8 months old and cruising already……

Independence Of The Seas

Whoever said that having children doesn’t change you is wrong, or lying.

I’d always said that I’d never go on a cruise, not least until I was 60.  They were full of old people who ate too much and the ships would smell of furniture polish.  That is until our son came along and after a UK based wet ‘summer’ holiday and one involving a short, but cramped flight to the Canaries we decided to book a cruise.  With the in-laws.

Was I wrong about cruising?  Not really.  There were tons of old people.  There were lots of people who ate.  A lot.  All day.  And, due to an outbreak of noro-virus on the previous cruise the ship was cleaned constantly which just made it smell of furniture polish.  This in turn made it feel even more unhygenic.  There was also a slightly manic obsession with hand gel which was dispensed all over your hands whenever you moved from one part of the ship to another.  Conjuring up the smell of a holiday usually brings to mind coconut scented suntan lotion not antibacterial hand gel.

But, on the plus side, there was no need to fly as we set sail from Southampton.  How romantic does that sound ‘set sail’?  The reality was standing outside a terminus in Southampton with a huge queue of people in front of us in the freezing cold to go through ‘check in’.  Not quite the glass of champagne and cheering crowds waving us off that I had in my imagination.

You can pack as much luggage as you like though so no need to weigh your cases on the kitchen scales like you do before packing the car for the airport.  No weight restriction is always a bonus when travelling with a baby and a husband who is obsessed with taking everything including the bottle steriliser, washing up bowl and washing liquid.

We had treated ourselves to one of the suites, not the massively expensive ones but one that ensured we had lots of floor space for a crawling baby, a balcony and what we didn’t realise until we got to the room but we loved, a huge built in wardrobe which was brilliant for hiding the pram, all our cases and hanging the clothes.  I’ve stayed in hotel rooms smaller than the built in wardrobe.  And, having a balcony which fitted FOUR sunloungers was also great, just a shame the weather wasn’t as hot as these would have been put to great use.  The downside of sailing from the UK is your chances of chasing the sun are more limited when going ‘off-peak’.

There is no doubting that there is lots to do on a cruise ship but I think you have to fit into one of the following categories to really appreciate it – a) a retired couple who enjoys quizzes, bingo, afternoon shows, napping in public b) a tween who wants some independence away from their parents c) parents of tweens who want to know their kids are safe and being watched over in a kids club with tons to do or d) someone who will relish, literally, the fact they can eat 24 hours a day and they’ve already paid for it

We sailed with Royal Caribbean and there was something for kids to do of all ages including our 8 month old who went to the little nursery/playgroup.  They ran little sessions with music, toys etc, all sponsored by a toy manufacturer.  Although it was well hidden in the basement of the ship whereas all the other kids clubs were at the top on the decks.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was one of the waiters asking how old our son was and when he found out exclaiming in a very camp,foreign accent ‘8 months old and cruising already’ not quite appreciating the double meaning.  It kept us amused for a few days anyway.

Would I go on a cruise again?  Hmm.  Maybe.  When I’m older.  Much older.  And, I can get a plane to a hot country to board it first.


  1. Great piece – not sure I’d get on that well on a cruise though. All those buffets…I’m with you and would definitely fly out instead.

    • Ha ha, thanks Roopa. I must confirm though we managed to avoid buffets throughout and was pleasantly surrpised that you could have waiter service everytime, even for breakfast. There is something a lot more civilised about ordering your breakfast from a waiter than queing up with a load of bleary eyed people at a buffet queue fighting over the last bit of scrambled egg.

  2. Hi Denise

    Nice article! How do I sign up for more?


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