cruise holiday for kidsIf you want to just have a short family get-away without much traveling hassle – read itinerary scheduling, route planning… it just may be time to consider a cruise. Here’s a quick peek into what Star Cruise and Royal Carribean cruise lines have to offer.

Babies and Kids Ahoy

Infants 6 months and above can board both Star Cruise and Royal Caribbean. Cots may be requested during reservation subject to availability. For passenger fees, there is no child rate for Royal Caribbean, but for child between 6 months and below 2 years old, infant rate may apply. You may just get that time you need for some couple time or ‘me’ time. Nursery services are available and charges apply in accordance with the type of arrangement requested.

Pools and Programs

There are activities for kids which are complimentary during the cruises. Royal Caribbean provides the Fisher-Price Royal Babies and Tots Programs for parents and children. The Adventure Ocean® Youth Program is available for kids 3-11 years old. For Royal Caribbean, most vessels have the children’s pool with the exception of “Vision Class” vessels. Some Royal Caribbean vessels sport a teen lounge and disco for added fun and entertainment.

Star Cruise holds its own with a wide variety of activities for kids as well as entertainment lounge for kids below 12. Starkids club membership applies for Star Virgo. For Star Cruise line, only Star Virgo provides children’s pool – Neptune’s Wet ‘n’ Wild alfresco playground amidst expansive indoor/outdoor children’s activity area and 100m water slide. Its childcare area consists of play area and ball pool. There is also a video games arcade and starlight cinema for older kids.

Animation Experience

The Dreamworks experience serves to enchant kids and adults alike with meet-the-characters, character meals and Dreamworks films. Take a photo with the Madagascar penguins; dine with Shrek or Kung Fu Panda. Complimentary on several vessels of Royal Caribbean (Voyager of the Seas), the Dreamworks experience will be unforgettable for any child!

Look out for various special themed events by Star Cruise catered for the holidays, some cartoon animation characters might just be on board! For example, Nickelodeon at Sea was launched on Virgo and Libra during the recent Dec holidays featuring Nickelodeon themed rooms, activities and character mascots such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer on Board.

Adventure on board!

There are such a variety of sports available on board your young teenager will be spoilt for choice! Both cruise lines provide basic sports amenities such as fitness centres, jogging circuits and basketball courts. Mini golf courses and rock climbing walls are available on most Royal Caribbean vessels and on Star Virgo. For an ice-skating experience, an ice-skating ring is available on bigger vessels of Royal Caribbean (Voyager of the Sea) but not on Star Cruise.

Tips for parents

  • Travelling with kids in tow can be challenging but there’s something on board the ship for everyone! When booking with your agent, remember to clarify any queries you may have or make requests ahead of time, such as your need for cot or special dietary requirements etc.
  • If your child is very young, you may need to bring formula (if applicable) or some back-up food etc in case your child does not like the food offered on board. There may be certain restrictions on outside food you may bring on board, so check with your agent first.
  • Lastly, once on board, it would be good to review the daily schedule on board, as some activities may require prior booking eg. DreamWorks Character Breakfast has limited seating so booking has to be done in advance to guarantee a seat.

*Note: This article takes a look at the activities available for a family trip. It cannot be used to compare which cruise line is better than the other as many other aspects are not included in the focus such as adult-oriented amenities or services for travellers without children e.g. Casino facilities, theatre show range, adult services – beauty and sports amenities, dining options and so on. Services and program hours vary based on vessel and itinerary. The article is meant to be used as a general reference. Please check with your respective booking agent for specific services, applicable charges and seasonal programs.

By Som Yew Ya

This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine