I wrote my tips for cruise holidays with children…but what about for parents? So covering booze, boobs and bad attempts at cupcake making; here’s some things to think about for day…and night:
- It’s really worth spending extra on a room with a balcony. It gives you more space for when children are asleep (we had drinks on our balcony in the evening; you can order room service or take drinks up from the bars)
- The balcony also gives you a great view when the ship comes in and out of port, and for spotting other boats when you’re out at sea. Hours of instant toddler entertainment
- If you’re going with family, they will probably want to spend some quality time with your children. Woohoo! At one point my mum looked after Eliza and I just lay on our bed and did nothing for an hour. It was amazing
- If you do get some child-free time in the day, there are a whole host of things you can do on the Royal Caribbean ships from lectures to shows and fitness classes…
- ..and if you’re on the Indepedence of the Seas you can also take a cupcake decorating class, run by the manager of the Cupcake Cupboard – the specialist cake shop on board. (I was given one of these for free but they’re normally around $20). We were taught how to make a cupcake that looks like a dog. I think my cupcake decorating and food photography skills need a lot of honing, but it was a lot of fun. And we got to eat it after
- You could also just do nothing and lie around by one of the many pools (having a beer) or sit in one of the the amazing super-warm jazuzzis that overlook the side of the ship
- And on that note – if you’ve had a baby recently it’s probably worth trying on bikinis sooner than two days before you go. What fitted really well pre-baby (Topshop bandeau bikinis and minuscule triangle tops) may may you look like a scrawny 12 year old boy after
- If you do leave it that late, after some frantic Googling, I found that Next sell bikinis all year round – including a lovely retro-style top with magical support and padding – and also have same day delivery option. How amazing is that?
- Children are welcome in all the restaurants, but if you fancy a meal for two or a few drinks in the evening, Royal Caribbean also offer a late option for the nursery and children’s clubs (there is an additional fee, but they stay open to 2am). We didn’t use these but it’s worth thinking about if you have older children, especially as there’s a disco room for teenagers
- There’s also a paid babysitting service, where two people will come and sit in your room and watch your child (they’re all fully qualified and trained). We opted to do this one night so we could go out for a few hours, watch a band, have a nose around the casino, go to some of the bars and join in the street party. Of course this was the ONE night when Eliza didn’t really fancy going to sleep on time. Of course!
There is always a touch of the Hi-de-Hi about going on a cruise (there are big shows, pool competitions and there was even a man singing love songs at the piano in one of the lounges). But this sort of holiday is trying to appeal to a wide demographic of people – from very young to very old. And there’s a lot to do to suit everyone, and you can chose to do whatever you want.
We had a great time, and it meant we got to spend lots of time with my family, some time alone, and it was brilliant for keeping our toddler entertained – and what more can you want as a parent, really?