Travel; Why We’re Choosing to Go Cruising with Children

It’s been a long-standing joke in our family that we would do a family cruise, with my mum.  Every Christmas and birthday we would joke about my mum taking us all away on said cruise.  Then, each time we got round to planning it, babies stopped us.  The first time the Toddler was too young to go.  The second attempt we got as far as pricing up the holiday, then those 2 little lines appeared and Baby Boy was on his way.  With me missing the 24 week cut off point on the cruise and having a high risk pregnancy anyway.

So it’s third time lucky.  We are off on a cruise (thanks to my mum) with our two small boys.  The toddler will be 3 years 3 months old.  The Baby will be a mere 9 months old.

In less than 2 months we will be stepping on board the P&O ship The Azura for a two week break in the sun.  Two weeks of luxury in the Caribbean.

image credit; P&O Cruises
image credit; P&O Cruises

Are we crazy going cruising with children?

My husband thinks we might be and is apprehensive having never been.  I’m less so having done a mini cruise with my mum and dad when I was 24.  There are so many reasons why I think going cruising with children is the best holiday we can go on this year.  And not just because my mum is taking us….

Why We’re Going Cruising with Children

1.  The Kids Club

With the Toddler we are now at the age where we can take full advantage of kids club. Finally! The kids clubs start from 2 years old, and having our very own threeanger. Well, that puts him smack bang in the middle of The Splashers Club.

I’m looking forward to getting the Toddler on board and allowing him some time to do his whole Toddler-independence piece here. Creative activities, outdoor play areas, inside space. The ability for him to run off all that energy each day.

The Baby is going to be too young at 9 months to go into anything, but this solution is also solved by P&O with an area for under-2s that you can use. The difference between this and kids club is simply that parents must be present. I sense a tag team effort to allow for some tanning opportunity for both Mummy and Daddy.

2.  The Night Nursery

At night the Kids Club area turns into a night nursery from 6pm-2am on a first come first served basis for kids 6 months to 4 years. I definitely don’t fancy taking the boys with us every single night so I plan to can book them into the night nursery and enjoy adult dinner without “I don’t like it.  Mummy.  Mummy.  Daddy.  Daddy.  Look at me.”

image source; P&O Cruises
image source; P&O Cruises

It’s also my birthday while we are on board (yes, I’m going to be 21 again….) while P&O don’t offer in-cabin babysitting we have this problem solved by going away with our in-built babysitter – Grandma.

3.  Seeing the World

We love to show our children the world.  Different places.  Different cultures.  They might both be small but I think it’s never too early to start taking them round the world, as you may have seen the Toddler is surprisingly well travelled at 13 countries at three. Cruising offers a snapshot of new countries. We will be docking in 9 different ports this trip – Barbados, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Amber Cove, Tortola, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Dominica, before heading back to Barbados. Our plan is to get off at every single port. It only counts as a new country if we get off.

We will be doing a mix of organised tours, chilling and exploring on our own, and sending the Husband off on his own in St. Maarten. A self confessed plane geek he wants to go and see the airport on the beach and hang on the fence as they come in to land. Don’t worry I’ll be sending him with the camera and I want a full report from him on it! I’m not going, while I think it would be amazing, I’m not sure that it would work with the boys.

4.  The Food

Food galore.  Cakes especially…..

A variety of child friendly restaurants, with the option of a specially laid on tea for little ones at night should you wish to dine without them (yes please – night nursery!)

image source; P&O Cruises
image source; P&O Cruises

5.  The Swimming Pools

Despite the Toddler being a little cautious in the water he absolutely loves to splash around. Even better there are family friendly specific pools where it won’t matter if they are both squealing for joy or being the boisterous boys that they are. And trust me, both my boys are loud.

6.  The Facilities

A Library for the book worm in me to be able to read (as long as the boys allow). A spa, a de-stressing massage after travelling with the boys from Dubai-Manchester, Manchester-Barbados. That’s a lot of plane time. With two of them. And it’s going to be my birthday *hint hint dear husband* countless restaurants. Adult only areas for the times we can ask Grandma to babysit have some quality time with the boys. Bars and lounges to enjoy some sundowners watching the sun set over the sea.

7. The Entertainment

For all of us. The stage shows. The cinema. Tribute bands (which the husband will love *sarcastic*) all of which I do love. The Casinos. Nightclubs.

