Why a Mediterranean Cruise is the Perfect Family Holiday
Linda Aitchison combined European culture and family fun on her first ever cruise, here she shares her experience...
My fearless daughter Emily whoops with delight as she cascades down an exhilarating surf simulator on the deck of our cruise ship. She’s having the time of her life.
We’re sailing azure Mediterranean waters and it feels so special to savour this Journey together – so very different from what we’re used to. Emily’s twin sister Melissa and I watch and wonder if we will find the courage to give the ride a go, too. Mojito in hand, I’m not sure it’s the best option for me just now. We’re on our way to Rome, and our minds are full of what we can wish for at the Trevi Fountain: “Another cruise please, Mum,” says Emily.
In Rome, we also take in the Colosseum, its epic history firing our imagination with tales of gladiators and lost dynasties, all played out in front of a mind-boggling 55,000 spectators. It’s a stark contrast to our utterly modern ship, where the night before we were in the theatre, belting out the words to Grease.
Finding our sea legs
But it’s this mix of night-time laugh-out-loud fun and daytime exploration that makes cruising on a major liner such a fantastic experience. I never knew holidays could be this good. Another day means another world-renowned site. The 55m Leaning Tower of Pisa looks like it could topple at any moment, but given that it’s been here for 700 years, we conclude that it’s probably not going anywhere.
In each location we can join in with guides as much as we want. I’d wrongly thought that a cruise meant being herded around with the other passengers, but there’s plenty of time to do what we want, when we want to do it. For my daughters, our journey has given a fascinating glimpse of Mediterranean Europe’s beauty. For me, it is a chance to unwind. As I do so, I reflect that every one of our ports of call has been stunning – but as a novice cruiser, what has made the biggest impact on me is the onboard experience.
Dining on the ship has been a revelation, with so many options to choose from, and the service and onboard entertainment have been consistently out of this world. I even found time for a sumptuous massage in an impressive spa – pure bliss!
But best of all for me has been seeing so many countries without the hassle of booking trains, taxis or planes. You can fall asleep in one iconic destination and wake up in another, and there’s nothing like opening your cabin curtains and seeing where you’ve dropped anchor each day.
New ship on the horizon
We spent our brilliant time with Royal Caribbean, aboard the Independence of the Seas – dubbed Britain’s favourite cruise ship. But in 2018, Royal Caribbean is launching the world’s biggest cruise ship, the Symphony of the Seas. Her itineraries will give you the chance to take in Mediterranean Europe’s many delights, such as the cobbled streets and shaded cafés of the Moorish walled city of Palma, Majorca; the vibrant street markets of France’s oldest city, Marseille; Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, an extraordinary arched bridge built in 1345 and left unharmed by the Second World War; and cosmopolitan Barcelona’s fantastic architecture.
What’s more, with dazzling shows and thrilling water slides, super accommodation and countless dining options, the Symphony of the Seas has been made for families, and I can’t wait to check it out!
Planning a family cruise adventure? Chat to one of our Travel Experts for help with tailor making your holiday to your needs and budget.