Cruising Kids Club Tips

Just about every cruise line offers some sort of service for kids. If you are bringing kids along, be sure to choose the line best suited to your child's personality. Here are some items to evaluate.

Guardian - Child Ratio
If the kid's club has one guardian and 40 kids, that doesn't bode well. The guardian will be lucky to remember your child's name, never mind make sure that all kids are actually kept together or are each happy. Make sure you find out the guardian-child ratio and that it is one that you are comfortable with.

Amount of Child-Only Space
Some cruise ships have an entirely separate pool, arcade, and playroom for the kids. This ensures that the kids CAN be kids - yelling, screaming, splashing - without being scolded by adults who are looking for peace and quiet. It also means you can be more secure about your kids being safe and not harassed by an improper adult. The more separate the arrangements, the better all around.

Types of Activities
Some ships have themes that they run. NCL for example has "martial arts cruises" and "wildlife / zoo cruises" where they bring in experts on that topic and have events and hands-on training on that theme. If your child is a martial arts fanatic, he or she might be bored silly on a fancy cruise where kids just watch Shrek every day. But your child might have the trip of a lifetime if the cruise was all about Martial Arts and involved cool seminars with famous athletes.

Percentage of Kids On Board
If the kids club is super - but there ARE no kids on board - your child can easily become bored, sad and lonely. Think of it in this way - if YOU went on a cruise but it turned out everyone on board was 3 years old, you might long for someone to talk to, too! The best times to take kids on cruises are during school breaks and summer vacations - when other kids will be on board too. If you try to go on off-season, you run the risk of your kid having no other kids to play with. While many kids enjoy talking with adults, there's something to be said to having someone "your own age" to run around with, too. The talking to adults should be an option - not their only choice.

Most kids clubs are included with the cruise price - but some charge extra for special events. Be sure to always ask about prices beforehand. You don't want to have any surprise fees hitting you when the cruise is over!

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