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Enjoy all the tips, news, insight, and advice on luxury family travel that highlights fun, active, and healthy vacations. Explore how to make the most out of your family vacation without sacrificing luxury.

FreshCruiser.com opens readers’ eyes to new adventures and calms any fears of traveling with children. With a special focus on family cruising, the website includes tips to staying active, eating well, and taking advantage of all the opportunities while on a family vacation.

Entries in Cruising with kids (3)

Thursday
Feb232017

Photo Tour & Review of the Kids’ areas on Ovation of the Seas

A photo tour of the kids’ areas on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas

What is there to do onboard the Ovation of the Seas with Kids?

Ovation of the Seas. Picture taken from North Star attraction.We spent 8 days with our two toddlers on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class Ship, Ovation of the Seas in Asia. The ship was child-friendly with many spots throughout the ship specifically for toddlers and kids. The 8-day itinerary included the following ports: Kochi, Japan, Miyazaki, Japan, and Busan, Korea.

Adventure Ocean – Youth Club

My daughter was a Royal Tot (ages 18- 36 months) and my son was an Aquanaut (ages 3-5 years).

My son kept asking us if he could go to Adventure Ocean. On other ships that we have been on, we’d have to encourage him to go each time. The activities were well planned and when I would come to pick him up, he’d say, “Mommy, can you come back after we finish this game?” There is no better compliment than that.

There was a small hourly fee for my younger daughter to be dropped off at the Royal Tots Nursery.  It was the first time we ever left her with someone that wasn’t family. There were never any tears or sadness when we dropped her off. She enjoyed the attention from the staff and exploring all the new toys. 

I wish there was enough staff to have Adventure Ocean open all day as many times my son wanted to go, it was closed. For instance, it was closed mid-day for a few hours and from 5pm to 7pm every night.

Splashaway Bay - Waterpark for kids

Splashaway Bay has two waterslides, a splash pad area, and a whirlpool pool. The slides offer endless fun and are manageable for kids to go on their own. Splashaway Bay Kids' WaterparkUnfortunately your child must be a minimum of 42"inches tall to ride the slides.  I felt this was strict as the slides are very basic and appeal to a younger child.

Splashaway Bay Kids' Waterpark

Since it can get cool on deck and the water isn’t heated, I’d recommend bringing a wetsuit for your child.

Swimming Pools

 

There are indoor and outdoor pools on the Ovation of the Seas including an adult-only pool at the bow of the ship. My son would jump in and swim to the other side. He loved going into the indoor pool after breakfast during sea days. There were complimentary life jackets for children who needed one. Children must be potty trained to use the pools, no diapers or swim diapers are allowed. 

Seaplex

Seaplex

Seaplex is a large indoor space which offers activities such as bumper cars, roller skating, and basketball. During the roller skating session, my son and I laced up the borrowed skates and took a spin around the rink. It was my son’s first time on roller skates and I hadn’t been on them in over 15 years. The opportunity to roller skate is why I love cruising so much. It got my son out of his comfort zone, tried something new, and we both had fun doing it together. There was no additional charge.

RipCord by iFLY®

My 3 year-old son and I exhibited our adventurous spirit and booked a reservation for RipCord by iFLY®, “the first skydiving experience at sea.” When my son’s two minutes were up, he asked to go again!  It was a special moment to do something like this with my son.  Cruising offers many opportunities to make lifetime memories.

Indoor Play area

“Welcome to Play” reads the sign as you enter the parent-supervised indoor play area on the ship. There are slides, toys, and all sorts of things to play with inside the indoor playground. It offers an alternative to being dropped off at Adventure Ocean. Smaller children can explore and play while with their parents.

Stateroom Toys

As part of the Royal Tots program, we checked-out a bag of toys to play in the room. Each bag has a theme from transportation to building. Every few days we would return one bag and pick up a new one. It provided our kids with something new to play with as we got ready every morning. It also was a good exercise in borrowing and sharing toys.

Ship-Wide - Character Photo Opportunities

My son giving Po (Kung Fu Panda) a hug

The DreamWorks characters were also sailing on the Ovation of the Seas with us!My son was in awe while meeting the characters during their daily appearances throughout the ship. The characters typically came out and performed a 1-2 minute dance and then posed for pictures.

Adventure Ocean Dance Party with Dreamworks CharactersOn our final day at sea, there was an Adventure Ocean dance party with the DreamWorks characters which was definitely a highlight of the cruise.

