What are the top onboard amenities to look for when booking a family cruise in the UK?

When it comes to planning a family vacation, a cruise often gathers everyone's vote. It's a unique way to experience a holiday and offers a fantastic range of amenities and activities to keep the whole family entertained. In the UK, the array of cruises available is astounding. However, not all cruises are created equal, and it's crucial to ensure your chosen ship caters to every family member's needs and desires. With the wide selection of cruises available, how do you decide which one will provide the best experience for your family? Well, by focusing on the top onboard amenities offered, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision.

Consider the Cabin and Room Service

The first amenity to consider when planning your family cruise is the cabin. You will spend a significant portion of your time onboard in your cabin, and it needs to be comfortable and appropriate for all family members.

Typically, cruise ship cabins are smaller than hotel rooms. However, the size can vary significantly depending on the ship and type of cabin you choose. Family suites or cabins are a good option for those traveling with kids. These offer more space and often come equipped with bunk beds or sofa beds, making them an ideal choice for families.

When booking, also consider the location of your cabin. Those situated mid-ship often experience less movement, which may help if any family members are prone to seasickness. Additionally, cabins on the lower decks will be more stable, although they might be noisier due to their proximity to the engine room.

Room service is another amenity to consider. While it may seem a luxury, it can be a lifesaver when traveling with kids. Imagine a day filled with activities and your children feeling exhausted. Instead of forcing them to dress up and go to the dining room, you could order room service and enjoy a quiet family dinner in the comfort of your cabin.

Dining Options Onboard

Dining is a significant aspect of the cruise experience, and it's worth exploring the options available on different ships. Cruises often feature a range of dining options, from buffet-style to formal dining rooms and specialty restaurants.

A cruise with a variety of dining options will cater to every family member's preferences and dietary needs. If you have picky eaters in your group or someone with dietary restrictions, a buffet can be a great option. They offer a wide range of choices and allow everyone to find something they enjoy.

Specialty restaurants are another amenity offered on many ships. These venues provide a chance to enjoy a more refined dining experience, often themed around a specific cuisine. While they can be an added expense, it might be worth considering if you enjoy fine dining or want to celebrate a special occasion while onboard.

Lastly, consider the availability of kids' menus. Many cruises offer dedicated menus for younger guests, ensuring they have options that appeal to their tastes too.

Fun for Kids

A crucial factor to consider when booking a cruise is the range of kids' activities available onboard. Many cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises, offer dedicated kids' clubs with a range of age-appropriate activities.

Kids' clubs are a fantastic amenity for families, offering a safe environment for kids to play, make new friends and participate in fun activities, all under the supervision of trained staff. Activities could range from arts and crafts to gaming tournaments, scavenger hunts, and more.

Teen clubs are also available on many ships, providing a dedicated space for older kids to hang out and enjoy age-appropriate activities.

Onboard Entertainment for the Family

Beyond kids' club activities, it's also worth considering the broader range of onboard entertainment that the cruise offers.

Family-friendly shows, such as musicals or magic shows, can be a great way to spend an evening together as a family. Some cruises also offer interactive experiences, such as game shows or trivia competitions, that can be a fun way to bond and create memorable vacation moments.

Another aspect to consider is onboard movie screenings. Some cruises offer outdoor movie nights, allowing you to watch films under the stars, which can be a magical experience for kids and adults alike.

Fitness and Wellness Amenities

Even on vacation, staying active can be an important part of many people's routines. That's why fitness and wellness amenities should also factor into your cruise selection

Many cruise ships feature state-of-the-art fitness centers where you can keep up with your regular workout routine. Some even offer group fitness classes that can be a fun way to stay active during your vacation.

On the wellness front, spas are a common feature on many cruise ships. While the kids are at the club, parents can enjoy some downtime with a relaxing massage or facial. Some ships even offer teen spa services for older kids who might enjoy a bit of pampering.

Booking a family cruise can be a daunting task, with so many factors to consider. However, focusing on the range of onboard amenities can help ensure you choose a ship that caters to everyone's needs and ensures an unforgettable vacation for all.

Amenities for Adults

While your kids are having the time of their lives in the kids' clubs, adults can enjoy a myriad of amenities specifically designed for their relaxation and entertainment.

One of the most popular amenities for adults onboard are the adults-only retreats. These sanctuaries, commonly found on cruise lines like P&O Britannia and Royal Caribbean, provide a peaceful atmosphere where adults can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy a cocktail without the hustle and bustle of the main decks.

Casinos are another common feature on many cruise ships. Offering a wide variety of games from slot machines to blackjack, it's a perfect place for those who enjoy a flutter. Keep in mind, however, that gambling should be for fun and within your budget.

For those who prefer a quieter activity, libraries and reading rooms are also common on cruise ships. These spaces provide a calm environment where you can relax with a book or play board games.

Participating in wine tastings or culinary classes can also be a great way to spend your time onboard. Many cruise lines offer these experiences, sometimes featuring guest chefs or sommeliers.

Conclusion: Booking the Perfect Family Cruise

Booking a family cruise is not just about the destination - it's about the journey. From the moment you step aboard the cruise ship, your experience should be one of comfort, relaxation, and fun-filled activities. Selecting the right cruise line and ship is crucial to make the most of your trip.

When making your selection, always consider the age and interests of your children. Cruise lines like Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise all offer robust kids' clubs and family-friendly amenities.

Don't forget to consider the welfare of the adults in your party too. Amenities such as room service, a variety of dining options, fitness and wellness facilities, and adult-only areas can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the trip.

With careful consideration and planning, you're sure to find the perfect cruise for your family. Whether you're exploring the Norwegian Fjords or taking a voyage on the Sky Princess, the right onboard amenities can transform your trip from good to unforgettable.

Remember, a family cruise is not just a vacation. It's a chance to create lasting memories with your loved ones. So, book your cruise today and start looking forward to the adventure of a lifetime!