Over the past 20 years major cruise lines have gone to great lengths to ensure their ships offer plenty of fun and excitement for all ages – even the youngest members of the family.
Here we run through a few tips which will help you identify the perfect cruise for you and your young family.
Check the Age Limit
Most of the major cruise lines operate an age limit, meaning that new born babies are not permitted on board the ships. Many of these age limits are set at six months (or one year for longer, inter-continental cruises) so if your baby fits into this group, make sure you check the cruise line’s policy before booking.
No Need for Flying
UK cruise fans are fortunately well-positioned to be able to enjoy a huge number of services from these shores. The Port of Southampton is the world’s twelfth busiest and Europe’s third busiest cruise port – with some of the world’s biggest and most beautiful ships regularly calling at the UK’s south coast.
This means there’s a huge range of different cruise itineraries available right on our doorstep, and no more tears for babies when their ears pop on the plane.
Check Babysitting Services
All of the major cruise lines offer babysitting and childcare services. However, it may be prudent to identify how comprehensive these services are. A number of cruise lines offer on-board evening babysitting services and in-cabin services – so a nanny will come to your cabin and care for baby whilst you can go and enjoy an evening to yourselves.
Search for Empty Lounges
With thousands of people to annoy on board, it can be advisable to find empty or quiet lounges for babies to have a little crawl around. The huge range of different venues, bars and cafes aboard the major cruise lines means there is always somewhere where you and baby can enjoy a little peace and quiet away from the crowds.
Book a Balcony Room
The demand for private balconies has seen a huge shift in cruise ship design, with more cabins than ever perched over the sea. Balcony rooms give guests the chance to enjoy unspoiled private views over the beautiful seascape – but can offer even more for parents of babies and young children.
Putting baby down for a nap no longer means you have to diligently wait inside the cabin, watching TV and re-reading the one book you brought with you. With a balcony cabin, you can keep one eye on baby sleeping in the cabin whilst you enjoy the sea breeze through your hair, watching the world pass you by.
Specialist cruise agent, Cruise1st, reveals: “Our operators have found that many cruise fans feel as though they are missing a vital element of the cruise experience if they are not staying in a balcony cabin. Whilst balcony cabins can be more expensive than their interior counterparts – free upgrades are one of our most enduringly popular deals amongst new and existing passengers.”
Identify 24 Hour Buffets and Room Service
Undoubtedly one of the main benefits of major cruise ships is that you can eat at almost any hour of the day. Many buffets are open through the day and night, meaning it is possible to grab some milk or nibbles for baby whenever you need to. As well as keeping baby fed, room service is ideal if you are exhausted after a day of keeping baby happy and entertained, and simply cannot be bothered to dress up for dinner.