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More and more families are discovering cruises – then asking themselves why it took them so long!
Family cruises are some of the best – and best value – holidays around, with everything you could need laid on for both parents and kids of all ages. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday with children in tow, a cruise might just be the answer. After all, what’s best for the kids is usually best for the grown-ups too.
Modern cruise ships are more like floating cities, and there’s something on board for all ages. Family-friendly cruises are packed with things to do and see for children from babies to teens – depending on your ship, there could be puppet shows, bang-up-to-date kids’ play areas, clowns, musicians, fashion shows, gaming stations, karaoke, discos, mocktail bars, and swimming pools with flumes and surfing simulators. Thanks to the excellent – and often free – children’s clubs, kids will have entertainment and friends on tap. What’s more, even the fussiest of eaters should find something they like in the range of restaurants on board.
Of course, it’s not just about what’s best for kids. Family cruises help take the strain out of travelling with kids, and parents’ needs are just as high on the agenda.
Crucially, a family cruise can be a great value. Many cruise lines offer free child places and there are usually free group activities for kids during the day. As for the evenings, it’s well worth spending a little extra for a babysitting service so you can treat yourselves to a night out and take advantage of all the free onboard entertainment and upmarket dining options for adults.
One of the best things about cruises for families is seeing lots of different places at the same time. Why stick to one beach when you can explore several places in one trip? The multi-stop cruise is a great way to sample all sorts of different destinations, and when you find a place you all love, you can plan to return on a longer trip in the future.
Before you book, it’s worth finding out if the kids’ clubs have any age restrictions – you might not want your children to be split up during the day, for example. Some cruise lines and ships are better for babies, others for teens. You should also check which activities are available on board, and what shore excursions are appropriate for children.
If they’re old enough, get the kids involved in deciding where to go and what to do on your cruise. Little history buffs will love a cruise past the fairy-tale castles of the Rhine, while water babies will lap up a family cruise in the Caribbean. And make sure you plan plenty of quality time together too – after all, when you go on holiday with the kids that’s the whole point, right?!