Choosing the perfect holiday for the whole family can tend to bamboozle some due to the smorgasbord of options.
For this reason, savvy travellers with kids in tow are increasingly opting for cruises, which can take a lot of the pain out of organising a trip away.
The allure of cruising is easy to see – you only have to unpack once and all your transport, accommodation, food, entertainment and sightseeing are all in one place.
There are a few things you should have top-of-mind before paying the deposit on your next family cruise. While price and package features are both important factors, there are some far more basic, practical considerations.
Firstly, it’s always best to book as early as you can as larger staterooms are at a premium and sell out quickly on most ships. Children will tend to spend more time than you think in a room, especially in the evenings and sometimes they just need to escape the noise and over stimulation of a large cruise liner. Spacious rooms offer a great refuge, especially for the very young.
If you are travelling with extended family or a friend’s family, investigate availability of interconnecting cabins and proximity to lifts, dining and recreation areas for more frail family members.
Here are our top picks for a family cruise:
From the on-board waterslides to mini golf and live family shows, Carnival has the family cruise holiday all tied up. Kids (and adults) will love the ‘Dr Seuss at Sea’ themed activities such as the character parade, interactive story time, arts and crafts activities, character breakfasts and more. You can also select from over 10 dining options on-board, many with children’s menus.
This popular cruise liner is always a favourite for families.
For mum and dad, the Pacific Pearl offers the only celebrity chef restaurant on-board – Salt Grill by Luke Mangan – and children have access to three separate kid’s clubs. One of the main restaurants offers an early kids-only dinner and menu.
For older kids, the pro filmmaking and musical jamming workshops are standout activities. Live musical productions each night are legendary, with their Broadway-style appeal and guest comedians and singers.
P&O are launching two new ships late next year – Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, which will boast two separate pool decks and a premium cinema.
Royal Caribbean – This cruise liner is also a big competitor in the family market with its award-winning Adventure Ocean Youth Program based on seven separate age groups to suit children from 1 to 17 years.
There are Broadway style shows, DreamWorks shows, aqua theatre shows, rock-climbing walls, surf simulators, mini golf, ice-skating and the first-ever carousel at sea.
They also have a great dinner service where staff collects your children after they have eaten (age 3-11) so you can enjoy the rest of the dinner.
To get started on your next family cruise, contact your personal travel manager http://www.travelmanagers.com.au/ptm-search/.