I know what you must be thinking. “You poor thing. You had to go on a seven day Caribbean cruise with your family.” Okay, so it really wasn’t all that tough, but I’m not going to lie, it was trying at times.
It was my father’s request, who was celebrating his 60th birthday, to go on a family trip, young kids included. We were quite the crew of fourteen people, running around airports and cruise ship ports. Even though Scott and I don’t have any kids of our own, I did learn a few things about how to keep my nieces and nephews entertained while making sure I stayed sane.
How to Survive a Caribbean Cruise with Kids
Dress the Kids in Bright Clothing
My sister-in-law had blue t-shirts made with “Rod’s Crew” printed on them and everyone’s name and birthday on the back, like a jersey. This proved to be invaluable to help keep track of the little ones in a crowded area.
In fact, I would recommend getting the brightest color possible. My seven year old niece ran off (to look for us) on an extremely crowded beach in Labadee, Haiti and luckily she wore her bright pink swimsuit that day because that is the only way I found her.
Get a Room with a View
A room with a balcony overlooking either the ocean or an exciting part of the ship can keep kids entertained when in the room, besides watching TV. We sat on our balcony quite often and even ordered room service to enjoy breakfast with a view.
The view from our balcony, complete with a rainbow!
Take Advantage of the Kids’ Activities on the Cruise Ship
The cruise line offered all sorts of activities for the kids while at sea. The kids who were between the ages of 3-10 actually requested we take them to the “Adventure Center” instead of hanging out with us. Maybe we are boring?
My 13 year old niece was not thrilled about the “Teen Center.” I feel like they should name it something different because the name, “Teen Center” makes me think of a place where teens go when they get preggers. Is it just me?
Did I Mention Alcohol?
I’m not a huge drinker anymore, but I probably drank more in one week on the cruise than I normally drink in months at home. Okay, so this is not completely necessary, but for some reason drinking on a cruise just feels right. Plus, when the kids misbehave, it’s a lot easier to just let the little things slide and it makes it more comfortable for everyone.
Go On Kid-Friendly Excursions at Port
This trip was much different than our normal travels because we always had to consider the little ones and whether they would have a good time. Our Jamaica excursion involved a bird sanctuary where we fed and took photos of all different kinds of small birds.
The kids obviously loved the bird sanctuary, but it’s not something I would normally do. In Cozumel, we took the kids to a beach where the older kids could snorkel, Snuba and Sea Trek. The little ones still had fun, but it wasn’t exactly ideal because the beach went straight to deep water. We kept them entertained with sand toys and a shower nearby to cool off in.