We recently took a family cruise to Alaska. And by family – I mean that we included our little one. We are veteran cruisers, and so is our daughter. I think she’s up to 4 cruises in 4 years. But Alaska? Is an Alaskan cruise suitable for children?
As we started planning the cruise, we kept hearing that it was nuts to take a kid on an Alaskan cruise. The general consensus is the answer to the question “is an Alaskan cruise suitable for children” is an emphatic NO.
She was going to be so bored.
We were going to be miserable.
It was going to be a rough trip.
This seems to be the common views regarding cruising with kids to Alaska. And I’m here to tell you that I’m so happy that I didn’t listen. I’d like to offer you an alternate opinion.
Is an Alaskan cruise suitable for children? Maybe.
We went ahead and took our little one to Alaska. On a cruise! We’re such rebels. And you know what? We had an amazing time!
If you are in the same boat (hah! get it?!) and wondering if you should or shouldn’t bring your little one, here are the reasons I think our trip was a success. Without some of these things, I’m not sure we would have had as much fun. So, are Alaskan cruises suitable for children? Maybe, depending on the child and the situation.
Here’s why I think it worked so well for us:
- Adults outnumbered the kids. Besides my husband and I, we also had 3 grandparents who joined us. A 5-to-1 ratio is pretty awesome. While Carnival Cruise Line has a fantastic child’s program, our little one preferred to spend time with us. Sometimes, she wanted to hang out with mom and dad. And other times, she wanted to spend alone time with each of the grandparents. This was great because no one felt like they were continuously on “child duty.” My husband and I were able to enjoy the late night comedy shows, for example, while the little one slept in grandma’s room. Or we could take her to play putt-putt in the late afternoon while grandparents enjoyed quiet time on the balcony or reading a book.
- Flexibility. Our little one is pretty flexible. At home, she’s strictly a bath-in-the-tub kid, but on the cruise, she thought it was fun to take showers. We had her stand in the shower, and then we took the shower nozzle in our hand and sprayed her off. She thought it was hilarious.
- People generally love children. We found this to be true everywhere we went. Not once did we feel like our little one was unwelcome – and even at the more formal evening dinners, instead of the side-eye, we actually had other cruise guests tell us that they missed their kids (or grandkids) and they enjoyed seeing her eat adventurous food items. The crew especially went out of their way to make sure she had fun. And confided in us that they missed their own kids back at home and really loved making her smile.
- We could stay as busy as we wanted. There was always something to do – a show to see, kids activities to participate in, a movie to watch, not to mention the fun of getting on and off the ship. Exploring ports, taking train and bus rides, learning from the naturalists and park rangers – meanwhile, we were never very far from our room in case nap time struck.
I’m not sure how much fun it would have been had we had different circumstances, or if we were dealing with a different little personality. There WERE other kids on board, so we know we aren’t the only ones willing to take the little one along.
If you’re looking for more of my reflections of traveling with kids, be sure to check out my thoughts about taking a three year old to Italy!
Do you like traveling with your kids or do you prefer to leave them while you go?