Why A Family Cruise Is The New Beach Holiday
More and more families are trading their annual beach break for a cruise, but why? We spoke to three top travel bloggers who’ve been there, done that, to find out…
1. You don’t have to settle on one place
If you’re the kind of family that can’t agree on what to have for dinner, let alone where to spend your holiday, a cruise will be right up your street because it gives you the option to tick off several destinations in one hit. You can head off on organised excursions, and there are specific family-friendly trips to things like waterparks and aquariums. Or, you can explore at your own pace – your holiday is in your hands.
Author of family travel blog Globalmouse Travels, Nichola West, has been on several cruises with her partner and 3 children. “It’s wonderful to pull back the curtains each morning and find ourselves in a different location,” she says. “I like the mix of hectic days in port, being busy seeing the sights in each place, and then relaxed days at sea where all the food is catered for (and so good), kids are off having fun, and I actually get to read a book while relaxing – that’s unheard of on other holidays!”
2. There’s loads happening onboard
There are plenty of family activities to get stuck in to on a cruise, for the days when you’re at sea, or just don’t fancy setting foot on dry land. Thomson Majesty recently picked up the Best For Families Award at the Cruise Critic 2016 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, and all Thomson ships have a free Thomson Kids’ Club, so children aged 3 to 11 are well looked after. Plus, teenagers will have their own designated space onboard our newest ship, the Thomson Discovery, as of June.
Professional blogger and one quarter of family travel site Space In Your Case, Penny Alexander, is no stranger to cruising with her family. “We worried the children wouldn’t like the childcare, and I’ve always felt a bit guilty about the idea of childcare on holiday. My two absolutely loved it, though, and begged to go every spare minute we had on ship. This worked out brilliantly, as after a day of sightseeing we all had different ideas of what chilling out meant – I wanted a sunlounger, whereas they needed some toy time.”
3. The food is perfect for younger tastes
It’s a myth that dining on a cruise is strictly a formal affair. Of course you can get dressed up and make a night of it, but you can just as easily tuck in to a barbecue dinner on deck, or grab a casual burger and chips from the buffet.
All Thomson ships have buffet restaurants with lots of choice, so picky eaters are covered. On the other hand, it’s a chance for youngsters to try new foods and find new favourites, as the menu changes daily. Out With The Kids travel blogger, Jeff Bogle, recently set sail on his first cruise with his wife and daughters, and he was pleasantly surprised by the dining scene.
“Having never cruised before, I was most concerned about the food – I expected Vegas-style buffets of banal excess, but the offerings were fresh, diverse and inventive, and changed every day.”
Top Cruise Tips From Travel Bloggers
“Don’t feel you have to disembark at every port. Towards the end of our two weeks in the Med we decided a day in Rome followed by Florence was too much for our family – we’ll go back to Florence one day, but instead we enjoyed a very quiet day with the ship nearly to ourselves.” – Penny Alexander, Space In Your Case
“Take a leap of faith on a cruise. We love travelling and in most cases travel independently, but cruising really combined the best of both worlds – we could relax on board while the kids loved the kids’ clubs, and then when we reached a port we would travel to sites that interested us.” – Nichola West, Globalmouse Travels
“See it as a chance for the whole family to stretch their food palettes, because there’s no fear of wasting money on a dish you or they may not like. In a way, cruising should encourage culinary exploration, and for little kids this could be huge!” – Jeff Bogle, Out With The Kids