Cruises can be amazing holidays for children, and you may be familiar with cruise lines such as Disney and Royal Caribbean who offer some amazing facilities for children. But is luxury cruising suitable for children too? Well, that depends on which cruise line you choose.
These cruises are great for children…
When it comes to luxury family cruises, Hapag-Lloyd are simply the best, paying just as much attention to the wants and needs of children as they do to adults. Their two luxury cruise ships MS EUROPA and MS EUROPA 2 are ideally equipped for families.
Children under the age of 8-months are not permitted to travel on-board within Europe. For the rest of the world, children must be at least two years old. All family cruises are scheduled in line with the main holiday periods, with attractive price advantages for those cruising with little ones. Children up to and including 11 years travel for free when staying in a suite with one or two fully paying guardians. Children ages 12-15 pay £60/£70 per night when staying in a suite with one or two fully paying guardians.
On-board the MS EUROPA, children have their own on-shore programme, with special excursions for ages 4+. Back on-board, children and their supervisors can all eat together at the Lido Cafe where special children’s menus are offered. A baby-sitting service can be provided and, if you want to sleep in peace, staff can collect your youngsters at 8am for breakfast to give you a lie in!
MS EUROPA 2 offers the Knopf Club for children 2-3, Kid’s Club for those aged 4-10 and the Teen’s Club for those aged 11-15. On days at sea and upon request, there is a late-riser service for parents where your little ones are collected from 8am from your suite.
Staff also put together a free baby welcome package for you and your child (aged up to 3 years) including:
- Changing bag with baby care products, disposable changing mats and a baby bib
- Selection of branded nappies and wet wipes and a selection of baby food in jars and milk formula
- Facilities in the suite include a changing mat and baby monitor, travel cot, baby bath and toilet seat insert and a nappy bin
- Sterilisation of bottles and the warming of baby formula or food can be provided by suite service
Crystal Cruises tick all the boxes for families with children, with both ships offering children’s clubs for kids aged 3-17. Each ship has a dedicated play room on-board, with children free to come and go as they please. Children are supervised during activities with the Junior Activities Director, though children under the age of three must be supervised by a parent or guardian.
On sailings with the Junior Activities Programme, children can partake in a range of activities including:
- Scavenger Hunts
- Story Times and pyjama parties
- Pizza parties
- Teen karaoke
- Mini Olympics
- Pool games and paddle tennis
The main venue for children’s activities is Fantasia – offering games, crafts, popular Sony PlayStation® and Xbox 360™ kiosks, large-screen TVs, board games and personal computers. There is also a video arcade at Waves for teens aged 13-17. The Library also offers a selection of children’s’ books and videos for in-room viewing.
Kids of all ages can enjoy the special Junior Cruiser’s menu, with the culinary staff able to prepare custom dishes. The Trident Grill also serves complimentary hot dogs, burgers and pizza.
On all sailings an in-room baby-sitting service for children aged 1 year and older can be offered. This is on a first-come, first-serve basis with fees starting at $10 per hour for one child, $15 per hour for two children and $20 per hour for three children. The maximum number which can be supervised by one baby-sitter is three.
Children aged 11 or younger also only pay 50% of the minimum fare when accompanied by two full-fare paying adults. Crystal Symphony offers ten connecting staterooms and 89 staterooms with a third berth available. Crystal Serenity offers 50 connecting staterooms and 154 staterooms with a third berth avaialble.
These cruises could be okay for your family…
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Children must be at least one year old when boarding the cruise. Regent offers the Club Mariner Youth Program for children aged 5-17, including fun and interactive activities while sailing to a breadth of destinations.
Activities for the program include:
- Arts and crafts
- Meet the Captain
- Scavenger Hunts
- Board games and bingo
- Wacky Olympics
- Mini-putt tournaments
- Dance parties
- Movie nights
Children must be at least 6-months old at the day of sailing, with no care, entertainment or supervision of children offered.
However, guests travelling to Alaska can partake in the Alaska Explorer Youth Program. This is designed for children aged 5-12 and is supervised by experienced and enthusiastic youth counsellors. The program includes games, activities and Alaska-inspired special events.
These cruises are not recommended for children…
Azamara Club Cruises
Though Azamara accept guests of any age, they advise families sailing with children under the age of 18 that the on-board ambience and experience caters mainly to adults, and there are no activities for children or a baby-sitting service.
Seabourn refuses children aged 6-months or less at the time of sailing and certain transoceanic sailings also have limitations on children aged 12-months or less. Though families are able to travel on Seabourn, the cruise line dos not actively cater to young travellers and there are no facilities or programmes in place.
Silver Explorer and Silver Discoverer cannot accommodate children under the age of one, Silver Galapagos cannot accommodation children under the age of six and Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit cannot accommodate infants under the age of six-months.
There are no specialised programmes for children on-board Silversea and the cruise line does not promote activities, care or supervise children while on-board. Silversea also has limitations on their shore excursions for children up to the age of eight.
Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to sail on-board Viking Ocean ships. There are no programmes or activities catered to a younger audience, with more on-board facilities aimed at older couples, friends and family.
Booking a family cruise
When booking a cruise for your family, there’s a lot to consider, such as stateroom arrangements, activities, food, flights and transfers.
In order to make sure that everything’s covered, and that you get the best price possible for your cruise, we recommend that you call our Cruise Concierge team. Our experts will be happy to answer any questions that you have, and assist with every step of your booking. Just give us a call on 0808 202 6105 for award-winning assistance and advice with your booking.