Family cruise holidays

Best 2017 Christmas cruises for families

Last updated 15th August 2017

For families wanting total relaxation and freedom from cooking for the Christmas season, a cruise is an ideal way to unwind together. Although they can seem pricey at first glance, most cruises include all of your food and entertainment, making it a great option for those who like spend up-front and then really relax and say ‘yes’ on holiday. All packages are based on a family of four.


Costa Luminosa Kids Club

1/9 Venice, Greece & Adriatic gems, £2,716

Flying from London, your holiday will begin by wandering the canals of Venice and enjoying gelato and gondola rides before heading to your slightly bigger boat! Guests aboard the Luminosa will cruise to Bari in Italy, Athens, the Croatian city of Split, the beautiful bay of Montenegro and more European destinations. At each port there are several shore excursions to choose from, so you can tailor your visit according to the ages and interests of your children. Aboard the Luminosa there are four restaurants and 11 bars in which to indulge, including a very popular ‘chocolate and coffee’ lounge. There are also four swimming pools, a kids’ club, a three-level theatre and huge dance floor.

What: Return flights from London, two nights in Venice plus seven nights’ full board on the Costa Luminosa

When: 21-30 December 2017

Where: Fly from London to Venice and return to London post-cruise

Price: £2716



2/9 Belgium and the Netherlands, £2,840

Stock up on festive chocs and hand-made lace gifts for friends and family on this five night break with P&O Cruises. Hop on at Southampton and enjoy a day at sea before exploring Belgium dressed up for Christmas. Visit Bruges’ Christmas markets and the next day wander through Amsterdam’s quaint streets and try out the beautiful ice-skating rink that makes the city a seasonal paradise. While at sea enjoy the facilities of the family friendly Oceana, including free children’s clubs for those age two-17, a night nursery and even dedicated early dining for children. Don’t forget to book one of P&O’s special excursions to ensure the whole family has a magical time.

What: Five nights’ all inclusive accommodation on the Oceana

When: 29 December 2017-3 January 2018

 Where: Departing and finishing in Southampton

Price: £2840



Pepper robot!

3/9 Christmas Med Cruise, £3,000

Jet from London to Italy before departing on a voyage around the Mediterranean with the stunning Costa Diadema. Take in the beauty of French Provence, soak in the romantic vibes of Sardinia and relish the cultural side of Rome as you cruise around Europe. Perfect for Italian-mad families, there is endless pizza, Prosecco and gelato on board and a promenade reminiscent of an Italian seaside terrazzo. There is a bustling children’s activity programme for kids aged three-11 with a fairytale castle and pirate ship themed play area, as well as a children’s swimming pool. Activities include ice cream parties, face painting and arts and crafts to name just a few.

What: Return flights from London to Savona, plus 7 nights’ full board accommodation on the Costa Diadema

When: 22-29 December 2017

Where: Fly from London to Savona and return to London post-cruise

Price: £3000



4/9 Baltic Christmas Markets, £3,326

Perfect for families who like to be on the go, this cruise from Southampton stops in four different European hubs where guests can soak up the festive atmosphere at some of the most spectacular Christmas markets in the world. When you’re not poring over gingerbread houses and mulled wine, take advantage of the family friendly facilities on board the Aurora. Sports courts, swimming pools and a gym will keep active members of the family busy while children can play in the kids’ clubs or chill out with a latest release in the cinema. 24/7 room service comes as standard, so you can really kick back and relax over the Christmas season.

What: Ten nights’ all inclusive accommodation on board the Aurora

When: 19-29 December 2017

Where: Departing and finishing at Southampton

Price: £3326



5/9 Canary Islands Cruise, £3,578

For those desperate for some sunshine in the winter months, this cruise from Pullmantur will surely tick your boxes. As well as Tenerife and Lanzarote, guests on board the Horizon will have the opportunity to explore Agadir in Morocco, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. 80% of the ship’s cabins enjoy an ocean view and families can take advantage of the kids’ club, games arcade and the Grand Show Lounge with appearances from magicians, comedians, live music acts and dancers. This deal includes a Christmas bonus of free all inclusive drinks so you can kick off the festive season in style!

What: Return flights from London to Tenerife plus seven nights’ all inclusive accommodation on the Horizon cruise liner

When: 21-28 December 2017

Where: Fly from London to Tenerife and return to London post-cruise

Price: £3578


Queen Victoria cruise ship

6/9 Roundtrip Southampton, £4,680

Climb aboard the family favourite of the Queen Victoria with its fantastic kids’ programme and child friendly dining. Young guests can enjoy games, discos, crafts and quizzes on board, as well as a special children’s buffet tea each day in the Lido restaurant. The Play Zone offers a colourful supervised environment with games, an outdoor play area and crafts. Treasure hunts and face painting are also organised by the enthusiastic staff. There is also a Teen Zone with a large lounge area, sports competitions and video games. Adults can look forward to stopping in several countries with ports of call at Zeebrugge, Amsterdam and Cherbourg.

What: Five nights’ all inclusive accommodation on board the Queen Victoria

When: 29 December 2017-4 January 2018

Where: Departing and arriving in Southampton

Price: £4680



MSC Meraviglia

Ivan Sarfatti/ MSC Rights

7/9 Spain to Malta, £5,476

Guests on board the MSC Meraviglia can look forward to exploring no fewer than six of Europe’s cultural capitals with trips to Marseille; Genoa; Cititavecchia; Palermo; Tunis and Barcelona. A large outdoor water park will be the centre of attention for younger guests, as well as the indoor amusement park. When the ship is docked explore the quirky architecture of Barcelona, visit the Genoa aquarium and check out Palermo’s puppet show theatre.

What: Return flights from London plus 7 nights’ full board on the MSC Meraviglia

When: 22-29 December 2017

Where: Fly from London to Barcelona and return to London post-cruise

Price: £5476


norwegian spirit

8/9 Festive Canaries & Barcelona, £6,120

Starting with a couple of nights in the vibrant city of Barcelona, guests can take advantage of the city’s culture, markets and famous architecture as well as the local beach for kids. Leaving port, guests will be whisked to romantic destinations such as Valencia, Casablanca and Malaga. Enjoy the guaranteed sunshine in Lanzarote and Tenerife and take the family to one of the famous waterparks or simply unwind on the golden sands. The Norwegian Spirit has been voted as excellent value for money, with French, Asian and Italian choices on offer among the 17 restaurants.

What: Return flights to Barcelona, two nights in a Barcelona hotel and 12 nights’ all inclusive accommodation on board the Norwegian Spirit

When: 21 December 2017-5 January 2018

Where: Fly from London to Barcelona and return to London post-cruise

Price: £6120


Ventura. Photo: P&O Cruises

9/9 New Year in Madeira, £6,716

Taking in some of the best sights in Europe, this two week cruise over Christmas and New Year is the perfect way to a stress-free holiday season. With all meals and snacks included, guests can sit back and enjoy the facilities of P&O’s Ventura ship. There are four swimming pools to choose from, twelve places to enjoy a family meal and a two-deck theatre. Free children’s clubs cater for kids aged two-17 and there’s even a night nursery so children under four can get a good sleep while parents enjoy the nightlife. There are also family focused shore excursions so that parents and children can get the best out of each port of call. Guests on this cruise will visit Lisbon, Tenerife and Madeira among others.

What: 14 nights’ full board accommodation on P&O’s Ventura, including all meals and snacks and complimentary access to the kids’ club.

When: 21 December  2017-4 January 2018

Where: Starting and finishing in Southampton, England

Price: £6716