Our family is relatively new to cruising. We took our first cruise together about 2.5 years ago, and it was a Disney cruise. Aria, our daughter, was turning 5, and I was obsessed. We had an entire suitcase dedicated to fish extenders, secret Santa exchange gifts, and door magnets. Fast forward to present day, and we want to try another cruise line. At first, I was devastated. I thought there was no way this cruise could possibly be as much fun for my now 6.5-year-old little girl. Then, I discovered cruising ducks!
What exactly are cruising ducks?
It’s easiest to answer this question with a question. Have you ever heard of painted rocks? There are typically neighborhood Facebook pages dedicated to the rocks. You find the painted rock hidden in a public place and take a selfie. Then, you post the selfie of yourself and the rock on your dedicated rock page. For example, here is my neighborhood rock page, Wylie Rocks.
Cruising ducks are the exact same except, instead of rocks, you search for rubber ducks hidden on various cruise lines. It is rapidly growing in popularity. We are cruising with Royal Caribbean this time, and these two Facebook pages have a wealth of knowledge and examples: RC Cruising Ducks and Royal Caribbean Cruising Ducks. Other cruise lines have their own Facebook pages as well.
What do I need to do if I want to participate?
Step 1: Order your ducks.
Some people choose to hide only one duck, but most families seem to hide a dozen since that’s typically how the duck packages are sold. We are cruising with a group of 24 soon, and we have ordered cupcake, zombie, art, and unicorn ducks from Amazon.com and OrientalTrading.com.
Step 2: Personalize your duck tags.
There are many free duck tags online, or you can create your own. They can be found on cruising duck Facebook pages under albums, on Etsy, or just by using a search engine like Google. Just enter “Cruising Duck Tags”. If you make your own, be sure to include your name, cruise date, ship, and where you are from. Most people also add that you can keep or re-hide. You can NOT hide or re-hide in pools or shops. Below is a printable that I made; they worked out perfectly for our ducks. Once your tags are complete, attach them to your duck. I use a hole punch and ribbon to attach the tag to the duck.
Step 3: Join your ship’s cruising ducks event page.
For example, on Royal Caribbean, there are events for each ship and cruise date. If yours doesn’t exist yet, don’t be shy. Start your own event page. Then, go in and do a Roll Call. Ask who all is hiding ducks. Share pictures of your own ducks. It gets everyone excited and shows other cruisers what they are looking for. My daughter gets so excited knowing it is essentially an Easter egg hunt with rubber ducks, and she takes mental inventory of all the ducks she wants to find. She plays for keeps, and she usually likes to hunt for one in each collection.
Step 4: Hide your ducks.
Remember no shops or pools! Also, get your kids involved. You might think they only want to hunt, but they have just as much fun hiding the ducks. Aria will keep checking her hiding spots to see if they have been claimed. For hiding spot inspiration, refer back to the social media pages dedicated to cruising ducks. They have some clever hiding spots that I would have never thought of on my own.
Step 5: Happy duck hunting!
Go find some cruising ducks. Personally, we try to find and take one in a collection and hide any others that we find. How do you know if they are part of a collection? Typically, they follow the same theme. Our family is hiding cupcake ducks. Like I mentioned earlier, our group is also hiding art, unicorn, and zombie ducks. An easier way to know is to check the tag. If you find two ducks hidden by the same family, keep one and re-hide the other one.
Cruising ducks are a free, family-friendly perk of cruising! It is still growing in popularity, so if you can’t find anyone else on your ship participating, just post a discussion on your dedicated cruise page talking about cruising ducks. You can also share this blog with them. Trust me, once people know about it, they will be eager to join in. If you need help finding the Facebook page for your specific cruise date, just let me know. I would love to help! Cruising ducks will become a highlight of your family vacation, and even better, a new tradition!