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Cruising for Beginners

Disney Cruise, Cruiseline, Carnival Cruise, Royal Caribbean cruise, Princess cruise, Norwegian Cruise

Cruise lines I work with

  • Disney
  • Norwegian
  • Princess
  • Celebrity
  • Amazara
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Norwegian
  • Cunard

Why cruising is SO family friendly

Traditional family vacations don't allow for any adult only time - cruising is the ultimate family vacation because of the CHILDCARE (oh and because of the shows, ambiance, ports of call and amazing food of course)

I'm a mom who doesn't leave her kids with anyone I don't know well, so I was afraid that I wouldn't want to leave my kids in the Oceaneers club on our Disney cruise. I'm so glad to tell you that the environment, security checks and security measures at the Oceaneers club left me with NO worry about leaving our kids in their very capable hands. 

My husband and I took a mini second honeymoon when we left our kids on the ship and explored Jamaica by ourselves. It was AMAZING. Once back onboard we relaxed in the adult only area, took a nap and then picked the kids up for dinner. The kids were so in love with the Oceaneers club that we felt no guilt enjoying some much needed husband-wife time.

We also were able to spend ever coveted one-on-one time with each of our kids enjoying the many activities onboard. I can't say enough about how this was the most amazing family vacation we've ever been on. 

I was nervous because I get VERY motion sick. I got a prescription for the patch and tested the patch for 3 days before I booked our cruise. Other than making me very thirsty I felt fine. Once onboard I didn't feel motion sick during our entire 7 days. 

Determining the Best Cruise line For Your Family

Disney cruises (although the best IMO) aren't the only amazing options for families. Each of the other cruise lines have their own version of well thought out, safety-minded fun childcare. 

We will discuss where you want to go, your budget and what kind of experience your family is interested in and begin the vetting process. We'll also look at current deals and promos to find the best value for your family.

Cruise Terminology

Cruising has it's own vocabulary - so here I'll get you started with some basics.

Ship Lingo

  • Decks (the land lubbers floors)
  • Port - left side when facing the front of the ship.
  • Starboard - right side when facing the front of the ship.
  • Forward (bow)- front of the ship.
  • Midship- middle (and most desired) of the ship. There is less motion felt mid-ship.
  • Aft (stern) - back of the ship.

Stateroom Types

  • Inside (no windows, some offer digital windows)
  • Courtyard Balcony - a balcony overlooking the central park on Royal Caribbean ships - ocean is not visible
  • Oceanview - a port hole or seated window with a view to the ocean. Port holes vary widely in size from ship to ship.
  • Balcony/Verandah - exit onto a balcony with chairs and a private view of the ocean.
  • Suites/Havens/Lofts/Oh My - these are the more expensive options and typically include an expansive balcony, full length windows in the main area, bedrooms and or bathrooms. 


  • Each ship has it's own category that includes location and stateroom type on the ship. It's important to compare apples to apples when looking at pricing. A balcony can have numerous categories which determines if it's obstructed view, mid ship, forward, aft, and which deck it's on. 
  • Staterooms that are midship, and on higher decks have a higher category and thus price. 
  • Guarantees - these stateroom types are often offered at a significant discount, however it means that you're guaranteed a stateroom type, but not a location when you book. The cruise line will tell you where the stateroom will be. Often rooms that are a guarantee may have additional restrictions or not qualify for certain promotions. 

Other Vocabulary and Costs

  • Port of Embarkation - the port you begin your cruise in.
  • Port of Debarkation - the port you end your cruise in. Many cruises are one-way, so be aware of that when looking at sail dates. 
  • Non-Refundable Deposits - Some cruise lines offer a lower stateroom price when you book a non-refundable deposit. This means you are unable to get 100% of your money back as soon as you book if you should need to cancel, they often will offer you a future cruise credit as an option if cancellation is necessary. 
  • Ground Transfers - transportation from the airport or resort you're staying at to the port and back.
  • Gratuities - Each cruise line charges a per person per night additional fee for gratuities that are not included in the fares they quote. Typically they range from $13 - $18 per person per night. 
  • Travel Protection - I always get travel protection on a cruise because it covers you if someone gets sick on the ship, in a port and if you need to be airlifted from the ship. Costs you don't want to imagine without the coverage. Prices vary between cruise lines and are often determined by the total cost of your vacation. 
  • Pre-Night Stay - I highly recommend booking a hotel near the port to stay at the night before your cruise. Many of them offer a cruise and stay option to cover the parking for your car during your cruise.
  • Post-Night Stay - some people may want to spend a night in the city they disembark in, allowing them to get their "land legs" back before they travel home.
  • Terminal/Port Parking - You can park at the cruise terminal

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