This is Part 2 of our cruise on Symphony of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. You can find Part 1- all about Symphony of the Seas here. This post is about cruising with toddlers!
A lot of you messaged me and said I was brave for taking our kids with us. You’re right, I probably was but I’m so glad we took our kiddos. Honestly, it wasn’t as relaxing of a trip as it would be with just my husband and myself but we still did get to relax and we had a great time PLUS my kids had a great time!
Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines are used to children and babies so they have staterooms that accommodate this whether that be a pull-out bed or bunk beds or cribs. Camden and Ella are still sleeping in cribs so we requested two cribs in our room. They placed two very clean with fresh linens in our room. It was just what we needed.
They also have staterooms such as the Ultimate Family Suite that is perfect for families!
DINING AND FOOD
Royal Caribbean has a TON of options for kids. From fruit and veggies to mac and cheese to yogurt, they have everything you can possibly imagine or need. We had no problem finding plenty of delicious and healthy foods for Camden and Ella. They even have a candy and ice-cream store which is so fun to go to!
- My Family Time Dining – this program aims for children to complete dinner within 45 minutes, freeing parents to enjoy coffee and dessert at their leisure. Once seated, kids will enjoy expedited service and be immediately served. After eating, the kids will be met by an Adventure Ocean counselor to be escorted back to the Adventure Ocean spaces for ongoing evening activities, while parents can continue to enjoy their dinner.
- Adventure Ocean Dining – allows young guests to eat dinner on several nights in the most popular dining areas with their favorite youth staff and new friends
- Fountain Soda Package – allows children to enjoy as many soft drinks as they like for a fixed price for the duration of the cruise.
WHAT TO BRING FOR TODDLERS
Here are a few things I recommend bringing to make the trip easier:
- A Stroller that is easy to fold (we kept ours right by the door in the room).
- Hand wipes to clean the kids before and after meals
- Sticker placemats for when you eat at a place that doesn’t have linen tablecloths. My kids throw plates right now so placemats are a must.
- Tablets,whenever Judd and I wanted to do a fun activity, we could put the kids in the stroller and give them their tablets and they’d be entertained while we did something for a short time. This was also nice at dinner while we were waiting for food.
WHAT YOU DON’T NEED TO BRING
- Diapers and wipes– Royal Caribbean has a new program calledBabies 2 Go which is a partnership with Huggies and will provide whatever you need. You just order this prior to the cruise online and everything will be your stateroom.
- Baby food– You can also order organic baby food in the Babies 2 Go program prior to departure.
- Milk– they have Whole Milk in all the restaurants and dining areas on the ship.
- Highchairs– they have highchairs in every dining area.
- Toys– Royal Caribbean has a Toy Lending Program, comprising a collection of developmental toys specifically created for infants and toddlers, ages 6 – 36 months. Parents can borrow and exchange toys for a new activity every day to help growing minds learn through play.
CHILDCARE PROGRAM- ADVENTURE OCEAN
I’m probably going to share too much information about this program but it’s such an important one because you can use this for entertainment for your child or children and it’s also great if you need some adult time. We had a great experience with Adventure Ocean on Symphony of the Seas. Note: I have never left my children at anything like this before, I’ve only left them with a few family members. I am a helicopter mom and I felt 100% comfortable leaving my children there. They asked a lot of questions about the kids and they even provided a phone in case they needed to reach us or we wanted to check in (I did this twice).
This complimentary (for 3 and up), year-round Adventure Ocean program is recognized as one of the industry’s leading youth programs. For children under 3 years of age there is an hourly nursery rate of $6 per hour per child from 9 am – 6 pm and $8 per hour per child from 6 pm – midnight.
All children’s activities are supervised by male or female youth staff that must have a four-year University degree or international equivalent in Education, Recreation or a related field. All staff also has at least three to five years qualified experience in working with children ages six months to 17 years.
Programs are offered by age group (I also included some sample activities they offer):
- Royal Babies & Tots 6 months – 36 months: It offers parents a childcare drop-off options in the daytime and evening with a carefully maintained and optimum staff to child ratio (one staff to three children). Free-time play also will be offered daily, creating an interactive environment where parents and children can bond while playing with a variety of developmental toys in specially-designed programs. The Royal Tot Art program features unique developmentally-appropriate art activities designed for parents and children to enjoy precious creative moments together.
- Aquanauts 3-5 years: Finger Painting * Camp Aquanaut * Building Blocks * Music Activities * Space Night * Games – animal, color and shape BING
- Explorers 6-8 years: Pirate Night * Nutty Nicknames * Pajama Night * Carnival games * Talent Show
- Voyagers 9-11 years: Karaoke * Sports Tournaments * GaGa Ball * List-o-Rama * Boys vs Girls * Scavenger Hunts * Crazy Tag
- Teens 12-14 years: Sports Tournaments * Pool Parties * Scavenger Hunts *Karaoke * Themed Dance Parties * Video Games * Nintendo© Wii *
- Teens 15-17 years: Pool Parties * DJ Training * Battle of the Sexes * Karaoke * Casino Night * Themed Dance Parties * Nintendo© Wii-Guitar Hero * Movies
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES OFFERED:
- Adventure Science- makes learning fun through a blend of hands-on science experiments and wacky entertainment
- Adventure Art- offers children the opportunity to exercise their creativity with crafts such as cultural masks and pottery, while learning about the art, history and culture of the regions they visit on vacation.
- Adventure Theater- blends educational activities with on-your-feet fun. Adventure Theater participants get a first taste of the actor’s craft, in which entire worlds are created with just their bodies, voices and imaginations.
- Sail into Story Time- sparks imaginations and entertains young vacationers with a story hour followed by creative, hands-on activities and projects.
- Group Sitting and In-Stateroom Baby-Sitting Services
- Late Night Party Zone – Group sitting is available for ages 3 – 11 from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am in the Adventure Ocean center. The cost for this service is $7/hour per child. Children attending must be at least 3 years old and fully toilet trained – no diapers or pull-ups allowed.
- Sitters at Sea program is available through the Guest Relations Desk and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance and is based on availability of sitters. A Royal Caribbean staff-member will arrive equipped with age appropriate toys and games, to engage and entertain the young cruisers until their parents return. Children must be at least one year old. Upon their return, parents will be presented a log of the child’s activities with the babysitter, including books read, games enjoyed, food consumed, and when the child was put to bed. The charge is $19 per hour for up to four children within the same family.
- Movies for children – shown on stateroom televisions
- Adventure Family Library – available in the ships library, this area offers classic and popular family friendly books.
- Royal Bedtime Stories –Children are encouraged to dress in their pajamas, while an Adventure Ocean counselor reads from one among a variety of popular storybooks
- Shows- I talked about in my last post about all the shows we attended, all the ones we attended were kid friendly and very entertaining
- Activities- Check the daily schedule because there are always fun family events going on.
- Additional recreation– mini golf, slides, arcades, zip-line
- Swimming-There are several pools for children and splash areas to check out.Symphony of the Seas had two specific children splash areas called Splashaway Bay.
Honestly, between Adventures Ocean and all the other entertainment on board, children and adults will never get bored.
COST FOR TODDLERS
Like most of the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean charges all of its guests the same regardless of age.
However,they have a program called Royal Caribbean’s Kids Sail Free. They offer this a couple of times a year so keep an eye out. Third guests and higher who are 12 years old or younger on select 4 nights or longer sailings are eligible for free cruise fare.