There is a common rhetoric suggesting that cruise holidays are only for the ‘newlyweds and nearly-deads’, citing shuffleboard and buffet lunches as the traditional main activities. However, recent years have seen all the major players in the cruise industry target families with increasing success – there are now amenities to appeal to all age groups.
Babies and Toddlers
Many cruise ships now offer comprehensive childcare and babysitting services, giving parents of babies and toddlers the opportunity to relax for a few hours at a time. Noted for their elegance, cruise ships afford parents the chance to enjoy each other’s company in a sophisticated restaurant or with a little room service – which may be difficult with a screaming child about.
P&O Cruises offer a babysitting service which allows parents to put baby to bed and then leave him or her with the qualified babysitting staff until any time up to 2am.
Take a look at the top deck of any Carnival Cruises ship and you’ll see a myriad of water slides twisting through one another. Paired with splash pools and water guns, these ships provide the perfect play centre for young kids who have no intention of sitting still and sunbathing with a good book.
With many ships offering up to one crewmember for every two guests, you can be guaranteed of a high level of supervision.
Traditionally the most difficult demographic to please, teenagers are enigmatic at best, tiresome at their worst. Cruise companies have realised their natural boundaries and borders are making them increasingly popular with the parents of teenagers who want to offer them a little freedom on holiday without fear they’ll skip town.
Eschewing the traditional holiday resort club for teens offering claustrophobic, condescending entertainment, many cruise companies offer the ship’s teen population their own space to enjoy in any way they see fit with their peers and new friends. Royal Caribbean’s newest ship Quantum of the Seas (see my review here) has a number of features which will appeal to the teen market including the iFly skydive simulator.
A 2011 report by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association discovered that the average age of cruise passengers was 50, planting them directly in between the traditional ages of newlyweds and nearly deads.
Plentiful dining options, varied excursion experiences and comprehensive amenities provide a relaxed holiday environment for holidaymakers who want to fully escape the 9-5 and recharge the batteries.
The growing trend of adventure and ‘experience’ holidays has seen cruise companies revamp their itineraries and shore excursions to accommodate this switch in demand. Cruise1st offers trips aboard the Celebrity Xpedition – a small sized ship circumnavigating the Galapagos Islands throughout the year, giving guests privileged trips to the locations which shaped Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution.
Cruise holidays are nowas likely to take in the Arctic Circle as they are the sandy beaches of the Caribbean.
Holidaying with the kids and the grandkids can be tiring at the best of times, so it is fortunate the majority of cruise ships provide plenty of opportunities to escape the stresses of family life. From private reading rooms to small card games rooms – major cruise ships are packed full of relaxing nooks and crannies to relax after a long day of applauding the grandkids’ cannonballs into the top deck pool.