Parents are usually faced with a dilemma for their annual family holidays: opting for a pleasurable parents' trip that includes a long-haul pampering beach resort - but then faced with jet-lagged and bored children; or something a little more adventurous and entertaining.
Last summer, we opted for a little more adventure and took to the luxury of Crystal Cruises with a week-long Italian tour between Rome and Venice on the Crystal Serenity.
With surprisingly spacious accommodation, along with plenty of food and entertainment for the children, accompanied with the joy of visiting many areas of the Italian coast without having to pack and unpack ever day, cruising is slowly ditching its grandparent’s-only stigma.
For families concerned about whether a young family will be catered for in such opulent surroundings, you’ll be proved quite wrong.
Book this holiday now with Crystal Cruises.
In comparison to a one-destination beach holiday, parents will love seeing new and various sights on a cruise.
Among the highlights of the Italian cruise is Sorrento in southern Italy; Taomina, a small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily; and across to Dubrovnik, a city on the Adriatic Sea coast of Croatia.
We eased into a daily routine of late breakfast followed by swimming and snoozing in the sun interspersed by the occasional shore stop for a late lunch and shopping. Effortless afternoons can be spent playing paddle tennis, watching a movie in the full-sized cinema, reading on the suite balcony or visiting the luxurious cruise spa.
If relaxation isn’t for the kids, Crystal adopts an all-inclusive policy that has a huge amount of activities to keep children entertained.
Kids' club: As well as exploring the various destinations that the ship stops at, kids will enjoy the Junior Activities program for ages 3-17 years which includes dedicated areas for both young children and teenagers, and children are supervised during their time here.
There’s also crafts, games consoles, a cinema room and a library full of books for the well-read.
For the more active children, there’s water polo, volleyball, relay races and mini Olympics, and for food-lovers, cookie and pizza making.
Tilly and Hal joined other children in the Junior Cruisers area most evenings too, where activities organisers offer a diverse selection of fun and educational games.
There’s also a babysitting service should parents want to enjoy a completely kids-free evening ondeck.
Food: Kids can enjoy the Junior Cruiser’s menu on board, which includes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with sweet-potato fries (much to the delight of Tilly and Hal). And if there are particular fussy eaters among you, chefs are happy to prepare custom dishes. Kids will love the options for food on this cruise ship, which includes, of course, delicious Italian icecream.
For mum and dad, the Italian Prego restaurant is a winner, as is the delicious Silk Road restaurant and sushi bar, which is overseen by Japanese master chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, infamous for his London Nobu restaurant.
To book: Crystal Cruises (020 7399 7601) offers a seven-night cruise between Rome and Barcelona with all-inclusive fly-cruise with British Airways. Departing 3 August, prices start at £2,541 per person.
For a shorter cruise, we recommend trying a cruise to Bruges with P&O Cruises.