The time of year has come again for the annual family holiday – Are cruises an affordable family holiday? I’m all for doing something different and encouraging the kids to enjoy experiences that are entirely new to them, but for one reason or another cruising just doesn’t ever cross my mind. Cruise holidays seem to have a reputation as being outdated and expensive – especially if you’re taking 3 or 4 little ones along for the ride with you.
Are cruises an affordable family holiday?
A little research however proves that a lot of my initial worries were unfounded. Many of us that grew up in the golden age of classic 80’s cruise ship entertainment and gourmet dining with the captain would actually be taken aback by just how much the industry has changed. There’s ample opportunity for you and the kids to take to the seas without spending a fortune, so here are just a couple of my top tips…
Choose a family-friendly cruise line
The vast majority of cruise lines and ships are now family-friendly, with the exception of the odd adults-only itinerary. For the ultimate child-friendly experience however, Thomson Cruises, Royal Caribbean and P&O Cruises all offer plenty of entertainment for the little ones both day and night, including mini discos, child-minding and crèche facilities and even specific kid-friendly swimming pools.
One of the best things about cruising as a family is that while yes, there are plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy, older generations are sure to take pleasure in coming along for the journey too. If the kids have grandparents or other relatives who have cruised before, it’s great to invite them along to show little ones the ropes. And even if you’re all a little inexperienced, there are very few holidays out there that offer quite so much to do for both young and old.
Shop around and compare the best deals
The cruising world is brimming with price-comparison websites that allow you to shop around for the best deals, while some go one step further by providing additional information on family-friendly cruising. The important thing to remember is that even if you’ve found the right itinerary for you, chances are that prices will vary across retailers and booking providers. Shop smart and you’ll be sure to bag yourself a bargain.
Make the most of cruising’s little perks
The cruise industry offers a wide range of perks, so it’s worth checking out what your chosen line can provide for you when booking. From great value soft drinks packages to deals that allow kids to dine for free, many large cruise lines are hoping to compete for a hold of the family market by offering these additional perks.
Sit back and enjoy the ride
The biggest draw of family cruising is the ability to get checked in on ship and immediately sit back and relax. With kids clubs and child-friendly dining options galore, much of the stress and guesswork of travelling with the family is removed, giving you more time to enjoy each other’s company as a result.