Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cruising with Family: Packing!

Girl sitting on suitcase
Pack Smart for your Cruise Vacation with Kids!

In the first installment of our Cruising with Family series, we discussed some of the initial research you'll do when preparing for a family cruise.  Now let's dive into the nitty-gritty of any vacation preparation: packing!

Packing for a cruise is, in many ways, just like packing for any other vacation (and we have some great tips for packing for vacation!).  But when packing for a family cruise there are some special considerations.  

Necessary Items for a Family Cruise Vacation

  • Any cruise will include a lot of time outdoors, so pack plenty of sun protection for the whole family.  Sun hats are key, as well as a high quality broad spectrum sunscreen.
  • Many cruises have one or two formal dining nights.  Determine how this will impact your family and if you’ll need to pack some fancy duds for your kids.
  • With the popularity of the ship’s pool and the potential for beachy shore excursions, be sure to update your kids’ swimwear.  For cute comfort and great sun protection, a children's swim shirt or rash guard is ideal. 
  • If your child takes medication, be sure to bring a proper amount in its original packaging (with labels).  Medication and medical equipment should be hand carried on-board (not checked in luggage).  Be sure to check with your cruiseline for specific regulations regarding medications.

Fitting All Your Stuff into a Cruise Ship Stateroom

  • Cruise ship staterooms can be small, and will feel smaller yet when filled with a family and its belongings.  Pack light where it makes sense, and use suitcases that aren't exceptionally large, so you can stow them out of the way under a bed or in a closet.
  • Related: your cruise ship probably offers laundry service and/or has laundry facilities on-board.  It can be worthwhile to take advantage of this so you can pack less clothing.
  • It’s probably common sense, but be aware of items that you may not bring on board.  Kid-related items that aren’t typically allowed on a cruise ship include toy weapons, wheeled shoes, sporting equipment, pool toys, coolers over a certain size and certain electronics (such as gaming systems). 

 Kids and Cruising; Helpful Advice

  • Prepare for downtime.  Getting to the ship may be a voyage unto itself.  Plan plenty of entertainment for your kids for downtime at the airport, on the airplane and at the cruise terminal (here are some helpful ideas for entertaining kids while traveling).
  • Similarly, prepare for quiet time while on the ship.  Many kids (and parents) will need breaks from all the activity and commotion of a cruise ship.  Bring small toys and books that they can quietly enjoy while in your stateroom. 
  • Bringing food on board is regulated, for example, opened food packages and homemade food are not permitted.  If your family has particular requirements due to food allergies or a special diet, be sure you know the guidelines, contacting the cruise line for clarification.

Seasickness and Kids

As you're packing, don't forget this unsavory issue: seasickness.  Motion sickness is no fun for anyone, so plan ahead.  Even kids that don’t typically get carsick may have a different reaction to the motion of a ship at sea. 
  • A popular seasickness remedy is Sea Bands; wrist bands that apply pressure to a certain point on the wrist.  They do not contain any medication, are sold over the counter, and considered safe for anyone to use.
  • There are many other seasickness medications available, both prescription and over the counter.  If you feel seasickness will be an issue for your child, be sure to discuss options with your Pediatrician.    
  • Ginger, in all its forms, is a popular seasickness remedy.  Ginger ale, gingersnap cookies, ginger candy, ginger gum, etc. are easy to find and may provide some yummy relief.

What must-have item do you include on your family cruise packing list?

Want to know more about preparing for a family cruise vacation?  Check out the other posts in our Cruising with Family series:

No comments:

Post a Comment