Fun for your crew

Our Cruise Director Sally Macmillan suggests some popular holidays that are filled with thrills for the kids, while also enjoyable for mum and dad.

Cruising is one of the most family-friendly holidays you can find; once you board the ship, all your accommodation, meals and entertainment are sorted out and there's an array of activities and clubs to keep children of all ages entertained, often included in the cost of your fare. That means hard-working parents have the chance to relax while the kids do their own thing for a few hours.

For an idea of what's on offer, particularly if you've never cruised before, here's a selection of the most popular ships and itineraries for families around Australia, the Caribbean and in Europe.

Some lines permit children from the age of six months. If you have school-age children, you'll probably be cruising in the summer holidays so book ahead, as there are limits on the number of under-18s allowed on board.

Facilities and activities vary from ship to ship - some have inter-connecting cabins, some have cabins with four bunks - but all offer amazing value for your holiday dollar.

ALLURE OF THE SEAS

Where Western and eastern Caribbean.

When Year-round from Florida.

What the kids will love Zip-lines; FlowRiders; Youth Zone; appearances by Shrek; age-appropriate Adventure Ocean programs; two 13-metre climbing walls; sports court; sports pool.

What mum and dad will love Central Park "neighbourhood" with real trees; Vitality Spa; more than 20 restaurants and bars including The Rising Tide; a two-deck, adults-only solarium with pool.

Advertisement

How much Seven-night Caribbean cruise departing Fort Lauderdale on April 6, 2014, quad share, costs from $975 a person.

More info royalcaribbean.com.au.

CARNIVAL SPIRIT

Where Australia and Pacific islands.

When Year-round from Sydney.

What the kids will love Green Thunder water slide and SplashZone; age-specific kids clubs from 12 months to 18 years; more than 40 daily activities; family comedy hour; sports court.

What mum and dad will love Carnival Spa; child-free Serenity deck; late-night babysitting facilities; 16 bars and lounges, Punchliner Comedy Club; 84 inter-connecting family cabins.

How much Eight-day Pacific island cruise, departing on February 23, costs from $4016 for a family of four in a balcony cabin.

More info carnival.com.au.

CELEBRITY SOLSTICE

Where Australia, Pacific islands, transpacific/Alaska.

When October 2013 to April 2014; May to October 2014.

What the kids will love iTake video projects for teenagers; Xbox-themed activities; age-appropriate clubs for three- to 18-year-olds; basketball court; two all-ages pools.

What mum and dad will love Adults-only lap pool in the Solarium; AquaSpa's relaxation room; the Lawn Club; a range of bars; eight dining venues.

How much Eight-night south Pacific cruise departing Sydney on April 3, 2014, costs from $5700 for a family of four (quad share).

More info celebritycruises.com.au.

MSC DIVINA

Where Caribbean from Miami.

When November to March 2014.

What the kids will love Age-appropriate clubs for three- to 17-year-olds; 4D cinema; aqua park and water slide; video arcade; sports court; bowling alley; Ferrari formula one racing car simulator.

What mum and dad will love Aurea Spa; bars with live music; Top 18 adults-only deck and pool; six restaurants; 18 bars; cafes and lounges.

How much Seven-night Caribbean cruises from $799 an adult (children under 18 cruise for free).

More info msccruises.com.au.

NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY

Where Bahamas and Bermuda.

When Year-round from New York.

What the kids will love Five multistorey water slides; The Plank; Splash Academy for kids age three to 12; Entourage adult-free space for teens.

What mum and dad will love 678 Ocean Place - three decks of bars, shopping and dining; live shows, including Rock of Ages.

How much Seven-night Bahamas cruise departing New York on December 1 costs from $3574 for two adults and two children (under 10) in a balcony cabin.

More info norwegiancruiseline.com.au.

PACIFIC JEWEL

Where Australia and Pacific islands.

When Year-round from Sydney.

What the kids will love Four kids' clubs catering for three- to 17-year-olds; Broad Shorts movie-making program; laser tag; racing-car simulators; Pacific Cirque; lots of Wii games on the big screen.

What mum and dad will love Child-free Oasis retreat; Aqua health and fitness spa; dining in Luna or Salt Grill by Luke Mangan; nightly family shows and interconnecting family rooms.

How much Nine-night Pacific island cruise in January school holidays costs from $4999 for a family of four.

More info pocruises.com.au.

SUN PRINCESS

Where New Zealand, Tasmania and Queensland.

When October 2013 to April, 2014, from Sydney.

What the kids will love Youth and teen programs packed with activities tailored to age-specific groups between three and 17; movies under the stars; sports court; swimming pool.

What mum and dad will love The Sanctuary adults-only retreat; dinners in the Steakhouse and a gym with a sea view.

How much A 14-night New Year's Eve cruise to Fiji and the south Pacific departing Sydney on December 30, 2013, costs $7798 for a family of four.

More info princess.com.

VENTURA

Where Norwegian fiords, Mediterranean, Atlantic islands and Iberian and Atlantic coasts.

When Year-round, mainly from Southampton, England.

What the kids will love Play area for under-twos; visits from Mr Men characters and Noddy; Frankie's for pizza and ice-cream; four pools; sports court.

What mum and dad will love The White Room, Italian-style dining by Marco Pierre White; adults-only Endless Pool; Metropolis bar.

How much A 14-night Mediterranean cruise round-trip from Venice, departing on May 7, 2014, costs from $5696 for a family of four.

More info pocruises.com.

VOYAGER OF THE SEAS

Where Australia, New Zealand and Pacific islands.

When October 2013 to March 2014 from Sydney.

What the kids will love Studio B ice-skating rink; inline skating rink; nine-metre rock-climbing wall; appearances by Shrek; Barbie-themed events; Optix teen club; sports court.

What mum and dad will love Adults-only solarium area with pool; 14 bars, clubs and lounges; Windjammer Cafe for family meals; Portofino fine dining.

How much A 10-night south Pacific and Fiji cruise departing Sydney on February 27, 2014, quad share, costs from $1065 a person.

More info royalcaribbean.com.au.

Prices correct at time of writing; check with the cruise line or your travel agent as some conditions may apply.

Comments