The Love Boat: Cruises for Families
What's the compromise holiday when the kids demand Disneyland and you have your sights fixed on exploring the wine regions of the South of France by barge? What about taking the family on a cruise holiday?
Just because you wouldn't have considered holidaying on a cruise ship before you had kids doesn't mean you shouldn't consider it now. Cruises tick a lot of family friendly boxes you might not have thought of – and here are just some of them. Followed by some of the best places to take your family cruising.
What's in it for them?
One of the main things kids pine for when travelling is company their own age, and that's not something that's ever going to be an issue aboard a cruise ship. But it's not just the company, it's also the forms the supervision comes in – it's not just Mum and Dad peeking up from behind a book every now and then telling them to get away from the edge, it's people who are there to make sure they're having fun – and cruise ship staff have all sorts of ways of doing that, from arts and crafts to sports to dance and drama to well, whatever your kids are interested in.
On top of their time spent without you there are loads of family friendly activities aboard cruise ships. As well as the essential couple of pools, with a mini water park, please, a bowling alley, cinema, mini golf and floor shows, the larger ships offer even more to keep you busy: how about a planetarium, a climbing wall or an ice rink? And once you dock there are all the pleasures of the port, which depending on your destination could mean horse riding, snorkelling or sea kayaking.
One of the other gripes you hear from travelling kids is that they don't like the food – and this is another problem that's a non issue aboard a cruise ship – and the third most heard complaint is "Are we there yet?", to which the perennial cruise ship reply would be "Yes, but in the morning you'll wake up and you'll be somewhere else.". Which also solves the problem of kids saying "But I don't like it here..."
What's in it for you?
You get to go on holidays with your kids while also taking a bit of time out for yourself to relax. There's none of the packing and repacking of yours and their suitcases and the constant risk of forgetting something and not being able to replace it. You can also take them somewhere they're going to remember for the rest of their life. And it's all inclusive.
If you're beginning to see the appeal these are some great cruise destinations for families:
The French Riviera
It might sound ritzy but if you're on a cruise ship then you're not paying local premiums. The beaches are golden, the people and shopping is chic and they have lots of sunshine. Cruises visit places like St. Raphael, Cannes and St Tropez for significantly less than it would probably cost you if you stayed on land.
See it before it's too late. Yes, it's cold, but the ships are heated, and the spectacular glacial scenery and opportunity to see whales, moose, bears and maybe even bald eagles will make up for it.
Along the same lines as Alaska, but this time with the added appeal of the Northern Lights: stunning seen from the ocean, as are the fjords. In fact Norway's western coastline is best seen from offshore.
The Hawaiian islands revel in good weather all year round so you can be flexible with dates or catch some winter sun. It's also got the beaches and the surfing and the jungle – and everyone speaks English. There's only one visa required, but still lots of islands to hop between.
The Panama Canal and the Mayan Riviera
It's a particularly unique place to experience: it's a historic, and manages to be industrial yet also jungle fringed as it slices through South America. The canal itself is actually traversed in a day or two, and there are all sorts of options for what you do before and after. P&O has a trip that takes in the ancient sights of the Mayan Riviera before coming out the other side of the Panama Canal and hoping round the Caribbean which is an excellent way to see a lot of varied ports in a short time.
For help choosing your ideal cruise get in touch with one of WR's Cruising Experts.
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