By Amandine Laurent
With the autumn here and cruise deals now available at incredibly low prices, it’s time to understand why family cruises are proving ever so popular.
Cruises are the quintessential getaway for stressed parents: thousands mile away from the urban hustle and bustle, you’ll just enjoy the comfort of sun loungers and tan the day away, swim quietly in on board pools or sip top class margaritas in one of many bars. But your kids will definitely have a different idea of what above-deck activities are meant to be like.
You won’t have to be too imaginative to keep them entertained though: modern cruise ships cater for all their needs and provide a huge range of activities. A typical starting point are the brightly colored kid zones now present on pretty much every ship, where passengers aged 3 to 12 will socialize and play any sort of game. Looking after them will always be experienced youth counselors, who generally direct team games, tell stories or even set up mini discos.
And kids a bit older wanting to go for some thrilling action will inevitably love all that’s sporty on board: on the right ship they could find some addictive water slides or go for the sports deck instead and play any sport from table tennis to football and basketball.
To make your children enjoy these outdoor activities fully warmer destinations in the Caribbean and Mediterranean are to be favored: their climate will be enjoyable by the whole family even well into the autumn months. In between stops in the balmy, exotic ports of call of Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia in the Caribbean, or Valencia, Palma and Naples in the Mediterranean, time spent on board will have a unique aura of excitement to it. And surely, sometimes, your kids will want to keep living the cruise life even when it’s time to get off board, no matter how stunning the destination.
But while kids are happy and just too busy playing, parents shouldn’t fear cruise loneliness: if you want to enjoy a bit of the action too, you’ll be able to attend a comedy show, listen to live music or even take dance classes. And as you catch up again with your kids just before dinner, you may as well want to reunite the whole family for a night in the ship’s cinema.
As you can see, nothing is impossible anymore on modern cruises: with reduced child prices often applying to children of up 16 to years of age, no cabin supplements and special prices for families, these dream holidays are just as real and accessible as they can get.
Amandine Laurent is a French traveler and full-time mum settled in the UK. She’s also a writer for travel companies such as Thomson.co.uk
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