Cruising with your children can be a fun time of making memories, or it can be a nightmare. The difference is some careful planning and knowing how to make your vacation extra-special. One of the unique benefits of cruising is that moms, dad, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even grandparents can spend quality time together. The vacation does not begin once you are on the ship; it begins much earlier. Here are five tips to enjoy cruising out of Baltimore, Maryland, and make it fun and exciting.
1. Enjoy Washington, DC
Just 45 minutes south of the Baltimore port is the nation’s capital of Washington, DC. This city is rich in American history, interesting monuments, the White House, and of course, the Smithsonian National Zoo! You and your family will love getting to see all the fascinating animals! Come early for short lines to see the famous Panda exhibit or the short (but, still very large!) Asian elephant.
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2. Remember, the Ship May be Late
It is no fun getting that early morning text from your cruise ship letting you know that the ship will not be arriving on time. Baltimore is one of these ports that may not achieve their early morning docking time. Why? Storms in the Atlantic can slow the ship down. Medical emergencies may divert the ship to another port temporarily. It takes about 10 hours for the ship to go up the Chesapeake Bay area so if they are any delays earlier in the cruise, it cannot make up speed through the bay.
If you get the dreaded text, try option #3 to use up the extra time.
3. Fort McHenry
Sometimes children just get too excited sitting in the hotel waiting or sitting in the vehicle for a long period. If you have an extra hour, consider checking out one of the local parks that are close to the port. Swingsets, see-saws, slides, and a little bit of running around can help get rid of those extra wiggles. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is also right near the Baltimore cruise port and has plenty of green space to explore.
4. Go When You Can, Not When You Have To
The parking line for the port can be lengthy, and once you get in the queue, it is hard to get out and find the nearby restroom. So save yourself some trouble and have a mandatory restroom break before you start the wait.
In the excitement of seeing the ship, dealing with the craziness of trying to sort out carry-on luggage and which ones to drop off at the porters, and fighting kids in the back-seat of the minivan, it can be so overwhelming at the last minute. Stop for a few seconds and breathe! Trust that your times of pre-planning and packing were not wasted and (yes!) you are finally ready to board this ship for an amazing family vacation. Everything will work out, and soon you’ll be leaning back and working on your suntan in the perfect lounge chair!