Family Travel / Travel Tips

Tips for Your First Family Cruise

A family cruise can be one of the best ways to travel with your kids. It is the perfect balance of chill time, adventure and sightseeing! All without leaving the comfort of the ship. Cruise lines are filled with activities for your family, and there are plenty of options to keep your kids entertained while you relax. You can make the most of your trip with these tips for your first family cruise! 

Pack a Bag for Boarding Day

On boarding day, you will have to check your luggage as you would if you were taking a flight. You will not receive your luggage until the late afternoon or early evening. Be sure to pack a carry on bag with bathers, spare clothes, and any other essentials you might need. This way you don’t have to wait for your luggage to start having fun! You can head straight to the pool or any other activities that interest you as soon as you have boarded.

Pack a bag so you don’t have to wait for your luggage to start your holiday!

Make Friends with the Staff

Make sure you befriend your dinner waiters, favourite bar tenders and cleaning staff! It is their job to make sure you and your family have all that you need. By making friends with them, they will enjoy their job and be all the more happy to help you out!

On board the ship, you will receive the same waiters every night for dinner if you eat in the ships Dining Hall. Your waiter can help provide entertainment for your younger children so that you can eat your dinner in peace!

Read More: Tips for Cruising with a Baby

man and baby on deck of cruise ship while cruising with family

Eat in the Dining Hall

When you take a cruise, it is likely that there will many different places to eat! Most of these will be inclusive with your stay, including the ships Dining Hall. In the Dining Hall you will receive full service of some of the best food! The Dining Hall generally provides food at each meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner – so be sure to check your allocated dining times.

We ate our lunch in one of the ships buffet restaurants for every day except the last of our cruise. The food we had for lunch in the Dining Hall was by far the best lunch we ate on our entire trip!

Explore New Places

Your cruise will likely have at least one port stop, so be sure to take the opportunity to explore a new place! Make sure you do your research before disembarking the ship. Arriving in a totally new city can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if it is in a foreign country to you! This will help you to have an idea of where you want to go, how much things will cost, and if you need to exchange your money to another currency.

Make sure you research the city before disembarking! 

If you are unsure about what to do, but want to explore a new place, you also have the option to book a shore excursion through the cruise. Just head to the front desk and choose what you would like to do!

When you disembark from the ship, make sure you pack a bag for your day. Some of the top things I suggest taking are:

  • Your Camera
  • A Reusable Water Bottle 
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Weather Appropriate Clothing (Bathers, Jacket, Scarf, Sunnies)

Read More: Tips for a Family Friendly Day in Port

Attend the Evening Entertainment

Inclusive of your cruise will be a series of nighttime entertainment. This will include anything from musicals, comedies, plays and shows that are targeted at different audience groups. Be sure to incorporate some of this entertainment into your trip, as it can easily become a highlight of your cruise!

Join in Cruise Activities

One of the best things you can do on your cruise is join in with the cruise activities! Whether you go to a trivia challenge, a mini golf competition or try out the Flow Rider, these will be the stories you bring back home! It will also help you to meet other people on the ship who have the same interests as you! 

Take Time to Relax

As relaxing as you think a cruise might be, all the activities, shore excursions and eating out can become quite tiring – especially for a young family. Make sure you set aside the time to just sit by the pool, take a nap or maybe even enjoy a massage or quiet meal.

It might also be a good idea to stay on board the ship on a port day. On these days the ship is often empty and quiet, as many of the passengers have disembarked. You can use this time to try an activity that is often busy or be one of the few people to sit by the pool!

Make the Most of Mornings

Get up early and enjoy a coffee before the ship gets busy and crowded. This is the perfect time to take the chance to be alone, while your kids sleep or have some morning TV time.

Watch the Sunset Together

Take the opportunity of being on the ocean and watch the sunset together. There is nothing better than being surrounded by the people you love and watching the sky as it turns all sorts of colors!

man looking at sunset from cruise ship

Must Haves for Any Cruise

Some must haves for a cruise in any destination are: 

Reusable Water Bottle: There are often water fountains scattered throughout the ship so you can refill your water bottle.

Backpack: Cruise ships are huge! Having a bag to take a couple of things with you will save you from having to walk back to your room between activities. It is also great to take on shore excursions.

Power Converter Adapter: Check what country your power-points will be in and purchase an adapter so you can charge your phone and camera!

Camera: I am sure that you will be seeing plenty of new destinations. Take a camera so you can document your holiday!

Jacket: When you have a cruise day, it can get quite windy and a little chilly on the open decks. Make sure you pack a light jacket to use, especially when travelling through usually warm destinations! A Jacket will also help inside the ship, as the air conditioning can make it feel quite cool!

Binoculars: If you love to see the sights from your ship, a pair of binoculars would be perfect! You can look to spot marine life, other ships and get a closer look of the coastline


No matter what, taking a cruise is a great way to spend a family holiday. There are activities to suit everyone and plenty of opportunities to relax and sightsee. And not to worry if you forget to take something, there are shops onboard that will likely have what you need!


  • Naomi
    January 31, 2020 at 3:28 am

    Such a great post and awesome tips!! Will def save for later 🙂

  • Ella
    January 29, 2020 at 4:12 am

    Cruises are the perfect trip for families! My family and I went to the Carribean back in 2008 and it was the trip of a lifetime for us. There was something for everybody and enabled us to see loads of beautiful places!

    • Megan
      January 29, 2020 at 10:38 am

      Yes! They are great for getting a taste of so many places without having to handle the travel and change of accomodation along the way.

  • Iuliya
    January 28, 2020 at 7:26 am

    I’ve never been on a cruise but it sounds like there’s tons to do!

  • Sage
    January 26, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I’ve only been on one cruise, years and years ago before I became a Mom. We’ve never taken a cruise as a family, but these are fantastic tips for if we decide to change that!

    • Megan
      January 27, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      You should give it a go! Cruising is great with kids.

  • Erica
    January 22, 2020 at 9:36 am

    I’ve never been on a cruise because I’m a solo traveller and can’t justify the cost for one person, but I’ve always wanted to take a cruise! They look like so much fun and a unique way to travel. I’ll certainly be keeping your tips in mind if I ever start travelling with someone else, and we go on a cruise. I specially liked your tip about having a specific bag for day trips! That’ll make things so much easier.

    • Megan
      January 22, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Yeah I get that! Much more worth the cost when shared with another person ☺️ they are a very relaxing way to travel!


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