8 Reasons This Mediterranean Cruise Is the Perfect Family Trip
Considering taking the kids on a European vacation? A cruise hits the sweet spot, combining culturally immersive experiences with kid-approved shipboard fun.
You can’t do better than a Mediterranean voyage with Princess Cruises. All the hard work that goes into planning a successful vacation is done for you, leaving you free to see the world with your family. There’s lots of flexibility, so it’s easy to find the right balance of family togetherness and independence.
Their popular Grand Western Mediterranean itinerary starts in Rome and ends in Barcelona or vice versa. Along the way, spend part of the day sightseeing in port. After, return to the ship for activities, entertainment or to simply to watch the twinkling stars from the ship’s deck. When you head back to your stateroom, the gentle waves will lull you to sleep. It never gets tiresome as you wake-up in a new destination each morning.
Princess Cruises operates a fleet of 17 ships, carrying two million guests each year to hundreds of ports around the globe. I recently sailed aboard the newly refreshed Crown Princess for 10 days and couldn’t have had a better vacation. Here’s why you’ll love cruising with your family Princess-style whether you’re on the ship or exploring the shores.
On the Shore
Visits to Iconic Ports of Call
Princess Cruises offers several popular Mediterranean itineraries. Exact ports of call vary but often include stops in Italy, the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, Montenegro, the Greek islands of Corfu or Santorini and Corsica and Toulon in France, before disembarking in Barcelona.
A Range of Shore Excursions for All
While in port, guests may choose to spend the day on board and enjoy the ship’s amenities. Adventurous families may want to consider the ship a sort of floating hotel, using it as a luxurious base to explore each port. Princess offers a wide range of shore excursions. An exclusive partnership with Discovery ensures memorable family-themed guided excursions.
If the adults want to enjoy the day in port without the kids, go right ahead. The onboard kid’s club, Camp Discovery, is open all day and will take excellent care of the kids.
Tours That Go Deep in Each Destination
Seeing the sites of the Mediterranean region first hand gives kids an experiential edge that goes way beyond classroom learning. Well-informed guides help you make the most of your time at each destination. In Italy, delve into the ancient civilization of Pompeii, step onto the otherworldly volcanic crater at Sicily’s Mount Etna or stroll the chic island of Capri with a refreshing gelato in hand.
Teen fans of the hit television series Game of Thrones will swoon over the Game of Throne Tour in Dubrovnik, as they visit the actual locations where the series was filmed.
Beach day excursions are a winning option. Book a seaside excursion in Greece, Croatia or Corsica; transportation, beach chairs and refreshments are provided. You’ll enjoy prime swimming spots where the entire family may frolic in the clear blue sea.
Families who are interested in the animal world may visit a turtle rescue center in Corsica. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the rolling hills in Corfu, Greece. For a highly personal experience, book an excursion that includes a meal in a private home and soak in the local customs, food and people.
On the Ship
The Crown Princess offers a wealth of options but these five things made our cruise extra special well onboard the ship.
Kids and pizza go together like Bert and Ernie. The Crown Princess offers many tempting dining options, but grabbing a slice of pizza should please the pint-sized members of your family. Enjoy a signature slice of Neapolitan-style pizza that has been voted “Best Pizza at Sea” by USA Today. Options include cheese, pepperoni and a rotating daily special. Gluten-free crust is available with a few minutes advance notice.
After a slice or two, head next door to the ice cream shop for a vanilla, chocolate or swirl cone, splashed with rainbow sprinkles.
If your family likes movies, the 300-square-foot LED poolside screen shows up to five screenings per day, including many titles perfect for kids. Grab a bag of still-warm popcorn, choose a lounge chair, cuddle under a cozy blanket and get set to view your favorite film.
If you’ve cruised before, you know that shipboard laundry service is very expensive. Princess offers money-saving washers, dryers and an assortment of laundry detergents. The self-service washer and dryer cost just a few dollars so you won’t have to fret about spills and stains.
Camp Discovery is designed to entertain young passengers. The staff is highly trained and puts genuine effort into creating a safe, fun and inclusive environment. Cruisers ages 3-17 can participate in complimentary daily programming.
Princess understands that children of different ages have diverse needs and interests, so the programs are age and developmentally appropriate.
The Tree House, complete with climbing equipment to encourage blossoming large motor skills, is for potty-trained children age 3-7. Kids between the ages of 8-12 will enjoy spending time at The Lodge, with its many games and art materials. Teens have an exclusive space, the Beach House, with activities such as dance classes and movie screenings.
In addition to a full schedule of daytime programming, parents who want an adults-only evening may take advantage of group “kidsitting” available until 1 am, for a small extra fee.
With the kids at Camp Discovery, take some time to pamper yourself at The Sanctuary. This adults-only oasis feels like a private hideaway. Get comfortable on a chaise longue, relax with a good book or snuggle with your sweetheart. The attentive staff will take care of your whims. Entrance is a bargain at $20 per half-day.