerous and they will listen, great.

If there is a kids' program on board, make use of it. A lot of these have great activities.

I'd practice manners ahead of time, especially if you will eat in the dining room. That will make things easier all around.

Generally, I think cruises are a nice options for families, since there's only one round of unpacking, and there is a wide variety of things to do. But, it depends on the cruise!

Since it's a three day cruise, I assume you're talking about Disney or Carnival.  Both of those lines have wonderful programs for children. 

You're talking about a child with special needs and one who's very adventurous.  Go to the website of the line.  There you can learn what accommodations can be made for your children.

We don't have children but we have talked to many people who have sailed with children.  They all had positive things to say about youth programs on ships.  The lines take great care to make sure the children are safe. 

Try asking this on cruisecritic.com or if a Disney cruise, disboards.com

If you are thinking very adventurous and therefore Will Jump Overboard, you really spend very little time near a railing on a cruise ship! 
If you do, then you would just hold their hands.
Perhaps don't get a room with a balcony.
There are children's clubs so you could have them go into a program like that for some of the time.
If they like water, they will want to go into the pools.  Those are as safe as any other pools.
Have you gone to a hotel with pools? This won't be that different.

We cruised with the kids when they were young, but not quite as young as yours.  I'll be honest: I was convinced one of the kids would go overboard. I didn't even allow them on our balcony without me holding their shirts the whole time to keep them from going over the railing.  ::) I recognize that it's an unreasonable fear, but it was there none-the-less. My now-adult-kids still tease me about it.

Other than my crazy paranoia the trip was great. There was an abundance of activities for the kids to participate in on board and they loved the excursions we took. We were travelling with childless friends, but there's such a variety of activities that we all had fun.


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