Archive for October, 2009

Top Tested Tips for Cruising with Babies and Toddlers

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

boys on phone in cabin.jpg

I’ve taken my nearly 7-year-old twin boys on 20 cruises, the first when they were 9 months old, so I’ve learned the ropes from good old practical hands-on, trial-and-error experience. If you’re thinking about cruising with babies or toddlers, heed some advice from a mom who had lived to tell about it.

heidi-with-boys.jpgMake sure you know the minimum age for kids programming before you book a cruise. Many drop-off programs have a minimum-age of three; a few age one or two (Disney and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas have drop-off programming for babies under one; three months and six months respectively).

Don’t assume your little ones will be happy about being dropped off at the nursery or playroom, if there’s too much crying, you’ll be asked to take them out. It’s never happened to me (what does that say?), but I’ve seen it happen often to other parents. Bummer to have to cancel a massage appointment or a wine tasting seminar, but it’s a possibility.

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Family Powwows in Alaska with Princess

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Round up granny, grandpa and the cousins and head for the Last Frontier. Princess Cruises has announced a new 12-night cruisetour option geared to families, with more than 25 departures offered between  May 15 and Sept 6, 2010. The cruisetours include family-fun stuff to do, from a jet boat ride to panning for gold.

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Family-Friendly = Free!!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

msc

Plenty of cruise lines discount kids’ fares about 50% off the regular adult rates when families are sharing the same cabin. MSC Cruises ups the ante a lot more by inviting kids 17 and under to sail free of charge on all MSC Cruises itineraries when sharing a cabin with two full-paying adults.

The MSC ships are very family friendly, with each offering a colorful “Mini Club” play room. Counselors are known as “animators” and are on hand to organize fun activities from arts and crafts to puppet shows, games, treasure hunts, mini-Olympics, dance parties, balloon-tying, painting classes, pizza parties, and more.

FAMILY IN THE WHIRLPOOL.jpegActivities are tailored for several age groups: ages 3 to 6, 7 to 12, and teens. Kids under 3 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. On days in port, with advance notice parents can leave their kids at the Mini Club while they go on shore excursions.

For teens, there’s a special “teen card,” a personalized debit card for ages 12 to 17 that can be used for sodas, video games and other onboard purchases. Each card comes with a bonus amount (for example, buy a $30 card and get $35 worth of credit; buy a $50 card and get an extra $10 for free). Kids of all ages will appreciate meal time, with children’s menus offering favorites like pizza, pasta, hamburgers, hot dogs and ice-cream.

The best part for families? The price. Cruise-only rates begin at $349 per person, double occupancy for a 7-night Caribbean cruise and $549 per person, double occupancy for a 7-night cruise in Europe.