Family holidays stay with you forever, so you want them to be full of quality family time and of course lots of fun. A cruise holiday ticks all of the boxes; plenty of entertainment for the kids day and night, fun activities for the whole family to enjoy together and great childminding and crèche facilities giving you piece of mind when you need some time to relax. Many cruise lines are child-friendly and have their own childcare facilities on board. Plus there are some great offers that make cruising really great value for families, such as free child places and reduced 3rd and 4th passenger fares.
Family Activities: You'll find kids clubs and teen-only discos on most family cruise ships, but a family holiday is also about spending time together. We've rounded up the top activities for the whole family to enjoy on some of our favourite ships. To find out more visit Thomson Cruises, Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruises, MSC Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line for a run-down of facilities on board.
Kids Club: Children of all ages enjoy the kids club on board cruise ships. Not only are they full of fun activities, it's a great chance for them to make new friends and learn new skills, meaning boredom is never an issue and you get to enjoy some peace and quiet!
Family Dining: All family cruise ships have a wide variety of food on offer for the whole family. Many of the main restaurants have kids menus or early kids dinner sittings, and there are treats available throughout the ships from MSC Fantasia's pick 'n' mix to speciality ice cream parlours. On many ships, kids clubs host dinners throughout the week where youngsters can eat and socialise in the buffet restaurant.
Accommodation: Booking the perfect family stateroom on your cruise should not be stressful. All the main cruise lines have family staterooms available, in addition to spacious family suites, complete with living area and private balcony.
Thomson have taken their rave-review childcare facilities from their land-based family resorts to the high seas! All four ships in the Thomson Cruises fleet have a kids club on board. The Kidzone caters for children aged between 3 and 12 years-old and features activities including storytelling, discos and games. There's even the chance to meet Thomson the Dog! Teens will be kept content in the arcade, shooting hoops on the sports deck or playing on the latest games consoles.
Royal Caribbean’s fleet, especially Freedom, Oasis and the brand-new Quantum Class ships, have been specifically built with families in mind. From ice skating to surfing and skydiving, they’re packed full of fun innovations never before seen at sea. In addition to fantastic children’s facilities and teen-only zones there are flexible dining options and family staterooms and suites to suit families of all sizes.
If your family enjoys some friendly-competition then why not visit the Bliss Ultra Lounge Bowling Alley on board Norwegian Epic? If you're after something a bit more active then the outside climbing wall is great fun, with a number of levels available it's something that the whole family could enjoy. And finally, Norwegian Cruise Line has some of the best water zones out there complete with water slides and water guns. There's the Splash Academy club for kids and Entourage for teenagers that run late into the night to ensure youngsters are always entertained.
P&O Cruises has four family-friendly ships in its fleet: Aurora, Azura, Oceana and Ventura. All have The Reef kids club programme, available for those aged between 2 and 17 years-old. The Reef is divided into four age groups, each with its own dedicated staff and itinerary to ensure the children are entertained and occupied every time they visit. Age groups are: Splashers for 2 - 4 year-olds, Surfers for 5 - 8 year-olds, Scubas for 9 - 12 year-olds and H2O for 13 - 17 year-olds.