Get on board! Taking a cruise with kids

It's the perfect family holiday

Content Editor / May 01 2019

My kids are pretty well travelled. We’ve done everything from camping to posh hotels, road trips to overseas jaunts. But one thing we’d never tried was taking a trip on a cruise ship, so when the opportunity came up to experience one of Carnival Legend’s three-day ‘taster’ cruises from Melbourne to Sydney, we jumped at the chance.

My husband couldn’t make the trip, so it was just me and the kids. As it turns out, there were many other women flying solo with kiddos in tow so I was in good company. The majority of passengers were either there with young children, or older couples travelling together. Our check-in went quickly and smoothly and we are all super excited to board.

First impressions
Once we stepped onboard, we grabbed some snacks from the buffet, then explored the ship while we waited to check into our cabin. The kids were so excited by the prospect of hanging out at the pool, playing in the kids-only Splash Zone area and of course, trying out the water slides.

Before the Carnival had even set sail, they’d changed into swimmers and were having the time of their lives. Honestly, to see those huge smiles on their faces as they splashed, swam and zoomed down water slides was incredible.

We checked into our cabin and were delighted to find we’d been upgraded to a balcony room, with chocolate-covered strawberries on a platter for us to enjoy too! The room configuration allows for four to sleep comfortably, with twins beds and bunk beds, all of which were made up beautifully for us.

Our cabin steward came around to introduce himself and looked after us for the duration of our trip, making the room over twice a day, each time leaving beautiful towel animals, which the kids loved!

The kids getting straight into holiday mode after boarding

The kids getting straight into holiday mode after boarding

Dining in style on Carnival Legend
There are quite a few options when it comes to dining on Carnival Legend, from casual buffet-style fare to a fine dining restaurant. Truffles Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with different sitting times at night. The Lido is a casual buffet-style restaurant which is often busy, but we never had a problem finding a seat and with two young kids who were keen to eat quickly and get to the pool asap, it was the best option for us.

For lunch, you can eat in the restaurant or buffet, or head poolside for burgers, tacos and burritos at Guy’s Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Cantina. We usually hit the pool straight after brekkie, so we’d lounge around, swim and catch some poolside entertainment for a few hours, then have burgers and tacos in our swimmers. It was all very casual, relaxed – and delicious! – and I loved the fact that I didn’t have to drag the kids away from the pool and get them dressed to go and sit in a restaurant.

For dinner, we loved the delicious, fresh seafood options at Bonsai Sushi – especially the sashimi. This is one of the few eateries that are not included in your cruise package, but it’s so well-priced I didn’t mind paying a little extra. The 24-hour pizzas at Pirate Pizza were also a big hit with the kids. We sometimes ordered pizza, then grabbed dessert at the buffet and took it all back to our cabin to enjoy while we watched a movie.

Delicious sashimi and green tea cupcakes from Bonsai Sushi

Delicious sashimi and green tea cupcakes from Bonsai Sushi

If you feel like frocking up for some fine dining, Nouveau restaurant on the top deck is a great choice. We loved the 'surf and turf' and decadent desserts, and the chef came around and chatted to the kids during our meal. It’s a beautiful place to sit while the sun sets and you listen to the sounds of the band playing below on the main deck.

Last but not least, the free ice-cream machines by the pool are a massive hit with the little ones. There’s a variety of flavours, you can choose cones or cups, and kids can help themselves all day long – which they did. This was definitely one of the main highlights for my two.

Simple joys - towel art and free ice-cream!

Simple joys - towel art and free ice-cream!

Entertainment on Carnival Legend
There’s plenty to do and see on the Carnival Legend, from towel-folding demos to dance classes, trivial pursuit and shows.

Each day a copy of the Fun Times is delivered to the little mailbox outside your room, which details on what’s happening over the next 24 hours, from shows, shopping, kids’ club, food and drink deals and more.

You can also download the Carnival Hub App which lists all activities, and reminds you when your favourites are about to start. There’s always something on, so you can get involved as much or as little as you like.

One thing I loved was that no matter what time of day or night we were out and about, there was a lovely, friendly relaxed vibe on board. I always felt safe and relaxed hanging out with my kids.

Camp Ocean Kids' Club
My two monkeys loved the kids' club Camp Ocean. There are four age groups catering from two-year-olds to teens and there’s a new program of activities every day.

I gave the kids the option of going to kids club without any pressure if they didn’t want to. They chose to go for the free play sessions which means I had an hour here and there to have coffee, listen to podcasts and get a massage.

There were board games, loom bands, video games, arts and crafts, build-a-bear workshops, story time and more. Ocean Camp is FREE up until 5.30pm too. And the carers are lovely, warm, caring and professional.

Enjoying camp ocean and some fun animal displays on deck

Enjoying camp ocean and some fun animal displays on deck

Adults Only

If you're travelling with a friend or partner, there are plenty of options to enjoy some rest and relaxation without littles running around. There's an adults-only pool area complete with bar, loungers and cabana called the Serenity Retreat, which is indeed very serene, even if you're just grabbing a quick cocktail or coffee while the kids are in Camp Ocean! 

Cloud 9 Spa is another adults-only zone, and offers massages, facials, body wraps, thermal suites and more. It's the perfect way to relax at the start or end of your cruise.

For more information about Carnival Legend Cruises visit

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.