girl and dolphin
Photo by Natashalatrasha

By Caroline Fenton

I always traveled a lot, but when I became a parent, I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to continue to explore the world.  As it turns out, it’s not only easy; it’s even better before, because nothing beats watching your child discover new things!

Now that my daughter is 3 years old, we’ve been all over.  However the best vacation I’ve had with her has to be a Caribbean cruise.  Not only does the cruise give you every amenity you could possibly need for a little one, the Caribbean has TONS of fantastic things to do that are both entertaining for the kids and a blast for you.

First and foremost, cruises are extremely easy.  Anyone who has attempted to travel overseas, or even take a long car ride with toddlers, knows that the less you have to worry about the better.  Cruises have everything you could possibly need right there.  Food for every finicky taste, pools, toys, games, shows, movies, music, etc., are all onboard for your enjoyment, all the while you have constant access to your own private stateroom for naps, changes of clothes, of just some down time.  Instead of having to pack up the menagerie, hauling the bags out of the hotel, get to the airport, fly to your next destination, take a cab back to another hotel, deal with car seats, check in again, get your kids settled, then find something to do or something to eat, cruises have it all right there.  Your hotel room takes you to the cool spots and you do nothing but build awesome memories with your kids. All paid for in your ticket price.  

For our daughter’s first Caribbean cruise, we chose an Eastern Caribbean itinerary.  The Eastern Caribbean has, bar none, the best beaches in the Caribbean and we knew that we could both relax and our daughter would have a fantastic time playing in the warm clear water.

Our first destination was St. Maartin.  The beaches on the Virgin Islands are secluded, white sand masterpieces.  The waves are small and the water is warm and clear, so it’s a really perfect place for a toddler.  We had an absolutely fantastic time splashing in the water, enjoying the scenery without a care in the world.

Our next destination was the U.S. Virgin Island, St. Thomas.  Here we visited an awesome butterfly farm and saw another kid friendly beach.  Afterword, we caught toured the port town, shopped for souvenirs and met loads of fantastic people.

Our last destination was Nassau Bahamas.  Nassau has great beaches, awesome attractions, scuba, snorkeling, and everything else you can imagine. We decided to do the dolphin swim and what an experience that turned out to be!  Our dolphin, Clifton, was a perfect gentleman and even gave our daughter a kiss!  The dolphin research facility on Nassau is a top-notch center, working with rescue animals and contributing important research.  Not only were we thrilled with our interaction with the fantastic cetaceans; we were impressed with the high standards the staff maintains for their dolphins. 

So if anyone tells you that you won’t travel anymore now that you’re a parent, and all your vacations will be nothing kiddie-parks and overpriced hotels, don’t listen to them.  Go out, see the world and have yours be first kid on the block to kiss a dolphin!


Joan McCray

Joan McCray is a travel writer living in NYC. Her work has appeared in the NewYorker,Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Wine,and many local publications.She has published travel anthologies in and Lonely Planet. McCrayAre we there Yet?Activities for Kids,Family Travel,Parenting Baby and ToddlerBy Caroline Fenton I always traveled a lot, but when I became a parent, I wasn't sure how easy it would be to continue to explore the world.  As it turns out, it's not only easy; it's even better before, because nothing beats watching your...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids