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Why go?

With the comfortable option to go all-inclusive and enough entertainment leisure facilities to put Billy Butlin to shame, it's easy to see why cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors in the family travel industry.

Who is it good for? Cruise ships differ hugely in size and facilities but even some of the larger liners, such as Royal Caribbean's Allure of Seas, are built with families in mind, specifically those with children 3 years and up.

Activities

Along with the expected swimming pools, kids' clubs and live theatre shows, many cruise ships have expansive leisurefacilites. Think ice-rinks, mini golf courses, surf simulators and even zip wires that glide across the decks. Little ones will enjoy splashing in the paddling pools and making sand castles.

For parents, fully-catered childcare facilities are available until the early hours of the morning, meaning you can have a romantic meal together.

A cruise isn't just sailing on open seas, as liners, voyaging to the Mediterranean and Scandinavia, to Hawaii and the Caribbean, allow regular shore excursions. This land-time is a great way for kids to explore new countries and grab a brief snapshot of the world.

Food

As cruises are mostly all-inclusive (though drinks are extra) kids certainly won't go hungry. Along with the formal dining areas and restaurants there are snack stalls, ice-cream machines, hot-dogs and pizzas available all-day, everyday. So while cruising is certainly good for your pocket, it maybe less so for your waistline.

Useful links

Royal Caribbean www.royalcaribbean.co.uk

Princess Cruises www.princess.com

P&O Cruises www.pocruises.com

Norwegian Cruises www.ncl.co.uk