Adult entertainment whilst the little ones crash in the night nursery. Children’s entertainment in kids club in the day. The toddlers delight at the thought of being able to go to the cinema!

image source; P&O Cruises
image source; P&O Cruises

8. The Experience

I’d like to paint you all a picture, which is one which has been in my mind since we booked onto the cruise, an idyllic family moment.

After a day spent exploring new places, the Toddler’s creativity sated with a trip to the kids club, the Baby happy to have been outdoors and the centre of attention all day. Slipping up to the deck for sunset, flushed smiling face. The toddler racing with Daddy chattering about all he has done. The baby cooing delightedly. Sitting on deck, everyone enjoying a sundowner, watching the sun go down over the ocean.

Now I know that is the complete idyllic moment and that the chances of that lasting more than a minute is rare, that there will be an iPad involved, that there will be incessant questions about the ship moving, that there will be instances where it will be nerve wracking and frustrating.

BUT there will be perfect moments. As a family. As a couple. As brothers. For every tough moment the smile that this pair give you will make up for it.


And I know that when we look out to sea and realise just how big the world is, that will be one of our perfect moments.

Our Main Concern to Cruising with Children

It’s not the being on a massive ship in the ocean.

It’s not the thought of being confined.

It’s not that the kids will wreck terror on board (though that is a concern naturally)

Our main worry is the accommodation. We are staying in a standard inside cabin on board, and while we don’t think we be spending much time in our room; we will of course be spending some time there. Especially with nap schedules and sleeping babies to consider. The set up is very clever to allow for more than 2 people to sleep in the room:

image source; P&O Cruises

And I think if the boys were older they would love sleeping in the top bunks with Mummy and Daddy on the bottom. But the boys will be 3 and 9 months. So between the beds will be a travel cot. And Daddy is valiantly taking a top bunk as the Toddler has a tendency to fall out of bed. It’s going to be a squeeze but with everything that is going on the moment we couldn’t justify the extra £1000 to upgrade to a suite, which would give more space for us all – so if you can afford to do it then I think this would make your cruise more enjoyable. Especially if you’re like us and taking two children under 3.

Still. We always have enjoyed a challenge….now then where can we squeeze the pram in.

*All cruise images sourced from P&O Cruises

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  1. November 26, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    WOW!! Sounds amazing and that nighttime nursery BEST IDEA EVER! I think it’s great you’re taking the children on a cruise with you. It will be a really good experience for everyone. And two weeks in the sun?! Yes please. I also like that the pools are family friendly, so many places abroad and the kids aren’t allowed in the pools (Me and my friend were having a conversation about this the other day). The cabins look fab, I’m sure the kids will be fine after a day or so. I don’t think I would have opted for an extra £1000 either. I hope you all have a wonderful time. I can’t wait to hear more about it xx

    (now following your blog on instagram and FB)

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:47 am

      I hope we are fine – and if not they can sleep in the night nursery until 2 and we can do some catching up the next day while Grandma babysits!

      Trying to keep them quiet while adults tut around you wasn’t my idea of fun either so I am especially glad of that xx

  2. November 26, 2015 / 2:18 pm

    You had me at night nursery! That sounds amazing. I’ve been on a cruise for a weekend and I loved the food and entertainment, unfortunately my other half got a bit seasick so I’ll have to take a mate!

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:43 am

      Haha! Funny I was had at night nursery too, and kids club!x

  3. November 26, 2015 / 2:28 pm

    Sounds like it’ll be a welcome break and a chance to not only spend time as a family, but also with Mum and finally just you and the hubby. 🙂

    I’ve always wanted to do a cruise but concerned it would be full of “Silver Tops” being annoyed by unruly / noisy kids. That said I have absolutely no basis in that theory and the fact that is so much going on, they’ll always be something to enjoy.

    Make sure you take your elastic trousers though as I’m sure if you’ll anything like me you’ll be taking full advantage of all the different cuisines available on board.
    Looking forward to reading your experience already
    Jim x

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:43 am

      I always thought the same – especially when my Mum and Dad took up cruising in their retirement. They kept saying it was for everyone, that there were younger passengers on board. We still didn’t believe them until we all went on a mini med cruise. Which was fantastic. It really gave me the taste for it.

