Family cruise vacations are a wonderful way to engage the whole family in a trip that’s relatively all-inclusive and offers a range of activities that appeal to family members young and old. However, before you depart on your big family cruise vacation, you need to consider a few crucial safety tips.
To learn how to really enjoy yourself and have a fun and safe time on your next family cruise, keep reading for the top family cruise safety tips from the experts.
1. Check your ship’s report card
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a department called the Vessel Sanitation Program. That program inspects ships on a regular basis for cleanliness, food preparation, hygiene, water control, rodents and disease prevention. Upon inspection, each ship is given a report card that is then made available on the CDC web site.
Before you book your next cruise, look up your specific ship’s report card to check their grade.
2. Put safety first
Before you book with a cruise line, even a “family” cruise or a “kid” cruise, always make sure you know the cruise line’s policy on child safety. If they don’t have one or if it isn’t readily available to you, then they are not the cruise line for you.
Ask about their daycare employees, the activity counselors and the children’s guides – are they qualified to work with children? Do they have first aid certification? Have they been thoroughly screened? What background checks has the cruise line done? How does the cruise line keep track of every child when parents aren’t present?
3. Be diligent, especially on shore
Admittedly, a cruise can feel very safe. It’s an enclosed environment, but that doesn’t mean parents can fully let down their guard. Kids can still fall, slip, get hurt, wander into unsupervised or dangerous areas and generally do what kids do.
Despite the childcare, the amenities available to you and the enclosed space, never forget that you’re a parent. If you’re going on shore with your children, keep a close eye on them and try sticking to cruise ship organized activities.
4. Have your papers in order
Before you leave, make sure that everyone has a passport. If any of the children have a different last name from yourself or your friend, or if they’re traveling without one parent, be sure to get copies of their birth certificates or custody agreements or a letter that states you’re allowed to bring them outside the country.
Also, make sure everyone is properly insured for travel, including cruise destinations which have specific legal implications because of international waters and the various ports of call. Keep all this paperwork in a safe place.