Kids

Best reader tips for having fun with kids on a cruise

In:
Category: 
09Aug2019

Cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean means ample opportunity to share in exciting and fun activities. While Royal Caribbean ships are designed with families in mind, we asked our readers for their best tips for maximizing family time while onboard.

We received a lot of great ideas, including these top tips for families to consider before their next cruise vacation.

"At the pool, I create water games in the pool." - Kimberly Sawyer

"They loved movies by the pool every night. " - Kristina Michelle 

"We set rules/guidelines before we ever got on the ship so they always knew the expectations." - Amanda Stieferman  

"Use Adventure Ocean as much as possible! I remember when I was a kid I loved it! I would skip dessert at dinner just to get there early!" - Sean Hurab 

"We always plan "together" and "apart" time. When they were younger: morning in Adventure Ocean, afternoon  lunch and activities (pool, golf, rock climbing, etc.) with the family, dinner together, back to Adventure Ocean for them and entertainment for mom and dad!" - Gayla Steiner     

"Don’t stress, don’t try to do EVERYTHING. Let them go at their own pace and if they want to play putt putt 15 times instead of swimming...let them." - Suzanne Marshall Sexton 

"If they are 11+ and mature enough to check in on time, allow the freedom to explore on their own." - Philip Dickson

"If they are old enough to navigate the ship on their own (especially teens) make sure you talk about ground rules before you leave such as how often they need to check in with you, meal time arrangements, curfew (some of the teen activities may be late at night), are they allowed to go to others cabins with friends that they meet on the ship. It helps to talk about things like this before you go." - Lisa Davis Boetje

"Schedule some down time. So much fun easy to get burned out." - Chris Caulfield 

"When dining ask your waiter to bring the little kid’s food first. Then bring something for them to do while you eat!" - Pam Brown

"Utilize the Royal Tots room so they can run & play!" - Kristina White

What is your best tips for having fun with kids on a cruise? Share your tips in the comments below!

8 cool things for kids to do on your Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
Category: 
07Jan2019

Kids get just as excited for a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation as their parents, because of all the fun activities for them to do onboard. Cruising with kids is an exercise in energetic adventures, big smiles and hopefully a nap in-between. In our many Royal Caribbean cruises, we have discovered certain aspects of the cruise that are real winners with our children and wanted to share them with you.

Consider some, or all, of the following fun things for your kids to do on your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise!

Play in Splashaway Bay

Splashaway Bay is Royal Caribbean's new generation of aqua park that combines slides, water cannons, drenching buckets, geysers and more into a kid-approved playground.

Royal Caribbean is slowly adding Splashaway Bay to many of its ships (including Perfect Day at CocoCay) and it represents a fresh look at what kids enjoy about splashing around for hours by the pool.

Movie night in the pool

If there are two things kids love, it is swimming and watching movies.  On Royal Caribbean ships, you will regularly find popular feature films shown on the big screen near the pool each evening.  After dinner, you and the kids can hop in the pool and splash away while enjoying a great flick!

Royal Caribbean shows all sorts of films, from recent releases to classics, and adding in the ambiance of a night swim is always a fun treat as well.  Plus, the pools and hot tubs are much less busy at night, so that means more opportunity for your kids to act like kids and enjoy time in the pool while everyone in the family gets to enjoy a great flick.

Climb the rock wall

A signature Royal Caribbean activity is the rock climbing wall. The 30-foot rock wall offers different tracks for various experience levels and is open for most of the day.  

It's open to kids and adults and Royal Caribbean provides all the safety equipment that you will need, including helmets, harnesses and shoes.  You just need to bring a pair of socks.

What makes the rock climbing wall so much fun is that it is an exhilarating challenge to try and climb up all the way to the top and ring that bell to let everyone around know you conquered it.

There are different paths on the rock wall to allow beginner climbers and advanced climbers alike have a go at it.  Once you conquer one side, try the next side!

Ride the carousel

If you are going on an Oasis class cruise ship (Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas or Symphony of the Seas), then your family must go on a carousel ride in the Boardwalk neighborhood.

Royal Caribbean commissioned for each ship a hand-crafted carousel that is inspired by turn-of-the-century carousels. These carousels are as pretty look at, as they are fun to ride.  Plus, rides on the carousel are included in your cruise fare.

Be sure to also get some nighttime carousel rides in too, because the carousel and the entire Boardwalk neighborhood are lit up beautifully once the sun goes down.

