Cruising with a two-year-old - not such a good idea?

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Big Kids, Places To Go, Development/Milestones: Babies

amey's girls needed some sun and funOur correspondent, Amey Stone, is the mother of two young girls and, as AOL Senior Financial Editor, writes the blog "Money Maven." I asked her to tell us about a cruise to the Bahamas with her daughters.

When I first pondered the idea of going on a cruise for Spring Break – an idea my six-year-old daughter Lucy lobbied heavily for before my husband and I signed on – part of the appeal was that we would be able to get someplace warm without having to put our two-year-old (and ourselves) through a long flight.

Now that we’re back from our voyage from New York to the Bahamas and back, I don't necessarily recommend cruising for a family with a toddler in tow (see my other cruising surprises). We had a lot of fun, but it wasn’t the most relaxing vacation we’ve ever taken.

Here are a few of problems –too many meals out, not enough space to run around, shore excursions that can be arduous or too expensive, lots of folks who never dreamed there would be so many fussy toddlers joining them on their dream vacation, ocean swells making decks treacherous, motion sickness.

The main problem really was that my two-year-old likes to spend a lot of time hanging out at home, playing with her toys, watching her videos, hearing stories. She was happy in the cabin (and I think both kids loved having all four of us living together in that tiny space). But on a cruise you just don’t want to spend a lot of time hanging out in your room – unless you’re two.

Finally, before you sign up for a cruise, ponder this one word: Buffets. Navigating a buffet with a toddler in tow is all but impossible. That meant my husband and I spending entire meals alternating between fetching food and remaining at the table. We often ended up bringing food back to our cabin or trying our luck with the formal dining rooms.

All that being said, I know Francie had fun on the trip – she was just more of a handful than I expected. As for Lucy, our six-year-old, the vacation was all she dreamed of and more.

Cruising with a six-year-old, now that’s heaven.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.