Mrs ATWWAH’s A-Z of Toddler Travel: C is for Cruises

I never thought that I would ever go on a cruise, not least until I was collecting my pension.  They are for old people or those who like to eat a lot and the ships smell of furniture polish and carpets, a bit like a city centre budget hotel with entertainers warbling songs from the shows into the night.

But going on a cruise is what we did with Master ATWWAH at 8 months old.  We sailed from Southampton on a rainy March day to the Canaries.

So, why the change of mind?  The cruise was lucky young Master ATWWAH’s third holiday.  The first was a soggy week in Devon, the second a sunnier week in the Canaries but with cramped flights and extra luggage allowance.  So, after some persuasion from Mr ATWWAH and I suspect, but can’t quite remember, some wine, we booked our first family cruise holiday with Royal Caribbean on Independence of the Seas.  (One of the things I learnt is when you talk about cruises you must always name the ship)

Was I wrong?  Well, there were lots of old people onboard although when you travel out of season there are often is an older age profile.  Baby boomers love a holiday.  There was a smell too, but it was more furniture polish mixed in with antibacterial hand gel.  It wasn’t too pleasant.  And, the opportunities to eat, and the people tucking in, were vast.  But the food was good and there was a big choice.  Committing to a set dining time wasn’t ideal but with a young one it can also help with some routine.

And, there were definite advantages:

–          Sailing from Southampton meant no flights which also meant no luggage allowance.  When you travel with babies it can be reassuring to know you can bring all your baby clobber.  Mr ATWWAH insisted we bring the steriliser, washing up bowl and liquid

–          You can see lots of different places without the faff of moving hotels and arriving at most ports is quite an event.  You can get a different perspective on some landmarks

–          On ‘at sea’ days there is lots to do for all ages and the older the kids the better in terms of the activities on offer.  The kids clubs all looked very entertaining and there was even a playroom for babies with singalong groups and a toy lending library

–          The accommodation can be big.  We booked a suite with balcony and the built in wardrobe was bigger than some hotel rooms I have stayed in.  Admittedly if you’re into sleek, boutique hotel type décor you may be disappointed with the interiors

–          There is no fear of jet lag

Now Master ATWWAH is a bit older we are going to try a cruise again.  We looked into a Greek island hopping trip on the ferries but decided we wanted to wait until he was old enough to help carry his own luggage and hanging around ferry terminals three or four days out of our holiday wouldn’t be the most exciting way to spend our holiday time while we’re still in the toddler years.  So, we have booked a Greek Islands cruise on a different cruise line this time, one which has no formal dining or set times but goes to one of our favourite Greek islands, Mykonos and a couple we’ve never been to before including Santorini.  Watch this space……

(This post was originally on the Family Traveller website where Mrs ATWWAH has a weekly column with her A-Z of toddler travel)


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