If cruising with your kids isn’t something you’ve considered when planning a vacation, then maybe it’s time for a rethink. Cruise lines have been updating, expanding, and prices are constantly becoming more competitive. This means that not only are they more affordable than ever, with last minute cruise deals and all-inclusive cruises like NCL Cruises and Holland America combining luxury and value, but they’re now becoming small floating cities.
Many cruise liners now have shops, cinemas, spas, gyms, pools, climbing walls — if you can imagine it, you can find it on a boat. With so many activities, no matter what age the kids are, there will be something to entertain them while you slip away for some spa time. Not only that, but with cruises from the UK becoming more popular, there’s no navigating busy airports and baggage regulations, no hotel check-out times, and no buses to catch. A cruise is perfect if you want to give up stressful travel itineraries, sit back, and just enjoy your holiday.
So when you’ve decided a cruise is the way to go, where should you visit? From theme parks to tropical paradises, here are five amazing options to inspire you — whether you’re a family of adventure junkies, beach bums, or a mixture of both.
FOR FAIRYTALE LOVERS: COPENHAGEN
If you want a magical holiday filled with fairy tales, castles, princes, and princesses, then Copenhagen is the perfect place for you to visit. The city itself was the home of The Little Mermaid’s original creator, writer Hans Christian Anderson. Smaller, luxury cruises will dock in the Nyhavn harbour so that you can enjoy the colourful parade of houses in all lights, from dawn to dusk. If you’re on a cruise from the UK, it’s the perfect place to head to if you want a shorter holiday and want to avoid flying.
If you’re a family of Shakespeare buffs, or even if you just love a good castle, make sure you take a day trip to Kronborg Castle — the inspiration for Hamlet. If you visit in summer, live performances of Hamlet take place all around the grounds and castle. Copenhagen has some exciting cruise itineraries too; from exploring the Baltics, to heading into the picturesque St Petersburg.
FOR A SLICE OF PARADISE: COSTA RICA
For a holiday that’s a little different, why not try Costa Rica? As a destination with stunning jungles and beaches, there are plenty of outdoor activities and the kind of weather to fully enjoy them. Whether you’re zip-lining through the canopy or relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of activities to keep you and your family occupied.
With a cruise, you don’t have to choose which beach to enjoy. Not only will you get to visit multiple locations along the stunning coastline, but if you fancy going a little deeper into the ocean, it’s the ideal location to learn to dive. It’s the perfect place for your children to learn about conservation, too, as your kids will be fascinated by seeing endangered animals in the wild, such as giant sea turtles and dolphins, or sloths and monkeys in the nature parks.
THE STYLISH OPTION: HONG KONG
One of the world’s most unique destinations, Hong Kong is the business hub of Asia; a built-up metropolis of skyscrapers, glass, and steel. And yet the majority of Hong Kong is still natural, as the city itself nestles in mountains and the island has a further 234 islands surrounding to it that belong to the same territory.
The second largest island, Lamma Island, with its giant Buddha accessible by cable car, is a must-visit day trip from the main island. If you want a totally kid-friendly day for the younger ones, then Hong Kong’s Disneyland is a must. If your kids are a little older, or if you and your partner are also thrill-seekers, then head to Ocean Park for rides that will keep even the most hardcore adrenaline addict happy.
Hong Kong has recently become the most expensive city in the world for expats and the most expensive city in Asia to stay for business, which means another perk of cruising there is saving on the expense of hotel rooms. If you can get a last minute cruise from the UK, you’ll save a lot of time and money by choosing not to fly.
THE CLASSIC FOR KIDS: ORLANDO, FLORIDA
If you haven’t yet treated your children to a Disneyland trip, a cruise is something well worth considering. Not only do cruises to Orlando usually include several days in a hotel, so you can take the time to fully enjoy Disneyland, but they then often cruise on to the Bahamas. This compromise means you don’t have to choose who to keep happy this holiday. You can wear out your kids on the rides, and then sail on to soak up some sun on a beach in a tropical paradise.
Mickey Mouse and his friends aren’t all that Orlando offers, either. You can also visit the Space Center and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, for more stomach-churning rides.
FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE ADVENTURE: THE ARCTIC
Do you prefer to go against the trend for holidays in the sun, and seek out colder destinations? Exploring the Arctic with your kids is a remarkable experience. Like Costa Rica, this unusual destination is also an educational adventure for your children, as they’ll get to see nature in a way they’ve never experienced it before. They’ll also see small communities and develop an appreciation for a completely different way of life.
Cruise companies running trips to the Arctic, such as Silversea or NCL Cruises, will keep your toes from freezing and keep you warm and cosy as you wake up to incredible iceberg views. With the Arctic, it’s not the destination but the journey that you go for, and there will be more than enough sights to keep your whole family amazed from start to finish. From penguins and polar bears to the Northern Lights, this could just be the trip of your family’s lifetime.