Is A Cruise Holiday A Good Idea For A Family With Young Children?

Liv Butler
Authored by Liv Butler
Posted: Monday, July 1, 2024 - 23:41

If you have young children and are thinking about your next family holiday, then you may have discounted cruising as an option. However, cruise holidays are, in fact, a great choice for families with young children. In this article, we will take a look at some of the information that you might want to consider about cruising with young children that may help you make a decision for you.

What age do children need to be to cruise?

While cruises make a great family holiday option, it is important to check with the cruise lines you are considering what their age restrictions for young children are. On a typical sailing, children under the age of 6 months are not permitted, and on some sailings, they also need to be over the age of 12 months. If you are considering one of the small, adventure-focused cruises, then you may find that their age policies exclude children younger than school age. 

It is also worth noting that, unlike other types of holidays, there are no discounted fares for younger children. This is because most cruise lines actually offer lower fares anyway because they make their money on board with things like speciality dining, drinks, and casinos—things you won’t be buying for young children. It is sometimes possible to find special discounts on children’s fares. MSC, for example, offers a good range of options. 

Is there plenty to keep young children busy?

Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian actively promote family cruises, and as a result, they offer a lot of activities onboard that are suitable for children of all ages. In general, you will find dance classes, swimming pools, Ping-Pong, mini-golf, basketball, and even video games onboard. Some cruise ships also offer a greater range of water-based entertainment and even activities like laser tag. Whilst many of these are geared towards entertaining slightly older children, kids’ clubs are a great solution for younger family members, offering everything from arts and crafts to scavenger hunts and in some cases, nurseries and soft play for toddlers. It is always best to check what will be running during your cruise because some cruise lines only run a full program during summer and holiday times. 

What sort of food is available onboard?

The good news is that in the main dining room on the biggest cruise ships you will almost certainly find a children’s menu that caters to the typical tastes of pasta, pizzas, and fish or chicken fingers. If you have children who are a little more adventurous, then there is often a good choice on the buffet to suit small, adventurous appetites. You will find ice cream and fruit in plentiful supply and plenty of breakfast options to suit all tastes as well. 

Many cruise lines will also offer half portions of the adult menu for those who are particularly adventurous in their culinary choices. With more and more awareness of dietary restrictions cruise lines are very adaptable when it comes to their catering. Just let them know of your dietary needs before embarkation. The chefs can often adapt dishes to your children’s needs.

Other considerations

Some other things that can make cruising with younger children enjoyable include portable cots onboard, plenty of films and TV suitable for younger viewers, babysitting services, and plenty of family-friendly excursions. Cruising is a great way to explore several places during your holiday. 

It is important to remember that young children must not be left unattended on a cruise ship. Different cruise lines may have different rules regarding the age at which your children can be unaccompanied, so make sure you are fully aware of these before sailing to ensure the safety of those onboard.


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