First Family Cruise – As a parent, you are always looking for experiences that your family can love. You want your children entertained and to walk away with life long memories and experiences. Traveling to different destinations can be enlightening, but it is also a lot of planning. As parents, we want to relax and have fun too! That is why we tried our first family cruise. Discover everything we learned, the mistakes we made and what cruise line we ended up going on for an all inclusive family cruise experience.

Choosing The Cruise

When we say we did not know anything about cruising, we did not know anything at all! We have a lot of travel experience but when it comes to sailing the seas, we were stumped. There are so many cruise lines to choose from. Each brand of cruises and each type of ship has a different atmosphere, offering a plethora of onboard experiences. Additionally, you have to decide what ports are best for your family! Narrowing the type of cruise line takes time and can be discouraging for families. We can make this easier for you with our experiences.

We have one child and one toddler, so their needs are very different. It was important to us to find a ship that can be fun for kids but still be toddler friendly. Was it too much to ask that there were things for us parents to do on the ship as well? No it was not! Also, we have heard about people getting sea sick, so we wanted a shorter cruise to start. We affectionately called it a starter cruise, so if there was a problem with seasickness, we were not on the water for a long time.

We had to Decide:

-Cruise Line

-Cruise Line Ship

-Where On The Ship We Wanted Our Room To Be

-All Inclusive Breakdown

-Where we wanted to go

-What was aboard on the ship to do.’

Mariner of The Seas

Choosing The Cruise Line For Your First Family Cruise

Every cruise line offered will give you a once in a life time experience. You cannot go wrong with what cruise you choose. It was important for us to have a shorter cruise (3-4 days) and to be on a relaxed cruising experience. We also wanted the ship to be all inclusive and have a lot of onboard things to do.

After a lot of cruise lines we investigated, we settled on Royal Caribbean. It was elegant, had a lot of options for people of all ages. RC prides itself on having something for everyone. This means that the entire family can enjoy themselves. We saw a lot of multiple generation families celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and just because trips. We also chose their Cape Canaveral, Coco Cay, Nassau and a day at sea.

How We Chose The Cruise Line Ship

We wanted the best first time cruise for a family. Royal Caribbean had a ship with all of these ports of call. This route is done by the Mariner of The Seas. The Mariner ended up being our first cruise ship and it did not disappoint.

The Mariner of the Seas is a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International, one of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise lines.It was created in 2002 and had its maiden voyage in 2003. From a rock climbing wall to surfing, to two amazing water slides, this is the perfect maiden voyage ship. It is big but has an comforting feeling that you are at home on this floating all inclusive resort.

Which Room To Choose

There are so many different room options and places on the ship that you can choose from. For us, we wanted to see the water! After careful consideration, we opted for a balcony room in the middle of the ship on Deck 9. We were ready to catch some great sunsets from our room! We had head that being in the middle of the ship helps with sea sickness, despite the ship having stabilizers. Some of us can’t help our sensitive stomachs!

We chose to play it safe and pre-book where our room will be. This has an additional cost. However, you know where you are going to be on the ship.

All Inclusive Break-Down

We wanted to know what would be included on the Mariner of the Seas and what would not be. This helps us calculate the total cost and also what we don’t have to worry about. It is no secret that people on cruises want as stressless of an atmosphere as possible. This includes having all inclusive places to eat. With the Mariner of The Seas, there were four all inclusive restaurants and room service. From the Windjammer buffet to the fine dining of the main dining hall, there is always something for everyone in the family.

Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are extra. You can sign up for many different types of all-inclusive packages that are an extra cost on top of your cruise bill. There are many packages designed for different drinking needs.

Where To Sail To

One of the most popular destinations is to the Bahamas. We had a cruise that took us from Port Canaveral to the private island of Coco Cay, Nassau, a day at sea and back to Port Canaveral. This is a perfect short trip jam-packed with a lot of fun! Hot sun, beaches and a lot o fun and relaxation.

