It’s never too early to start introducing your children to the joys of travelling around this big, beautiful world of ours. But for parents it can be nice to have some home comforts on hand as well! That’s why family-friendly cruises are becoming more popular every year. You can set sail with your little adventurers in a ship that’s made for families, safe in the knowledge that your every need will be catered to.
New to cruising? Lots of people who book with me have never thought about a cruising holiday, but once I call them to welcome them home the first thing I hear is "we loved it so much we’re already looking at another!" Many people won’t have previously considered a cruise holiday but that it can be perfect for everyone in your family with all the inclusions on-board, its appeal has grown as an alternative to a land-based holiday.
From family-friendly food and activities to comfortable cabins and babysitting services, cruises can achieve that delicate balance of entertaining children while treating their parents to some well-deserved relaxation in a way that other holidays just don’t. With nearly everything included you know upfront what your holiday is costing you (aside from drinks and shore excursions) and it’s entirely up to you how much you do – if you like being on the go all the time, then there is a full program of activities that could have you running from one end of the ship to the other every day, but you can also choose to just sit on a deck chair and stare out to sea (with a cocktail or two if you so desire!) and be equally as happy.
And it’s certainly not just an underwhelming ball pool and some colouring in that’s on offer for the children these days. Read on to discover some of the incredible adventures at sea for little ones and big kids!
Start to explore one of the impressive mega-ships and you’ll find all manner of surprising activities to enjoy, from rock climbing to skydiving simulators. Step aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship to race some laps of an ocean-faring go-kart track, soar into the skies on a bungee trampoline, or learn to juggle at circus school.
Meanwhile, on Royal Caribbean ships you could find climbing walls, Flow Rider surf simulators and white-knuckle zip wires. I’ve tried the Flow Rider and other daredevil activities on a four-night voyage on Symphony of the Seas this year. Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas ship boasts the spectacular North Star observation pod – a London Eye-style capsule that moves up to 300 feet above the ocean waves to bring you truly breath-taking views. Or there’s Carnival’s Bike Sky Ride, which sees passengers pedalling around a lofty circuit 150 feet above the upper deck. Just don’t look down!
Every parent knows that the captivating power of the silver screen is a real holiday winner. While most cruise ships have a cinema of some kind, look out for those with futuristic 4D cinemas for a fully immersive experience and Carnival’s enormous outdoor screens, perfect for a warm, relaxing family evening. Some ships go a step further and bring the movies to life, with themed cruises and activities. Try Disney Cruises with their themed deck parties, lively performances and the ever-popular princess transformations on offer in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
Yes, you’re probably expecting to find a small swimming pool on a cruise ship – but a full-size water park? Families with water babies on their hands will love the aqua-tastic fun on-board many ships today. Carnival’s waterpark has everything you’d find on shore, from thrilling waterslides to child-friendly play pools. Love to get your adrenaline pumping? Try MSC Seaview’s hair-raising Forest Aqua venture Park, with its multi-storey aqua park, MSC Seaside offers one of the largest and most interactive water attractions at sea. It prides itself on its five different water slides, including two racing slides with clear loops extending over the side of the ship and a 367-foot water slide with lights and music going down in single and double slide tubes. It also boasts an Aqua Play™ area for tots and an adventure trail, the aqua park truly has something for everyone.
Clubs and classes
Young imaginations need plenty of stimulation and the dizzying array of kids’ clubs aboard cruise ships will give them plenty to do – as well as the chance to make new friends.
Kids & teens will love the re-imagined clubs Princess Cruises have launched in partnership with the Discovery Channel with places for young explorers to learn about the world and discover new interests. Teenagers can hang out in their own areas playing basketball and air hockey, indulge in teen-specific spa treatments or learn how to spin records at DJ academy.
Exploring new shores
Of course, one of the main appeals of a cruise is the temptation of distant destinations. And that’s what we want to show our families, isn’t it? There’s nothing more exciting than that ‘land ahoy’ moment, when it’s time to watch their little faces light up as you set off to explore exciting new lands. Whether you want to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, enjoy the water sports on a Caribbean island, or look around the vibrant cities of Europe, there’s so much world to show your little wanderers and their wide, curious eyes.
Ready to set sail and be an adventurer at sea? Get in touch with me to find the cruise that's right for you and your family!