Ocean cruises are one of the most overlooked holiday options for families, says travel consultant MAXINE LAWS.
With kids’ clubs, surf simulators, flying foxes, and a variety of onboard restaurants to choose from, not to mention exciting ports to visit, ocean cruises have a lot to offer families. They are certainly worth considering when you plan your next family adventure.
Most family cruises cater to babies from the age of six months right through to grandparents. Staying in cabins means everyone gets their own space. The beauty is unpacking once and having a place to return to for a rest whenever you need it. Parents can even make use of ‘pyjama club’, slumber parties where the kids sleep or rest in the evening with crew supervision while adults enjoy an evening meal in one of the restaurants.
Entertainment for kids has come a long way from the days of treasure hunts and crafting. Of course, these all-time favourite activities are still available, but so are DJ classes, gaming zones (sponsored by Xbox and Playstation), stop-motion movie workshops, and exclusive night clubs for teens. There are also build-a-bear workshops, STEM programmes, circus schools, Lego zones, and character parades for younger children’s enjoyment. In-cabin babysitting is also available.
There’s so much more choice than you can imagine. Kids’ Club programmes vary between cruise lines, but they’ll all have your children well entertained and supervised. Some cruise lines provide complimentary tracking wristbands for the kids, so parents know where they are at all times. Wristbands are also linked to muster stations, so you know the crew will reunite you with your child in the case of an emergency.
What else is onboard?
Well, of course, there are waterslides! Along with the other entertainment options, waterslides have progressed into impressive adrenaline-pumping experiences. There are exhilarating top-deck twisting dual slides that passengers can race down, surf simulators, water squirt blaster zones and waterslides so long and adventurous they’ve even been renamed ‘water coasters’.
Colourful interactive splash pads and shallow pools are also available for younger children, while jacuzzis are available for adults.
If the water park play doesn’t fill your whole day, how about visiting the ice rink or bumper cars? These are all real onboard activities available on larger cruise ships. Plus, for those with a head for heights, flying foxes, SkyRides and even the opportunity to ‘walk the plank’ are onboard. Of course, adults can have a go too!
Family cruises leave and return to various ports all over the world, including Auckland, and during the school holidays. You can even tour our own beautiful country from the sea. Cruises open up a world of fun, entertainment and leisure for a unique holiday that caters to all family members.