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As a single mom, traveling with my children while they are young has always been a bit of a struggle. For single parents, cruising might be the best vacation option around, offering just enough freedom for kids and enough R&R for mom or dad, without the awkward feeling that often comes with traveling alone. And Disney stands out with its strong, structured program for single parents: The goal is to make single-parent families feel included, taking into consideration the fact that parents traveling solo want some “me” time — but not too much time, since it can be lonely to travel without another adult.
Disney has an excellent youth program. Each child is given an Oceaneer band with a GPS tracker when they board the ship. Kids must wear these bands during the entire cruise. The bands are scanned to check kids into and out of secure youth programs. Kids under the age of 8 are not allowed to check themselves out of the kids club. Kids 8-12 can check themselves in and out at their parents’ discretion. Disney Cruise Line utilizes its Navigator App for communication throughout the cruise. Parents are contacted through the app when needed. Single parents can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing their kids are safe and entertained during their alone time.
When choosing your destination, cruising with kids enables you to visit anywhere you want. With the convenience of only having to unpack once, you and your kids can explore an array of fascinating destinations and enjoy a variety of activities and experiences together. For those who just want to get away to spend time together, staying on the ship can present the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your kids. From splashing around in the pools together, to taking part in a craft lesson, or solving a mystery at the Midship Detective Agency, there is often just as much going on around the ship as there is ashore. Popular destinations for children include the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Norway, Hawaii, Alaska, and so many more! With several cruises also departing from San Diego, Galveston, New York, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, the UK, Barcelona (and the list goes on), you can leave the stress of coordinating airports and flights behind. Focus more on the itinerary that works for your family vs. the ship that you are sailing on. All Disney Cruise ships are amazing in their own ways, therefore, the exact ship that you are on is second to the itinerary you are taking.
When traveling with kids, I feel that Castaway Cay is not to be missed. You do not need a port excursion to have an amazing day, even though there are many excursions to choose from. Castaway has so many things to do, like the Pelican Plunge, meeting the characters in their beach attire, water playgrounds, Scuttles Cove, and more. We chose to rent snorkel gear and tubes for floating. While you are snorkeling, there are statues, buried treasure, and so many beautiful fish to see.
On our last cruise, we were celebrating three birthdays, so we did a couple of special things. I ordered birthday room decorations for the cabin from Disney Cruise Line. When we walked in for the first time, they were beyond shocked! This was such a fun way to kick off our vacation at sea. On my son’s 7th birthday, I took him and his 5 year old sister to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to get birthday makeovers. My daughter did the Deluxe Carriage Package, which includes hairstyling, nail polish, makeup, a t-shirt, and a super cute Minnie Backpack with ears and a tiara. My birthday boy picked the Captain Mickey package, which is brand new and exclusive to Disney Cruise. His included hairstyling, Captain cinch sack, autograph book and pen, and the Captain Mickey costume and hat. They both loved their Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experiences, and my son wore his Captain Mickey costume for the duration of the trip. On our last night, we visited Vanllope’s Sweets and Treats and got everyone a cupcake to wrap up our birthday celebrations.
Disney Cruises will host two special nights, Pirate Night and Formal Night. I personally like to dress in our best for formal night, but we didn’t go overboard. We loved going all out on Pirate Night. Disney Cruises Pirate Night is a themed evening when you will be able to let your inner pirate out by dressing up in pirate attire, feasting on Caribbean food, and taking part in a Pirate dance party! While it might be called Pirate Night, the pirate fun is an all day event! You will find Pirate Crafts, Pirate Trivia, and other Pirate inspired events during the day. They will prepare you by leaving Pirate handkerchiefs in your cabin the day of and your meal will be Pirate themed, with everyone singing and dancing! You won’t want to miss the chance to see all your favorite Disney characters dressed as pirates performing pirate dances and doing a short performance. The night ends with fireworks over the ocean (Disney Cruise Line is the only cruise offering fireworks at sea!), a pirate buffet dinner, and a dance party!
It can be tempting to jam as many activities into each day as possible, but for a single parent cruising with kids, that would be a huge mistake. Leave plenty of time in between activities for coordinated bathroom breaks, snacks, and naps instead of trying to drag cranky kids (or yourself) to yet another scheduled activity. Remember that the ship itself is your destination. Give yourself plenty of time to see and explore all that it has to offer!
Cruising as a single parent can be a great way to take a vacation. You’ll have the opportunity to relax and enjoy time with your kids without worrying about all the details of traveling. Plus, you’ll get to explore new places and make fun family memories together. As a single mom, a Disney Cruise Vacation has been the only vacation that when it’s over, I truly feel relaxed, everyone is happy, and we will all talk about our favorite moments until the next one! So what are you waiting for? Start browsing Disney cruises today, and get ready to set sail!
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