The Big Three: Long haul cruises for families with kids aged 3-5

The Big Three: Long haul cruises for families with kids aged 3-5

What makes a cruise such a good holiday for children? Pizza parties, scavenger hunts and mini Olympics are just a few of the activities we’ve seen advertised for the youngest people on board. And for parents? Evening babysitting services – both in the kids’ clubs and in-stateroom – so mums and dads can enjoy a romantic meal, or sometimes even the chance to go on a shore excursion, knowing that their children are having the time of their lives.

Following on from the publication of Cruise Adviser’s Family 2015-16 guide, each week we will be running our Big Three feature, which gives you a trio of cruise options to choose from. This week it’s long haul cruises for families with kids aged three to five years.

To request a copy of Cruise Adviser’s Family guide email: or read it online now.

All prices based on a family of four sharing an inside cabin, unless otherwise stated


Cruise line: Princess Cruises
Destination: Alaska
Date: September 6, 2015
Duration: Seven days
Departure port: Seattle, US
Price: £1,718

Princess Cruises offers entertainment for children from three to 17. For its youngest cruises (aged three to seven) there is Princess Pelicans, which includes activities such as pizza parties, movies & cartoons and T-shirt colouring. However, be aware that the Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess will only have dedicated children’s clubs if 20 or more children are sailing.

Pacific coast

Cruise line: Crystal Cruises
Destination: Pacific coast
Date: June 13, 2016
Duration: Six days
Departure port: San Francisco, US
Price: £1,334 per person, kids sail free offer


Surprisingly, for an ultra-luxury cruise line, Crystal Cruises has its own dedicated children’s service. However, be aware that its Junior Activities programme is only on ‘holiday voyages’ and nearly all summer sailings. So travel agents need to find out if there is a ‘junior activities director’ on board. There are activities such as scavenger hunts and cookie baking and coke-tails to keep the young ones entertained.


Cruise line: P&O Cruises
Destination: Caribbean
Date: November 7, 2015
Duration: 14 nights
Departure port: Barbados
Price: £4,636


P&O offers a children’s programme on its family-friendly ships only. On these there is a kids’ programme for two to 17 year-olds and a night nursery (from 6pm to 2am) for children aged six months to four years. The company splits its age groups into two to four year olds (Splashers), five to eight year olds (Surfers), nine to 12-year-olds (Scubas) and 13 to 17-year-olds (h20). This cruise, on Britannia, also has Marco Pierre White on board.

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