As much as we love our time onboard, organising a family holiday can be tricky – not least because we want to be certain we’re giving everyone a trip they’ll enjoy. Little ones want to keep their minds and bodies active, Mum and Dad are hoping to immerse themselves in fine dining, culture and a spa day or two, and the grandparents want to catch a nap in the sun without being disturbed. With so many dynamics in play, it’s good to know that over the last few years, so-called multi-generational cruises have been on the rise and should definitely form part of your holiday plans.

On conventional family holidays, there can often be a bit of friction involved when choosing the daily activity. Maybe the kids just aren’t that into three hours of slowly exploring the city museum, or Nan and Grandpa aren’t quite as fond of the idea of running around the theme park all day under the hot sun. Cruise ships are precisely designed to meet the individuality of everyone who chooses to sail with them. So if you’re about to set sail, take a look through our guide to see which activities are available for all the loved ones in your family.

Little ones under 13

Cruise ships aren’t just for retirees anymore – they’re also chock-full of child-friendly amenities and activities. Kids’ Clubs can be found on most modern cruise ships and are great chance for little ones to make new friends and learn new skills. All six ships in the Marella Cruises fleet have a kids’ club onboard, with fun activities for all ages including storytelling, discos and games. Kids will even have a chance to meet the cruise lines’ mascot, Thomson the Dog. On the new ships, Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2, young cruisers can visit the Splash Live Interactive show or have a go on the climbing wall.

Food-wise cruise ships offer a huge range of options, from fine dining to burgers and chips. Modern cruise ships host restaurant options that’ll give everyone something to smile about. Even the fussiest of eaters will get something to snack on during the day, complete with a filling round of pizzas and fizzy drinks in the evening.

Teens

Teens have reached that interesting stage in life where they no longer want to be called kids, but they still don’t want to hang out with the adults. To keep your high school aged children happy, book a holiday onboard a teen friendly cruise, such as one with their own lounge or exclusive chill out zone. Cunard is one cruise line that knows exactly what teens are looking for. Their Teen Zone is for ages 13-17 and offers tons of activities for this age group, including table-tennis tournaments, deck sports, competitions, pizza parties, discos and fun quizzes. Cruising for teens doesn’t have to be stressful, just give them their space and let them know the schedule for the day so they can be in charge of their own free time.

Young adults

If there are any 18-20 year olds travelling with you, you don’t need to worry about keeping them entertained. Modern cruise ships were made for this age range, featuring health and beauty spas with endless treatment options and excursions that include dolphin-watching, sea kayaking and mountain bike adventures. There are also a huge amount of cruise activities for young couples and adults to enjoy onboard, such as watching musicians and comedians in the live lounge bars.

Parents

Now that the kids are sorted it’s time to make the parents happy. The safe environment and community atmosphere onboard cruise ships means it’s perfectly fine to introduce toddlers to the all day creche, let the teens into the social club to meet their peers over a few videogames and pop off to see that matinee movie you’ve had your eye on since leaving the home port. You’ll get plenty of ‘me’ time without the children and can even have a romantic meal with your special someone. P&O Cruises offers a complimentary night nursery for parents with children aged six months to four years, which opens from 6pm to 2am. Put on your best dress or suit and hit the town – or cruise ship – with the one you love.

Grandparents

Do you know a grandparent who is a food connoisseur? More discerning diners are sure to delight in hearing that world class chefs are involved in many of the meals served onboard cruise ships. French flair, Italian flavour and sensational seafood all feature on many leading cruise ships, and that’s before we explore the all-American diners and distinctive flavours from the Far East. Older generations will have plenty to keep them occupied, including the chance to relive past adventures and show off their favourite places to the little ones, beaming with energy and brimming with curiosity. You can hang out in the adults-only floor, casinos or spend the evening playing bingo.

All the family

There’s something to be said for splitting up and enjoying separate activities on a cruise from time to time, as everyone gets to choose what they want to do. But the modern family doesn’t get to spend enough time together, and going on holiday is a great way to do just that. Princess Cruises offers great multi-generational programs, including Shark Week at Sea, parent-child scavenger hunts, trivia contests and karaoke. You can also have family movie night poolside, with a giant outdoor screen and an evening complete with blankets, popcorn, milk and cookies.

However your family likes to spend their time, rest assured you’re going to be making memories you’ll be laughing about for years to come. When you take the time to cruise together, you’re able to remind loved ones just how much they mean to you. Your next holiday on the seas could be right around the corner, so take a look at the range of family cruise deals we offer and get planning today.

* Terms & Conditions apply

We are acting as an agent on behalf of travel suppliers and your booking will be subject to the supplier’s terms and conditions. Prices may be subject to very limited availability and are correct as at the date and time of writing. Prices may go up or down from time to time. Prices quoted are for the dates, accommodation, board basis, departure points and number of persons sharing specified only and cannot be combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to amend any quotes given if there is a genuine error as soon as we become aware of it. We reserve the right to withdraw any offers without notice.