As 2018 draws to a close the editors here at Cruising With Kids have been reflecting on a great year of family travel. Between us we’ve stepped onboard seven cruise ships in the past 12 months and set sail for seven adventures at sea.
In an effort to encapsulate all that onboard fun here’s each of our editors’ cruising highlights from 2018:
Classics at Sea
Music fan Sarah can’t get over seeing Alfie Boe, Cathryn Jenkins and Ruthie Henshaw sing during the Bravo Cruise on Celebrity Silhouette with Cruiseco. She thought it was like going to the best ever intimate concert but at sea. And seeing her son Joe on stage with Alfie was the icing on the cake.
Sarah’s favourite ship of the year was the new NCL Bliss. She thinks it’s perfect for families. You can find out why in her post about what there is for teens to do on Norwegian Bliss or why not take a tour of a Junior Suite on NCL Bliss? Sarah also is a huge fan of West End Shows, so one of her biggest highlights from Bliss was seeing Jersey Boys. The food looked pretty amazing too!
When it comes to Sarah’s favourite cruise port of 2018 she surprised herself. Bilbao in Spain came top of her list. She arrived not expecting much but was blown away by the culture and the Guggenheim.
80s Hit at Sea
Unsurprisingly our former P&O shore excursion manager Lisa has picked a jam-packed cruise as her favourite of 2018. She loved the Back to the 80’s Cruise organised by Cruiseco onboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. A highlight was meeting Tony Hadley – a true gent and a fabulous entertainer. A close second was touring the ship’s bridge.
Bellissima Makes Impression
Lisa’s favourite ship of 2018 is one that doesn’t launch until 2019! Back in the summer she had an invite to see MSC Bellissima being constructed in France. This was her first visit to a ship yard and an experience she’ll never forget. Although the Bellissima was still very much a shell it’s clear she is going to be a stunning ship when completed in February. It’s safe to say we can’t wait to see her when decorated in the customary Swarovski crystals and luxury furnishings that MSC is renown for.
Chilling in Cool Lisbon
There was no contest about Lisa’s favourite port of call. It had to be Lisbon in Portugal. Such a quirky, cool city. We flagged down a tuk tuk driver and spent an entertaining couple of hours whizzing around the historical cobbled streets of Lisbon. After soaking up the views from a vantage point above the city, we spent the afternoon relaxing on the city beach before rejoining Navigator of the Seas.
Our top cruiser, Donna, notched up three cruises with her husband and two teenage boys in 2018. Her favourite was her cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on Royal Caribbean’s newly refurbished Independence of the Seas. This is because each and every port of call was so interesting and pretty.
Donna also joined the inaugural cruise of Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. This was her favourite ship of 2018 because of its sheer size and incredible new experiences for passengers. It looks like an epic ship.
Incredible Geiranger Fjord
In terms of cruise destinations, Donna was a massive fan of Geiranger Fjord in Norway. It was beautiful and serene but still with plenty to see and do. It also had the most amazing views which she captured wonderfully.
Solo Parent Cruising
Finally, my favourite cruise experience of 2018 mirror’s Lisa’s; the Back to the 80s Cruise on Navigator of the Seas. This was my first cruise solo with my girls and while it was a bit of a challenge at times we made some incredible memories.
A Royal Engagement
My favourite ship was Royal Princess which I stepped onboard for a day. This was my first time on a Princess Cruises ship and I loved its style, cabins and pool areas. The facilities for families looked really good and I’d loved to have taken advantage of the Retreat for longer.
A taster of Venice
My favourite port of call is a bit of a cheat as I didn’t experience it on a cruise, but I loved my day in Venice this summer. It’s as enchanting as its reputation. Aside from being a popular and beautiful port of call, it is suffering from over-tourism. I hope this is something that the cruise industry will help address. It was be a travesty if cruise ships were banned altogether in the future.
Our 2019 cruise plans
2019 already looks like another exciting year for the Cruising With Kids team, with four cruises and and invite to the launch of a new ship already in the diary.
First Donna will be attending the MSC Bellissima naming celebrations in Southampton in March.
Then in June she’ll be joining Oasis of the Seas for a seven day Mediterranean cruise, followed by 14 nights on Explorer of the Seas in Scandinavia and Russia, and 13 nights in the Mediterranean in August.
Lisa will be revisiting one of her old ships from her time working for P&O cruises; Oriana. This three night trip will be the last before Oriana sadly leaves the fleet in July. It’s going to be a special occasion with hundreds of former crew and officers onboard saying farewell to a much loved ship. Lisa’s last voyage on Oriana was a 100 day world cruise in 2006.
We’d love to hear about your cruise highlights from 2018 or why not share where you’ll be sailing in 2019?