- The flight: Most cruise itineraries require a flight and with small children, it might be easier to keep flights relatively short so Mediterranean cruises may be best which normally go from either Spain or Italy. E-Travel offer fly cruise packages with flights and transfers included making the whole booking process for a family a lot easier. Also, check out the www.airportgenie.com to make your airport experience stress free. You can purchase a fast track boarding pass from just €5.95 and skip right passed long queues right through to a Genie Chaperone for a whole family to whisk you through the airport with minimum stress from €40. Pre-book parking online and make major savings with www.dublinairport.com from €29 for a week or if you really want to feel like a VIP, check out the new VIP service offered by www.dublinairport.com.
- ‘Happy kids, happy holiday’ so chose your ship based on what your children will enjoy best. Entertainment has been taken to a new level with themed cruises. Families can opt for a "DreamWorks experience" on Royal Caribbean (Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas), during which they'll get to meet characters like Shrek and Po (the Kung Fu Panda). Likewise, Norwegian offers Nickelodeon-themed cruises on Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Jewel. Carnival is adding Seuss at Sea to several ships. As a general rule of thumb, the newer ships tend to be the best choice as they have so many new additions. e-travel offer a wide variety of cruise packages and staff have personal experience sailing with all the top cruise lines with specialist advice on best prices and packages for toddlers and tots.
- Food for thought: Dining options and times are now much more family friendly and flexible. When you're travelling with kids, set dining times and show times can be tough. Ships are accommodating families with more flexible dining times, and special menus for tykes are offered in a variety of dining venues. Some cruise lines will mash or puree food for babies; others don't offer this service. Either way, it's good to bring a supply of food and formula for use during shore excursions and as a backup in case your child has fussy taste buds.
- Questions to ask: Investigate the kids’ programs thoroughly. Read the fine print on the cruise line’s Web site or pepper your travel agent with plenty of questions. Here’s what to ask when travelling with kids: Is the program open to toddlers under three? (Many are not, or require an extra fee.) Does your little darling have to be diaper-free to attend? What kind of training and certifications do caregivers have? Do toddlers have their own space, or do they share with bigger kids? If you are travelling with more than one child, find out whether the kids can be put in the same group (if you want) or whether that won’t be allowed because of the age-spread. Other questions: Is the program open year-round or just during high season on the high seas? What are the program’s hours? Will you need to supply proof of vaccinations?
- What to Bring.
Most cruise lines
don't sell nappies and wipes onboard or might not have your preferred
brand, so bring your own. Even though many ships provide cribs, be sure to
confirm availability before you sail. If you have a toddler on the tall
side, ask about the size of the crib; a low bunk with a bedrail might fit
your child better.
If your child is hooked on watching
Dora or Disney before bed, consider bringing a portable DVD player, as
most standard staterooms do not have DVD players. As for strollers &
buggies, think about what you'll need at the airport and during shore
excursions, in addition to getting around the ship. This will help you
determine whether you need.