cruise3My family loves to cruise.  The kids get such a kick out of the all you can eat ice cream and I love the idea of not having to drive anywhere when it’s time to eat (which, on a cruise ship, can be any time at all). We’ve taken several cruises together, on several different cruise lines for varying amounts of time.  We’ve decided three days just doesn’t cut it (by the time you get on board and through the drills it feels like no time at all before you’re packing your bags to leave the next morning).  Seven days is a bit too long (we’re all sleeping in one room that entire week).  Five days is just right.

We’ve taken trips on our own and taken cruises with family.  Once, we went just after my sister’s wedding and all the families cruised together.  That sounds like fun but it’s hard to wrangle in your children when the cousins are allowed to roam the ship on their own and you don’t think yours are quite ready for that, or when you’re stuck in your room with your youngest and end up watching the other little ones out of default since “you are stuck inside anyway”.  Then there’s the trip we took with just the grandparents from the other side.  That was nice for the kids because they got some priceless one-on-one time with the Grands, but still tense at times when we weren’t sure if we were worried about making sure we weren’t leaving them behind if we did an excursion, or vice-versa.

Cruises are a good value

One thing is certain.  Cruises are a good value for the money.  It’s great to not have to worry about what dinner is going to cost or whether we should pack cereal to save money on breakfast (when you have four kids the food bill adds up!).  My only complaint about costs on cruises comes when you bring a baby.  When you travel by plane, you don’t pay for children two and under.  On cruises, it doesn’t matter how old the baby is, you pay their way.  That’s right—the same amount you pay for your 16-year-old-eat-the-entire-buffet is what you’ll pay for the baby who is still breastfeeding and takes in not a bite of cruise line meals.  I complained about it to a cruise line president once in a certified letter, explaining that maybe they should offer those families extra money back toward excursions or ship credits.  I got a letter back pretty much saying tough.  I won’t take that cruise line again.

But we will cruise again, absolutely!  The kids love it and they’re hoping we’ll travel on the Nickelodeon cruise where they can “slime us” the next time, or on the Disney cruise where they can dance with Daffy or dine with Daisy, be pampered with the Princesses, and more.  I’m not sure which line we’ll be taking the next time.  And as we save up the money to make it possible for all six of us to climb aboard again, we know it won’t be soon enough.