Planning Tips For Your First Family Cruise – Guest post ft Olivia W Jones

Planning a first family cruise can often be both nerve wracking and thrilling. From booking to disembarking, there are many aspects to keep in mind, since any of them could make or break the whole vacation. On a brighter note, a wide array of activities, amenities and food can potentially satisfy anyone, no matter whether it is a newborn baby or a seasoned grandpa. Those who want to stay on top of these aspects quickly find out that cruises are the ultimate family vacations. Here is how to take the stress and frustration out of the process and navigate the minefield of decisions.family cruise blog

Across the seven seas

Some basic rules of travelling always apply, although many specifics are different. For instance, packing techniques help just like with any other vacation, but when cruising, it is also highly advisable to pack a tote bag with all the essentials you need ‒ namely because it takes a few hours for your luggage to be delivered to the cabins. Also, getting off a ship is not like checking out of a hotel. There is again a process of waiting involved. Speaking of which, cruise lengths vary from a couple of days to two weeks.

family cruise - Suitcase open on the floor with holiday essentials almost packed!
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Decide how many days makes sense for you and your family, depending on your preferences and free time. Another thing to take into account is the selection of the arrival and departure ports. The basic dilemma comes down to either visiting just one destination or hitting many with one fair. Some of the most popular bucket list destinations are the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, South Africa, Northern Europe, North America, etc. In any event, pick a destination the whole family is on board with.

The bottom line

Next, it is time to look around for the best deal out there. Choosing the right cruise line is the cornerstone of a successful cruise. The lines differ in terms of quality of service, size of the ship, and offered amenities. It is not uncommon to stumble upon shabby offers that are complete duds. You want to steer away from shore excursions that are basically glorified bus rides. Also, keep your eyes open for discounts, special offers, and deal alerts from reputable agencies.

Family Cruise - ships in port

Do your homework and utilize websites like Onboard.com that allow you to research and book cruises as well as read reviews on them. For families, it is important to note that some cruise lines stand out from the rest because of what they offer to young kids. Carnival cruises, for example, have a great line-up of kid programs, activities, and features that’ll keep the little ones entertained and engaged.

Once the cruise is booked, you need to figure out the itinerary. As for the time on board, there should be a variety of possible activities, including pool, cinema, skydiving, roller skating, bumper cars, golf, etc. Ports offer excursions such as snorkeling, kayaking, city tours, shopping, and horseback riding. Some cruises are marketed and tailored to be all-inclusive. Even then, however, you cannot expect not to have extra expenditures on board, such as pay-extra eateries, gift shops, beverages, various activities, etc.

From stem to stern

Some people overlook the fact that the location and the type of the room on the ship do play an important role. Staterooms are a budget option for those who do not plan on spending much time inside. If you are willing to pay a bit more, though, you can opt for balcony rooms, suites, and deluxe packages. Cabins on the low decks are a nice solution for people who are prone to seasickness.

Family Cruise - Boy on balcony of cruise ship

The good news is that with the marvels of modern technology, you should be able to find high-quality pictures of the rooms or even go on virtual tours and watch live video feeds. Just remember to book the room well ahead of time and reserve the tickets before boarding. The most popular tours sell rather quickly and you do not want to miss the opportunity.

Finally, landlovers should not fret once on deck. Cruising is something that quickly grows on you, even if it feels scary at first. Rely on the crew to help you and provide you with all the necessary information. Make sure to let the kids rest after all the fun and games. Do not forget that you can (and should) stay in touch with your kids in case you want to do some activities separately. True, the cell phones won’t work, but Walkie Talkies will do the trick just fine.

Smooth sailing

When planned and done right, a cruise is the perfect vacation for the whole family. To make the magic happen, you have to know where and when you want to go and what you want to get from the vacation. All ships are not created equally and your choices matter a great deal. So, first-time cruisers, brace yourself. Do not skip the research if you want to have the time of your life and explore new horizons with winds in your sails.