      I think the fact that P&O Azura is known for being family friendly then we will be OK. There is so much for them, part of me thinks poor Baby as he will be a little bit too little to enjoy anything like soft play….however, he is already crawling so as long as he is supervised I guess he can use it too…..

      Elastic trousers?! Thats not very glam…might break out my maternity clothes again though!xx

  4. November 26, 2015 / 3:02 pm

    I think it is important to show children the world from a young age so they are brought up to respect other cultures and learn other languages. We tend to have a eurocentric view and I feel that the world is so much more than that and we should instil these beliefs in our children from a young age!

  5. November 26, 2015 / 6:42 pm

    I must say I’ve been torn about cruising as not sure how long I’d love to stay cooped up on a boat for (hubby says it’s his idea of hell). But having seen a good friend blogging her adventures on a cruise, and reading this post, I’m warming up to the idea! Love the sound of the night nursery, need more of those on dry land too 😉 Sounds like you’ll have an absolutely amazing time and come back with plenty of stories. Enjoy! x

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:39 am

      This is what my husband is most worried about. I think I just need to get him on board and he will come round to my way of thinking. Well he doesn’t have a choice now he’s going!

  6. November 26, 2015 / 6:44 pm

    This sounds fab…I’m pretty sure I went on a family cruise when I was younger…so young I can’t really remember but I remember going on a P&O ship. This is a great post. I think a family cruise is a great idea and it would open the whole families eyes to different cultures and ways of life. : )

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:39 am

      Exactly this, we can all see different countries and cultures whilst having the benefit that the travelling between places is on a luxury ship!

  7. November 26, 2015 / 6:59 pm

    This sounds like such a dream. I’ve been wanting to go on a cruise forever but then like you, found myself pregnant and then it all just seemed like a once upon a time dream. Now having read this, I’m newly inspired!! Definitely helps having your mom go with though!! Hello Grandma!

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:37 am

      That’s what happened to us first time, we were literally talking about it and then I found out I was pregnant. It went on hold. We talked again, the Toddler was only 3 months and had to be 6 months. We talked again. I got pregnant again.

      This time – its happening!! x

  8. November 26, 2015 / 7:10 pm

    Funny thing I have been researching some cruises for next year and the 12 night caribbean cruise is what I was looking at last night. I think it is awesome that you will take the kids with you, I think it will be good for them and very enjoyable.

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:36 am

      I agree, I think it will give the variety they need whilst being organised for us so its not exhausting trying to plan and cram things into every day!

  9. November 26, 2015 / 10:15 pm

    I am sure you will have an absolutely amazing time and I am very jealous. It will be cold and wet here and you will be enjoying gorgeous weather. I like the sound of the night crèche too! X

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:35 am

      I think I am most excited about the night nursery…not the Caribbean but the night nursery!x

  10. November 27, 2015 / 12:44 am

    I have wondered what it would be like to take kids on a cruise, and I have to agree with all of your points why its a good idea. Like yours my hubby is a little apprehensive, but cruises cater for everyone don’t they! I’m definitely up for a family cruise (with Grandparents of course!) x

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:34 am

      They definitely do cater for everybody, I think my husband is thinking of it like a hotel resort on the sea rather than a whole village out there!x

  11. November 27, 2015 / 1:04 am

    Oh this sounds so lovely! I would love to take a cruise but I get sea sick just looking at boats in the harbour haha.. Hope you have a lovely time! x

    • Laura
      November 27, 2015 / 7:34 am

      My sister in law is the same which is why they aren’t coming along too (shame because there goes two more extra babysitters!!) x

  12. November 29, 2015 / 3:42 am

    I think you’re going to have such a good time – I need to get back on another cruise! We had a great time in the Caribbean two years ago, slightly too young to make the most of the kids club but getting to see so many destinations and in such a family-friendly way was amazing. I’ve seen videos of the planes at that beach too – jealous!

    • Laura
      December 4, 2015 / 9:40 am

      I am so excited! Especially after seeing your photos and reading your experience. I think the 3 year old will love the kids club and it will give him a chance to burn off some energy. I know I’d love to go with him!

  13. December 5, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    I’ve never been on a cruise but would love to try one. Two weeks in the caribbean sounds perfect. Hope you all have a wonderful time!

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