1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. Family Cruises
  4. 8 Cruise Safety Rules for Children

8 Cruise Safety Rules for Children

Young girls staring at the deep blue sea from a cruise ship railing
Little girls on a cruise (Photo: MNStudio/Shutterstock.com)

Find a Cruise

Today's mega-ships have been likened to floating cities, and like any city, bad things happen from time to time. We don't mean to scare you. Many people never have a problem, but we've all read the news reports about theft, fights and sexual assaults that occur onboard -- not to mention bad behavior that has led to falls and physical injury.

Most adult travelers know that by staying alert and using common sense, it's pretty easy to have a good time without incident. But traveling with the kids -- especially teens -- can be a whole different story. Raising kids to use good judgment is the first step in keeping them safe onboard, but throwing in a few rules they have to follow only keeps them safer.

Cruise Critic reached out to our members to come up with a few rules parents might want to consider implementing on their next family sailing.a Cruise

Updated October 10, 2019

1. Never go into someone else's cabin or invite someone into yours.

Two teenage girls on Harmony of the Seas' Ultimate Abyss

Impress on children that even if a buddy needs to grab something from his room, they should wait for him in a public place. It might seem harsh, but even if they trust the friend, they can't be certain who is waiting behind that heavy cabin door. Corollary rule: If a child is alone in the cabin, he should not let in a crew member if the visit is unexpected or if the child feels uncomfortable. Room service can always be left at the door.

2. Never accept a drink from someone else or leave yours unattended.

It's sage advice for cruise travelers of any age, really -- and it doesn't matter if you're drinking juice, soda or booze. If a kid is skeptical about this one, one Cruise Critic reader suggests slipping Tabasco in your teen's drink when their back is turned to prove how quickly a drink can be doctored.

3. Check in on a regular basis.

It's up to parents to determine how often their kids check in and whether they must do it in person, or via walkie talkies, cabin-door white boards or designated notepads. Check to see if your cruise line offers a cell phone app that enables phone-to-phone messaging onboard the ship.

This one goes both ways -- kids need to know their parents' plans and where they can find them, just as parents need to know where they'll be. If those plans change, it's both parties' responsibilities to alert the other.

4. You must be in the cabin by your curfew.

Little boy wearing shorts and striped shirt standing on deck of a ship at night

There's not much reason for kids to be roaming the ship in the middle of the night. That doesn't mean parents can't let their kids stay out later than usual when on vacation -- parties in the kids' clubs often go until 1 a.m. But let your teen know he or she has to be back in the room once the party is over.

5. No horseplay.

We all know how groups of kids or teens can egg each other on to do crazy stunts. On an 18-deck ship with open balconies a hundred feet above the sea and multi-story atriums, and pools unattended by lifeguards, daredevils can find themselves in danger. Impress on your kids that horseplay is not allowed. No climbing on railings (or furniture near railings) or from one balcony to the next, no leaning out windows or over the edge of the ship, no diving into pools and no racing across slippery pool decks or down steep flights of stairs. Parents and grandparents can help by modeling good behavior.

6. Adult areas are off limits without parental supervision.

That means bars, discos and especially crew-only areas. If the teen lounge isn't happening enough, there are plenty of other public, high-visibility areas for fun.

7. Use the buddy system.

Underwater portrait of two friends having fun in a swimming pool

While there isn't always safety in numbers, it's better than being alone. Have siblings/friends from your travel group stick together, or if kids are hanging out with new friends, parents might want to make a point to meet them (and their parents).

8. Stay sober.

While some cruise lines allow kids 18 or older to drink, no line OKs the hard stuff for kids and high school-age teens. Cruise Critic does not promote underage drinking and would like to remind our readers it is illegal.

Alcohol consumption by minors frequently leads to a whole host of problems. But if parents plan to turn a blind eye to underage drinking onboard (or think their kids might break the rules and acquire booze on the sly), they should at least make sure their teens know not to overdo it and to have a sober friend watching out for them.

Corollary rule: One parent should be sober at all times as well. The last thing kids need is two parents unable to make smart decisions or assist them if they're in trouble.

This list is fairly strict, and we can see parents thinking: How in the world will I get my independent kids to mind these rules? The answer is simple. If they break even one rule, they will suffer the most horrible punishment imaginable: the next 24 hours spent entirely by their parents' sides.


For more on cruise ship safety:

Are Cruise Ships Safe?

Tips for Staying Safe on a Cruise Ship

What to Expect on a Cruise: Cruise Ship Safety

Cruise Ship Pool Safety Tips

Find a Cruise

Popular on Cruise Critic

7 Ways to Outsmart Deck Chair Hogs
In the wee hours of the morning, under the cover of darkness, they creep. Their flip-flops smack across the pool decks of cruise ships everywhere as they shuffle like a horde of zombies armed with towels, sunscreen and books. If it sounds like a scene from a horror movie, you're on the right track. We're talking about deck chair hogs -- those inconsiderate fellow passengers who rise before the sun to stake out prime poolside real estate, mark it with personal belongings and then abandon it, rendering it useless to others. If you've had enough, we urge you to stand up to these selfish sunbathers and claim the deck chair that's rightfully yours. Join the peaceful revolution by employing the following seven tips for outsmarting deck chair hogs.
How to Find the Best Cruise Bargains in 2019
It's the end of a decade, 2019, and a lot has changed in the world of cruising -- race cars, haute cuisine, digital everything -- but some tips on how to save on your next sailing stay tried and true. To uncover the best ways to land a cruise bargain this year, we spoke to travel agent experts and consulted industry surveys. What we found is that cruising shows no signs of slowing down, but getting on the right ship to the right destination might mean taking quick action. We've narrowed down the who, what, where and when of finding the best cruise deals in 2019 so you can spend less money and more time enjoying the seas.
What Not to Forget On a Cruise: 10 Things to Remember to Pack
We all know that sinking feeling when you realize you've left something important behind, whether it's your phone in the car or your wallet at the restaurant you just left. That feeling is much worse when you're on a cruise and discover that you've forgotten something at home. While not every "oops" will upend your cruise, some will, while others can prove to be enough of headache to put a dent in an otherwise great vacation. From A to Z, we list a few critical things not to forget the next time you cruise.

Find a Cruise