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Read our tips first for cruising with Kids.
1) Do Your Research
Ask yourself the questions upfront before you book based on your families interest level. Shorter cruises are best for first-time cruisers.
Some of the things to consider are;
- How many ports does the ship dock in?
- Were the places we really wanted to go?
- How many days at sea is the cruise?
- What was the shore to sea ratio?
Visiting ports is big for us, and you look at some of the longer cruises, you need to check you are not just paying only for more days at sea.
2) Kids and Family Programming.
From the P&O website “P&O has developed a diverse range of fun daily activities specifically designed for kids. From arts and crafts to sport and music, their Kids Clubs offer specialised activities for specific age groups in a safe and supportive environment.
Their age groups are as follows:
● Turtle Cove (2 years – 5 years)
● Shark Shack (6 years – 9 years)
● HQ (10 years – 13 years)
● HQ+ (14 years – 17 years)
Under 2s need to be with a parent at all times.
Teens have lots of activities with pool or Edge Adventure Park, the P&O HQ and HQ+ youth staff provide lots of great activities for guests aged 10 – 17.
Kids can also hang out in their own special lounge with movies, video games, music, and more.
If your kids are the sporty kind, challenge them to a game of lawn bowls, table tennis, deck quoits, basketball or tennis – or even try your hand at laser tag!”
They also offer late-night minding services at an additional cost. This is great if you want to have a late dinner and go to an onboard performance.
3) Food Options.
There are so many food options with P&O cruises.
Yes, you could go to the buffet-style dining with the kids, but we really enjoy dining room meals.
Other food options available include room service, buffet dining, and a pizza restaurant all included.
See comments below about your waiters.
4) Port / Shore Excursions.
The age of your children will play a role in which shore excursions you can go on. There will be several excursions that they are easiest if they are 6 upwards. It’s also important to know what you do want to do. If the child has had a long excursion the previous day, then plan a half-day to recover.
You can also decide on activities that had a fun component, cultural component and historical component. Cultural dances are always fun for adults and kids.
A half-day excursion and then back to the boat, makes more sense for younger children, than full-day trips.
From the P&O website “Some P&O shore tours even offer children’s prices for ages 2 to 12 years, and infants aged less than 2 years sitting on a parent’s lap are not charged for the tour.
Plus, on small group tours, guests can even choose their own private vehicle for ultimate flexibility.”
$$$ Tip: Look at options in the port and once you have decided, prepay them and make your budgeting easier!
5) Make Friends with your Room Steward.
When you are on holiday, it is amazing to have someone come and make your beds, change linen and tidy up your room daily. Treat them well and they will take amazing care of your family. They will give you the best travel and sightseeing tips. They can help you get essential items you have forgotten to pack and other things you may need.
If you have questions about the stops you are making, or what to do onboard you can ask them. They will make an effort to learn your names, and the kids right away and greet you when you arrive. This might not seem like much but it can make your holiday easier, more comfortable and help you settle in on the ship.
6) Befriend your dinner waiters.
I think having someone make my meal and serve it night after night is wonderful. Your head waiter and staff will do their best to ensure you look forward to dinner every night. Gluten-free or allergies – they make a note to get your meal right for you. There are different cuisines on offer and special events.
7) Day-packing. If you plan to leave the cruise ship and go on a shore excursion you will want to bring a backpack and “supplies” along for the day. Be sure to ask how far away the port is and plan accordingly. I always have our passports and travel documents hidden in our bag (inside of a Ziploc bag), my camera, bottles of water, snacks for the kids, sunscreen, a notebook and pen, and a few other small things to keep them busy if need be. If you plan to swim or go snorkelling, bring sunscreen, swimsuits, towels, goggles, snorkel and reef walkers for the kids (if you have them).
8) Opt out of shore excursions and make your own when it makes sense.
There will plenty of shore excursions available but when you are worn out from an earlier excursion you can decide to hang around the pool – or head out on our own, find some sand and a beach, and just go with the flow for the day. Ask your room steward for locations.
Yes, this does take a little more planning and/or willingness to take a chance but it can be a memorable experience.
9) Keep a relaxed schedule. I am generally one who likes to schedule, but it can be difficult on holiday. If you don’t have an early start, then the kids can go to bed when they want to go to bed, or when they are too tired to keep going! (Depending on age).
You may need an alarm when you need to get off the ship or attending things at a particular time.
Try to keep internet connectivity to a minimum, it can be expensive and take away from the holiday experience. Remember you are meant to relax, not think about work.
From P&O website ” Once on board, you will be able to connect to the ships internet on wireless-enabled devices such as your mobile phone/tablet and laptop.
The most reliable location for Wi-fi access is in the Atrium as well as most public areas. Further information can be found on board, including prices and how to connect”
10) Prepay as much as possible. From a budgeting standpoint, cruising can be one of the most inexpensive vacations you can take. Accommodation, meals and transport are covered.
Onboard excursions are generally covered and shore excursions are mostly extra, but prepaid. Look for shore excursions that are discounted for kids. You also can (and should!) prepay all excursions
Once you put down your deposit and confirm your cabin and details for your cruise, you can start saving!!
There are no tips with P&O. (Ok, you might want to tip the room steward…)
Once you are onboard, there should be very little extra to pay.
I hope these tips have helped you!
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