Cruises are often family affairs, with parents bringing their children along so everyone can seek out adventure in far-off places across the ocean. But just because you may bring your family doesn’t mean you have to stick together 24 hours a day for the entire cruise. Often, parents want to get away for a little fun of their own – which is why onboard childcare is an option with many major cruise lines.
Sailing with children can pose many risks that many families don’t consider. There are simple things parents should be concerned about when leaving their children with the onboard childcare – and other dangers they should know about cruise ships and children in general.
Here’s what you need to know about cruising with a child, including other dangers you should make yourself aware of for your children once you embark.
Dangers for Children on Cruise Lines
Before digging into childcare aboard cruises, it’s vital to talk about the specific dangers a child can encounter on a cruise. While cruises can be fun for people of all ages by offering games, pools, water slides, and other activities, there are risks. Some of the most common dangers include:
A cruise ship is a place with a lot of people in relatively small quarters. Illness and disease can run rampant, as evidenced by stories about COVID and norovirus spreading to hundreds on various cruises. Young children can be at a higher risk for illness since they tend to have more vulnerable immune systems.
With so many water activities, it’s no wonder that drownings at sea can and do happen. Cruise lines don’t always staff their lifeguards as they should help prevent these incidents, and crowded pools can add to the confusion that leads to drownings when children’s parents look away for just a minute.
Surroundings That Are Dangerous
While cruise ships welcome families, these vessels are not childproofed. That means there is plenty of danger for a child to find. If children, especially very young children, play without property supervision, there are plenty of ways for them to get hurt. From unguarded stairwells to unguarded pools, dangers are lurking everywhere.
Cruise ships may be confined, but they are still large spaces with countless hazards. Children who freely roam the ship can cause their parents to lose track of them – which is disastrous if an emergency occurs.
Childcare on Cruise Ships
With all the dangers on board a cruise ship, you may think that the safest place for your child is the childcare program space on the ship – but that’s not always the case. Supervised activities, babysitting, and daycare are appealing options for many families, but there are plenty of concerns shared by parents when leaving their children with strangers.
That’s why it’s vital to research before you travel and look into the childcare options available to you. Here are some basic steps you can take:
Uncover Your Options
Before you ever step foot on the cruise ship, you have to look into the childcare options that will be available once you are onboard. Offerings depend on the cruise line, but in general, many cruise ships have offerings for children of all ages and interests. Often you can find group childcare such as kid’s clubs, in-cabin babysitting, supervised activities for kids, late night care for kids, and mealtime childcare such as pizza parties.
Do Your Research
Once you have a firm grasp on your options, do more in-depth research after you arrive on the ship. Look at the cleanliness of the spaces, talk to the staff to get a feel for them, ask questions about training and certifications of the staff, find out potty training requirements, ask about meals for kids, and determine the services offered on the days at sea versus days in port.
Also, ask about the number of kids who can be in an area at once. This can help you plan if reservations are necessary but can also clue you into unsafe situations if there are too many children for the number of adults present.
If your child is injured on board a cruise ship daycare, you should discuss your options with an experienced cruise attorney. Daycare services offered on cruises are generally safe, but it’s always smart to know your options.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all personal injury cases, focusing on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in representing injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, and has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2022– an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2022, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2022.