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.
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!
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.