Additional Adventures for Kids

The activities for kids on the Ovation of the Seas are endless. Although my toddlers were not tall enough to experience all of them, the additional activities include: North Star observation capsule, FlowRider® surf simulator, and a 30-foot high Rock Climbing Wall. Even though my kids were too short, it will give them something to look forward to trying on future sailings.

We always felt there were many activities to pick from during our 8-day cruise on the Ovation of the Seas. The ship was truly designed where there are spaces for kids of all ages.

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Monday
Jul182016

Top family travel ideas to capture and save memories

Taking a family vacation this summer? Check out these fun ideas to capture and save memories.

Summer vacation is here and it’s time to take off on a family vacation. This summer try to resist the urge to video and photograph every second. Of course, I want to capture every cute and crazy moment including my son’s little tantrums when he doesn’t get to press the hotel elevator button.

However, being present in the moment is so much more important. Follow these easy to do ideas for preserving a vacation keepsake while having fun.

Quotes & Moments

Keep an e-mail draft of the funny quotes, new words or memories from the trip. It is a way to remember the trip that pictures can’t. If you do a photo book of the trip, add a page and entitle it “Memorable quotes and moments”. Paste the text to it. You never know what is going to come out of your children’s mouths, which is fun and exciting. For instance, in Hawaii my son said things like, “I want to float away.” “We have a problem” and he got mad at his grandma because she went down the slide faster than him. It’s easy to forget. Once the kids are all tucked in, take a second to write it down.

Say Cheese!

Mark your child or children’s growth by taking a picture of them on the hotel room bed every vacation. We started this when my son was 3 months old. It was his first time staying in a hotel room. We placed him on the bed and took a picture. It reminds me of that moment that you just plop yourself on the bed after a long day of travel and your vacation has truly started.  We now do this with both children on the bed and it’s a cute way to show their growth from trip to trip.

Scrapbook it, the easy way

Bring home the used tickets and hotel room keys from the trip. I have a scrapbook for each child. The scrapbook has self-adhesive pages, which means it has a sticky backing. I simply peel back the transparent overlay, place the tickets, smooth it and I’m done. The keepsake is a special reminder of the places we have visited. It does not require a time commitment like other types of scrapbooking.

Ask questions

It is magical to watch your children’s expressions as you visit new places.  When you have downtime, either driving or at the airport ask your children questions about the trip. The questions are fun and you may be surprised by some of their responses. My nephew would answer yes to every question.

After a trip together, I asked him yes or no questions. It marks that moment in time perfectly, as you guessed it, his answer was “yes” every time. You can also add these to the photo book or save as a memory.  

Vacations can be packed with non-stop stimulation. It is important to take a moment and revisit the trip for them.

Tuesday
May242016

Diary: Our first cruise with children

It was a big moment in our parenting journey. We introduced our children to the joys of cruising. We took our one-year-old and three-year-old on a 3-day cruise leaving out of Long Beach on the Carnival Inspiration. The ship departed on Friday evening and returned early Monday morning.  The itinerary included one day at sea and a port of call in Ensenada, Mexico.  My husband and I have taken over 10 cruises before having children. Cruising with kids opened up a whole new world to us. We loved it.

My husband and I like to explore the entire ship upon embarkation. As we entered the Carnival Inspiration, we set off to discover all the fun places on the ship. At one point my son stopped and looked down at the Lido deck at all the people sun bathing, eating, and drinking. He was memorized. It was a moment I will never forget.  I was viewing everything through his eyes. I realized that it is important to slow down and take it all in.  My husband and I tend to rush from one place or activity to the next.  

Pre-children, we would rush to arrive at the buffet or dining room before breakfast was over. On this cruise, we were the first people to arrive at the dining room for breakfast. We got there at 7:20am. We were all dressed and ready to go but found out it was too early for breakfast.  After a quick wait, we had a nice quiet breakfast together. There’s a magical feeling of having the cruise ship to yourself in the early morning.

Soft serve yogurt for breakfast? Sure.

Pushing the bed to the wall so the kids could stand on it to look out the window? Of course.

Riding in the glass elevators to glaze at the people in the atrium? Every time.  

Bedtime? Bedtime was when we were partied out. One night we followed the show’s dancers to the after party in the atrium. My son and I danced to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary while my daughter fell asleep in my husband’s arms. Another night my son was completely exhausted and begged to go to bed during our 5:30pm dinner.

We weren’t even off the ship and were already discussing when we could go again. My kids tried new foods, heard a wide spectrum of music, watched in awe during the nightly shows, and learned cruise terminology (port, starboard, cabin, lido deck, aft, forward). Before having children, we would be extremely relaxed and well rested as we disembarked at the end of a cruise. This time, we were exhausted. It was 100% worth it.