Category Archives: cruises

Why you should go on a family cruise

Why You Should Go on a Family Cruising Holiday

Why you should go on a family cruise

Don’t think for a second that cruise holidays are just for couples and older travellers. While a cruising holiday is perfect for both these groups, cruises are in fact one of the best ways for families to enjoy a holiday. If you’ve never been on a cruise, or are apprehensive about taking your children on one, don’t worry, we’ve compiled a few good reasons why a cruise should be your next family holiday.

It takes care of the travelling

Seeing multiple destinations is wonderful, but the logistics of corralling little ones across countries and on multiple flights can be overwhelming. That’s why taking a cruise is so good; it lets someone else sort out the transport! A cruise holiday by definition takes you to different locations, and you get to relax by the pool or unwind in the cabin while they do it. It’s like waking up in a new all-inclusive resort every day!
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They are jam packed with activities for kids

Most cruises boast a wide array of kids’ clubs, children’s activities and even in-cabin babysitting services. There is sure to be a world of entertainment to excite and (tire out!) your little ones. From fun activities for the whole family, to ones just for the kids that let you enjoy a cocktail at the bar, there are endless possibilities for fun.

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It lets you see different parts of the world with ease

While the Caribbean is the region many of us think about when we picture a quintessential cruise, there are in fact lots of options available. Take a cruise in the Mediterranean, sail the Black Sea, discover the Baltic, or even venture to the Arctic – it’s up to you!

You only have to unpack once

Taking a cruise lets you get comfortable. Your cabin will be your home for the duration, so you don’t need to worry about packing and repacking when you visit each stop on your itinery. Beyond a small day-bag you can leave everything you need in your cabin.

You’ll never get bored

Going on holiday is great, but after a week in the same location it is natural to get a little restless. This isn’t the case on a cruise, thanks to the fact that you’ll only spend a day or two at each stop-off. This keeps things interesting, and if you fall in love with a destination, you can always come back!

Images by Roderick Eime used under Creative Commons licence.

Planning A Family Cruise

Planning a family cruise

My husband and I spent our honeymoon on a 2 week cruise around Asia. It was his first time exploring the continent and we visited Japan, Thailand, China, Vietnam, and South Korea together. From partaking in a tea ceremony in Busan to touring Nagasaki, our honeymoon was filled with memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Kaya has yet to go on a cruise but is eager to. Whenever we drive to Ranong and go to the Andaman, there is a small boat we take over to Myanmar. She’s been used to going on this boat every few months and views it as the highlight of the trip. I’m not sure when we will end up taking her on a longer nautical journey but when we do, we plan on researching to the best of our abilities what cruise will be the most family friendly yet offers the unique, off the beaten trail destinations we crave.

 

Planning Your Cruise

If your family is looking to book a cruise in the near future, start by checking out CruiseAbout These cruise specialists offer advice on their blog and even offer last minute specials for cruises around the world. You can check out their destination guide  for unique ideas as to where a cruise could take you ( I personally have always wanted to go to Antarctica, no joke).

Preparing For The Trip

Although my daughter is now 6, I am still used to making sure she has everything she could possibly need to stay entertained on long journeys. We’re planning an international move at some point and even though I’m dreading the long flight, I’ve done this so many times before that I know what works and what doesn’t. If you’re flying internationally to hop on your cruise, make sure to bring lots of sticker books and movies to entertain wee ones on the plane. Booking red eye flights has also been a winning strategy for us and Kaya has always slept on the flight.

In case you or any member of your family gets motion sickness, there are a number of homeopathic and natural remedies ( such as ginger) to help you as you acclimate. Eat frequently throughout the day. If any of you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure to let your cruise advisor or travel agent know so they can confirm the ship can meet your requirements. We eat mostly vegetarian and had no problem with finding meat free options onboard.