Eat frozen yogurt by the pool

Near the pools, you will find free frozen yogurt that is available most times of the day and there is as much of as you want. I do not think there needs to be any more elaborating.

Decorate your stateroom door

Your Royal Caribbean stateroom door is made of metal, which means it is magnetic and a great family project prior to the cruise to create the decorations.  It can be a fun family activity to come up with different ways to personalize your door to share with everyone how excited you are for the cruise.

Often you will find other doors decorated with pictures, magnets of various sizes and shapes, leis, and more.  Your kids could draw something to put on the door, or you could help them create name tags to decorate and then put on the door with magnets.

Keep in mind that you will need to supply your own magnets to affix anything to the stateroom door.  Tape is not allowed.

For those less artistically inclined, Royal Caribbean does offer stateroom decorations for purchase that can be delivered and set up for you.  This can be a great way to celebrate a special occasion, or just plain surprise the children.

Slide down the Ultimate Abyss

If your kids want more of a thrill, they need to check out the Ultimate Abyss on Harmony or Symphony of the Seas. The Ultimate Abyss is a 10-story dry slide on the rear of the ship that is advertised as the tallest slide at sea.

The Ultimate Abyss is more than 150 feet above sea level and offers side-by-side slides that send guests down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour. 

To ride the Ultimate Abyss, kids can climb the steps into the mouth of a fearsome sea predator, the anglerfish, enjoy the unobstructed ocean views, grab a mat, and then launch themselves down 216 feet of twisting tunnels against the background of whizzing lights, sound effects and pumping music.

Royal Caribbean to eliminate in-room babysitting

In:
Category: 
17Sep2018

Royal Caribbean informed guests via email that it will be discontinuing its in-room babysitting service as of September 30, 2018.

Known as Sitters at Sea, Royal Caribbean intends to no longer offer in-stateroom sitter services.  Royal Caribbean offers on most, but not all, of its ships a nursery for children that are up to 3 years old.

Any sailings departing on or before September 30 will still offer Sitters at Sea upon request and subject to availability. Guests can inquire at Guest Services onboard for further information.

The cruise line also re-affirmed its dedication to offering kids programming on its ships.  Its Adventure Ocean and Royal Babies & Tots program will remain unchanged, and Royal Caribbean will still offer "Late Night Party Zone" group sitting by our Adventure Ocean Youth Staff for children between the ages of 3 through 11.

The Sitters at Sea program was a service by Royal Caribbean where guests could inquire if any crew members were willing to baby sit children in a guest stateroom.  The advent of nurseries on many Royal Caribbean ships has likely seen demand for in-room babysitting dwindle in recent years.

The remaining Royal Caribbean ships without a nursery are Empress of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.

We have reached out to Royal Caribbean for further information.

Royal Caribbean Kids Sail Free 2019-2020 Dates & Tips

In:
Category: 
29Aug2018

Kids Sail Free is a promotion Royal Caribbean offers from time to time on select sailings that are usually a great vacation discount.  Throughout the year, Royal Caribbean will offer Kids Sail Free deals as a way to encourage new bookings.  In this post, we will cover information about the promotion, tips for booking it, and offer answers to frequently asked questions.

For starters, Kids Sail Free is an offer Royal Caribbean offers selectively throughout the year.  It is not available all the time and there is no way to know exactly when it will be offered again.  We always post new cruise promotions on this site, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for notifications when a new Kids Sail Free promotion begins.

Kids Sail Free offer details

The exact offer details may vary, but Royal Caribbean's Kids Sail Free offers are usually consistent in their basics. Third guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4 nights or longer sailings are eligible for free cruise fare.

There are usually many blackout dates associated with any Kids Sail Free offer, which means if your cruise begins on or in any of the blackout dates, the Kids Sail Free offer does not qualify. Not surprisingly, most of the black out dates are over major school holidays in the United States calendar year. 

Here are some sample blackout dates from past Kids Sail Free offers:

  • February 15 - 18 (Presidents Day)
  • March 16 – 30, 2019 (Spring Break)
  • April 13 - 22 (Holy Week/Easter)
  • Summer sailings (Sailings between May 15 – August 31, 2019)
  • 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 – 30, 2019)
  • December 17 - January 1 (Christmas and New Years)

How often does Royal Caribbean offer Kids Sail Free?

There is no pattern to how many times a year or when the offer will become available.

Kids Sail Free is usually available a few times throughout the year.

Is it really free?

Assuming your kids qualify for the deal, their cruise fare cost will be zero.You are still responsible for paying for the taxes and port fees associated with the children, along with any other charges onboard.  But if you look at the cruise invoice, their cruise fare will be zero. 

