Finding the perfect holiday for your family can be tricky because everyone has a different idea of what they enjoy and what they want from a holiday. It’s one of the reasons why a cruise has become one of the most popular holiday options for families according to Sean Treacy, Commercial Director of Royal Caribbean International.
Mr Treacy says that Australian passengers want sophistication and adventure.
“Whether it’s for cuisine or leisure, they have a real sense of imagination.
“They may be looking for total relaxation - whether it’s in the spa or sleeping between the Egyptian cotton sheets of their beautifully made bed - or trying something different. This could be surfing for the first time, shimmying up the rock climbing wall, ice-skating or taking part in a Pilates class.”
Mr Treacy says that more and more passengers are extended family groups with grandparents, parents and children – and sometimes even more family members.
“For a family group that may range in age from a young child under 10 through to grandparents in their 70s, going on a cruise offers so many more options than a single holiday spot.”
It’s a view with which Karen Harley of Sydney agrees.
Karen recently returned from a 19-night cruise with Carnival Cruises from Hawaii to Sydney accompanied by her 75-year-old mother-in-law, husband and three children aged 13-19 – her first experience on the open seas.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “We knew that if we didn’t like it we were stuck on the boat for almost three weeks and we’d just have to bunker-down and read lots of books or something.
“But I think I only managed to read a paragraph or two every night before falling asleep,” she says.
“We had a blast! It was fabulous fun from go-to-woe – and I’m already planning the next one!”
Karen says all family members had the opportunity to do their ‘own thing’ during the day when sailing, but they would spend the day together for a shore excursion at locations.
“We each had some ‘me’ time while still having a family holiday, and it also gave my husband and me some ‘couple’ time also.
“There were also so many choices about where to eat and what to eat, so each family member took turns at choosing where we’d have dinner.”
Mr Treacy says cruise liners have long past just offering a luxury swimming pool. Other onboard activities include rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, outdoor cinemas, golf, surfing, football tournaments and nightly entertainment for kids and adults which includes the cast of characters from the popular movie, Madagascar
A Tourism Australia spokesperson said that the cruise industry is experiencing strong growth in Australia, with a 20% increase in 2012-13 on the previous year, and a further 17% in 2013-14.