With our 2020 summer holidays hanging in the balance, we’re putting even more thought into how to make 2021 family holidays the best ones yet. Here’s our A to Z of cruising with kids, with every letter of the alphabet offering another reason why your next family holiday should be at sea!
A is for ADRENALINE From skydiving, surfing and rock climbing on ships in Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class, to walking the plank and negotiating the largest ever ropes course at sea on board Norwegian Escape; teen adrenaline junkies are guaranteed to be right in their element.
B is for BURGERS Wagyu Beef Burgers in Norwegian Cruise Line’s Cagney’s Steakhouse, Marco Pierre White’s Laverstoke Park Smoked Wild Boar Burger in P&O Cruises’ Ocean Grill, or The Original from 1950s style Royal Caribbean institution Johnny Rockets; however the kids like their burgers, they’ll find plenty to get their teeth into at sea.
C is for COOKERY SCHOOLS Make the summer holidays the time they finally learn to throw together a meal, thanks to cookery schools at sea. You’ll find kid’s cookery schools aboard many cruise ships, including Princess Cruises’ Jr.Chef@Sea programme, P&O Cruises’ Cookery Club and Royal Caribbean’s Chefmakers Cooking Academy.
D is for DANCE CLASSES Whether they prefer hip hop, street dance or that unique running-in-circles dance that little boys do at discos, they’ll have the opportunity to brush up on their skills whilst on board.
E is for EXCURSIONS If you thought excursions were all about architecture and art, think again! From whale spotting in Alaska to 4 x 4 safaris in the Mediterranean, football stadium tours in Barcelona to high speed boating adventures in the Caribbean; cruise excursions are anything but boring.
F is for FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD! Keeping the whole family happy at dinner time is a mission in itself, never mind when you add in the cost of them all fancying something different. Shun the extra spending; a family cruise promises all kinds of cuisine and you’ll find something to suit all tastes on board. Buffets, poolside grills, a la carte, oriental influences, pizza by the slice, gelato and ice cream on tap…the list goes on!
G is for THE GREAT OUTDOORS With kids spending more time than ever glued to the latest computer game, a full week of days spent on the beach, exploring rainforests, discovering cities and seeing the world’s most exciting sights isn’t something to be sniffed at. The fact that you can do all this in a single holiday makes it even more exciting.
H is for HISTORY School’s out for summer but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage some extra education on your travels. Seeing the sights they learned about in class, appearing right there in front of them, will grab the attention of even the most reluctant learner.
I is for ICE CREAM AND CUPCAKES Everyone knows you’re never too old for ice cream and cupcakes, and even the grown-ups may have to hide their excitement at realising you can decorate your own on board!
J –is for JAMIE’S ITALIAN Remember that retro red View-Master that clicked to a new slide at the press of a button? That’s exactly what the kids will use to see the menu at Jamie’s Italian, on board Royal Caribbean’s Oasis and Quantum – class ships. There’s a ‘Shake-me Salad’ and ‘Happy Chicken Lollipops’ on the menu, plus piles of good grub for older eaters with mammoth appetites.
K is for KIDS CLUBS Family-friendly cruise lines go all out when it comes to kids clubs, with age-specific groups and activities for ages 2 through to 17 in most cases. Banish the word ‘bored’ from the kids’ vocabulary and prepare your bikini; child-free afternoons are only a signature away!
L is for LATE NIGHTS Late nights mean many things on a family cruise; late nights catching up as a family with dinner and a Broadway show, late nights just for grown-ups whilst little ones are looked after in the nursery and late nights spent watching the ocean whilst live bands perform on deck.
M is for MOCKTAILS When the cocktails are this good, it seems only fair to let the kids have their own version. Luckily, the only intoxication you need worry about is the sea air.
N is for NIGHTCLUBS Nothing cramps a teen’s style like dad throwing shapes on the dancefloor. Luckily, embarrassing parents are nowhere in sight when it comes to teen-only party nights, with cruise lines such as Princess Cruises even opening up a designated teen zone for pool parties too.
O is for OUTDOOR CINEMA A movie night on board is a movie night with a difference, especially when your viewing takes place beneath the stars. Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean all feature a gigantic outdoor screen suspended above the pool. Warm popcorn, blankets and chilled drinks come as standard.
P is for POOL PARTIES When teens grow tired of games rooms and action-packed activities, they can head to their dedicated teen pool deck to make the most of the sun. Here, entertainment leaders are on hand to make sure the party doesn’t stop until the sun goes down (or sometimes even later), with pool games, food and drinks, and plenty of music!
Q is for QUEASY If you’re worried that seasickness will lead to a stateroom full of poorly kids, don’t be; it affects just a small proportion of those who cruise and there are medicines available to ward it off. Modern cruise ships are built with enormous stabilisers, so you can usually expect a smooth sailing.
R is for ROBOTIC BARTENDERS Some innovations are a novelty but others never get old. The Bionic Bar on board Royal Caribbean’s Oasis and Quantum-class ships features two robotic bartenders, who will mix your chosen drink in a matter of seconds. The mechanical mixologists create non-alcoholic cocktails too, so the kids can get in on the action.
S is for SKATING Roller blading and ice skating are a great laugh for all ages, and you will find both on board several family cruise ships. A huge floating ice rink in the middle of the ocean? Why not!
T is for TURNTABLES If your teenager is rarely spotted without music blaring through their earphones, they’ll be in their element on a family cruise. Turntables are everywhere, from teen-only parties to DJ classes and DJ’s suspended overhead while the kids go wild on the dodgems below.
U is for UNDERWATER Regardless of age, the sights that come with snorkelling never cease to amaze. Where can the kids get an early introduction to the underwater world better than in the Caribbean or along the Great Barrier Reef? Endless excursions will take you to the best spots.
V is for VFP’S (Very Familiar Passengers) Youngsters will spot some very familiar faces whilst on board, from Dora the Explorer to the Penguins of Madagascar and more. Breakfast with their favourite characters will get mornings off to a flying start!
W is for WANDERLUST You’re never too young to develop your sense of wanderlust and a family cruise is the best way to show the kids the world from a young age. Why spend countless days in the same resort, when you could visit multiple destinations in a single holiday?
X is for XBOX Prising today’s teens away from their computer games is a mission itself, even with the promise of a week in the sun. Luckily, many of today’s cruise ships feature games rooms jam-packed with the latest consoles. There’s internet too, so they can slip on their headset and talk to their mates at home, albeit with a sunnier background than their usual bedroom walls.
Y is for YOUTUBE The launch of Royal Caribbean’s latest ships saw hordes of teenage girls searching high and low for YouTube superstars Alfie Deyes, Jim Chapman and Zoe London, who had come aboard for the launch celebrations. If your own teenagers are reluctant to cruise, show them the YouTube videos and they’ll be clambering to get on board.
Z is for ZIP LINES Daredevils can zip line high above the decks on board Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships and you’ll also find excursions offering zip lines through the rainforests of Belize, Cozumel and more. It’ll make for quite the story when