Travel and getting out to see the sights has always been a big part of family life, yet while my recent recap of the places we explored together in 2017 brought back lots of happy memories, I’m sure I’m not the only one looking at the year ahead and thinking how best to slot in the next big escape.
It’s been almost impossible to ignore the big marketing push for family cruise holidays over the last couple of years. I was surprised to find out they’re not only getting cheaper, but they’re also getting more varied in general – both in terms of passenger demographics and the destinations on offer.
Family cruising is undoubtedly capturing attention, with sites like CruiseDeals.co.uk reporting a 54% rise in visits to their family cruising page during the last quarter of 2017. Obviously Disney cruises and other specialised experiences are designed with the primary aim of drawing in younger crowds, but it’s incredible to see just how popular family cruising has become in such a short space of time.
CLIA’s State of the Industry Report 2018 promotes the idea of ‘skip-gen’ cruising – where grandparents and grandchildren take a cruise together, leaving mum and dad free to enjoy some much-needed time alone. It’s definitely an intriguing concept, and one that I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on.
Family-friendly cruise ships launching in 2018
Royal Caribbean is a famous name in the cruising world, and they tend to do things big. Set to begin its maiden voyage in April this year, Symphony of the Seas is almost a resort town on the open waves, complete with its own aquapark and slide. This impressive vessel will also host family-friendly live shows such as Hairspray, as well as more adrenaline-fuelled activities like rock climbing and ziplining.
If that all sounds a bit outlandish, Marella Cruises’ Marella Explorer might be a better fit. It’s a bit more traditional, but still boasts all the mod-cons needed to keep the whole family happy. What caught my eye was the range of creative things they offer alongside the more conventional live shows, swimming pool, cinema and family activities. The Atelier is a painters’ workshop where old and young alike can flex their creative muscles, although if the kids insist there are also playrooms packed to the rafters with the latest games consoles.
Have you ever been on a family cruise? Does it come recommended?