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Having written a review on Disney’s new Dream, it got me thinking about the sometimes touchy topic of young cruisers at sea. In fact, we had a quite headed debate on our Facebook page a while back, about kids out of control, annoying behaviour and so on, and what can be done about it. Then there’s the equally touch topic of kids on planes, with Malaysia Airlines being the first major carrier to ban kids from First Class.

A few days ago a first time cruising couple asked me about which ships to consider for a cruise holiday. It’s a difficult question to answer as there are many things to consider, but aside from budget, one of the things I always ask them is if they are happy to cruise with kids. Interestingly, they asked, why?

Although many people have no problem cruising with kids, there are usually two types of adults who don’t want to be around them on the high seas. One type is the child free couple, like my husband and I, who prefer an adult environment when they take a holiday. Just as it would be unfair to take a child on a ship with nowhere to play and no one to play with, there are adults who don’t want to have their holiday surrounded by OPKs….other people’s kids.

The other type of cruiser who enjoys kid-free environments is the couple who are parents, and desperately want time off….seeking a chance for some quiet time, or to reconnect without their kids, and enjoy grown up stuff without nappies, tantrums and The Wiggles.

When it comes to cruising, as I told those first timers, there are many options to choose from when it comes to ships – and kid free ones at that. At one extreme there’s the specifically designated adults only ships, such as P&O’s Adonia. There are the boutique luxury ships such as Seabourn which don’t have much, if any, kid facilities on board. There are adventure or expedition ships, such as Orion I and II, which are ultimately designed for adults, or older teens at least.

What about the rest? Most mass market ships have excellent facilities for kids, like Disney’s Dream, but these ships are not purely aimed at young cruisers. Dream has a number of adult only areas on board, including several bars and two restaurants, although I reckon you’d have to be mad to go on it unless you had a few young ones in tow.

The bonus of big ships for many people is the dizzying array of facilities available today; more entertainment, in some cases more restaurants, bigger spas, more sports facilities and more. Look at Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships, for example, with zip line rides, climbing walls, a dozen dining venues, multiple venues for live entertainment and 3-D cinemas. A ship just for kids? Not likely.

The key rule of thumb with big ships boasting kid facilities is that if you want to avoid sharing your space with too many young cruisers, pick a time outside of major school holidays. At the end of the day, kids have just as much of a right to be on cruise as you do, and while families are perhaps limited to ships with plenty to keep youngsters occupied, if you are a child-free cruising couple, you can choose any ship you like. Happy cruising!