Why Cruising is Better for Your Kids Than a Forest Holiday

February 27, 2015

Forest holidays and cruising; two holiday choices so popular you can’t sit down for a spot of telly without seeing an advert for one or the other. They’re both purported to be a great holiday for kids and adults…. which one is really best though?

We thought we’d find out……


What Facilities Are There?

There’s not much point on going on holiday if there’s nothing to do or see, so British holiday complexes prepares a variety of activities for the whole family – and some for just the adults! Family favourites are here, cycling around the complex (or even a Segway if you’re feeling extreme) and an indoor climbing wall for big and little kids alike. There’s also bowling, table tennis and pottery painting to keep you occupied… The best part is probably the aerial adventure in which you navigate atop trees, perilous bridges and connecting ropes.


It may surprise you but cruise ships have had all of these facilities for years now and even more! You can find rock climbing walls aboard Royal Caribbean, with Quantum of the Seas even featuring an indoor area for roller skating. You can find family favourites such as bowling on-board Norwegian Cruise Line. As for the Aerial Adventure, well, you won’t be climbing around the tree tops but NCL’s got something better – the largest multi-level ropes course at sea. It doesn’t seem that high, being just above your head while you waltz around top deck, but there is an 8 foot long plank stretching out over the ocean – walk along this and you’ll find yourself looking down at the water – 180 feet below! Actually, maybe you shouldn’t look down at all… But this really is the tip of the iceberg, as we haven’t even mentioned MSC’s F1 simulator…


Royal Caribbean’s North Star, Skydiving Simulator, Surfing Simulator, Bumper Cars, Circus School, Mini Golf, Water Slides…



And there’s still so much more!


Where Will I Be Staying?

Much like a cruise, your forest holiday provider has a variety of rooms you can spend a couple of weeks in – Lodges, Treehouses, even Spa Suites, which allow you direct access to the World of Spa. Aside from those you can find more conventional hotel and apartment style settings to have a rest in, which are purely functional rooms with no extras.


What cruising can offer is luxury that would make a man who owns a tree-mansion jealous. Cunard’s Queens Grill Suites are the highest level of luxury possible with butler and concierge service, 24 hour room service, exclusive access to Queens Grill Lounge, single-seating dining in the Queens Grill Restaurant – even a game console in your suite! As the name ‘Queens Grill’ implies, Cunard know how to treat passengers like royalty. Even if the ultra luxury isn’t your style, a simple balcony cabin will offer you beautiful views of the ocean, port, other ships, passing islands… A window looking into the forest just can’t compare!


What’s On?

Your normal UK holiday centre has a range of family-oriented entertainment for British sensibilities.

Which is a really nice way of saying they have pantomimes and cabaret. How much you’ll enjoy those depends on whether you’re a fan. Us personally? Boo, hiss!


On-board a cruise ship you’ll to see a full musical production.

Yes, seriously!

With full Broadway and West End style productions such as Mama Mia, We Will Rock You and Wicked, you’re guaranteed a memorable show. On top of that, you can still make your own entertainment with the huge variety of facilities cruise ships have to offer, with some ships such as the Paul Gauguin and vessels from Wind Star and Star Clippers even featuring water sports platforms, allowing you to dip your toes in the water right from your ship and maybe even hopping on a canoe to have a paddle!


Will The Kids Love It?

All the UK holiday centres offer plenty for the kids to do. There’s a huge range of activities that kids as young as two can participate in and even activities for kids under three years. For kids and teens alike, rock climbing, sports and quad bikes is sure to be more than enough to entertain! But even without those there’s still bike rentals, rollerskating, swimming, paintball, laser combat or even arts and crafts for the more creative kids!


There really is something for everyone. For the younger kids, lines such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line have partnerships with Dreamworks and Nickelodeon so you just might find Shrek and Spongebob wandering on your cruise, more than happy to make your child’s day! For older kids there are children’s pools, games consoles, NCL even have that ropes course we mentioned which is fantastic family fun regardless of your age! Even older teens will find something to enjoy, as Royal Caribbean have Teens areas for 15-17 year olds, including open mic nights, the Scratch DJ Academy and even spa treatments designed for your eldest kids.

For family holidays we suggest taking a look at our Guide to Family Friendly Cruising.


What Is There To Eat?

Gastronomers will at least have a decent selection no matter where they choose to stay, with a range of restaurants to stop by. Fancy an authentic British-beef burger? In the mood for some Italian cuisine? What about pancakes, the most delicious and varied of all batter-based foods? All this and more can be found at holiday centres around the UK– but no formal dining…


Well first of all, there’s formal dining. If you enjoy dressing up in a smart suit or a classy cocktail dress formal dining is for you and can be found aboard many ships with a main dining room. If dressing up for dinner isn’t really your thing then you’re in luck, as cruising offers a huge range of restaurants aboard every ship – and yes, you will be able to find pancakes. Lines such as Royal Caribbean, P&O, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line have a huge selection of restaurants: Johnny Rockets’ provide big burgers and fries, Sindhu are experts in oriental spice, the Seafood Shack has fresh fish and lobster and if you want some incredible food with an incredible chef, NCL has Teppanyaki, where skilled Japanese chefs cook before your eyes amazing dishes with an entertaining twist over a genuine Japanese Hibachi. Itadakimasu!


Sounds good! Now where do I go?!

Well there are holiday centre locations across the UK; you can find them in Sherwood Forest, Snowdonia, the Lake District, Forest of Dean, Brecon Beacons, the Peak Disctrict, New Forest… You’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful vistas, but you’ll have to deal with British weather no matter where you decide to go…


…Oh, how about a cruise? That’s a great holiday, and you’re not forced to stay in a forest! As for the locations, well you can most often find the ships located in Southampton, Liverpool, Belfast, Cardiff, Harwich, Plymouth, but from there you will wake up in a different port every morning. From the stunning Mediterranean filled with rich culture and history to the gorgeous Caribbean where the sun never stops shining and the waters are crystal clear. Cruise ships literally take you all over the world – the ability to not be confined to a forest and in fact be on a ship instead allows you to see more of the world than would ever be possible from a holiday centre chalet.


So who wins the Forest Holiday VS Cruising showdown? Well, we may be bias, so we’ll leave the decisions to you! The only question we have to ask is; which would you rather enjoy, a holiday centre stay or a 14 night voyage? We know which we would pick…