To get that home away from home feeling on a cruise holiday, family suites can provide space, luxury and enhanced services. Many of the family-friendly cruise lines have tackled the need for roominess, comfort and practicality head-on by designing some seriously lust-worthy family accommodation. What’s more, the option of interconnecting staterooms on board most cruise lines means there is an ideal setup for all families, however large. Here are four of the biggest and best family suites afloat:
1. Family Harbor Ocean Suite on Carnival Cruises
On board the newest Carnival Cruises ship, Carnival Vista, they’ve created Family Harbor, an exclusive area for families with a variety of stateroom options all sleeping up to five people. It’s the Family Harbor Ocean Suite that offers the most for families; two bathrooms, a walk-in closet and a separate sleeping area for parents for a bit of peace and quiet. With fun and fresh nautical-inspired décor, the Family Harbor Ocean Suite has a walk-in closet for all the paraphernalia that comes with travelling with the brood and the suite’s veranda is a perfect retreat for parents to enjoy the ever-changing vista with young children that still nap.
The added extras make Family Harbor staterooms worth some serious consideration: access to the exclusive Family Harbor Lounge that offers food, movies, games and a concierge service to help book excursions, restaurants and generally assist with making holidays run smoothly. Children eat free at the on board speciality restaurants that other guests will pay a premium for, and parents benefit from one free evening of babysitting as residents of Family Harbor rooms. Carnival really do put kids’ needs first and the child-friendly toiletries, mini bathrobes and slippers are thoughtful additions to make even the littlest of guests feel welcome and pampered.
The Family Harbor area is available exclusively on Carnival Vista, making her debut in 2016, sailing European and Caribbean itineraries.
2. Family Connected Junior Suites on Royal Caribbean Cruises
Royal Caribbean is upping the game when it comes to super-luxury family accommodation. On the brand new Harmony of the Seas – as well as her sister ships, Ovation, Anthem and Quantum – guests opting for a Family Connected Junior Suite, can expect impeccable service on their cruise holiday, including complimentary speciality dining, preferred restaurant seating and luxury amenities like Hermès, Ferragamo and L’Occitane bath products. With two bathrooms – including one with a bath tub, ideal when travelling with toddlers – and three bedrooms, this is a spacious and luxurious option. This configuration means a proper bed for everyone, rather than sofa beds or pull-down options. Available to all cabin types is Royal Caribbean’s Babies 2 Go service that allows you to pre-order nappies and organic baby food to avoid having to bring bulky baby items in luggage.
2016 sees Harmony of the Seas make her maiden voyage, spending her summer cruising the waters around France, Spain and Italy before heading to the Caribbean for her winter season.
3. Concierge Royal Suite on Disney Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Lines top family suite on board both Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy is the Concierge Royal Suite, a humungous, decadently-appointed stateroom when only the very best will do. Rivalling the high specification of the best hotel suites on land, the Concierge Royal Suite features a master bedroom, two bathrooms, whirlpool, living room, media library, dining room, a stocked pantry, walk-in closets and private veranda with whirlpool. The Concierge class of stateroom is designed for those who wish to experience the very best of service and luxury Disney has to offer, so guests should expect to be treated like a VIP. But as a cruise line ultimately dedicated to the smallest family members (although the industry standard minimum age of six months still applies), all staterooms with Disney Cruise Lines can be considered family friendly.
Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruise three, four and seven night itineraries from Port Canaveral, Florida, just an hour from Walt Disney World. Sister ship Disney Magic ventures to Europe too, and Disney Wonder can be found exploring Alaska, as well as Disney Cruise Lines’ home waters of the Caribbean.
4. The Haven Family Villa on Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Lines Family Villas are two-bedroom apartments at sea set in the exclusive Haven area on board, conveniently close to the main kids’ facilities. Sumptuously decorated, they accommodate up to six people each and children have a separate bedroom and bathroom, along with their own TV. This is a good option for families with older children to consider, without opting for a completely separate or adjoining room. As part of the Haven area, a dedicated 24-hour Butler is on hand for the duration of the cruise and will unpack luggage and attend to every whim, handy when contending with the mess that children can leave in their wake and making the holiday wholly more relaxing for parents. The Haven is for guests who want a true VIP experience for their family, priority restaurant and entertainment bookings and to be the first on and off the ship. Many NCL ships also feature Family Balcony Staterooms and Family Mini-Suites too for a little more space without the additional benefits of being within the exclusive Haven area.
NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, sails year-round from New York to the shores of the Caribbean and Bermuda. Haven Family Villas are also available on eight other NCL ships, including Escape, Getaway, Epic, Gem, Jade, Jewel, and Pearl.
To speak to a cruise expert about more family accommodation options, call 971 4 389 8918 or visit www.imaginecruising.ae for more inspiration.