4 Tips for Planning a Child-friendly NYC Dinner Cruise

A New York dinner cruise is an ideal way to spend an evening if you’re looking for a chance to see the sights, enjoy some entertainment and eat good food. Most of the time cruises are attended by older teenagers and parents, but it isn’t uncommon to find a family looking for a special evening carrying their children along.

If you intend to bring along a child, the rules are slightly different, since children have certain needs that will impact their enjoyment of the experience. In this article, we highlight some of these needs and how you can plan properly to ensure your entire party has the best time at the cruise.

Menu, entertainment, length of cruise, departure time

  1. Entertainment/Activity schedule

Different cruises feature different activities, some of which may be appropriate for children. You can look for cruises that feature child-friendly entertainment options such as movie studios, age-appropriate rock-climbing and gymnastics and skating rinks where the children can have supervised fun after the meal, particularly if you’re looking for some alone time with your spouse or older party members. Be sure to carry along someone to watch much younger children if you want some time alone.

  1. Cruise departure time

If you’re planning to bring kids along, early cruises are better than late-night cruises which work into the children’s sleeping times and hence children may be crankier. You should inform the NYC dinner cruise staff about your intentions to bring children along, as certain cruises may be inappropriate. In addition, certain cruise lines have special family cruises every month or week that you can book into instead of the regular cruises.

  1. Menu

Children can be picky eaters, and being in public sometimes doesn’t solve this problem. On request, you can be provided with the full menu for your intended New York dinner cruise session so that you can make sure there’s something your child will enjoy. If you have any special requests, talk to the staff in advance and see if something can be prepared for the child off-menu. Most cruise lines will indulge you if you’ve given early notice and you ask nicely. Remember to allow the child to eat something they enjoy, not just something that’s healthy. You can allow them to fully enjoy the experience just for the night.

  1. Cruise duration

Shorter cruise durations are ideal, particularly if you have younger children with limited attention spans. Typically, an NYC dinner cruise lasting 90-120 minutes gives enough time to enjoy a meal and one or two fun activities, then you can disembark while your children are still amped and happy. Too long and you may have to drag around a tired sleeping child, which can cut into everyone else’s fun.

  1. Dress code

Finally, cruises with a casual dress code policy are the best for bringing children along. Most formal attire sessions have adult-only entertainment. In addition, you want to dress the kids comfortably enough to enjoy all activities on board without worrying about ruining their lovely outfits.