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How to Pick a Cruise For the Whole Family

Everyone knows that cruising is a family-friendly holiday but cruise ships are an increasingly popular option for multi-generational groups (30 per cent of P&O Cruises’ passengers are families). That’s because the best cruises have something for everyone – whether they’re six or 60. So how do you know if you’ve picked a ship that will suit all the family?


Keep the Kids Happy

It goes without saying that you need to choose a ship with plenty of kids’ activities but it’s important to understand that different ages have vastly different needs. (There’s even a big difference between tweens and the notoriously hard-to-please teens, for example.) On Royal Caribbean teens can train to be DJs, on Princess they can take hip-hop classes and on P&O they can try their hand at directing movies. There are racing car simulators on P&O Australia’s Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel which will keep a lot of kids (and their dads) entertained for hours. Some ships have a show-stopping attraction that will entertain just about everyone such as Carnival’s Green Thunder – the steepest waterslide at sea.


Put Dinner on the Table

While kids might be happy with the buffet – or poolside pizza – adults will want a range of dining styles (and different opening hours). Grandparents may want more traditional fare while younger adults might be more adventurous, looking for Asian eateries and restaurants with celebrity chefs, especially during a longer voyage. Older guests on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, for example, will enjoy the Chops Grille steakhouse and classic Italian trattoria Giovanni’s Table while the Japanese food at Izumi is likely to please younger adults and teens. Every ship will have a kids’ menu with all the usual favourites and most ships will have a burger joint or pizza restaurant to suit independent teens.


Get Sleeping Arrangements Sorted

There are myriad different cabin configurations on cruise ships so you’ll want to investigate how best to accommodate your family before booking. Do you need a bath for a little one, or space for a cot? Don’t assume that your cabin will have either. Connecting cabins can usually be arranged but with young children this could mean parents sleeping separately.


Look for Adults-Only Spaces

Family time is all well and good but the secret to a successful family holiday is ensuring that everyone gets their own time. Whether it’s a few hours playing backgammon or lounging in the on-board spa, you’ll want to make sure that everyone has a chance to have some “me time”. While cruising is exceptionally family-friendly, many lines have also ensured that this is not at the expense of adult relaxation by introducing adults-only pools, bars and shows. Carnival Cruises’ Australian-based ships Serenity and Legend have an award-winning adults-only area known as the Serenity Retreat at the aft of the ships with hammocks, double sun-loungers and a cocktail bar perfect for whiling away a few hours.


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