Like all guests, a daily gratuity will be charged per passenger, including the kids.

Be sure to check the fine print before booking to understand exactly the full price of the cruise.

Kids Sail Free dates

(Last updated July 24, 2019)

Royal Caribbean is offering a Kids Sail Free offer as part of its WOW Sale.

Kids Sail Free applies to new bookings made between July 24 –31, 2019 (“Offer Period”). Kids Sail Free provides free cruise fare for 3rd guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4-night or longer Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, CaribNE, Coastal, Europe, Hawaii, and Repositioning sailings departing between September 1, 2019 – May 15, 2020 and August 31, 2020 – December 17, 2020.

Offer excludes 2019 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 23 – 30, 2019), Holiday sailings (Sailings between December 15, 2019 – January 3, 2020), President’s Day sailings (Sailings between February 14 – 17, 2020), Spring Break sailings (Sailings between March 14 – 23, 2020), Holy Week/Easter sailings (Sailings between April 3 – 17, 2020) and 2020 Thanksgiving sailings (Sailings between November 21 – 27, 2020).

In addition, Kids Sail Free applies to all Serenade of the Seas Alaska 2020 sailings.

Kids Sail For Less

In addition to the Kids Sail Free offer, Royal Caribbean may also offer the Kids Sail For Less offer, which is typically 25% off cruise fare for third guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualified guests.

The primary advantage of Kids Sail For Less is there are no blackout dates associated with Kids Sail For Less.  This means if you have a couple of kids in your stateroom, you receive a discount on them.  Moreover, Kids Sail For Less often does not have age restrictions in place, so really any guest of any age who is a third guest, fourth guest, fifth guest, et al in the same stateroom as the first two guests can get a discount.

Other cruising with kids posts & resources

If you are interested in the Kids Sail Free offer, then you probably will find these blog posts equally helpful:

Your thoughts

Now, we want to hear from you.  Are you a fan of the Kids Sail Free promotion?  Have any tips for someone looking to cruise with kids?  Is there a better deal for families in your opinion? Let us know what you think of the promotion and whether you are planning on taking advantage of it in the comments!

Best Cruises for Kids

In:
Category: 
23Aug2018

Going on a cruise with kids means finding the right cruise ship for your family that offers plenty to keep children entertained, engaged and having a great time.  It also means not compromising on the adult experience as well.  

Cruising with kids is a great family vacation option, and Royal Caribbean offers some wonderful choices for kids, parents, aunts, grandparents, cousins and anyone else who joins in the fun.

When it comes to picking the best cruise for kids, Royal Caribbean's newest and recently refurbished ships tend to be the best choices.  Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ships offer the most dedicated space to kids programming, as well as the most onboard activities that kids (and their parents) will enjoy.  This includes rock climbing walls, ice skating, water slides and more.

If you have ever seen a Royal Caribbean television commercial, then you likely know that these cruise ships are designed to wow its customers, and that includes kids.  At the heart of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience for kids is Adventure Ocean.  Adventure Ocean is a supervised programming option that all kids that are 3 - 17 years old may participate in.  There is no additional charge for Adventure Ocean (unless you leave them for late night sessions), and it offers things to do in a camp style environment throughout the day.  Royal Caribbean breaks up Adventure Ocean by ages to ensure the programming is age appropriate and will hold their interest.  Younger kids may do more activities that incorporate music, crafts, creative arts and dinosaurs, where older kids get to enjoy scavenger hunts, video game competitions, talent shows and science experiments.

There is even more fun on Royal Caribbean ships for kids in the form of onboard activities.  Royal Caribbean offers a ton for kids to do on its ships, from family-friendly aerial, ice, stage and aqua entertainment, to racing water slides and even spa programs for the youngsters.  Kids can splash at one of the aqua parks and fire the water cannons, dodge geysers and avoid (or maybe aim for) getting drenched by the giant bucket of water.  

Royal Caribbean is well-known for the incredible adventures offered on its ships.  There is the Ultimate Abyss—the tallest slide at sea (available on select ships); FlowRider surf simulator; SeaPlex indoor venue that offers roller skating, basketball, bumper cars, bites and music from a floating DJ booth suspended overhead; or try one of our other can’t-miss onboard activities like laser tag and ice skating.

If all of this sounds wonderful, here are our picks for the best cruises for kids when it comes to sailing on Royal Caribbean.

