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More Kiwi Families Setting Sail to Exotic Destinations

More Kiwi Families Setting Sail to Exotic Destinations

Increasing numbers of Kiwi families are venturing to destinations as far afield as Alaska and the rivers of Europe, as cruise holidays become a more popular choice for people travelling with children.

Families are currently the fastest growing category of local bookings for cruises, according to House of Travel’s General Manager of Cruise Linda Halliday - and more are choosing to visit far-flung places that were previously difficult to access with kids.

“One of the most popular places for families outside of the closer-to-home destinations is Alaska, where passengers get to see some amazing ecological landscapes and animals,” explains Halliday.

“In some cases a Park Ranger comes on board to educate children about what they are seeing, plus there are opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding, and plenty of other activities to keep kids occupied so it’s a total experience that is hard to find anywhere else.”

Meanwhile, river cruising in Europe along iconic waterways such as the Rhine, the Seine and the Danube were also starting to attract some Kiwi parents as cruises start to offer a small number of family-friendly sailings each season.

“While it might be tough to take children on a holiday to somewhere hard-to-reach like Alaska, or to travel across Europe, families are finding that a cruise removes a lot of the logistical problems associated with trips like this,” says Halliday.

“Once you reach the port, it’s simply a matter of climbing on board, and then everything including food, activities and sightseeing is sorted, which takes a lot of the burden off parents.”
The most popular cruise holidays for Kiwis remain those that travel to the South Pacific or Australia, says Halliday, but cruise lines around the world are echoing the New Zealand trend and reporting higher numbers of families booking every year.

“Because of that, cruise lines are starting to offer more to accommodate families, such as extended kids clubs that cater to specific ages, teen shore excursions for independent older children, and greater numbers of adjoining cabins and suites to cater to parents and children.”

Halliday says prices for cruises are increasingly competitive when compared to a traditional family holiday to an island resort or Australia, and there is also a notable increase in multi-generation families booking for cruises.

“Anecdotally, we are hearing about family groups that include the parents, kids and grandparents booking on cruises because there is something for everyone on board,” she explains.

“Mum and Dad might go to the day spa, Grandma and Grandad might play bridge, and the kids are busy at the pool or on the rock climbing wall or watching a movie, before they all meet up for dinner together at the end of the day.”

Despite a lingering stereotype that cruises were for older generations or adult couples, Halliday says figures from the Cruise Lines International Association show more than 2 million children younger than 15 years old sailed on cruises in 2013.

“Cruises are not age-specific, and cruise lines are constantly adapting to suit family travellers in whatever way they can,” she says.


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