Survival plan for family cruises

//Survival plan for family cruises

During a session at the UK Cruise Convention earlier this year, the chairman of the discussion drew almost universal derision for asking a representative from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises what facilities their ships had for families, and whether they would consider following MSC’s example and offer free places for children.
Clever-dick critics – and I count myself among them – were quick to point out that Hapag-Lloyd operates luxury expedition vessels such as Hansaeatic and Columbus, and the ϋber-luxury Europa, the only ship to have consistently earned a five star-plus rating from Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Guide to cruising.
As Ward puts it himself, “although a children’s playroom is provided, Europa really is a ship for adults to cruise in a quiet, refined setting.”
Well it turns out we were all wrong, and that Cruise Convention chairman was much nearer the mark than we thought.
For Hapag-Lloyd has designated 21 cruises between now and the end of 2012 as family-themed voyages, and is to launch a new Baby Welcome Package for parents travelling with children on the 408-passenger Europa, according to a report from Seatrade Insider.
The free service includes providing nappies and washing lotion, changing mats and bibs, so that families can travel without being encumbered by all their baby paraphernalia.
Families can compile a personal Baby Welcome Package before embarking on their cruise, ordering the right size of nappies and specifying their chosen baby food. Suites can be furnished on request, for instance, with a babyphone, Maxi-Cosi stroller, travel cot, high chair or bathtub.
Children up to three years of age sharing a cabin with their parents or grandparents travel on Europa at no cost; for children aged four to 15 the charge is €65 per night.
Themed family cruises and cruises with at least four children on board include a special programme with meals, drinks and customised children’s excursions for the young passengers.
The new baby package offer begins with a four-day family introductory cruise which departs from Hamburg on July 20, visiting Wilhelmshaven, Sylt island and returning to Travemuende via the Kiel Canal.
I’m just not sure who will give the warmest welcome to disco diva Gloria Gaynor when she performs a concert on board. Will it be the mums and dads with their children safely tucked up in bed who sing along the loudest to I Will Survive? Or will it be defiant couples who had been looking forward to a tranquil cruise uninterrupted by little ones?

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:04+00:00 13 July 2011|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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