After a few challenging years, cruises are once again gaining popularity among families needing a holiday. According to Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ vice-president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, the cruise company has seen “strong bookings” for its family-orientated ships sailing from Barcelona and Southampton in 2023. First-time cruise guests with children have shown particular interest in their newer ship, Wonder of the Seas, which holds an eye-watering number of amenities for all ages.
Embarking on your first family cruise is an exciting adventure filled with the promise of unforgettable experiences and cherished memories. As we mentioned in a previous article on ‘Travelling with Kids’, going on trips with your children can be exciting, but also need a little more preparation. To maximise your holiday, we’ve gathered a few essential tips to ensure your family cruise is smooth sailing from start to finish.
Essential Tips for Your First Family Cruise
Choose A Cruise That Every Family Member Can Enjoy
With the global cruise industry witnessing increased consumer demand, more and more ships are constantly being launched. Regardless of age or interests, you’ll be sure to find a cruise line with an itinerary to suit every family member’s needs. For instance, if you have older children over the age of 17, they will likely want a cruise that features an extensive roster of excursions that lean to the more adventurous, as well as more adult-oriented activities onboard.
Explora Luxury Cruises, which has itineraries that include Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean, is a luxury cruise line that encourages slow travel with in-depth tours to lesser-known locales. The cruise also promotes complete relaxation through its onboard Ocean Wellness concept, equipped with top-of-the-line spa amenities like a Finnish sauna, hydrotherapy pool, salt cave, and ice fall. All of these onboard and on-shore activities may be more interesting for older teens and young adults.
Book an Adequate Stateroom
Depending on how many family members you are taking, make sure that the stateroom is large enough to accommodate everyone. Avoid booking one cabin with extra cots, especially if you’re going to be on the ship for more than 3 nights.
Instead, large families on a budget can choose to book adjoining rooms. But, if you don’t mind spending a bit more, Disney Cruises have concierge-class staterooms that come with perks like access to special lounges, private sundecks, special food, and evening cocktails. Priority onboarding and offboarding are also available for concierge-class ticket holders, which can come in handy with lots of children in tow.
Look For In-Port Youth Programmes and Onboard Babysitting
There may be times when you want to explore a destination solo or go for a romantic dinner just as a couple. As such, it’s best to look for a cruise that offers onboard babysitting for younger children or youth programmes where older kids can have fun in a controlled, safe environment. The MSC Seascape recently unveiled recreational facilities dedicated to young passengers that take up 700 square metres of the ship’s total floor area.
This includes a Baby Club for little ones aged 3 and below, where the reliable MSC Babycare staff can keep babies entertained with music and rhythm activities. They also have a Mini Club for ages 3-6, Junior Club for ages 7-11, Young Club for ages 12-14, and a Teen Club for ages 15-17.
Select Family-Friendly Shore Excursions
The Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day cruise is popular among family holidaymakers for its on-shore excursion to a private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay. The private island boasts a waterpark, zip lines, fitness spaces, beachside lounges, and even a helium balloon ride!
Alternatively, if your family is more interested in exotic destinations that will expose you to different cultures, traditions, and ways of life, you may opt for the Royal Caribbean’s Athens to Barcelona cruise. Cities like Athens and Barcelona have a plethora of museums and historical sites that can provide children with a better understanding and appreciation of the world.
From exploring exotic destinations to enjoying onboard amenities, a family cruise can be a fantastic way to bond, relax, and have fun together. Using this guide, we hope you have a memorable journey that sparks a lifetime of adventure for you and your family.
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