The Question: Can you recommend warm-weather cruises suitable for young families? We’ve never cruised before, but we’re drawn to the idea of slipping into port, seeing a few sights before the kids get worn out, and then heading back to the ship with no worries about finding a good restaurant.
Cheri Port, a cruise consultant with The Cruise Professionals ( cruiseprofessionals.com), recommends Royal Caribbean ( royalcaribbean.com). The line has all the elements on children’s checklists: carousels, rock-climbing walls, surf simulators, kids’ menus, ice-skating rinks and more. Plus, “they have really great children’s programs for kids of all ages,” Port says, in case you’re tempted to slip away for a spa date or wine-tasting course.
As for where to sail, she says the Caribbean, with its beaches, snorkelling and water sports, is ideal for kids. It’s the shore excursion at its simplest: What child doesn’t want to dig his feet in the sand or jump waves?
Royal Caribbean sails to the Caribbean year-round and features three different routes (Western, Eastern and Southern), as well as different ship classes. (“The Oasis class – its newest class – and the Freedom class have the newest ships and the most fun amenities on board,” Port says.) As for where to sail, it all depends on what destinations you want to hit. Just ask yourself these questions:
Are we keen to go deep below on a submarine in Cozumel, Mexico (with a little excellent snorkelling for mom)? Do we want to visit an extinct volcano surrounded with tropical birds in St. George’s Grenada (and drag the kids on a rum distillery tour for dad)? Or are we itching to set the kids loose on the floating aqua park on Coco Cay – the cruise line’s private island in the Bahamas – while mom tries her hand at parasailing? Then it’s back on board for an easy dinner – and the knowledge that everyone will sleep well.
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Special to The Globe and Mail