10 Top Tips for a Family Cruise Holiday

Croatia: Dalmation Coast

Croatia's Dalmation Coast

Cruising holidays are becoming increasing popular among families who are looking for different holidays. A rising number of family-friendly cruise ships are equipped with amenities and facilities that appeal to both kids and adults.

Here's our top tips on how to plan your family cruise holiday.

1. Choose the destination

Some cruise lines include ports of call where you can disembark and enjoy some time on land. Make sure you check the itinerary for your cruise ship and know where you'll be stopping. Pick a cruise that will

2. Choose the cruise length

All cruise lines offer cruises of varying length and prices. The cruise length depends on your budget. Most first time cruisers prefer a short trip of three to four nights long to get a glimpse for what cruise may be like.

The length of the cruise will also vary depending on the ship's size, the amount of activities and amenities offered on board and the overall ambience of the ship. Larger ships tend to have more amenities and entertainment options than smaller ships. Many family holidaymakers find a week-long cruise to be ideal. If your family want to enjoy a relaxed vacation with lots of fun, don't try to schedule a week's worth of activities into a short itinerary.

3. Book early

Book as early as possible because the number of family-friendly suites available on cruise holidays are limited and they sell out quickly during school and summer holidays.

4. Find the perfect family accommodation

Decide if one cabin is sufficient to accommodate your entire family or you need adjoining cabins. Some cruise lines tailor-made their cabins for families, with a curtain or partition which can be drawn to separate the sleeping area from the living area. Shop around to find the cruise that suits your budget.

5. Peruse the child-friendly facilities and entertainment

Whether you're travelling with babies or teens, you need to find the perfect ship to suit for family. Cruise ships in terms of facilities and entertainment offered on board.

Most cruise lines offer a wide range of activities for kids of all ages. Some kid's clubs are staffed by trained child care professionals almost round the clock. These clubs offer activities ranging from babysitting to structured group activities such as sports and games. There are also a range of options for older kids, including rock-climbing walls, ice-skating, outdoor sports courts and late-night snacks.

You may find more attractive activities such as miniature golf, bowling alleys, waterparks with slides, bumper cars and surfing simulators on some larger cruise ships. Family can also enjoy watching movies together under the stars on the deck.

6. Look into adult-only kid-free zones

With the growth in family market in recent years, cruise ships are paying more attention to activities and quiet areas that appeal to adults. These usually include age restricted adult-only activities and services such as the spa, fine dining restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casino. Some ships also offer hangout spots like a reserved deck area where adults can chill out on the lounge chairs.

Mexican dish

Mexican dish

7. Dining options and timing

Cruise ships are adjusting their dining times and show times to accommodate families. Kid-friendly menus are served in various dining venues on board.

If you, or anyone else in your party has any dietary requests, make sure you inform the cruise liner at the time of booking.

8. What to pack

Pack according to your destination and the weather. Bring a sweater or jacket as it can get cold during the night as well as a selection of t-shirts, shorts, casual skirts, jeans, polo shirts and sportswear for day activities. Don't forget swimsuits, bathing suits, water shoes, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, bug spray and camera and wear comfortable walking shoes if your family plan to go sightseeing at ports of call.

While the dress code during the day is casual, you'll need formal clothes or smart casual for evening meals in the main dining room. No t-shirts, shorts and flip flops are allowed in the main dining room, even for children.

9. Find out what's included in the price

Most expenses such as lodging, meals, activities and entertainment are usually included. However, you may need to pay additional charges for extras like shore excursions and alternative dining.

10. Save money on board

There are several ways to save money on board. If you're familiar with the port, why not go for a self-guided walking tour rather than sign up for one of the organised tours. Before departure, visit the websites or library to check out materials on your ports of call. Write or email the tourist boards for free maps and calendars of events.

The main dining room meals offer ample choices of courses and desserts that are free. Do not be tempted by the speciality options such as ordering an alcoholic drink to go with your dinner. The prices of spa and salon treatments on board can be very expensive, so check out the daily schedule of your ship for discounts that are available on certain time or day.

Some fitness classes such as yoga and Pilates incur extra charges, so avoid paying for the extras by going swimming or playing golf with your children. Make sure you pack enough clothes for the cruise in order to avoid paying for laundry charges.

Cruising offers the perfect holiday for your family, so take the time to find the right cruise for your family. Select the cruise ship that matches your family's budget and needs and you will have booked the perfect holiday for you and your kids.


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