Cruising's Special Kid-Welcoming Touches - My Family Travels

Look with Family Travel Forum's cruise expert through her daughter's eyes to see what can make a family cruise truly special.

During our six years of family cruising, we have always been surprised at the extra attention fawned on our daughter by ships’ staff. We are constantly reminded that cruise personnel excel at making passengers feel special.

Each of our eight family cruises have been highlighted by a few instances that really made a difference. Room stewards have been particularly attentive.  While Alexandra got a kick out of finding her teddy bear hidden nightly by the room steward on Celebrity Cruises Zenith, I was impressed by the room stewardess who loaned a family her VCR for the week so their child could watch her favorite videos.

On our Carnival Destiny cruise, our room steward made Alexandra feel as if she was the only child receiving his towel “animals”. He even created a small one for her to keep and even wrote a poem for her about the joys of children!  How about the room steward who had the engineering department on Princess Cruises Sea Princess construct a bed bar for Alexandra when he heard that she fell out of bed the previous night.

While we have found most of the youth counselors aboard each ship make all the children feel special, the private babysitters truly excel at this. One baby-sitter aboard the Norwegian Wind left a stuffed animal for Alex to wake up to and an invitation to visit her at the Purser’s Desk. That certainly made my daughter’s day!

Although one would expect such niceties aboard the upscale ships, there really is no market qualifier for going the extra (nautical!) mile. Our special experiences have been as pervasive on mass market ships as on more expensive cruises. However, I find it harder to establish rapport with service staff on three- and four-day cruises compared to those on seven-day cruises.

Length does matter here, but what I really like best is that these special touches have come from the heart and not because of the pocketbook. None of these special efforts came as a result of big tips.

While we have also traveled extensively by land, I find it hard to think of any hotel or resort where we were made to feel by staff that we were the only guests that mattered. That’s an important aspect of any vacation and may be something to keep in mind when it is time to decide whether to travel by land or sea.

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