Planning Day Trips

The highlight of the cruise was every time we booked a day trip or cultural excursion. Our tea ceremony in Busan for example was booked before we boarded the cruise. You can frequently check out what events are going on weeks before you board the ship and can even book that early, or you can wait until you are already on vacation to decide what your kids want to participate in.

Capturing Memories

Being a photographer, I’m a little bit mad at myself for not having invested in a better camera when we went on our honeymoon. The photos turned out fantastic, but now that I own a DSLR I would never take a point and shoot with me unless the cruise is super short or we’re headed to a rainy destination. Even then, I know how important it is to capture memories when I go on vacation with my family so next time around I will make sure to bring my Canon with me.

It’s important you find a camera that you enjoy using and that takes the best quality photos possible. An iphone can be great in a pinch ( and of course for Instagram!) but if you’re looking to step up your game I highly recommend investing in a DSLR, even if you shoot in auto.

All in all, cruises and families go well together. If you research and plan ahead of time, you’ll have a fantastic vacation with loads of photos to capture the memories you share with your little ones.

 

 

Cruising with the family: What entertainment can you expect?

Cruising with the family: What entertainment can you expect?

Cruising with the family: What entertainment can you expect?

Going on holiday with the family can be a mixed blessing at times. While it’s always great to have your nearest and dearest by your side, there are quite a few pitfalls to look out for. You want to make sure that the kids can have fun while you’re not bored witless. You want to ensure that everyone is safe and that there are enough things for you to do for the duration of your holiday.

Keeping everyone happy is usually the first thing on your mind when on a cruise, but how easy is it? Most cruises tend to be family-friendly nowadays, with bars and saunas for the adults and waterparks and arcade games for the kids. What you can expect to find on a cruise will vary from ship to ship, but some cruises have been tailored to families more than other passengers.

Cruising with the family: What entertainment can you expect?

On-board entertainment

Cruises from operators such as Disney are known to be the sort of thing families will love. What makes family-friendly cruises so alluring is that they tend to have such a long list of activities on board that it’s almost impossible for passengers to succumb to boredom, no matter how impatient they can get!

Usually, every cruise ship will at the very least have a swimming pool, if not two. There’s always a chance that there’ll be a waterpark complete with slides, diving boards and paddling pools for the toddlers. However, you do need to accompany any kids under the age of nine on some ships, but there are members of staff poolside to see that the kids are behaving themselves.

Nights in, nights out

On an evening, there’s usually an opportunity to see a spectacular stage show. Disney are one of a number of cruise lines providing such shows, putting plenty of work into them in order to keep adults and kids alike entertained. Also, some ships have on-board cinemas which show the latest Hollywood family blockbusters and a few timeless classics.

Away from the on-board theatres, there are places where you can sit to dinner as a family, ordering from a long and diverse menu which caters for all palates. Aside from that, you could play a few sports like tennis or crazy golf or spend some time in your cabin, kicking back with a DVD or watching what’s on TV.

Going onshore

To shake things up a little, it might be worthwhile going on a shore excursion. They usually take in sights such as major landmarks, beaches, islands and big cities like New York, London and Cairo. They can help to offer a change of pace if it’s needed, while they’re pretty safe too as you’re usually accompanied by a tour guide.

Cruising with the family: What entertainment can you expect?

Over ten years ago, we went on our honeymoon cruise throughout Asia. Learn what we would do differently, plus what to bring and what to leave behind.

Reflections on A Honeymoon Cruise or… What I’d do Differently

Over ten years ago, we went on our honeymoon cruise throughout Asia. Learn what we would do differently, plus what to bring and what to leave behind.

My husband and I have been married ten years, and looking back, Bangkok was where our lovely honeymoon cruise ended, and our love affair with Asia blossomed.

