Allure od the seas cruise with kids

We found the perfect ship for young kids

 As we prepare for another cruise with our kids I wanted to post about our previous family cruises.  This upcoming cruise will be our son’s 4th cruise (he’s 5) and our daughter’s second cruise (she’s 2).   As a person who cruised 14 times without kids and now a frequent cruiser with kids, I have a unique perspective on how to enjoy this type of family vacation!  And for those of you wondering if one can you really enjoy a cruise with a toddler and a baby, the answer is YES!  I think that Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is one of the best family friendly vacations for all ages! This is by far my favorite ship. We have taken Allure of the Seas three times (twice with our kids), so this post will showcase the awesomeness of the ship through photos from all three vacations – so you will notice different ages of our kids. Below are some details that make this the perfect family vacation.

Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids

Family Friendly features

Allure of the Seas is the most kid friendly ship I have been on. The ship is so large it is impossible to experience everything in the week, which is another reason we chose to go back on this ship multiple times.  Family areas that my son loved is the carousel, build-a-bear shop, and candy shop that are all on the Boardwalk.  There arcade is awesome (even fun for adults), there is a playroom for babies and toddlers to play with a large selection of toys anytime of the day with their parents.  Some of the shows are excellent for kids and adults alike- Aqua theater shows and ice skating shows!  And the cupcake decorating class is a fun, learning activity.

To keep kids and parents connected, RCI offers the “Wow Phone.” These are iPhones stripped of their outside calling capabilities. The phones, which are also loaded with deck plans and Cruise Compasses, are $17.50 each for a week. The Wow Phones can be reached by any phone on the ship. The phones also have tracking devices, perfect for locating your teenagers!

 

Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids

The Youth Zone

On deck 14 is the 29,000-square-foot Youth Zone, which is divided into age-appropriate spaces as well as rooms dedicated to science experiments (make snow in the Caribbean), theater instruction and arts & crafts. Royal Caribbean has partnerships with Crayola and Fisher-Price, which means that the Kid Zone has tons of colorful toys, games and supplies. Also in the area is one of Allure’s two arcades, with typical arcade fun like skeeball, air hockey, and first person shooter games.  In this area is where you take your kids to participate in the ship’s children’s programs. You can read a full detailed review of our experience with the kids program, Why we love the kids program on Royal Caribbean.

The Royal Tots and Royal Babies program is the number one reason we chose this ship.  At the time it was the only ship that offered a program for the babies.  The Royal Tots and Babies provides childcare and activities for children from 6 to 36 months old. All parents have an opportunity to reserve spots for their kids at the beginning of each cruise at a cost of $8 per hour, per child. Remaining hours are then opened up on a first-come, first-served basis. It is simple to register your babies; they gave us a ship “cell phone” that we were able to use all week and they provided a report card of what the kids did while in their care. Both our son and daughter have experienced this babies program. Both loved the toys, the interaction with other babies and of course the attention from the staff.  We took advantage of this program so that we could experience the late night activities around the ship like the adult comedy, formal dinner, etc.  Each time we came to pick them up late they had the kids in pajamas, fed, changed and asleep!  So I highly recommend this program for any parents out there curious as to whether they should take their younger babies on a cruise.  Keep in mind that not all Royal Caribbean Cruise ships offer the Royal Babies and Tots Program.

The Adventure Ocean is the free Children’s program for kids 3-17 (the toddlers must be 100% potty trained to participate). The program divides the children into three age groups: ages 3 to 5 (Aquanauts), 6 to 8 (Explorers), 9 to 11 (Voyagers) and 12-17 (teens).  Teens have their own lounge (living room), dance club, and arcade to hang out in.

Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids

Family photos on Allure of the Seas

I love all the great photos I can get of my family on a cruise.  I typically do most of the picture taking, so I am often left out of many photos.  And the ones I am in are never up the quality I wish they were.  So I love the photo packages that Royal Caribbean offers and I am always on a mission to take lots of professional photos because I buy the CD that provides a large digital file of every picture that myself, my husband or the kids are in.  What a deal! Here are a few of my favorites…

Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids

DreamWorks Experiences

There are so many opportunities for character interaction on the Allure of the Seas but it is not in an annoying overloaded way.  No worries, if your kid is afraid or not interested because it would be easily avoidable if the character interaction is of no interest.  However, for my son, characters are a fun treat to see.  Photo opportunities with the characters from Shrek and Madagascar are abundant, some are for you to take with your own camera and others are done by the ship photographers.  There were three chances for taking part in the character breakfast with a special chocolate menu.  And then some special performances involving these fun characters.  Because of our room category on our first sailing, we had the unique chance to have a party on the helicopter pad as we sailed away from Labadee and Shrek came to visit each of us.

Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids - Dreamworks
Dreamworks Breakfast on Allure of the Seas with kids
Dreamworks Breakfast on Allure of the Seas with kids
Dreamworks Breakfast on Allure of the Seas with kids

Family Friendly Ports

I have been to just about every Caribbean port, so I really enjoy the private island days.  We enjoy renting a cabana on Barefoot Beach.  I highly recommend booking a cabana if you have young kids so that they can have shade and a comfortable area to nap.  Labadee is a favorite of mine because it provides relaxation, adrenaline pumping activities (Dragon’s Breath zipline- done this twice and LOVE it) and a fun kids splash pad area as well as the Adventure Ocean island location.

Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids
Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Allure of the Seas with kids

Hope you found this helpful and if you take a family cruise tag me on Instagram (@mandymcarter) so I can see all the fun you are having!

I want to inspire you to travel! Whether you explore your city, state or the world, just get out and see, do and eat new things! And I strive to encourage women to pursue their dreams. In addition to my favorite job of being the mother to two crazy little kids, I am the Digital Editor for a local magazine publisher, a freelance travel writer, and manage digital marketing for small businesses. Let's connect!