This past year, more than one million youngsters under the age of 18 years old sailed on Cruise Lines International Association ships. Young people make up a large portion of your fellow passengers when you take a cruise ship vacation. Kids on vacation period, especially if they are not your own, can really can drag down on the fun.
Of course, you probably want to take the kids along with you on your vacation. They can add to the fun if you take care of things right, and cruises are a great time to spend time with your children, especially if you work or go to school and so do they. Keep in mind though that if you were on a child-free vacation you wouldn't want somebody else's children running amok, being loud or rowdy, ruining the fun of those who aren't involved in their rowdiness. Have enough respect for your fellow passengers/cruisers, as well as the ship's crew, to keep your children under control.
Easier said than done, right? Let's go over a few ideas on how to keep your children under control and make your cruise one of, if not your most, memorable family vacation ever.
The biggest and most important tip of all is not to take your kids on a cruise they will not enjoy! Idleness leads to rowdiness and mischievous, often uncontrollable behavior. Many cruise ships, especially those on the Carnival Cruise line, offer kid-friendly "Fun Ships" that have entire itineraries dedicated to keeping your little ones out of your hair and the hair of your fellow cruisers. There are kids' pool areas, dining rooms, and game rooms. There are even scheduled and supervised trips ashore for those who wish to go along. (Who wants to take a 5-year old scuba diving in the Caribbean? Certainly not I).
All cruise liners have a list of rules and regulations to follow, and that goes for the kids as well. Many cruise liners have a separate set of rules that apply to the kids and a separate set of rules that apply to the adults. Unfortunately as a parent your parental responsibilities do not end when you venture on board your cruise liner. You have a responsibility set forth by the shipping company (yes, just about all of them) to keep your children under supervision. If you are not supervising your youngsters yourself, it is your responsibility to make sure that someone is watching them, even if it is the children's program coordinators.
Unfortunately, the actions of your children could cause you your vacation. If the behavior of your children is in any way detrimental to the safety or pleasure of the other passengers, many cruise lines have policies that allow them to drop you and your youngsters off at the next port, and keep on sailing without you. Most people cannot or do not wish to afford plane tickets back home because your kid's were unable to control themselves and you were unable to control them. Don't take the risk!