We had special guests on our annual Christmas cruise this year. My nephew and his family came along, although my niece should get credit because she managed the process. They have two sons, who are ten and twelve.
We traveled with my son once, but he was married with a child, so that hardly counts as children. We’ve traveled with my Mom twice, and she wanders off like a child, but if you leave out the Chardonnay, she will find her way back.
So, this was our first cruise with “proper” children, although the 12-year old will be very annoyed to have been referred to as a “child.”
With pre-teens, all of the stuff that seemed like a waste of space before suddenly became critical.
We were on a Western Caribbean cruise, but we only had three ports in a week-long cruise. So, three sea days to explore the ship.
We were on the Norwegian Breakaway, the first time we had sailed on her since the inaugural crossing, so we assumed we knew the ship fairly well.
Not so much.
Kids love buffets – at least, kids who have been taught to be a bit adventurous with food. There is a variety of items to try, and if you don’t like it, try something else. If you do like it, have another plate (or three.)
Kids with a sense of adventure love the slides. If you are slightly paranoid, having seen the YouTube videos of people stuck in cruise ship slides (yes, more than one), you probably avoid them. Our nephews went down all of them, all the time. Their parents went down them. We watched – and it was the first time we’d ever been near the slides (except when I was on the way to a bar.)
Kids with an excessive sense of adventure love the ropes course. Our nephews did it multiple times, and shamed Mom into doing it – and the zip line. We watched.
Kids will play miniature golf. We actually played with them, after they asked, and we said, “There’s a golf course?” It’s fun – although it also was an annoyance point, since unsupervised kids were collecting the (limited) clubs and golf balls, which meant others couldn’t play. We still managed to get a fun round played – although the main hazards were other unsupervised children wandering around.
Kids play shuffleboard. I’ve been meaning to play shuffleboard since our first cruise. They did it. They also played giant chess.
So, now I understand the stuff that is added to the more recent classes of ships, which always seemed silly before.
I think everyone who only travels with a partner should Take a Child on a cruise. You will discover parts of the ship you never knew were there.