Carol Blake has worked for Thomas Cook for over 25 years & within her career has been on about 14 cruises (so many she cannot be sure exactly how many times she has cruised!). She is a working mum of 2 boys, aged 20 & 16, & they have enjoyed many family holidays on cruises. Carol is a regional Cruise Co-Ordinator for Thomas Cook & here she gives us an insight into her own personal view of cruises along with some great insiders hints & tips….
We’ve heard you have been on many cruises! What is it that appeals to families?
The first cruise we went on as a family was when my
eldest was 12 and my youngest 7. Neither of them have ever been fans of
kids clubs so I am not sure that they made the most of the
organized facilities on board, but they loved the pool and the arcades on
board, so soon made friends.
For any child that is happy to go to kids clubs, the facilities are superb
and so I think that they missed out on loads of fun! I do think that cruises are
fantastic for children of all ages – they have creche’s for the very young,
along with evening child care – right the way through to teen areas and
I know some parents are nervous about the safety on board ship, but I really
don’t think they have anything to worry about. Children are issued with
wristbands on board, showing their muster station in case of emergency.
Some have walkie talkies, so that you can keep in contact too. Around the
children’s decks, the deck sides tend to be high, so that they can’t fall
overboard. Also, some ships offer cabin balcony nets which can be attached,
ensuring that children are safe on the balcony cabins. Most ships will
allow parents to go on excursions leaving the children safely on board, in
the kids club. This is great if you are at a destination which doesn’t
appeal to the whole family!
Tell us about the dining experience onboard….
The dining is fantastic, and the main dining rooms cater superbly for
children, even on formal night – they offer a kids meal in every restaurant
and nothing is too much trouble. Children don’t have to follow strict dress
code, but most older kids enjoy it! I have had many occasions when the
children have been jet-lagged and tired during the evening meal. The
waiting staff have made a “bed” for them by pushing two chairs together and
given them a table cloth as a bed sheet! – That’s great when Mum & Dad just
want to eat a “grown-up” evening meal!
Do you book a lot of families onto cruises now?
The families that we have booked have raved about their experiences!
Certainly there are plenty of children on board, however, they are so well
entertained that you wouldn’t even know they were there!
With ships offering facilities such as rock-climbing walls, mini golf and
ice skating, even the older ones will be hooked for life!
We’re a little worried about space inside the cabins….
Most cabins have either drop-down beds or sofa beds that will happily
accommodate four people, although storage can be tight. For the larger
families (5 or more) cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean offer family suites which have two
bedrooms & they can work out to be excellent value. Alternatively, you
could always book two inter-connecting cabins.
Any insider tips?!
For families traveling out of Southampton, they need to remember that there
are no baggage allowances – so as long as it fits in the cabin, you can take
it! Great for any laptops, toys, etc which you may want to take!.
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