Best cruises for kids of all ages

Ships: Symphony of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas

The newest Royal Caribbean ships offer the latest and greatest from Royal Caribbean, and they also dedicate the most space towards kids programming.  These ships are filled to the brim with the coolest new things onboard, such as water slides, laser tag, escape room, zip line, Broadway shows, just to name a few.

We believe the Oasis Class ships are an ideal choice for families of all ages for the sheer amount of things to do onboard that cater to guests of all ages. It is incredible to see how much fun Royal Caribbean has packed into these ships, with numerous pools, ice skating rink, zip line, dual FlowRider surf simulators and water slides on Harmony and Symphony.

Looking for more? How about escape room games, a boardwalk carousel, rock climbing wall, DreamWorks characters (excluding Symphony) and video arcades.

Equally impressive in their own way are the Quantum Class ships.  While Oasis Class ships garner a lot of the attention, Anthem of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas both offer some fabulous things to do that are not replicated elsewhere in the fleet.  Your kids will likely never want to leave the SeaPlex, which is an indoor entertainment center.  Bumper cars, XBox gaming, circus school, basketball, dodge ball, ping pong and roller skating are just a few of what is offered in here and it is a huge hit with kids.  Then there is the North Star observational pod that takes you 300 feet above sea level, Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator, FlowRider surf simulator and a lot more.

Best value cruises for kids

Ships: Liberty of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas

While we love Royal Caribbean's newer ships, those ships also come with a premium price tag, and going on a family vacation does not mean you have to spend a lot to have a great time.  Royal Caribbean has spent millions of dollars upgrading and enhancing its existing fleet, and the fruits of its labor make for great cruises for kids that will leave extra money in the vacation budget. This means some really fun cruise ships that offer a great bang for the buck.

Independence of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas both recently completed multi-million dollar refurbishments in 2018 and they are aimed precisely at the family cruising market.  Mariner of the Seas offers short sailings (3 and 4 night getaway cruises) with some new offerings that are taking the cruising industry by storm. Independence of the Seas offers slightly longer sailings, and alternates between North America and Europe. 

Both Independence and Mariner are the first ships to offer the virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, known as Sky Pad.  They also offer a pair of three-story-high racer water slides, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, FlowRider and escape room challenge.

If you are looking for a longer sailing, Liberty of the Seas does seven-night cruises and has her own array of fun activities onboard.  She is the only ship to offer the Tidal Wave slide, which is a boomerang style slide, along with a pair of really fun racer water slides.  Liberty is also home to Splashaway Bay, an aqua park featuring an interactive kid’s play area with water cannons, geysers and much more. 

Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas offer Broadway shows as well, with Saturday Night Fever on Liberty and Grease on Independence.  All ships have an adults-only Solarium pool area, lots of great dining and evening entertainment.

More cruising with kids articles

Cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean

In:
09Jan2018

A Royal Caribbean cruise is a great family vacation choice, where both they and you can enjoy plenty of fun at sea and on shore.

Royal Caribbean welcomes children of all ages, and you will find plenty of other families on all Royal Caribbean sailings.  In fact, Royal Caribbean offers a variety of activities and programming for children and their families to ensure there is plenty to do onboard.  Royal Caribbean has dedicated facilities for children, where trained crew members supervise the children and guide them through different daily offerings.

What's available for kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean offers programming for children as young as six months old, all the way through the teenage years.

Infants and babies

For most cruises, infants sailing on a cruise must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise. For transatlantic, transpacific, Hawaii, select South American and other selected cruises, the infant must be at least 12 months old as of the first day of the cruise. Moreover, any cruise that has 3 or more days consecutive at sea will require infants to be 12 months old on the first day of the cruise.

Children between the ages of six months and 36 months old can participate in the Royal Babies and Royal Tots (6-36 months) program.  Most Royal Caribbean ships offer a nursery, where parents can drop children off throughout the day and evening. Use of the nursery comes at an hourly charge. Young children can enjoy soft play areas and age-appropriate toys, as well as cribs and cots for napping or sleeping.

If you have children under the age of three, be sure to book a Royal Caribbean cruise that offers a nursery.  For child and parent alike, the nursery is a wonderful resource.

In addition to the Nursery, there is often a open play area set up during the day for parents to bring their young children to and play.  This is unsupervised play time, but does provide an opportunity every day for parents with toddlers to have space to crawl, play, and have some fun.

