Traveling on a Cruise ship with a 4-year-old can be challenging but not as challenging as traveling with an infant ( but who wants to cruise with an infant). Being prepared for uncertainties is a great challenge in parenting. We should plan to take each and everything they might need, that they really might need all what we plan but what if they might.
When we decided to cruise to the Bahamas, the first thing I researched was, how would my 4 year old be entertained in the ship.
Carnival had the best answer to it. They have camps for all kids grouped together by age and the best part of our vacation was Carnival Camp for the kids is FREE (Oh ya, we had to pay a full price ticket for him though).
The staff in the Camp Carnival for Kids 2 to 5 years were fantastic, they made the kids feel so comfortable and entertained.
During inauguration of the camp the staff made us fill out various forms that would make them understand the kid better and upon request we would get a phone (works within the ship) in case they need to reach the parent.
The Camp Carnival had various activities like Art Projects, Daily Theme based activities, fun workshops etc., which are definitely more fun for the kids than hanging around with the parents. Of course the parents get their time off too.
What to pack for Kids?
We were traveling during Christmas, we expected it to be summer like but it was more spring/fall like. So packing long pants and long sleeve tee would be a good option.
You need not be shopping for summer clothes in Dec (just like what I did) and get a look from the store employees when you ask for shorts and sleeveless tees in winter.
Be prepared to pack at least 2 sets of clothes per day. Two sets of swimming clothes would be a good recommendation (Unless you love doing your laundry on your vacation) A light jacket would be handy, as it gets really chilly and windy on the verandah of the ship.
Apart from the verandah, we felt the inside of the ship was cold too from the air conditioning. Either way a light jacket would help.
But being prepared for the uncertainty pays off, if you might have been correct.
I packed all the basic meds like Fever reducer, Sore throat, cold, cough, band-aids, ointments. There was always medical assistance available on the cruise and that really gave me a peace of mind.
Packing few of your kids favorite toy or getting some toy surprises can come in handy when your kid is really upset with something.
We really didn’t feel the need of snacks inside the ship. Some kind of food is available 24/7. During Port days its advisable to pack your bags with snacks and drinks. It even saves you time to snack on the go than waste time searching for food, as you might have only limited time (5-6 hrs) to explore the island.
You need not pack towels as Carnival provides beach towels inside the cruise and they allow you to take them during shore excursion, provided you are going to return them safely (They charge $22 per towel if you don’t return it back to the cruise.)
Sunscreen and sunglasses
Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen even if it’s a spring/fall like weather. Spending 6-7 hours in the sun at the beach would be taxing on tender skin.
What kind of food can kids eat in the Carnival cruise
Food was not a problem at all in the cruise, just that you get bored eating after a while.
There were a wide variety of food available to the kids from pizza, pasta, fried chicken, fries etc., but for a picky eater like my son, he just survived on milk, yogurt, egg, fruits and veggies from the salad bar.
There are ice cream stations available 24/7 and that was my trump card. So when my poor eater survived then any kid can survive the cruise food.
The pool and A Water park in the cruise
There was a water park and it had 2 slides with sprinklers. I was very impressed when my kid was short by 1 inch to get on a kid slide and the crew member was pretty strict and said No. He enjoyed the sprinklers.
One thing that we felt that was not kid friendly was the pool that was 5Ft deep they didn’t have a separate pool for kids.
On the whole, Carnival made our cruise with a 4 year old more fun and adventurous with a kid friendly crew.