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Win a cruise aboard the MSC Magnifica

This month we're giving you the chance to win a Cruise Nation Smart Package for two aboard the spectacular MSC Magnifica in a balcony cabin. Simply enter your details below for a chance to win!

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READ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PLANNING AND TAKING A CRUISE HOLIDAY WITH CHILDREN.

Which cruise lines are the most family friendly?

Most of the cruise lines have facilities for children; however Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Princess and Norwegian Cruises Lines have the most extensive lists of activities for children of all ages from toddlers to teens.

How old do kids have to be to go on a cruise?

This differs from cruise line to cruise line and sometimes by itinerary also. For many cruise lines the minimum age is 6 months, however for trans-ocean crossings and itineraries which are longer than 15 days the minimum age is usually 12 months.

Are there are any cruise lines where kids go free?

Yes, from time to time cruise lines will offer discounts where children sail for free. However there are cruise lines which provide this value all year around. MSC Cruises is one of them. Children 11 and younger will sail free (however you’ll still have to pay tax) and children aged 12-17 will sail at a discounted rate.

Are onboard activities free for kids?

Yes, the majority of onboard activities aimed at children are free however facilities such as Video Arcades or light night child minding will have extra charges.

What type of onboard kids entertainment and activities can I expect on a cruise?

In terms of organised entertainment, typically there will be kids clubs for a variety of age groups. Depending on the age group there will be activities such as arts and crafts, movies, video games, discos, scavenger hunts, games, sports and a whole lot more. In addition to this there are also sports or games areas, swimming pools and theatres. Some cruise lines have even more unique features that kids will love including Carnival which has a spa for teens and Royal Caribbean which has the Wave Rider and Ripcord by iFly (a simulated skydiving experience without the heights!).

Is food and drink onboard free for children?

Food onboard is included, unless you are dining at a restaurant where there is a cover charge for adults. If there is a cover charge for adults, usually there is a cover charge for children too. Many of the cruise lines are excellent at catering to children’s dining requirements with special menus and smaller portions being available. Drinks however are not included. We’d recommend opting for a basic drinks package for children which usually includes soda and juice throughout the holiday.

Will I need to bring a travel cot?

Most cruise ships will have a set number of cots onboard. However you may need to book early to reserve one. Be sure to let the Cruise Consultant know at the time of booking if you need a cot. If they are all allocated the Consultant will be able to best advise if you need to bring a cot with you.

Is there anything in particular that I should pack when cruising with a child?

Unless you’re staying in a suite, most cabins have showers only. If you think you might find it difficult to bathe your child in the shower you might want to pack an inflatable bath tub.

Should I pack a pram?

Prams can be brought onboard but you might find them quite laborious to push around split levels whilst on deck. They can also take up considerable space in your cabin. Umbrella strollers would be better suited as they are light-weight and can fold up neatly, taking up less space.

What type of cabin is best suited for a family?

If you have a very young child and you think they may need naps in a quiet area throughout the day, you might want to opt for a Balcony cabin. This way you can still relax in the sun or enjoy the view without feeling like you’re missing out. On some cruise lines there are also facilities such as room dividers which can separate the sleeping from the living area, you may want to ask the Cruise Consultant about this when booking as it’s particularly useful if you have children who have different bed times.