Children 3 years and older

Royal Caribbean's primary program for kids is Adventure Ocean and is offered in three segments

  • Aquanauts (3-5 years old)
  • Explorers (6-8 years old)
  • Voyagers (9-11 years old)

Adventure Ocean is complimentary and is offered for most of your day onboard your ship, whether the cruise is in port or at sea.  From when Adventure Ocean opens until 10pm, there is no additional cost to use Adventure Ocean. From 10pm to 2am, Royal Caribbean offers an after hour option that has an hourly cost for parents that want to let kids stay a bit later.

There's a lot for kids to do here and the programs specialize for each age group.  It's a mix of learning, play time and socializing.  

Kids are checked in and out by parents and it's fully supervised by Royal Caribbean staff. The requirement for children to participate is to be at least 3 years old and be fully potty trained.  There are after hours programs offered as well in Adventure Ocean for an hourly fee if parents want their kids to have supervision later into the evening.

On sea days, Adventure Ocean is typically open

  • 9am - noon
  • 2pm - 5pm
  • 7pm - 10pm

On port days, Adventure Ocean is open for the entire duration your Royal Caribbean ship is in port.  Once the ship leaves port, it resumes the normal schedule described in sea days.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will open Adventure Ocean early enough for guests booked on Royal Caribbean shore excursions to drop children off.  Check with the staff on exact times.

Tweens and Teens

Tweens and teens have their own programming on Royal Caribbean ships. Just like the younger children, there is crew member supervision, but the activities are designed to be more open and less restrictive to the kids. Royal Caribbean built the teen programs to be about empowering teens to do their own thing but still offer activities and fun events to help introduce everyone.

There are teen-only spots onboard the ship where they can come and go as they please. Each day there are teen only events planned in the Cruise Planner, where teens can have dedicated time to enjoy special activities. Royal Caribbean ships are known for their amazing features, like ice skating rinks, surf simulators, bumper cars, and more, so teens will have opportunities to enjoy these activities exclusively.

Sample Activities by Age Group

If you want to get an idea of the kind of activities offered by Adventure Ocean, here is a sampling from previous cruises.  This list is not indicative of everything offered by Royal Caribbean, nor is it a guarantee that it will be offered on your sailing.  It is merely an example of the sort of programming available in the past.

Aquanauts (3 - 5 years)

  • Finger Painting
  • Camp Aquanaut
  • Building Blocks
  • Play dough sculptures
  • Music Activities
  • Dot Dancing
  • Games – animal, color and shape BINGO 

Explorers (6 - 8 years)

  • Pirate Night
  • Backstage Tour
  • Nutty Nicknames
  • Carnival Night
  • Sports Tournaments
  • Wide World of Sports Night
  • Autograph Hunts 

Voyagers (9 - 11 years)

  • Karaoke
  • Sports Tournaments
  • Adventure Challenge
  • GaGa Ball
  • H20 Thunder Races
  • List-o-Rama
  • The Art Walk 

Navigators (12 - 14 years)

  • Sports Tournaments
  • Pool Parties
  • College Night
  • Challenge Series
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Karaoke
  • Disco Dancing
  • Video Games 

Teens (15 - 17 years)

  • Dancing
  • Pool Parties
  • DJ Training
  • Battle of the Sexes
  • Karaoke
  • Coffee Talk
  • Talent Show
  • Formal Night
  • Survivor Series 

Cruise pricing for kids

A common question is if kids are charged the same as adults on Royal Caribbean, or if there is a cost to bring infants onboard.  

Like most of the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean charges all of its guests the same regardless of age. Cruise line pricing is based on double occupancy in a stateroom, and this has to do with the pricing model the cruise industry relies on to be profitable.

If your children will be the third or fourth (or more) passengers in the same room as two adults, their cruise fare is usually far less than the first two adults.  Occasionally, Royal Caribbean offers discounts on third and fourth passengers, as well as Kids Sail Free deals.  Be sure to consult your travel agent for guidance on taking advantage of these deals when they are available.

Staterooms

Most families book a single stateroom for their family during the cruise.  Royal Caribbean has staterooms that can accommodate three and four passengers easily, along with some stateroom configurations that can handle even more guests.

In recent years, Royal Caribbean has begun offering family staterooms, which provide extra space and are designed to handle families of five or six passengers.  If you need more space, some suites can handle even more guests.

Depending on your family size, age of your children, and your comfort level, booking multiple staterooms can often be the same or cheaper than booking a large room.  Multiple rooms provides not only additional living space, but extra restrooms and separation from parents and children. Royal Caribbean does offer some rooms with a connecting inside door between rooms.  

