The days of cruising being an exclusive vacation for the rich and recently retired have finished. Family cruising is now big business. In 2014 over 2 million under-18s went on a cruise and that number will grow further. Although there are still some cruise lines which cater for couples the major lines are now strictly family affairs. Ships are increasingly filled with family activities and facilities. From water-parks to kids clubs to family dining the big lines are investing to attract the family market. Here are our Top 5 Reasons to Cruise With Kids.
Although ages vary the major cruise lines have dedicated kid clubs from around 3 upwards. These are split into age groups for appropriate timetabled activities. Staffing is usually by experienced Counsellors who have graduate qualifications in childcare. Teens will also find their own separate areas
Activities vary by line but age-specific activities can include art, craft, science, stories, talent shows, pirate nights and pyjama parties.
On many lines, the youth staff will also organise whole family activities which can include scavenger hunts and quizzes.
Increasingly cruise lines are providing nurseries for younger children and infants. We have used these on Royal Caribbean and found them very good but did come with an extra charge.
The type of facilities does vary by cruise line and even ship so you should research fully prior to booking.
Away from the clubs, there is often lots more for kids on the larger resort ships. This is something which is worth researching as it does vary considerably between lines and ships. Generally the bigger the ship the more there is to do.
Facilities can include water-parks, water-slides, ten-pin bowling, puppet shows, Characters(e.g. Disney Characters on Disney & Dreamworks on Royal Caribbean), rope courses & sports activities.
On many of the larger ships, it will be impossible for the kids to fit all the available activities into a 1-week cruise.
Think you will be spoilt on a cruise? The kids will be spoilt more and nowhere more than when dining. Kids love the dining room on cruise ships and this is due to the first class service they will receive from your waiter.
Kids also have plenty of choice including dedicated menus. However; they are free to pick from the adult choices too. Just don’t expect a half portion!
If your children have any special dietary needs make sure you speak to the Head Waiter. Cruise lines manage dietary needs well.
In addition, if you want a break from the kids at meal time many of the cruise lines now offer supervised kid’s meals.
One of the appeals for cruising is a different destination every day and this is no different for kids. Each day brings a new adventure and kids love it.
Although many cruise destinations offer fun family excursions(e.g. beach & water-parks) there is also plenty of opportunity for more educational activities.
With a different activity the next day it is unlikely your kids will ever get bored.
Time for Grown-Ups
Oh yes… let’s be selfish!
If the kids are in their club it means you can have kids free time. Whilst these ships are family affairs they don’t forget adults need time too. If your kids are in clubs there are usually plenty of adults only areas.
The most relaxing times we have had on a cruise is when Kids are in a club and we can spend time in a solarium. Is this selfish or does it contribute to why you should cruise with kids?
Do you think there are other reasons why you should cruise with kids? Leave a comment below on anything we have forgotten.