Choosing a holiday to please both parents and children can be challenging; with so many people to please, the end result ends up being a compromise.
Cruises provide a pleasing solution with many new mega ships fitted with more facilities than a terrestrial resort.
Here’s why you might want to consider a cruise trip for your next family holiday…
1. Every day is action packed. From space-age water slides to daring climbing walls, cruise ships are embracing more active pursuits and many new initiatives have been designed with energetic teens in mind.
Last summer, MSC launched a new DOREBRO sports programme for 3-11 and 12-17-year-olds, running on most of their Med and Caribbean sailings. Twice daily sessions include football, basketball, handball and dodgeball.
2. Everyone has their own space. Cruise ships provide a safe and contained environment where kids can run free while parents rest assured their offspring are in good hands. Nursery trained staff supervise toddlers, while older children have the option to join a variety of kids clubs. Some cruise companies even offer security bracelets to younger children, so parents can keep track of them at all times.
3. Teens aren’t treated like kids. They can sample their first taste of independence on a cruise, making new friends and planning their own itineraries. Alongside daytime activities, MSC run evening DJ parties, talent shows and prom nights. Parents can even top up a prepaid debit card, allowing teens freedom to dine when and wherever they please.
Royal Caribbean also promote “teen-only” hang-outs throughout their ships.
4. Bucket list adventures can be shared together. Some of the world’s most incredible places can be accessed by cruise and visiting as a family creates memories to last a lifetime. Galapagos cruises are particularly popular with multi generations, allowing close animal encounters both on land and in the water.
Many smaller yachts are cost-effective to charter; Real World Holidays recommend the eight-cabin Voyager, which also has a well-stocked DVD library. Prices from £1,590pp for a four-day cruise; enquire for charter prices.
5. Tricky itineraries are less of a challenge. Far-flung, exotic destinations are off-limits for most families, given difficulties of access and cost. Family-themed cruises remove that problem by making special provision for younger passengers.
One Ocean recommends its 10-night Maritimes – Fins & Fiddles East Coast Canada trip as being ideal for families, spotting wildlife and discovering the musical culture of the region. Kayaking is also included in the cost, which works out as £2,447 per adult and £1,836 per child.
6. Flexible sleeping arrangements are available. Sticking families in confined spaces is a recipe for arguments. Fortunately, many new ships are being built with extended clans in mind. Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Disney all have cabins that sleep five or six passengers, and some suites can even be connected.
7. Familiar faces are a hit. Character cruises are popular with younger customers and many cruise lines have forged relationships with big animation brands. On Royal Caribbean cruises, kids can meet DreamWorks characters Shrek, Fiona and Po (Kung Fu Panda) during parades and workshops. On Disney Cruises, Pirates Of The Caribbean parties have proved a real hit.
8. Flights aren’t necessary. With many departures sailing from Southampton, families can avoid having to fork out for long and often uncomfortable plane journeys.
9. Cruises offer exceptional value. With all meals and most activities included, cruises provide a fantastic solution for families needing to budget. Some online travel sites such as Planet Cruise and Iglu Cruise also offer great last-minute deals.