If you need a crib, Royal Caribbean can provide a pack 'n play upon request.  You can request this prior to your cruise by contacting Royal Caribbean or your travel agent, however, you can still get one once onboard the ship.

Speaking of toddlers and young children, you will need to bring your own supply of diapers, bottles, and other supplies.  Royal Caribbean provides milk to all guests without an additional charge (skim or regular).  Some parents prefer to bring their own kid-friendly snacks and food, which is permissible by Royal Caribbean. Refer to our Taking an Infant on a Royal Caribbean cruise article for more information.

Kids activities on Royal Caribbean beyond Adventure Ocean

There's lots going on onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise regardless of if your kids are in the kids club or not.  There are pools and even dedicated pool and splash areas on select ships.  Known as the H2O Zone or Splashaway Bay, these areas offer water spouts, slides, colorful decorations and lots of areas to get soaked and the perfect place for kids to run around.

Speaking of fun in the water, Royal Caribbean has begun offering water slides on some of its cruise ships.  Water slides are open to all guests, provided they are tall enough to enjoy the slides safely. We do not have to describe the virtues of water slides, but families with older children may want to ensure they book a cruise that offers water slides.

Oasis, Quantum, and select Freedom and Voyager Class cruise ships offer the DreamWorks Experience, which incorporates the DreamWorks film characters into meet-n-greets, parades and character breakfasts.

Each day of your cruise, the Cruise Director's staff offers many family-friendly activities in the Cruise Compass. Families can join in trivia, scavenger hunts, tournaments on the sports deck, pool games and more. 

The signature activities on many Royal Caribbean ships is also open to children, such as mini-golf, the FlowRider, the rock climbing wall, ice skating and more.

Eating with kids on Royal Caribbean

Every parent knows that dining out with their kids is an adventure that can never be predicted.  Luckily, Royal Caribbean offers a variety of culinary choices that are sure to appeal to all palates.  Whether your child is a pizza and chicken fingers kind of kid, or enjoys the finer foods in life, there is lots available.

The main dining room has a special menu just for kids (adults can order off of it too), which has plenty of kid-friendly fare.  This includes pasta, hot dogs, burgers, mac and cheese, and more.  Of course, kids are free to order off the regular menu too. 

The dining room staff is usually very accommodating to families, and can work with parents to find something that their child will eat.  On past cruises, we have had instances where the waiters went to other restaurants onboard the ship to bring our kids a food not offered in the dining room.  That level of service is what makes dining (and cruising) with kids on Royal Caribbean such a pleasure.

My Family Time Dining

There is a special dinner option in the main dining room known as My Family Time Dining, which is offered for the first seating time in the main dining room, for children ages three to 11.

Here is how it works

  1. You arrive at the dining room with the kids and let your server know that the kids will be headed to Adventure Ocean as part of the My Family Time Dining program.
  2. The kids order and are served right away so that they can finish their meal within the first 40 minutes.
  3. After about 45 minutes, the Adventure Ocean staff arrive in the dining room lobby to sign in and hand off the kids.Parents will need to escort their children to the designated Main Dining room entrance doors at 6:45 pm to check their child in with the Adventure Ocean counselors. Once checked­in, the Adventure Ocean counselors will then escort their children to Adventure Ocean for ongoing evening activities.
  4. Adults return to their table to enjoy the rest of their meal at a more leisurely place.

Prior to the cruise, you can can contact Royal Caribbean or travel agent to book it. Alternatively, guests can sign up onboard in the Adventure Ocean area. Pre­-cruise reservations are encouraged.

Windjammer

The holy grail of kid friendly dining is the Windjammer, which is Royal Caribbean's buffet style restaurant.  Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, it offers the greatest variety of food that includes many different types of food.  

Most importantly, there is lots of ice cream available on Royal Caribbean! In fact, there is usually a self-serve ice cream station conveniently located near the pool for anyone to enjoy throughout the day.

Specialty Dining

If you want to take your children with you to a specialty restaurant, they are more than welcome to eat there as well.  Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $10 cover charge. Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

Kids 5-12 have a modified adult menu,which is a round-up of kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu. Kids under 5 are free and have a kiddies menu similar to the kids menu in the main dining room. Some restaurants do not have kids menus and so kids order off the regular menu.

Royal Caribbean specifies restaurants such as Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table do not have kids menus, as those experiences are better suited for guests age 13 and older.

