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The sheer exciting enormity of a cruise ship makes children giddy, so rather than see your grandkids wave you off port-side, why not take them with you? It’s called “Skip-Gen Travel” - grandparents travelling with their grandkids, without the parents. And it’s a popular trend among Kiwis. Here’s why:
1. It’s stress free... honestly!
All the usual anxieties that might thwart a holiday with the grandkids don’t exist on a cruise ship. There’s no constant moving from hotel to hotel; no trains to catch; no luggage to haul; no foreign currencies to comprehend; and no granddad shouting at the GPS.
…Granddad has left the captain to navigate, and has poured himself a Port on the veranda.
2. Safety is paramount
Once on-board, you’re pretty much worry-free. On most cruise ships children under 12 are required to wear a wristband detailing important information, and when they’re attending kids’ clubs, they’re supervised by cruise staff. Many cruise lines have CCTV and security personnel covering public areas and Disney even offer families portable Wave Phones. There are two complimentary phones in every stateroom which can be used to call or text other on-board phones.
HOT TIP: Don’t forget the notarized letter!
Carry a letter signed by both parents authorising your travel with your grandchildren. Many border crossings (as well as your own ship) will ask to see it. Your HOT consultant can assist with this.
3. The kids’ clubs are world-class
Kids’ clubs are commonplace on almost all cruise lines. They are the perfect hangout for grandchildren to meet kids their own age, make friends and enjoy a wide variety of activities. You might like to enjoy a day in port that tykes would find boring, or spend the night at a formal dinner, in which case, simply ensure there’s a kids’ program in place during these times.
HOT TIP: Always check the timetable
Some cruise lines run kids’ clubs year-round, while others reduce the amount of activities on offer at certain times of year, or only operate during school holidays. Check before you book.
4. Cruising keeps all ages busy
On-board kids’ programs and clubs are always supervised by highly trained, warm and outgoing staff. And they love children (it’s in their job description!) Certain cruise lines offer selective shore excursions designed especially for young cruisers. If you’d like to do as much as possible together, there are many activities which appeal to all ages, such as Cunard’s complimentary acting workshops. Available for all guests aboard Queen Mary 2, they’re ran by members of London's renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
HOT TIP: Keep your eye on the price
When it comes to kids’ clubs, port excursions and on-board activities, always check if it’s an additional cost, or included in the price.
5. Kids get really involved
It's easy for us older folk to forget what school was like (!) but children are always working on projects. From the Ancient Romans to the Aztecs and wildlife. What better experience to complement these learnings than the real deal? A Roman colosseum perhaps, or whale watching in Alaska. Textbooks come to life on a cruise holiday.
6. Little people love cruise food
What’s not to love when cruise chefs are whipping up all their favourites? Burgers and hot dogs; chicken fingers; pizza and cheesy pasta. With 24-hour buffets and, unlike cruises of yesteryear, no pressure to dress up in your finest threads, children are completely at ease. If your grandkids like to get adventurous with their food, Crystal Cruises pride themselves on global cuisine. Their sushi and Japanese delicacies from master chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, are a standout. Then there are the treats. With complimentary cookies 24/7 on Avalon river cruises, and Princess’s Sundaes Ice Cream Bar serving ice-creams of all flavours, children are on sugary cloud 9.
HOT TIP: Have yourself an adults-only lunch
Quite often children prefer to eat with the other kids, especially at lunchtime when they’re already at day club. You can have yourself a little peace and quiet for lunch today.
7. Downtime is diverse
Racing car tracks and ziplines aren't for every kid. If you have grandchildren more inclined to seek out an adventure, private cars and guides can be arranged at every port, allowing you to explore every place at leisure.
You’ll probably find you all want to chill out at some point or another, so you might like to pack some quiet-time games, books and playing cards. An iPad is always wise too.
HOT TIP: How to avoid home sickness
In every new port, get the kids to focus on finding some take-home gifts for their parents. This will help them feel excited about being away, rather getting homesick.
Not ready to ditch the parents just yet?
Why not consider a multi-gen cruise, and invite the parents along too? If your family is fortunate enough to have two or more generations all wanting to holiday together, a cruise pleases both the very little, and the very wise!
Many staterooms are designed to accommodate more than two people, and inter-connecting rooms can turn your suite into an instantly spacious family area, and private again when you need it to be. With multiple restaurants on almost every ship, picky eaters are fed as well as their more adventurous elders, and with all-day children’s programs, kids are round-the-clock entertained while adults hit the spa. Even teens are well-looked after, with spaces created just for them. Kitted out with video games, movies and DJ decks, you’ll dodge all strops.
So if it’s a big resort ship you are looking for or something more personal there is a cruise that’s right for you. Talk to our team about what’s important to you and they can ensure you are matched with the perfect option. Click Here for all our current cruise ship deals.
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