Cruising with kids: 42 tips for the best trip ever

Ahoy there matey. Ha! Today I’m sharing with you some tips and tricks that I’ve gathered about cruising with kids. Everything you need to know about cruise holidays, particularly with kids, is here. There are lots of them.


⚓️ Take a photo before you take off.

We tried to get the Opera House in and failed {also, mum may have had two cocktails by the stage too! So funny!}.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ If you’re traveling with kids, pack a ribbon.

We tied a ribbon to the door so that kids knew which room we were in. They were always with us, so this would be handier for older kids… but Lacey loved running ahead of us to find our ribbon.

⚓️ Each cruise ship might have different rules, but I suggest packing some snacks.

The restaurants have lots of food, but sometimes I just wanted to give the kids something simple that I knew they’d like. I packed pureed apples {packaged}, potato chips and some biscuits as well. You can see what you’re allowed to take on Carnival Cruiselines here.

⚓️ If you’ve never sailed before, take some seasickness tablets with you.

I got some natural ones, and them some serious ones too. Your pharmacist will be able to help you out. {You probably won’t need them, but it’s good to be prepared in case}.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Plan and research your offshore activities.

You can easily do this on the ship, but I love planning and I think this is something you should look into before you depart. You can also book through other companies. I spoke to other guests who researched well and booked through other companies, they had a great time too.

⚓️ Pack light.

You can wear the same outfit twice. It’s fine {the fashion police won’t get you!}. We took two suitcases, which easily fitted underneath the beds once unpacked. I took sandals that were good for day, and good for night as well.

⚓️ Enjoy the food.

I read somewhere that the average person gains 3kg on a cruise, and I was spot on the money. And boy did I enjoy every single one of those desserts I ate. I’ve lost it and more since… but I don’t regret enjoying myself. I didn’t realise there was a beautiful salad bar in the buffet until the last day, so you could have dessert and hit up the salad bar for lunches to even it all out. BALANCE.

⚓️ Don’t forget sunscreen.

And lots of it. And a hat. Lacey and I got sunburnt on our heads. Rookie error!

⚓️ Use the laundry on the ship, or use the ship’s laundry service.

It was remarkably cheaper for us once we arrived at port, so we filled a bag for $18.50 and got loads of things washed. A good tip is to take thin rope, and make a clothes line in your room… that way you can wash your smalls and dry them during the day.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Eat in the dining room.

The food was amazing. You get 2-3 courses included in your fare, and the same team of waitstaff each night that you end up making friends with. It’s awesome.

⚓️ Take a thank you card (or two) with you, and some cash.

The ships are cashless, but I took cash to tip my steward {cleaner} and waiters. I tipped my steward on the second day, so I didn’t feel bad for all the bed-making he did. He was so happy!

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Support the locals while at ports.

We got Lacey’s hair braided at the first port, and there was quite a wait. There are more opportunities for hair-braiding, so don’t stress too much on the first day. If you’re doing the same ports as us Maré, Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila – I loved Lifou most for the braiding {I had mine done there, and Lacey had hers done again}. They had little huts and were gentle.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Get excited about the towel animals.

Each time you return to your room at night a towel animal will be waiting for you. We loved it. We even went to the towel animal workshop and learned how to make a dog ourselves.

⚓️ Use the stairs!

OK, I didn’t listen to my own advice here because most of the time I had a pram, but I noticed that there were some people who refused to use the lifts and up their incidental exercise by using the stairs every single time. Try it.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Do get your hair braided.

Yes, I mean you. Not just the kids. I was struggling with the humidity. I mean my HAIR was struggling with the humidity, so I just got two braids in my hair and loved it.

⚓️ BYO snorkels.

You can rent them cheaply ($15 on the islands) but you could easily bring your own too, if you have room in your bag, so you don’t have to think twice about it, and also stay hygienic.

⚓️ Monitor your spending.

It goes up quickly. There are kiosks around the ship that let you scan your Sail & Sign Card and give you an update on your balance.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ If you’re visiting Yejele Island in Maré, pay for the transfer {around $20}.

The port is a fair walk from the beach, and definitely not worth walking. Once you arrive at the beach, go to the very left or right because the mid-section fills very quickly. You can snorkel off the beach, and apparently it’s some of the best snorkeling around.

⚓️ Have Australian money to spend at the ports.

All the ports we visited accepted Australian money, so it was easy. Sometimes you might get foreign currency for change though.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Ride the slides on Port Days.

The slides are good at anytime, but I thought when the ship was at port it was really still and ideal for sliding.

⚓️ Pack smart casual clothing, and bring a little something-something special for the elegant nights.

{I just added a necklace and lipstick}. There are also other theme nights, like Mexican or Caribbean. Find out what your ship is doing and bring something fun to wear {but don’t worry, you won’t be the odd one out if you don’t}.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Bring gifts for the local kids.

I wish I’d done this. You’ll see beautiful local kids on your travels, I thought it would have been nice to have something to give them.

⚓️ Ask to take photos.

I know in Australia, I often have tourists taking photos of my girls and their blonde hair and I find it off-putting. Simply ask first, and if they approve… snap away.

⚓️ Be lazy!

There’s room service on the Carnival Spirit if you don’t feel like leaving your cabin. Take advantage of it.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Visit Amédée Island in Noumea.

