When people become parents they don’t automatically lose their love of luxurious holidays. High end cruise lines have taken note and are catering to families better than ever before, appealing to parents who want to try luxury cruising with their kids. However travelling with children on a luxury ship is no holiday if you don’t feel comfortable while on board. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure your trip is memorable for all the right reasons.
Contrary to popular belief, many high end lines offer excellent children’s programs although these are seldom heavily promoted. This is a major advantage of luxury cruising with children. With fewer families on board, there is less chance your own holiday will be spoiled by hoards of rowdy kids. While many parents prefer to avoid school holiday sailings due to the amount of children on board, they can be an ideal choice when you are travelling on a luxury ship. Crystal Cruises offer an excellent albeit limited children’s program with a number of 2-3 hour sessions per day. However, during school holidays the on-board program for youngsters is far more extensive.
One of the main concerns for parents considering sailing on a high end line is the dining arrangements. However, luxury cruising is all about flexibility. Some lines such as Cunard and Celebrity offer a supervised children’s teatime so parents can dine in the formal dining room. Cunard is especially well suited to those travelling with a baby as there is a night nursery for children aged 12 months and above. If you prefer dining as a family, consider having the children’s meals served first so they can eat with you then join their friends at the kid’s club. Few children are fond of long mealtimes and your fellow passengers probably won’t be either if you insist your children stay for the entire meal.
That said, some of the specialty dining options on luxury ships are surprisingly family friendly. Signature restaurants such as teppanyaki or ‘novelty‘ concept restaurants like Celebrity Cruise Line’s Qsine are ideally suited to children who love the delicious food and sense of theatre. While youngsters are made welcome there are a few things to be mindful of. Even though children as young as nine can sign themselves out of the kid’s club on some ships this is seldom appreciated by other passengers.
If you are travelling on a high end line it can be wise to withhold sign out privileges until your child is older. Enjoying some family-friendly fun on port days is an ideal way for children to let off steam. Making your own arrangements generally works better than joining the ship’s shore excursions as these tend to be aimed at older adults. Here is one final yet very important tip. It might sound old fashioned but good manners go a long way when you are sailing on a luxury line. Your child’s courtesy will be noticed and appreciated by everyone onboard.
Disclosure: The writer has cruised as a guest of Celebrity Cruises. She paid for her meal at Qsine.