The Big Three: Short haul cruises for families with toddlers

The Big Three: Short haul cruises for families with toddlers

What options are available as a parent who wants to go on holiday with a child under three years old? Well, it entirely depends. Some cruise lines don’t have dedicated facilities for children under three, while others do. So make sure you do your research before booking any clients on board.

They should also be aware that for facilities where they want to leave children in the hands of a cruise line’s staff (when under three years old) they will often have to pay a nominal fee. This trio of cruises show some of what’s available for the under threes.

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 short haul cruises for families with kids aged six months to two 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: Disney Cruise Line
Destination: Norwegian fjords
Date: May 29, 2016
Duration: Seven nights
Departure port: Dover
Price: £3,121

It won’t surprise you to hear that the children’s facilities on board Disney Cruise Line are among the best in the industry. For children under three years old, each ship has a dedicated nursery, for an extra fee. On board this cruise, which also leaves from Dover, the It’s a Small World Nursery plays Disney classics. Adults can leave their children with Disney’s expert staff while they either stay on board or take an adventure on land.

Canary Islands 

Cruise line: MSC Cruises
Destination: Canary Islands
Date: February 6, 2016
Duration: Seven nights
Departure port: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Price: £1,073

MSC Cruises’ Baby Time is an area that allows children under three to socialise with others their age, often from different countries, with parental supervision. The company also offers a babycare service for a limited fee. All of the toys within the area have been chosen by Osservatorio Chicco, a baby research centre.


Cruise line: Celebrity Cruises
Destination: Mediterranean
Date: June 18, 2016
Duration: Seven nights
Departure port: Istanbul
Price: £2,964

Celebrity Cruises has no dedicated children’s facilities for those under three; however, it can offer cots for babies and also provides an in-stateroom babysitting service for children aged one and above. So parents can go out for a romantic meal and know that the children are being well cared for.

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