My son Asher is 6 years old this year and has been on at least 8 cruise trips, 7 with Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. Just this year, he been on board the ship 3 times – earlier in Feb for Cosfest SEA where he got to meet many colourful cosplay characters from around the world; in Sep when we went on a 6D5N cruise with my parents to explore Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket; and just recently in Oct during a Alvinology 4D3N cruise with fans. He is a seasoned cruiser and he even recorded several video clips from his last trip which the team at Royal Caribbean Cruises edited into a fun video titled “Young Royals: Cruising through the eyes of a child”.

So what are the things which Asher enjoy on the cruise that keeping drawing him back? Here’s a quick list of some of the kid-friendly things you can experience on board Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas or any other of their cruise ships.

Asher, 2, on his first cruise with Royal Caribbean back in 2013

Asher, 2, on his first cruise with Royal Caribbean back in 2013


Free Childcare 

Do you know free childcare is available on board the ship for parents with young kids?

The Royal Babies & Royal Tots are catered for kids aged 6 to 18 months and 18 to 36 months respectively. Both programmes are hosted by trained childcare professionals. These two programmes are free if the kids’ parents are there to accompany them and play with their kids with the toys available in the space. However, there is an hourly rate for parents who want to leave their toddler in the care of the trained crew in the Nursery.

For older kids, there is the free Adventure Ocean program, split into Aquanauts for 3 to 5 years old, Explorers for 6 to 8 years old and Voyagers for 9 to 11 years old. There are various games and activities planned everyday for the kids enrolled in the program.

Drop off starts from morning till late. There is no additional charges, but take note of late pick up fees which are charged by the minute. Asher loves to check himself in for the Aquanauts and Explorers and would even remind me to bring him there at least once a day. He gets to make friends with other kids on the cruise and learn new things from the friendly staff.


Swimming and jacuzzi 

All kids like to have a little splashing fun. Asher loves to swim in the deck pools on deck 11 which are filled with sea water, after which he will go for a dip in one of the 4 jacuzzi tubs on the same level.

If you are feeling hungry after a swim, there are free hotdogs and ice cream cones available at two separate cafes on the same deck. Asher like to have a hotdog with an chocolate ice cream cone after we are done swimming.


Shows and entertainment

There are kid friendly shows at the Savor Theatre every night, ranging from song and dance performances to comedy and magic shows. There is also an ice skating show at Studio B which is very popular. Make sure you go early for the latter to get a good seat.


Food and lots of food

For those who like buffet, the Windjammer on deck 11 offers an international selection which will satisfy diverse tastebuds. For those who prefer ala carte fine dining, head down to My Time Dining from deck 3 to 5.

If you are willing to top up a little extra for more premium dining experiences, there are specialty restaurants available like Giovanni’s Table for fine Italian and Johnny Rocket for a retro-themed American cafe. The latter serve an assortment of comfort food like burgers, fries and milkshakes that are always popular with kids.


Shore excursions

When traveling with young kids, it’s a hassle to plan for shore excursions on your own. Why not just sign up for one of the many shore excursions catered by Royal Caribbean? Here’s a cruise hack – book your shore excursion before sailing to enjoy a discount.

During our last two cruise trips, Asher and I went on shore excursions in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket. The trips were hassle-free and Asher had a great time. We don’t have to worry about finding our way to the attractions or making sure we get back to the ship on time as everything is planned and organised.


Dreamwork Experience

Characters from Dreamwork movies will make appearances at various spots and occasions throughout the cruise trip for meet-and-greet as well as to just join in the fun during activities. Check your daily Cruise Compass (a program sheet that is delivered daily to your room) to find out where to spot them, including during breakfast.


Stay in the room and chill

There is cable television available in the room television, featuring kid-friendly channels like Disney and Cartoon Network. You can also order food via room service at no extra fee.

If you booked one of their balcony rooms, you can also sit back and enjoy the sea breeze together with your child!