What are the best cruise ships for families?
A cruise may not be the obvious choice for families, but cruise-ship holidays are riding the crest of a wave right now. Record numbers of Brits took a cruise in 2017 and 2018, but why?
Cruising is awash with success thanks to the huge range of cruises available, specialised itineraries and unusual destinations on offer, as well as the more traditional, sun-soaked ports of call. Cruise holidays are also attracting a new type of traveller – families.
Some of the best family cruises by cruisedeals.co.uk now feature family-friendly ships, which have fun facilities catering for every age child, as well as parents in need of a relaxing break. If you’re looking to set sail on a family cruise in 2019, here are the top three ships for you.
Marella Dream, Marella Cruises
Marella Dream at a glance: 12 decks, nine bars, six restaurants, two pools.
Marella Cruises’ most family-oriented ship is Marella Dream. As well as endless entertainment for adults – casino, art gallery, spa, cocktail bar, shops, theatre, library and restaurants – the kids won’t be short of things to do either.
Marella Dream seems to have everything a tot, teen, and every child in between may want to do on holiday. And that it’s all onboard makes it amazingly easy for you, the parents, to relax and have a great time, knowing your kids are having a blast. The Kids’ Club caters for three to 12 year olds, there’s a stage school, dedicated kids pool, children’s menus in the restaurants and interconnecting or family-sized cabins.
The onshore excursions organised by Marella Dream are fabulous. Younger kids might be perfectly happy playing on the beach, while more independent children can take mountain bikes with them for speedy sightseeing. The whole family can swim with dolphins or visit waterparks and zoos. Marella Dream’s most popular itineraries include cruises to the Mediterranean, Canaries, North Africa and Middle East.
Britannia, P&O Cruises
Britannia at a glance: 15 decks, 13 bars, 13 restaurants, five pools.
Britain’s biggest ship and P&O’s newest is a floating five-star hotel, and a favourite with families. The Reef is Britannia’s dedicated kids zone, for under 18s only. Organised into four groups, age-specific activities help children to make friends and have fun with others their age. The ship even has a night nursery, so parents can have a child-free evening, to dine and dance until 2am.
Teens can sunbathe, meet friends and generally take it easy on their very own sun deck, complete with plunge pool. The whole family can make a splash together at the huge pool on the Lido deck, and little ones can play with water cannon at the kids splash zone or paddle in the shallow water between the two main pools.
If you’re a sporty family, head to the Arena for football, short tennis and even cricket. Keep an eye out for tournaments organised by the crew, and table tennis, darts and the state-of-the-art gym, which are also onboard. If all this sounds too much like hard work, book yourself into the spa for a well-deserved sauna or beauty treatment. Britannia cruises to the Norwegian Fjords, as well as the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and the the Iberian Peninsula.
Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruises
Symphony of the Seas at a glance: 18 decks, 42 bars, 22 restaurants, 24 pools.
Officially the largest cruise ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas does family adventure on an epic scale.
The list of extreme leisure facilities is enough to take your breath away. Unbelievably, all can be experienced onboard, whilst sailing towards your next heavenly destination. Check out the world’s tallest sea slide, white-knuckle water slides, splash park for kids, zip line, ice rink and climbing wall.
Symphony of the Seas organises its entertainment and leisure facilities into seven zones: Boardwalk for family time, Central Park for pavement cafes, designer boutiques at Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone if you’re feeling energetic, Entertainment Place has lively nightlife, Vitality at Sea Spa for relaxation, and last, but definitely not least, The Youth Zone. Fly from the UK to Miami to embark on your epic family cruise around the Caribbean.
It’s easy to lose sight of the main reason you’re sailing on these impressive vessels. Complete with dazzling entertainment venues, fabulous leisure facilities, child-friendly restaurants, plus four-star accommodation as a minimum, family cruise ships are a holiday in themselves. The fact that you wake up in some of the most spectacular cities and countries in the world will almost feel like a bonus.
Maybe that’s the reason so many families are choosing to cruise. We’re all short on time and these cruises roll several holidays into one. A week on Marella Dream, Britannia or Symphony of the Seas will feel like a month, and crucially, you’ll have spent it together.