What To Do On The Ship

The Mariner of the Seas spares no expense to make sure that you are having a great time. It has an array of activities to satisfy families! Let’s dive into a few of them.

Waterslides

Firstly, two amazing waterslides are included in your all inclusive package. They both had glass bottoms and one even hung off of the ship! Safe yet full of fun, adults and children alike loved cooling off to the fun and exciting waterslides. Next to the slides was a surfing section where newbies and experts alike can surf while their ship takes them to their next destination! This was a lot of fun! If relaxing near the pool is your thing, there are a lot of lounge chairs to relax and enjoy.

Water Sports/Pools/ Surfing

Swimming is a great option too! Grab a free hotdog or an icecream to enjoy your stay at the top of the ship! When not enjoying water sports, take your family for a set of mini golf!

Sports

For the adventure seekers, try your best at rock climbing. For the sporty side of things, try a volleyball or basketball game.

On top of the ship is music, competitions, fun and a lot of games to be played.

Shopping

Go down to Deck 5 for shopping, and eating at some fun events. Grab a bite to eat at both all-inclusive restaurants or book a signature restaurant for an extra cost. There is something for everyone to eat and buy at the shops. There is always an event or something to see on Deck 5.

Where We Wanted To Go

Choosing a destination can be difficult. You want to go somewhere that is relaxing but can provide your entire family with memories. Your children may want to have beaches, fun and activities whereas you may want beaches, relaxation or excursions.

Since we wanted a shorter trip (we did not know how we would feel seasickness wise being on a ship for so long) we chose the Mariner of The Seas’ destination to the Bahamas. There were two ports. The first was to the private island of Coco Cay. Beaches, restaurants (many that are included with your all-inclusive pass) a water park, hot air balloon rides, ziplines. Thees and more for an extra cost. There is something for everyone!

Bahamas

Coco Cay was a great introduction to the Bahamas, particularly their white sandy beaches. To be in a paradise in the middle of the ocean is quite an experience and everyone felt great being on the island. Even though we had one of their rare windy and rainy days, we could not help being outside and enjoying the safe island.

The second stop was Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. You are right in the center of the city. From shopping to excursions to beaches, there is a lot to do. History buffs will love the Queen Victoria staircase. Others will enjoy visiting the famous Atlantis Hotel for a day pass to their exclusive water park (it is wise to buy these tickets ahead of your trip!) Lastly, there are both free and private beaches to be enjoyed. You can eat on the ship or go to Nassau’s many restaurants.

If staying on the ship is more your speed, you will not be without. Restaurants are still running when you are at a port and there is always something to do at the Mariner of the Seas. If you are finished seeing Nassau, get back on the ship and try your hand at learning to surf or the two exciting waterslides. Be sure to check times of operation to have some water fun!

App

To make it all happen and run smoothly, we relied on the Royal Caribbean App to help us on our first time. Here is where you can have access to everything that will happening on the ship on your stay. From booking your drink packages (there are alcohol and non-alcohol packages) to your restaurant reservations, there is always something to look at and explore.

If you book your cruise early enough, you can see that the deals of packages change every so often. You can always find the best deal for your family.

In addition to the app, the call line is very helpful and friendly. All of your questions, no matter how specific are answered by a Royal Caribbean representative. They have some great tips advice that you and your family can use.

Our First Family Cruise

When booking your first family cruise, there is so much to consider. From cruise lines, to destinations, there is way too much information. After sifting through our needs and wants, Royal Caribbean Mariner of The Seas is by far the winner. If you are looking for a cruise that can easily accomodate any age range and make everyone feel like they are truly important, we recommend the Mariner of The Seas. It will be a relaxing, fun and entertaining trip of a lifetime. We hope to go on more cruising adventures and document our experiences.

*The Baby Spot was not paid or endorsed by Royal Caribbean, this is just our personal experience and opinion that we would like share with our readers. Check out our other travel adventures.