This was one of my favourite days on our trip. We took a 40 minute boat ride to the island, and spent the day swimming, eating beautiful food {salads, dessert, seafood} and exploring. They have a glass bottom boat, as well as other tours that are included in your excursion fee. It can get busy, depending on when you travel, so once you get off the boat, head straight to the left hand side and grab a shaded area to set up for the day.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Don’t be freaked out by the sea snakes on Amédée Island.

Chances are you’ll see one, but they don’t give two hoots about you. They just swim by, slowly, so you have time to move out of the way. And they aren’t poisonous {well they are, but they don’t have teeth to bite so can’t poison us}.

⚓️ Travel with friends.

I think booking a cruise with friends and/or family would be brilliant. Organise others to travel along with you.

⚓️ Make the most of everything.

As with everything in life, you will get out what you put in. Have fun, do new things, look at the daily guide and make a plan for what you’re doing to see/do/play/watch. It’s worth getting out and doing stuff!

⚓️ Try the melting chocolate cake.

If you sail on the Carnival Spirit and are eating in the Empire Dining Room, eat the melting chocolate cake. BEST DESSERT EVER.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Explore and find your place.

Down at the front of the ship on the 2nd floor, we found a place called the Jungle. It was so quiet, and was a great place to chill. Lulu loved it because she could run up and down without annoying people.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Check out the shows.

I had ruled out the shows because Lulu was so small, but they were perfect for her. They were short, and entertaining. She loved them and so did Lacey. Don’t miss them.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ If the kids are in kids club, dash to the top deck and grab a cabana and a good book and chillax.

It’s quiet, shady and the place to be.

⚓️ Get a massage offshore.

I had a massage on the ship and it was expensive at $200. You can get cheaper ones offshore, and for $20 they’re brilliant. I had one in Vanuatu and it was the best ever.

⚓️ Bring your gym gear.

Even if you just go to breakfast in it. Kidding. There’s a gym, loads of activities and you can do laps of the deck too {one lap equals half a kilometre from memory}.

⚓️ Bring a cardigan.

It gets cold on sea days, especially if you’re hanging out below the lido deck.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Eat the sushi.

If you’re traveling on the Carnival Spirit, I highly recommend Bonsai Sushi. It’s not included in your food package, but my goodness… it’s beautiful. So fresh and delicious, and not expensive.

⚓️ Play Bingo!

I know it sounds daggy, but it’s so much fun. I love it.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Pack a camera!

It goes without explaining, doesn’t it? But if you need to know, you will have lots to photograph.

⚓️ Try the kids club.

They have loads of activities and are a great opportunity for your little people to make friends.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Try the Green Eggs & Ham breakfast.

We loved it. The Dr. Seuss characters pop by for a visit, and the breakfast options are VERY Dr. Seuss. It was around $10, and worth it.

⚓️ Take Walkie Talkies.

If you’re traveling with friends, family or older children, definitely take walkie talkies. They’re a great way to figure out where people are, or to get your other half to order you a cocktail already.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

⚓️ Get up early on the morning you arrive back home.

The view is stunning and shouldn’t be missed. If you have a State Room, use your balcony… otherwise head up to the top deck to soak up the views.

Tips for cruise holidays with kids {Carnival Spirit}

And there you go. There’s a gazillion tips for your next cruise holiday. I hope it helps you out.

There you have it, my 42 tips for cruising with kids. I hope that helps you create the best family cruise, ever! 💕


22 thoughts on “Cruising with kids: 42 tips for the best trip ever”

    • We did a cultural tour: Went out to the mud huts where the leaders of the communities have their meetings, and learned about hierarchy, their culture, a little history and modern day-to-day living. We saw how a traditional meal was made, and tasted it.

      And then went back to the markets, had our hair did, did a little shopping. 🙂

        • Sure.

          Our first port was Yejele Island in Mare. There’s no excursions there, just a shuttle to the beach. So we went to the beach.

          Next port was New Caledonia, and we went to Amedee Island – the excursion included lunch and entertainment and we just spent the day on the beach. It was beautiful. Highly recommend it.

          Next one was Lifou, and we went to the mud huts, learned about the culture, ate a traditional meal.

          And then the last one was Vanuatu – we did the waterfalls and another cultural tour. Well I sent mum and Lacey, because Lulu was too small. Mum said it was amazing, and Lacey loved it too. xx

      • Hi chantelle,
        I’m going on Carnival Spirit next week and the Lifou tour you described sounds great. Was it the (expensive) cruise shore excursion or something you found when you arrived?
        great summary, I thought I had already read every useful tip available but there’s great ones here 🙂

    • We went for 10 days.

      I traveled with my mum and two kids, so we had three single beds and a cot.

      If I was traveling with my husband, and my toddler was older – we’d have had the room made up to be 1 queen and 1 set of bunks. 🙂

  1. Ha ha I’m a regular cruiser and have nothing to add other than WHAT A FRICKIN’ GOOD TIME we had babe!!!! Loved spending time with you and the fam.

    Girls are wanting a play soon, let’s catch up.

    MWAH ??? XxDani

  2. We’re going on this exact cruise in November! Just wondering if you booked the Amedee Island tour on board or direct with the website?

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