Cruise Tip Tuesday: Keeping the Kids Entertained at Dinner

Toddler Eating on Cruise

My toddler eating dinner on the Norwegian Spirit

Cruise dinners in the formal dining rooms can take a long time.  Most are well over 1 hour from seating to the end of dessert.  Kids will need something to do to keep them busy and on their best behavior. Below is a list of some things you might consider bringing into the dining rooms or doing while waiting for dinner to keep the kids entertained:

  • Handheld video game systems such as Nintendo DSi or Leapster 2 (volume low or with headphones)
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Activity books – Preschool workbooks, word searches, sudoku (older kids), etc
  • Portable DVD player – the smaller the player the better and headphones are a must
  • Ipod or other mp3 player – listen to music or watch movie clips (with headphones)
  • Search and Find books – such as Where’s Waldo and I Spy
  • Paper and pencil to do tic-tac-toe and other games
  • Quiet Baby toys – any toys that are compact and not too noisy that your baby loves
  • Books – From infant to school age – bring books to read to them or have them read on their own
  • Activities on the children’s menu – If you forget to bring something, the cruise line usually has a menu and some crayons available for the children, but the activities on the menu will probably be the same the entire week and could get boring.
  • Play I Spy
  • Talk with your kids – Ask them what they did in the children’s program that day and talk about your plans for the evening and next day

Some waiters are great and very attentive to the children- especially those with children of their own.  Often they would take my kids’ drink and dinner orders before they took the adults’ orders.  Others were not so great, and the children received their dinner plates sometime after the 1st course was served to the adults.

Kids Sleeping At Dinner

My two younger kids sleeping during dinner on the MSC Poesia

Our younger children were often so tired from the busy day that they fell asleep at dinner.  It can make a peaceful and relaxing time for the parents, but then they will need to be fed at the buffet (or other quick service restaurant) after your formal dinner.  We have had to do this several times!

Finally, do not forget to bring a cup with a lid or bottle to meals for your preschoolers and younger so that they do not spill their dinner milk or juice.

Note: First picture above shows a high chair on the Norwegian Spirit.

Note: All links in post above are affiliate links and show examples of products you might consider to keep your children entertained.

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