Cruise Adviser

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

If a family has children who are still too young to start school, but who want to take a holiday that offers freedom and flexibility, then these three cruises are perfect. Remember to explain to your clients the benefits of being in an enclosed environment (child safety), while many children’s clubs offer to look after young cruisers while the parents have a few hours off. Some will even look after them while the adults go ashore for a few hours and take in a shore excursion. 

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: Thomson and Island Cruises
Destination: Mediterranean fly-cruise
Date: October 6, 2015
Duration: Seven nights
Departure port: Palma
Price: £1,574

If you want your cruise to have a distinctly British feel to it, then Thomson is a very good choice. And, because the company owns its own airplanes, they throw in flights and transfers too, making this one of the most laid-back holidays you could possible imagine. Leave Palma and enjoy destinations such as Gibraltar, Cadiz and Tangier for some late summer sunshine. Thomson’s kids’ clubs cover ages from three through to 16 so there is something for everyone.


Cruise line: MSC Cruises
Destination: Mediterranean
Date: September 4, 2015
Duration: Seven nights
Departure port: Salerno, Italy
Price: £898


MSC is known as being one of the most family-orientated cruise lines in the industry. The cost of a child cruising at all is minimal – normally just port fees and a few incentive costs. This seven-night sailing comes in at under a grand for a family of four and takes in a number of the Mediterranean’s finest destinations, all on board the recently renovated MSC Armonia. Bon voyage!


Cruise line: Costa Cruises
Destination: Mediterranean
Date: July 18, 2015
Duration: Seven nights
Departure port: Savona, Italy
Price: £1,249 for ocean view balcony


Costa Cruises is Carnival Corporation’s Italian cruise line. However, they are growing to be far more international in scope. This cruise, on the line’s new vessel, the Diadema, comes in at a great price during the start of the summer. The line delivers kids’ clubs for children from three to 17, leaving parents safe in the knowlege that the young ones are being well looked after back on the ship.



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