It’s called “Skip-Gen Travel” — grandparents travelling with their grandkids, without the parents. And Kiwis are loving it! Here’s why.
1 | It’s stress-free... honestly!
The usual anxieties that might keep you from hopping on holiday with the grandkids don’t exist on a cruise ship. There’s no moving from hotel to hotel; no trains to catch; no luggage to pack and repack; no foreign currencies to comprehend; and nobody shouting at the GPS (We’re looking at you, Grandad!). Leave the navigation to the ship’s captain and instead spend the time…relaxing?
2 | Once on-board, you’re pretty much worry-free.
On most cruise ships, children under 12 years wear a wristband with their important information. And when they’re attending Kids Clubs, they’re well supervised by cruise staff. Cruise lines have plenty of staff around to keep an extra eye out too, Disney even offers 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: It’s important to carry a notarized 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 House of Travel consultant will make this easy.
3 | Cruise line Kids Clubs are world-class.
Kids Clubs are common on almost all cruise lines. They’re the perfect hangout for grandchildren to meet kids their own age, make friends and enjoy an unending programme of activities. Maybe you’re keen for an onshore excursion that won’t interest the bairn or a romantic dinner evening? Easy! The kids will be just as excited to head off to Kids Club.
HOT TIP: Always check the timetable with your consultant. Some cruise lines run Kids Clubs year-round, while others reduce activities at certain times of year or only operate during school holidays.
4 | Cruising keeps all ages busy.
Onboard Kids Clubs are always supervised by highly trained, warm and outgoing staff who love children (it’s in their job description)! Some cruise lines even offer shore excursions designed especially for young cruisers. If you’d like to do as much as possible together, there are plenty of activities designed for all ages. Example? We love Cunard’s acting workshops for all guests aboard Queen Mary 2 — They’re run 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 onboard activities, it’s smart to check what’s included in your up-front fare. The good news? Most offerings are!
5 | Kids get really involved.
It's easy for us older folks to forget what school was like (!) but children are always working on projects and researching everything from Ancient Romans to Aztecs, world wonders to 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 — and you get to be there to see it. And to help kids build excitement before your holiday, get them started learning about the places they’ll be visiting.
6 | Little ones 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, children can be completely at ease. Then there are the treats. With complimentary cookies 24/7 on Avalon River Cruises, and Sundaes Ice Cream Bar serving ice-creams of all flavours on Princess Cruises, lucky grandchildren will feel they’ve found heaven.
HOT TIP: If your grandkids like to get adventurous with their food, Crystal Cruises offer exceptional global cuisine: Japanese delicacies from master chef Nobu Matsuhisa are a standout.
7 | Downtime is diverse.
Race car tracks and ziplines aren't for everyone. And hard as it might be to imagine, we’re not all built for karaoke contests. Seeking out what will please your crowd is easy with all the choices on offer — both onboard and onshore. Ask us about arranging private tours to do exactly what interests you most. By creating your own mini-tour, you can explore at your own pace! Back onboard, it’s also great to indulge in some low-key games, books and playing cards.
HOT TIP: In each new port, help the kids find a take-home gift for their parents. This will help them feel excited about being away — and make parents’ smiles even bigger when you return.
Not ready to ditch the parents just yet?
Why not consider a multi-generational cruise and invite everyone? Cruises are one of our favourite options for a crowd-pleasing holiday! Many staterooms are designed to accommodate more than two people. Even better, inter-connecting rooms can instantly turn into a spacious family area — and back to private again at bedtime! With nearly every ship offering multiple restaurants, picky eaters are fed as well as their more adventurous elders. And with all-day Kids Clubs, kids are round-the-clock entertained while adults hit the spa. Even teens are well-looked after with spaces created just for them — With video games, movies and DJ decks, you’ll dodge all strops.
You get the idea! Come talk to one of our friendly cruising experts and together we can plan an unforgettable cruise for your family.