Cruise holidays - what do they offer your family?

Mum and daughter on a boat
Ever thought about taking your family on a cruise holiday? We look at what could be in it for you and your children.

What’s in it for the kids?

Nothing can beat the excitement you’ll see on your kids’ faces when they discover they’ll soon be heading off on a cruise holiday. The mere thought of enjoying a fantastic holiday on the high seas is enough to fill every kid with visions of their very own pirate holiday – indeed many of the kids’ programmes aboard cruise ships focus on a pirate theme.

For teenagers too, this is a very ‘grown-up’ holiday, so don’t underestimate the amount of ‘street-cred’ it will bring once they inform their friends that they’re heading off on a cruise.

Activities

Having a holiday on a cruise ship gives kids the opportunity to enjoy life aboard with other kids from many nationalities and with many languages spoken.
The best cruises for families offer a range of options, including the all important kids’ clubs and teenagers’ clubs, which give kids the opportunity to get involved in activities such as drama, pirate treasure hunts, themed parties and discos. Plus they’ll usually get to do an endless number of sports like mini-golf, mini-football and volleyball. Most cruise ships have multiple pools and plentiful deck areas and games like shuffleboard, too. Some newer ships even offer special activities, such as rock-climbing walls, wave surfing, scuba-diving lessons and clay pigeon shooting from the deck. Modern cruise ship companies take passenger safety seriously and ensure that all sporting and recreational activities are well supervised.

Port Visits

Despite the endless options for having fun on board, when the cruise reaches port, the kids can start getting excited about a whole new adventure exploring each destination with Mum and Dad. Most port visits are generally timed to allow passengers to get back on dry land for part of a day or a whole day, which gives everyone plenty of time to take in some sights and experience the local culture. Your cruise staff will advise you of what sights or activities are available at each port and how you can maximise the time available to suit the whole family’s interests.

What’s in it for Mum and Dad?

With the kids taken care of, Mum and Dad will be free to unwind and relax. The important thing to remember is that cruise holidays don’t just let kids have all the fun. There are plenty of options on modern cruise ships for adults, including poolside bars and sunbathing decks, evening dining and entertainment, deck games and even talent shows!

Although most families opt to explore together when in port, you can sometimes arrange to have the kids taken on an adventure excursion with staff, leaving Mum and Dad free to explore the local area on their own.

How to choose a family cruise

  • Choose from a list of reputable cruise companies. Check with your travel adviser for recommendations and also try to read reviews online by other travellers for recommendations. A good reliable source is www.cruisecritic.co.uk.
  • Look for a cruise liner that has the best facilities for your family. Your travel adviser will be able to help you select a cruise company that specialises in catering for families and provides a well-structured kids’ club programme.
  • Look for cruises which offer free fares for children accompanying adults and/or the option to share a room or have adjoining rooms at discounted rates.