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You time

For mums and dads who want to enjoy some quality time together, P&O Cruises has age-specific children’s clubs and entertainment both day and night at The Reef. “Parents can enjoy a lazy afternoon in the spa or a quiet evening together,” says Christopher Edgington, Marketing Director of P&O Cruises.

Carnival also emphasises the importance of giving parents a break from the little ones from time to time. “We have dedicated adult-only areas,” says Erin Johnson at Carnival. “The Serenity areas only permit guests over 21, allowing adults that relaxing down time. We’ve also got spas where parents can relax in one of the treatment rooms.”

Essentials

  • Always read your cruise line’s Before You Go advice as soon as you have booked, in case you have to apply for a visa from the London embassies of countries on your itinerary.
  • If you are a first-time cruiser you are probably going to Europe or the Caribbean, where Brits don’t need visas but most cruise lines will require you to have a passport valid for at least six months after your return date.
  • Although cruise ships are cashless, you will need money for ports of call. Apart from dollars and euros, ships rarely carry local currencies and although most European countries accept euros you will pay over the odds for souvenirs unless you have local currency.
  • At the end of the cruise you will have to pay for bar drinks, usually with additional service charges, as well as compulsory gratuities (about £10pp per day), even for children over three.
  • Other extra fares include spa treatments and thermal pools, photographs, some sports, laundry services, speciality restaurants and some room service meals. Stateroom key cards are swiped to pay for services, but you can have a limit put on children’s cards.
  • Visas for most countries on itineraries are organised by the cruise lines, but there may be exceptions so check with your travel agent or cruise line when you book. To see which countries require visas visit visacentral.co.uk.
  • Vaccinations are rarely needed for destinations such as the Caribbean or North America, but to check up-to-date travel information visit nathnac.org at least six weeks before you travel.
  • Some cruise lines will not allow babies under six months on board, while some may not allow babies in nappies in the pools. Finally, don’t forget you’ll all need travel insurance.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural holiday or relaxing break, find your perfect cruise with our Cruise Finder.