Por Katie Collins
Ahhh… holidays with young children. Those wonderful memories of those special early years - first steps in the sand, first ice-creams at sunset… But let's be honest, getting ready to go away isn't exactly a walk in the park.
Firstly, you literally have to pack up the whole house and try to fit it in a couple of suitcases. Then you have to deal with airport tantrums, being the couple with THAT SCREAMING BABY on the plane and the toddler who kicks the back of the seat in front. We have taken the stress out of the equation and take to water instead.
Friends may look at me like I am mad when I tell them we're off on another cruise. I guess to non-cruisers it may seem like an odd choice when you have young children. But to me, it's the perfect solution. Our eldest, who's 4 next March, has been on three cruises, our youngest (20 months) has been on two.
My husband and I fell for cruising just before we got married. Our second cruise and honeymoon took us to the El Caribe. When we had our first child, we presumed our cruising days were on hold. But when I looked into holiday options when our eldest was 14 months, I realised children are very much included in the cruising experience.
These are five of the reasons why we choose cruising as a family:
- Kids are well catered for
Anything from bottle warmers and sterilisers to baby baths - it's all taken care of if you put in the request either when you book or are on board. Baby food is also supplied and children are more than welcome during the evening meal.
There are children's clubs full of toys, soft play equipment, and family movies. There's a crèche and kid's club and numerous swimming pools on board for potty trained toddlers.
- Stress-free Travel
Imagine hopping on the train for a few hours and straight on to a luxury cruise liner? Each time we cruise with children we head to our nearest port - Southampton - and step straight on board. No plane delays, no airport stress, the holiday can begin right away.
- Staff friendliness
That extra scoop of ice-cream at dinner, adoring smiles when you walk around the ship with the little ones, peek-a-boo with the stateroom attendant - the staff on board can't do enough when you take children on board. That makes for such a special experience and a memorable family holiday.
- And relax…
So what about mum and dad? When I am on board I make the most of a few hours to myself while my husband babysits - a trip to the cinema, a luxurious deep tissue massage, a glass of fizz by the pool (maybe with snow-capped mountain as your view), or even something as simple as breakfast on the stateroom balcony. There’s simply nothing better than enjoying a steaming cup of coffee, a pastry, the sound of the waves beneath you and a grinning toddler at the glass door - watching mummy and also watching the world go by…