Cruise for a great family holiday

October 8, 2014 Off By Laura TMOT

James Froman writes regularly for a number of travel magazines and online publications to fund his own trip around Central Europe. He is currently working in Budapest.

With winter months drawing near, are you looking to do something different for your family holiday? Cruises offer year-round opportunities for bonding with your children in sunny destinations, with plenty of on-board activities that you can share. From team sports that everyone can join to kids clubs that let you chill by the pool for a while, here’s a look at what you can expect from a cruise.

Deck sports

On cruises to warmer climes like the Caribbean and Mediterranean Europe, everyone can get involved in deck sports. Families can enjoy a team game such as a football or table tennis and there are even golf courses on board where you can teach your kids how to perfect their swing! Splash and play in water parks, glide over skating rinks and join in with some surfing practice: pretty much any activity is possible at sea these days.

Play zone

Some cruise ships have play zone that offers a varied range of age-appropriate activities for kids, including arts and crafts, puzzles, books, story time, toys and computer games. As well as meeting and playing with children of their own age, the play zone is supervised by qualified staff, so parents can simply stretch out on poolside loungers or go to the fitness club for some time to themselves.

Fitness club

Most cruise ships have a gym so you can keep up your usual exercise regime while the kids are at the club, with sea views to boot! Tackle the treadmill or join one of the classes such as aerobics, yoga, Pilates and spinning. Personal trainers are also available if you’d rather build up your strength one-on-one.

Shopping

Whether you are window shopping or buying gifts for your friends, you’ll find boutiques that sell fashion, precious metals and fine gems, accessories, cosmetics and fragrances right on the ship. Onshore, ports of call like Tangier in Morocco and the Caribbean coast of Mexico have plenty of interesting bargains to be found, and kids will enjoy exploring colourful markets and quirky shops with you.

Lounges, bars and discos

Most cruises have diverse range of lounges, bars, clubs and discos to choose from. You can enjoy a drink while listening to live bands or watching some live entertainment. There are also family-friendly discos to hang out with your children.

Shows

If you’ve missed a West-end musical such as Cats and Chicago, you can still enjoy it on some cruise ships. Many on board cinemas also show the latest blockbuster movies, which you can often watch in the open air underneath the stars.

There’s a huge menu of activities and entertainment to find with modern cruise ships. From Royal Caribbean’s new North Star rides to Carnival’s creative programme of theatre and puppet shows, you can easily review what companies provide before you sail.

Image by Surya Buchwald, used under Creative Comms licence.