Family travel: Cruising with kids

Work and play delightfully collide as Tracy packs her family up for their first-ever cruise.

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.

When I got the email from our deputy editor Leah Rumack late last Sunday night, I thought I might have been in some end-of-weekend delusional state. There was something about Royal Caribbean, Barbie, seven days and “Do you and your little princesses want to go?”
Ummm… OK! When life (or work, in this case) presents an opportunity like this, only a fool would say no. So I’ve spent the last week madly trying to get a handle on work, rush Avery’s passport application (a task that’s been hovering at the bottom of my universal to-do list for four years), booking flights and figuring out who has bathing suits that fit. Because on Sunday we’re flying to Florida, where we’ll hop on a massive cruise ship for a week-long adventure that, hopefully, won’t leave us stranded in the ocean with two working toilets. How to prepare for that possibility is quite beyond my capabilities, so instead I’ll focus on the daunting task of figuring out where I stowed the sun hats and sunblock.
Royal Caribbean is launching a “Barbie experience” for its young passengers, which includes tea parties, design workshops, fashion shows and other fun stuff, so we’ll be taking part in that and I’ll tell you all about it — along with updates on our non-Barbie experiences on board the largest cruise ship in the world. (It has an ice rink! I wonder if my girls can get a game of shinny going?). We will be making stops at three sunny ports of call along the way.
While we’re all very excited, I’m a little nervous, too. We’ve never been on a cruise before — and this will be Avery’s first time on a plane — so I’m hoping there are no motion sickness issues. (Coincidentally, I’ve just finished a story on this topic for our April travel issue, so I feel as prepared as possible!) Everyone tells me the boat is so huge that you don’t even have that feeling of travelling on water.
There is so much to do on the ship itself, plus the opportunity to visit three different countries, that I’m pumped to share this amazing experience with my family — and with you. Hopefully there are no technical issues, and I can post lots of updates while we’re away.
If you have any cruising- or flying-with-kids tips to share, bring ‘em on!

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