While cruising might be a great way to get away from it all, with some great kids-go-free deals going around, perhaps it’s something you’re keen to do with your grandchildren. If so, it’s important to know how to do so safely.
Things can go wrong on any type of holiday, but when it comes to cruising, there are a number of things you can do to protect your kids or grandkids. Here are our top tips for junior cruisers.
Besides the mandatory briefing, which everyone has to attend, parents or grandparents should also discuss safety issues with children before giving them their freedom on the ship. Basics include not climbing on the ship’s railings, how to respond to the ship’s emergency signals if sounded, and encouraging children to approach uniformed crew if they need help. It can also be useful to show older children how to use house phones, and the location of the reception desk should something happen.
Other cabins are off limits
Warn kids that they must never go into anyone else’s stateroom without their parents’ or grandparents’ approval, whether invited by another child, a guest, a crew member, or not. Also, warn children not to accept a drink from someone they don’t know, and to stay clear of off-limit areas, such as those designated for crew only.
Everyday, make clear plans to meet up, including a time and place, and check-in with children regularly, particularly on sea days, when you may be engaged in different activities. Consider taking walkie-talkies if you have teens spending much time on their own, and don’t leave any young children in kids’ clubs for extended periods of time.
Observing manners and rules
By all means give children their freedom, but don’t overdo it. Parents and grandparents need to observe the rules surrounding where children can and cannot go, especially the ship’s bars, and facilities, including pools and jacuzzis. If your grandchildren can’t swim, put them in floatation devices if they are near or in the water, and never allow young children to be supervised by their siblings. Also set curfews for children to be back in your stateroom each evening if they are doing their own thing.
Always supervise children when you go ashore, whether you explore independently or take an organised tour. If you go independently, keep children close, and carry details of where the ship is docked, including an emergency contact number should any problems arise. Also, don’t stray into areas that are known to be unsafe for tourists, be careful whom you talk to, and don’t consume too much alcohol. If your grandchildren take a dedicated children’s excursion supervised by crew, tell them not to separate from the group and to always pay attention to group leaders.
Keep your guard up generally
Be aware of others around you and your grandchildren, and if you see any trouble or fighting between other children, keep your distance but report it to a member of the crew. The same goes for any other suspicious behaviour – particularly by adults on accommodation decks at odd hours or late at night on open decks – and if you suspect anyone is buying alcohol for minors.
The best thing about being on a cruise with your grandchildren is that you have them captive – in the best way possible, of course. Enjoy spending time and having fun with them. That’s the whole reason you’re cruising together.
To find out more about cruising or to find the cruise of your dreams within your budget, visit CruiseGuide.com.au.