Family Cruise - Waves made by a ship in the sea
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
sydney oliviaOlivia is psychologist, traveller and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs, Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Olivia is a regular contributor to High Style Life.
You can also follow on both Twitter and Facebook.
*no remuneration has been received or given in return for hosting this guest post.
** unless stated, the pictures have been provided by the writer for use in this post.
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Insider’s Guide to Sydney – Guest post ft Olivia W Jones

Today I have a special guest on my blog, Olivia Jones. She is here to tell us all about Sydney from an insider’s point of view. Olivia hails from Australia and is a regular contributor on the High Style Life blog.sydney olivia

As you probably already noticed, this BattleMum is all about being on the move so the whole family knows that whenever they get the chance, they’re out and about exploring and enjoying themselves. Since it’s winter time here in Australia, there aren’t that many things we get to do outside. However, that’s not going to stop us. Here are some activities you can do around Sydney this winter that’ll make you leave the house and have some fun.

Coastal Walk

When you think ‘Sydney’ you think ‘beaches’ and every chance I get, I like to take my kids and our dogs out to stretch our legs a bit. And what better way to do that than walk along some of the most beautiful beaches Australia has to offer. The spectacular coast between Bondi and Coogee really is amazing to see, and you shouldn’t only visit it during the summer for swimming and sunbathing. The coast has some amazing rocky cliffs and lovely parks, not to mention all the cafes and pubs where you can just sit, relax and enjoy the amazing view of the ocean.

sydney
Coastal waves at Coogee – Picture Source

Whale Watching

My kids love animals so, of course, we can be found whale watching pretty much whenever we have some free time. Whales migrate from May to November along the coast of NSW so you have plenty of time to see some humpback whales going to the warm waters off Queensland. We love packing up our binoculars, some blankets and plenty of food and heading to Cape Solander in the Kurnell section of the Kamay Botany Bay National Park. There are also plenty of cruise companies that offer whale watching tours so you can have a great view from the water. Another great place to spot the whales from is North Head Lookout at Manly.

sydney olivia
Whale Watching

The Snowy Mountains

Both my hubby and I love to ski, so what better time than now to head off to the Snowy Mountains and glide down some slopes. Yes, Thredbo is six and a half hours away from Sydney but don’t let that discourage you. Instead, pack up the family with all that’s necessary and get some appropriate womens snow gear and head up for a fun and exciting weekend in the mountains. We usually love to rent a cabin at the base of the mountain and visit some of the great restaurants around the village. Thredbo offers some of the longest ski and snowboard runs, but if you’re not into skiing, you can always pop on some walking boots and explore the cute Thredbo Village where you can see some amazing flora and fauna as well as plenty of sculptures and paintings dotted throughout the resort.

sydney olivia
Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains

Royal National Park

Wherever we feel like being adventurous but can’t get anywhere far away, Royal National Park is our go-to place and I’m not sure who loves spending time there more. This place is amazing and it’s just an hour’s drive away from CBD but unfortunately, not many Sydneysiders go there. We simply love packing up some picnic stuff as well as our bikes, and just heading off over there for a fun and adventure-filled day out. The park is huge and there are so many things to do there. Things like jumping off the rock at Wattamolla if you’re an adrenaline junkie, swimming in the secluded Marley beach, or hiking and visiting some of the most beautiful falls. The park also has a visitor centre with spacious lawns as well as an old-fashioned dance hall. You can even rent a canoe or a rowing boat. No matter whether you like to spend your free time being super active or simply lazing on a blanket somewhere, Royal National Park is the place to go, especially if you have kids and want them entertained for the day.

sydney olivia
Royal National Park

There you go everyone and fellow Sydneysiders, just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in and be bored out of your mind. There are plenty of things to do in and around Sydney so all you need to do is find what suits you most, just like this we have.

sydney olivia

Olivia is psychologist, traveller and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs, Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Olivia is a regular contributor to High Style Life.
You can also follow on both Twitter and Facebook.
*no remuneration has been received or given in return for hosting this guest post.
sydney olivia sydney olivia