Rewind to July 23, 2006 rushing around trying to complete the invisible checklist of things to do before we leave for Beijing.  Our Honeymoon schedule was as follows –

  • 7 days in Beijing
  • Hop aboard xxxxx Cruiseliner for 17 nights of Asian exploration including stops in:  Busan, Korea; Shanghai; Nagasaki; Hong Kong; Singapore; Vietnam; Kuantan, Malaysia and ending in Bangkok
  • 5 Days in Bangkok
  • 2 Days in Phuket

That’s a lot of cities.  And while it was a totally amazing cruise experience and wonderful time spent with my soulmate, I wish someone had given me a few pointers on doing a multi-city cruise.  We ended our honeymoon nearly broke – financially and physically, sporting different luggage than we had left with, and sharing complete disdain for western style food.  Here are a few pointers we learned and wished it hadn’t been the hard way.

1.  Bring less luggage but more memory space

Things have changed in the past 7 years.  We were using a 2 MegaPixel Panasonic camera with a memory stick of 64 MB.  Billy thought ahead and purchased a second just before we left.  2 sticks, more than enough right?  WRONG!  Count those cities.  How many photo opportunities do you think there were?  We maxed our computer hard drive after the 7 days in Beijing!  It became a war over what programs needed to be deleted just to fit more pics.

And luggage?  We crammed everything we could into 2 medium sized bags.  Our collective thinking?  1 month!  Ahh!  We need 1 month’s worth of underwear and plenty of shirts and dresses and books and toiletries and yadda yadda yadda….  The reality?  We wore the same 4 outfits, had cheap laundering facilities, and more than enough to do without the books and added ‘relaxation’ materials.

Lesson for next time –  Clear the hard drive before you go by putting everything on an external.  Phone apps?  Delete the unnecessary!  Pack lighter than ever to leave room for acquiring cheap but beautiful memories from the places you come across.  Japanese bento box?  Sure!  Statue of Guan Yu?  No problem!  New wardrobe from Thailand for 10 dollars?  In you go!!!

2.  Spend more time in the cities, and less time on the boat

Our cruise offered excursions in and about the cities with each stop.  Our first few days, we took the full day options each time.  The Fish market, Korean tea ceremony at the women’s college, and city tour of Busan was one of our favorite.  The drive through Nagasaki countryside with lunch and exploration at a traditional Samurai village was stunning, especially the countryside.  But, as the days went on, we got a bit lazy.  In Hong Kong we tried going about by ourselves with some success – old tea shops, the moving walkway.  But, in Shanghai we got Shanghai-ed trying to buy a camera memory card and it left a stink over the rest of the day.  In Vietnam, we spent the day outside Ho Chi Min city because we didn’t bother reading about the lack of ANYTHING to do in the little port town/village/dock with dirt road to nowhere…

Lesson – You go for the experiences.  Make sure they happen.  Take the city excursions and pass on the Elephant Safaris/tourist traps.  If you know where to look, you’ll find some amazing gems and photo opportunities.

3.  Eat more of the local fare, less of the everyday cruise food

Generally, any established restaurant will offer some of the most delicious eats you can find.  Hong Kong?  Singapore?  I think we ate more than we shopped, explored, or snapped pics – combined!  Avoid the juice stands and bring your charcoal pills, but overall, the food found in Asia is unmatched, compared to their western world counterparts.  Our pepper crab by the 3 lakes in Beijing were so succulent that we ordered 2 more plates.  The Korean Kimchi in Busan was crisp and firey, but zesty and salty at the same.  And Singapore’s street food?  Forgetaboutit!  Climbing aboard that boat always had an extra hint of sadness.  But, that isn’t to say we didn’t have excellent food on deck.  I just wish we had more special events, and not dinner in a dining room amongst 200 other patrons.

Lesson – Eat the food but bring your digestives.  Spend the evenings alone, with candlelight and your daytimes rubbing elbows with the locals at popular eateries.

I hope when you choose to make a vacation one to remember, you keep a few of our tips in mind.  I know it would have saved us time, money, and most importantly – energy for each other and the wonders the world has to offer.