Taking the Grandkids (and Grandad) cruising – what you need to know

Allison Hattaway and her grand-daughters went on a cruise holiday with Royal Caribbean on the family friendly Voyager of the Seas. The feature-packed megaliner has experiences found on no other ships sailing down under, including the FlowRider surf simulator, ice skating rink, mini-golf course, rock climbing wall indoor promenade and basketball court.

So what was it like taking the grandkids cruising?
One is 16 and the other is 12 and they really enjoyed it. For most of the time they did their own thing which was good because we didn’t particularly want to scale the rock climbing wall. They each had a card they could use to buy what they needed (they had a spending limit), so some days we didn’t see them until dinner time. We laid out the rules from the beginning – they knew they needed to be back at the stateroom by a certain time each evening, and they had to stick together.

So you did get some time to yourself?
Yes and we even went to the casino once. My husband wanted to go in so I agreed, and then ended up happy because I won $300 US dollars. We also watched several of the theatre shows. There was a magic show and a Rock n Roll Broadway show, and the choreography was just great.

During sea days did you find there was enough to do?
Yes, it’s just amazing the things that you come across while you’re walking around the enormous ship. One day we came across an art auction. Then another day my husband and I ended up playing a game of croquet outside on the deck. They had the little squares and mallets all set up and we were watching other people doing it for a while and thought we would give it a go, and that was a lovely morning. 

What was your favourite activity you did as a family?
It was the day that we were watching them skate on the ice rink. Watching them trying to get up and going was such a laugh. When we got off at the South Pacific Islands we also had a great time sightseeing with them – apart from my husband who didn’t bring a big enough hat. When we got to Fiji I bought one of those extra wide brim hats, which would be my big piece of advice. The sun is definitely hot over there.

What would your top tip for other grandparents cruising with kids be?
Most of the activities for kids like the skating, the rock climbing wall and the surf machine were included in the price and it kept the kids really busy. There are some things that are going to cost and they just needed to let us know so we could keep track of their spending. I think that 10 – 17 is the exact right age group to take because of the range activities and all the things they can do on the ship to enjoy the cruise.

What did your husband think of the cruise?
He was rapt. The only problem was I like the heat and he doesn’t so in the stateroom we would have the aircon going 24/7 and I had to wear a jumper in the room. Then we would go outside and I thought it was great but he was bothered. We figured out that going outside at night time was just perfect for both us. We would sit outside and relax listening to the waves with a cup of tea on the deck and that was really lovely.

Where do you think you would take your next cruise?
We have been thinking about that because it will be our 50th wedding anniversary next year in December. So you know I’ve got that pencilled in. I would love to see the top of Australia, especially around Darwin and that whole area. We often fly to Aus to visit family so it would be great to add on a cruise.

Has your husband picked up on the hints?

Actually we have been hinting at each other about it, so I think we probably will. Next year we’re going to do it because now we’re all clued up.

What was your favourite moment on the trip?
I think just relaxing on the top deck up where the Captain’s bridge is. My husband and I went up and sat there looking out. That’s where we took most of our  photos, and the girls always knew where to find us. We had quality time and it was cool up there. I really enjoyed that.

Top tips for cruising with grandkids

  • Set out the rules with the kids at the beginning so they know what they can spend and what time they need to be back at the stateroom.
  • Bring big hats and sunscreen for everyone, especially grandad.
  • Bring easy care clothing that does not need ironing.
  • Bring any medication you think you may need such as antibiotics, anti-seasickness meds, and pain reliever just in case.

Royal Caribbean Cruises has free balcony upgrades on top of savings of up to 30% on new bookings made before 7 December, 2017 for Australia, South Pacific, and New Zealand voyages departing before 23 April 2019. See royalcaribbean.co.nz