Here are some questions to consider when choosing a cruise.
- Big ships, small ships, mega ships?
- Value, moderate or luxury cruises?
- Which destinations does the ship sail to?
- What activities are offered on board?
- What dining choices are there? Main or late seating, anytime dining?
- Are gratuities included?
- What drinks are included and what's not?
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Do you find that ever since you had kids, you've had to ask about every little thing?
"When can I start solids....should I sleep train...should I use a pacifier...breast milk or formula...."
If you've never traveled with a little one, I guarantee you'll have lots of questions.
"How will he/she do on the airplane? Will there be food for them to eat on the ship? Do they supply a crib? What do I need to pack? How will I get from the airport to the ship with a baby? What do I do about naps? Can I bring the baby into the pool?"
In order for you to enjoy a vacation with little ones, first thing you have to do is set realistic expectations. It won't be like your honeymoon, where it was just the 2 of you and you could stay up late, sleep in and hang out at the pool all day. You have to be flexible and open-minded. Prepare for the un-expected and go with a positive attitude!
When I started traveling with DD (Darling Daughter for those who don't know the acronym), many people commented and said "She won't remember, why would you bother to take her?" and my reply is "Yes, she won't remember but I will and these are MY memories too". I absolutely LOVE the trips we've taken together and with digital photos and videos, DD will be able to keep them forever. I actually make movies out of our trips and she loves watching herself on TV and comments of things she recalls.
DD had taken 5 cruises and 1 land trip to Disney World before she turned 4 years old. She has probably cruised more than the average person.
Here are some common FAQ when it comes to family cruising
Q. How old does an infant have to be to go on a cruise?
A. All cruise lines require a minimum age to sail of 6 months old. For cruises with more than 3 consecutive days at sea (Transatlantic, Hawaii and South America), the minimum age to sail is 12 months.
Q. Which cruise lines offer a Baby Splash zone?
A. Due to U.S. health regulations, babies with swim diapers are not allowed into swimming pools. However, some cruise ships have a separate baby splash zone. Currently, the only ships which offer this are Royal Caribbean's Freedom and Oasis class ships and the Disney ships.
Q. Will we be stuck in the cabin all day?
A. It is inevitable that babies need naps so being on a cruise ship is actually a great way to accommodate this. You are never too far to retreat back to your cabin. If you can afford it, get a balcony. While the little one naps, you can be close by and relax outside....read a book, get sun tanned, have some wine with your spouse. You could also take turns staying in the cabin. My hubby would go to the gym and the next time I went to the spa to enjoy a massage.
Q. Where do babies and toddlers sleep?
A. For babies, we can request a pack and play at the time of your reservation. For toddlers, we would book a cabin that offers a sofa bed as opposed to a pullman. Pullmans are a small bed that folds down from the ceiling. It resembles a bunk bed with a small rail and are not really suitable for a toddler.
Q. Do cruise lines offer any daycare type services?
Carnival takes children as young as 2 years old in its kids program. (The industry standard is 3 years old and potty-trained.) Under 2, there is baby-sitting but is restricted to certain days and certain times for a nominal fee. No private babysitting is available.
Disney offers Flounder’s Reef Nursery and It’s a Small World Nursery which looks after children 12 weeks to 36 months old for $6 per hour. Counselors will change diapers provided by the parents.
Royal Caribbean offers Royal Babies & Tots program for 6 months - 3 years on many of their ships. It's set-up like a daycare and the fee is about $8/hour. In-room private babysitting can be arranged for a fee.
Here are some photos from our trips.
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Some popular cruise wedding options:
- You can choose to get married out at sea
- You might prefer to have your ceremony at one of the cruise’s exciting and romantic destinations
- You could choose to have a ceremony and reception on the ship while it is still docked. That way your friends and families can share the occasion even if they cannot go on the cruise with you
The best choice depends upon your own preferences.
As a cruise wedding specialist, I can be there every step of the way. I can be involved as little or as much as you want me to. Wedding planning can be stressful and I will do my best to help ease some of that stress so that you can enjoy your special day.
Here are some cruise lines that offer cruise weddings
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival is one of the more affordable cruise lines if you need to watch your wedding budget. This line provides a lot of great options that can still include your wedding guests if they choose to sail away with you or not. Consider some of the wedding options that Carnival offers. Some of these options are also offered by other cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean Wedding Cruises
Royal Caribbean offers a selection of wedding options that are similar to the ones that Carnival offers. This line employs special Romance Wedding Specialists that can help you plan the perfect ship or island wedding, and you can consult with these wedding planners for free.
Disney Wedding Cruises
What girl doesn’t dream of being a Disney bride when she grows up? What’s more romantic than a Disney fairytale wedding? You and your groom are sure to be the prince and princess in any Disney wedding cruise. You also get a personal wedding coordinator and the ability to arrange your wedding on the or on the shores of one of the popular destinations.
Princess Cruise Line Weddings
Princess’s weddings have been recognized as some of the best experiences. The line’s experienced and professional wedding coordinators can help you plan an intimate celebration for two people or a festive party for dozens of guests. You can choose to be married at sea by the ship’s captain or a destination wedding. Expect every detail to be considered and handled when you book your wedding cruise with Princess.
Norwegian Cruise Line Weddings
NCL offers a lot of different cruise destination choices, so you are bound to find your perfect wedding adventure. You can choose between the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Hawaii, or the Mediterranean Sea. The services are more geared towards a wedding-for-two that is performed at sea, and if this is what you want, Norwegian’s wedding planners can make it perfect for you.
If you're already married, the cruise lines also offer vow renewal ceremonies.
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There are many wonderful reasons to travel with a group. H2C makes it simple to plan these big events on any cruise line of your choice. Virtually every cruise line has a group program that offers special benefits. And to qualify for group rates and amenities as few as 16 people need to travel on the same sailing.
- Planning is easy. We're by your side for each step. We handle the details. Most lines even have a full time “group coordinator” onboard to assist once you sail.
- Enjoy perks, like group discounts and points that can earn your group onboard amenities.
- Customize it. We can arrange private shore excursions, cocktail hours, or other events, just for your group.
- So much is included. Fine dining, live music and shows, kids programs, fitness center, nightlife—it's all covered.
- No payment headaches. Each person can pay individually, or as a group. We will handle it all.
What makes a group?
Eight staterooms or more, that's it. There are no other obligations. More than 5 million group members cruise every year. Here are just some of the types of groups that have discovered this awesome travel options:
- Destination Weddings, Vow Renewals, Bridal Showers
- Birthdays, Graduations, Anniversaries
- Family Reunions, Class Reunions, Friend Reunions
- Museums and Cultural Groups
- Dance Groups
- Girlfriends Getaway, Bachelors/bachelorettes
- Retirement Celebrations
- Clubs and Sports Associations
- Religious Organizations, Church Retreats
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