We decided to book a 7 day cruise in October for E.Carribean. We have never been, and do not know anyone who has been on a cruise. We are taking our 2 children (2 and 5) and don't know where to start. Please advise us on
1. Where to stay the night before (we are leaving from ft.Lauderdale)
2. What to bring/what not to bring.
3. What excursions are recommended.
4. Anything else you can think of
Having cruised with our kids (once) when they were very young, all I want to add is keep shore excursions simple! A good beach is all most kids want. Don't drag them shopping through the towns( remember how hot it will be) and forget bus tours! Kids will have a great time(and you will have less stress) if you just find a good beach , get you and dad a cold beer and a beach umbrella, and the kids some beach toys!
Also , don't over pack, I know how tempting it is with kids, you want to be prepared for anything, but the kids will wear a bathing suit all day, so bring two or three, and just a few shorts and T's. Kids always want to wear their favorites over and over anyways. Yes throw in a sun dress or two for dinners( no shorts in dining room ) and if one of your little ones is a boy throw in some khaki pants and a few golf type shirts, plus one button up shirt for formal night. ( and a clip on tie is cute) . Don't stress about the kids being all dolled up for formal night, make sure they are decent( like if you were taking them to church) and relax and have fun, they are only young once!!
Do take your favorite medicines for the kids( tylenol, gravol, etc.) the stuff on ship is exspensive and they don't always have the childrens strengths. The infirmiry will but that will cost big time.
Take a refillable water bottle for shore excursions and fill it with juices from the breakfast buffet. Take the younger ones sippy cup if that's what he/she still uses.
Some ships have frigs in all cabins( Princess does, except some of the older ships) so you can store some juice boxes that you brought form home .And remember room service is free( except for a tip) so you can get the little ones a late night snack or some cereal for the morning so you and dad can lay in bed for a few minutes while kids watch cartoons.
Most kids have good kids programs , try them .Even if it's only for an hour or two it will give you a little break. Make sure the line you booked on takes kids as young as two in their programs( some lines it's three)
And lastly get as big a cabin as you can afford! A balcony is great because you can put the kids to bed and then sit out on the balcony and have a glass of wine( or tea) while they snooze, this is good for nap time also.