As National Cruise Week approaches are regular blogger Mrs ATWWAH ponders the greatness of a holiday that doesn't involve planes or luggage allowances
I never thought that I would ever go on a cruise, not least until I was collecting my pension. I've always thought they are for old people or those who like to eat a lot and that the ships smell of furniture polish and carpets, a bit like a city centre budget hotel, with entertainers warbling songs from the shows into the night.
But going on a cruise is what we did with Master ATWWAH at 8 months old. We sailed from Southampton on a rainy March day to the Canaries.
So, why the change of mind? The cruise was lucky young Master ATWWAH’s third holiday. The first was a soggy week in Devon, the second a sunnier week in the Canaries but with cramped flights and extra luggage allowance. So, after some persuasion from Mr ATWWAH (and I suspect, but can’t quite remember, some wine) we booked our first family cruise holiday.
Was I wrong? Well, there were lots of old people onboard, although when you travel out of season there is often an older age profile anyway. Baby boomers love a holiday. The opportunities to eat, – and the people tucking in – were vast, but we were pleasantly surprised to find the food was good. And although committing to a set dining time wasn’t ideal, it helped to set a routine for the young one - and this isn't the same on every cruise.
Travelling: Sailing from Southampton meant no flights which also meant no luggage allowance, and no jetlag. When you travel with babies it can be reassuring to know you can bring all your baby clobber. Mr ATWWAH insisted we took the steriliser, washing up bowl and liquid...
Activities: You can see lots of different places without the faff of moving hotels, and arriving at most ports is quite an event. On days 'at sea' there is lots to do for all ages and the older the kids the better in terms of the activities on offer.
Kids' Clubs: The kids' clubs are very entertaining and there was even a playroom for babies with singalong groups and a toy-lending library.
Accommodation: We booked a suite with balcony and the built in wardrobe was bigger than some hotel rooms I have stayed in.
Now Master ATWWAH is a bit older we are going to try a cruise again. We looked into a Greek island hopping trip on the ferries but decided we wanted to wait until he was old enough to help carry his own luggage, and hanging around ferry terminals three or four days out of our holiday wouldn’t be the most exciting way to spend our time while we’re still in the toddler years.
So, we have booked a Greek Islands cruise, one which has no formal dining or set times but goes to one of our favourite Greek islands, Mykonos, as well as a couple we’ve never been to before, including Santorini. We'll let you know how it goes, watch this space...
For more tips on travelling with a toddler, visit Denise's blog aroundtheworldwithahighchair.com