I recently booked a cruise for my husband, my son and myself. The baby is under 2, so when we fly he is free, if he sits on our laps. Unfortunately, he is not free to cruise. In fact, he is no where close to free!! Our 1 year old baby, who will probably not consume any food on the cruise and will not be utilizing any of the ships vast amenities (except maybe the pool) is $600.00U.S. dollars.
Can you believe it? When I first priced the trip out I thought it must have been an error and the computer didn’t realize I was bringing on an infant. Nope. I even called the cruiseline to double check. They told me that they do not offer special discounts for children or seniors. Everyone pays the same price whether you are 1 or 101.
This immediately made me feel that they were not interested in having babies on board. If you charge enough, parents will not be able to afford for the whole family to go. They will either have to leave the infant at home with a relative or possibly go elsewhere. I was not giving up. I didn’t have a baby so that I could enjoy the world without him. He goes where we go.
We looked around at different cruise lines to see what was out there for infants. Costa had a promotion where your children are free with a parents paid cruise. While this sounded great I wasn’t fond of the itinerary or a ship FULL of kids. Holland America has a decent discount for kids, I just wanted something southern Caribbean.
Settling on Royal Carri bean, I have started now to look at excursions. I usually don’t book my excursions through the ship as a rule, they are almost double what you can get on land. In this case I have been looking at what they are offering because we would like to do something unique. I called Royal’s shore excursion team to enquire about the cost for our baby and was pleasantly surprised. He is free for some of the trips we have decided to do. It feels good to know that we are not going to be totally nickeled and dimed throughout the whole vacation.
Crusiecritic.com has a great outline for parents who are looking to have more information about kids on board. They list the cruise lines alphabetically and go over amenities, babysitting, special arrangements and clubs. It is a good reference for parents trying to book their next vacation, but also make sure their kids are going to have fun as well.
They also have an article about Best Family-Friendly Staterooms. It does give you an idea of the family suites each ship has and other perks offered by each cruise line, but they may not be speaking to the average family. The average family I know cannot afford $2400 U.S. (cruise only) per adult and $700 U.S. (cruise only) per child for their family to go on vacation and stay in a spacious cabin.
Most families will pile into a 170 sq. ft. cabin where everyone sleeps in bunk beds for 7 days to keep costs down. It’s not how you see the world, it’s just important that you are.
The newer ships that are being introduced do have great amenities. When you price them out you will see that convience costs! Any cabin over 200 sq. ft. will definitely set you back a few dollars. A vacation like this will be something that you do once every two years not every year.
I am happy that we will be able to bring our son to the Caribbean for the first time this winter, I just wish some of the bigger lines would understand that a child under the age of 2 should sail for less.
This will be the beginning of his travel experiences and maybe he will get a brother/sister out of the deal as well….