Whether you’re just starting to cruise, or your an expert, there is a cruise that is right for you.
Michelle Michael-Pecora is a cruise travel expert at Travel With Kids. She’s tried and tested many of the cruises on offer.
For first time cruises, Michelle says you can’t beat the South Pacific.
“It’s close to home, especially for families in Australia, you only have to unpack once and it’s generally warmer weather,” Michelle says.
South Pacific cruises usually leave and return to the same destination port – so you don’t have to add in airfares.
Michelle says families love the easy-going nature of the islands. But it’s the sea days that are a real highlight.
Cruise ships have loads of activities for kids and adults on board including ice-skating rinks, water slides and comedy shows. South Pacific cruises give you ample time to sample everything on offer.
Michelle says her top places for families to visit on a South Pacific cruise are Port Villa Vanuatu and the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia.
“Port Vila has loads of things to do – shopping and activities,” Michelle says.
“Isle of Pines is an untouched island with true South Pacific white sandy beaches that they can lay back and have a barbecue or do go swimming and snorkelling.”
When you’ve done the South Pacific and you’re ready to move to the next level of cruising, Michelle recommends the Mediterranean, particularly Greece and Croatia, Italy and Spain.
A cruise in the calm waters of the Mediterranean allows families to experience a number of different countries without having to unpack. Cruises are often longer – from seven days up to three weeks.
“You’re getting a snapshot of a lot of different areas or countries. It’s great for kids and teens with lots of on-board activities. It gives parents a break.”
Dozens of cruise companies from budget to luxury cover the Mediterranean. Not all are great for families. Michelle recommends Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and P&O.
If you’ve done the Med and the South Pacific already and you’re ready to step your cruise level to extreme expert, Michelle recommends the Caribbean or Alaska.
Most cruises will offer either West or East Caribbean cruises.
“The West is my favorite area because you’re not just seeing your smaller islands, you’re getting to see some different things, such as the Mayan Ruins in Cozumel,” Michelle says.
“You could swim with stingrays in Grand Cayman and then go to a beach cabana or pool area.”
“The East is generally the smaller islands like Saint Barts, Kitts – they’re very similar. Puerto Rico really is on the list now. That’s becoming more popular with the Caribbean.”
Alaska has been named the number one cruise destination by cruise critic this year. Michelle says it is a well-earned title.
The inside passage cruise is the main seven night cruise through the area.
“They can do landing cruise tours there,” Michelle says. “That’s great for experienced cruises because you can go into Alaska’s interior and explore the national parks and the rail, as well.
Michelle’s highlight of her Alaskan cruise was a helicopter ride over the Mednenhall Glaciier.
“That was amazing.”
If you’re interested in cruising and want some advice on what would work best for your family contact Michelle via her Travel with Kids travel manager page.