Should You Take Your Kids Out of School for a Cruise Adventure?

Filed under: Planning

Tough decisions

Every school year parents and teachers alike struggle with when, and if, families should pull their kids from school for vacations. This decision becomes increasingly difficult as kids get older, curriculums move at a faster pace, and standardized testing begins.


1) Some school districts have a truancy policy (And, WOOHOO, some don’t!). Schools can have variable amounts of days they will acknowledge as excusable absences. Some will also consider the type of vacation or travel and approve it as educational. Knowing your school’s policy ahead of time can save a lot of headache (and change fees) if you find you’ll need to reschedule your trip.

2) What grade is your adventurer in? For the younger kiddos, a vacation for most families is a no brainer, but third grade seems to be the year that starts to shift. Many parents are less likely to take their high school aged child out of school due the fast pace of programs and less time to make up work with semester long courses. Families that do choose to travel with a high schooler often try to combine the vacation with teacher workdays or holidays, to lessen the burden of missed work. Middle schoolers seem to have a bit more luck with teachers providing them with the lessons they would miss that week and letting them complete some work while on vacation.

3) Pricing! The cruise companies are no fools! You can trust that the best deals on family cruises are going to be when school is in session. Don’t expect to see as many Kids Sail Free promotions during summer and school breaks! If finances are a factor in your cruising, during the school year may offer some great prices!


1) Many of the cruise ports have historic landmarks, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, that can be visited. The forts in Old San Juan, Castillo de San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro, are easy to access from the cruise port. PRO TIP: When leaving the port of Old San Juan be sure to grab a seat on the starboard side of the ship (or your cabin balcony) for an absolutely majestic view of del Morro leaving San Juan to wrap up your educational excursion.

2) Learn about the commerce of the port islands. “The main exports from the Caribbean fuel and mining products, notably petroleum gas and oils, bananas, sugar and rum, minerals (notably gold, corundum, aluminium oxide and hydroxide), iron ore products, and fertilisers.

The main imports into the Caribbean from the EU are boats, ships, cars, constructions vehicles and engine parts, phone equipment, milk and cream, and spirit drinks” (from the European Commission)

3) The Caribbean islands are home to some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world! Even in the course of one cruise you will see numerous terrestrial and marine ecosystems (Remember: Look, don’t touch!)

There are so many wonderfully enriching cultures, people, and cuisines to expose your family to in the Caribbean!

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