More cruising with kids info

You may have additional questions about cruising with kids on Royal Caribbean, or simply would like to learn more tips and advice.  Here are some good resources to consider:

Your thoughts

Now that you have read over our guide to taking kids on Royal Caribbean, let's hear from other parents. What tips do you parents think are most important? Which advice we shared do you agree with? Where do you disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Six things to know about Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean

In:
25Sep2017

Taking your kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise means a family vacation to fun and beautiful places to visit.  Along the way, Royal Caribbean provides award winning kids programming that is largely included in your cruise fare.

Before you step aboard, check out these six important tips for a successful time in Adventure Ocean

You can (and should) register on the first day

On the first day of your Royal Caribbean cruise, guests can register their children in Adventure Ocean prior to Adventure Ocean opening.  While you can register kids at any point in the cruise, take advantage of the open house on embarkation day for an optimal experience.

The Cruise Compass will list times when Adventure Ocean is open for registration.  This time is not when Adventure Ocean is open for kids to stay, but for kids to see the area and for parents to ask questions and get acclimated to the program.

It is a good idea to register kids on the first day simply because there is a set time for registration to occur, and it ensures a smooth first night later on.

Adventure Ocean is open on the first day

In the past Royal Caribbean did not open Adventure Ocean on the first day of the cruise, but that has changed in recent years.  

There will be limited hours, but Adventure Ocean will be open.  You will have to check with Adventure Ocean for exact hours, but expect it to be open the first night.

If you are looking to plan dinner, it is our experience Adventure Ocean opens at 8pm on the first day.

Port day hours are different from sea days

Aside from embarkation day, there are two types of Adventure Ocean operating hours: port days and sea days.

On sea days, Adventure Ocean is typically open

  • 9am - noon
  • 2pm - 5pm
  • 7pm - 10pm

On port days, Adventure Ocean is open for the entire duration your Royal Caribbean ship is in port.  Once the ship leaves port, it resumes the normal schedule described in sea days.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will open Adventure Ocean early enough for guests booked on Royal Caribbean shore excursions to drop children off.  Check with the staff on exact times.

Adventure Ocean is mostly complimentary

Up until 10pm, there is no additional cost for Adventure Ocean.  The programming is included in the cruise fare.

From 10pm to 2am, Royal Caribbean offers an after hour option that has an hourly cost for parents that want to let kids stay a bit later. The cost is $7 per hour. 

There is no need to make reservations for after hours, it simply kicks in if you do not pick up the child before 10pm.

There are special events for families

In addition to the Adventure Ocean programming, the Cruise Compass will list special events for families to enjoy, if they so choose.

Depending on your ship, the variety of activities will vary.  There are events like family movies, DreamWorks character meets, art sessions, ice skating and more.

Usually on the first night of the cruise, there will be a special time where many arcade video games are set to free.  Check the Cruise Compass for the exact time.

There is a special dinner option for families

My Family Time Dining is offered for the first seating time in the main dining room, for children ages three to 11.

Here is how it works

  1. You arrive at the dining room with the kids and let your server know that the kids will be headed to Adventure Ocean as part of the My Family Time Dining program.
  2. The kids order and are served right away so that they can finish their meal within the first 40 minutes.
  3. After about 45 minutes, the Adventure Ocean staff arrive in the dining room lobby to sign in and hand off the kids.Parents will need to escort their children to the designated Main Dining room entrance doors at 6:45 pm to check their child in with the Adventure Ocean counselors. Once checked­in, the Adventure Ocean counselors will then escort their children to Adventure Ocean for ongoing evening activities.
  4. Adults return to their table to enjoy the rest of their meal at a more leisurely place.

Pre­cruise, guests can call into Reservations, reserve online, contact their travel agent or certified vacation planner. Or guests can sign up onboard in the Adventure Ocean area. Pre­cruise reservations are encouraged.

Dining with kids in Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants

In:
14Dec2015

Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants are one aspect of the cruise experience many guests look forward to each sailing, but just because you have children with you does not mean you cannot enjoy these restaurants.

Royal Caribbean welcomes children younger than 13 in all of its specialty restaurants (when accompanied by an adult) and even offers them special pricing.

How much does it cost for children to eat at specialty restaurant?

Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $10 cover charge.

Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

Is there a special menu for kids?

Kids 5-12 have a modified adult menu,which is a round-up of kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu.

Kids under 5 are free and have a kiddies menu similar to the kids menu in the main dining room.

Some restaurants do not have kids menus and so kids order off the regular menu.

Royal Caribbean specifies restaurants such as Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table do not have kids menus, as those experiences are better suited for guests age 13 and older. 

What if my kids want to eat off the regular adult menu?

In this scenario, you may be charged full price for your children.

It is worth discussing with your waiter, as we have heard of situations where they still charge the children pricing.  

Your mileage may vary, but expect to pay full price for children ordering off the regular menu when there is no kids menu option.

How do I make reservations at a specialty restaurant if I am bringing children?

If you book in advance, you will pay the full price but then it will be adjusted for the children's price as a credit on your SeaPass on board.

Bookings made on board will be charged the reduced rate when booked.

Because the Cruise Planner does not offer pricing for children, we recommend making reservations for a party size that omits the children and then showing up to the reservation with the children and informing the staff your dining party has grown.

This strategy allows guests to not overpay for their dining reservations and require an adjustment later.

What is the pricing for children at a la carte specialty restaurants?

At a la carte specialty restaurants, children are charged based on what they order off the regular menu.

5 Reasons Why Your Baby is NOT Too Young for Royal Caribbean

In:
17Aug2015

A Royal Caribbean cruise is a fantastic family vacation, even if your family consists of babies or toddlers.  

Assuming your infant is old enough legally to cruise (6 months old from North America, 12 months for international and repositioning cruises), taking your toddlers on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a great idea.  

Despite some folks advocating to. "wait for your kids to be old enough to remember the cruise", there are many good reasons to take a little one on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

5. Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

A parent's best friend is the Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, which is a facility created just for children up to 36 months old.

The nursery allows parents to drop their infants and toddlers off in a supervised environment, where the kids can watch TV, play with other children, explore and nap.   

The nursery will offer parents a drop-off option in the daytime and evening, while always maintaining an optimum staff-to-child ratio.

For a modest fee per hour ($8 at the time of this blog post), parents can reserve time for their kids here to give parents some time alone to enjoy what Royal Caribbean offers or explore a port.

The nursery staff are trained child care professionals and they will make sure your child is taken care of in the time they are there.  Parents also get a special mobile phone to use on the ship in case the nursery needs to call them or if the parents want to call and check in on things.

The Royal Babies & Tots Nursery is available on select Royal Caribbean ships

4. In-room babysitting

If you are looking for more personalized child care or perhaps are sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship that does not have a nursery, then the in-room babysitting program is for you.

The program is simple, go to Guest Services during your cruise and ask about availability for a babysitter.  Guest Services will ask various qualified crew members if they are available to babysit and if there is a match, the crew member will meet you at your stateroom to watch the kids.

Royal Caribbean charges $19 per hour (at the time of this blog post) to watch children in a stateroom and what is great about in-room babysitting is it allows the kids to remain in their comfort zone and sleep or nap in their own beds.

Just like the nursery, in-room babysitting allows parents time to enjoy dinner, a show or a night out on the ship alone.  

3. Babies 2 Go!

Any parent knows a great deal of the bulk with traveling anywhere with a toddler is all the supplies you need.  Diapers, baby food and wipes are just a few of the things you will typically need when you travel.

Royal Caribbean offers parents the Babies 2 Go! program, where parents can pre-purchase Huggies diapers, wipes and cream, and Gerber organic baby food that will be delivered straight to your stateroom when you arrive on the cruise and even during your cruise.

This gives parents piece of mind for lessening the amount of stuff to pack, especially if you are flying to your cruise port and are limited by how much you can pack due to airline restrictions.

You can purchase the packages by calling (800) 722-5443 in the U.S. or Canada.

2. Baby splash zone

On select Royal Caribbean ships, guests will find a special pool just for little ones that are still wearing diapers.

The baby pool is an ankle deep pool, where infants and toddlers can crawl around and splash to their heart's content.  

Parents can sit on the pool's edge or with their child in the pool as the kids enjoy cooling off, just like the big kids.

1. Memories

If you ask me, the best reason to bring your baby on a Royal Caribbean cruise is for the memories you will make. Just because they are young does not mean they cannot have a great time onboard the ship or in the ports of call you will visit.

The portrait sessions in the evening are among the best opportunities to get professional photos of your kids dressed up.  Moreover, these portrait sessions can give you momentos from an early age that you will look back on fondly for many years.

In addition, there are intangible benefits to bringing a baby with you on a Royal Caribbean cruise, such as meeting their favorite DreamWorks characters, or their first visit to the beach and ocean.   Perhaps it's a ride on the carousel or enjoying the parade on the Royal Promenade. 

Your child may not remember every moment of the cruise, but bringing them on a Royal Caribbean cruise is a positive experience for families and one of the best ways to spend together on a vacation.

Have you brought a young one on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Share your experience in the comments!

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