There’s no better place than Europe to expand one’s mind as you wander among ancient ruins of past civilisations, visit temples dedicated to mythical gods and goddesses and admire baroque churches brimming with the paintings of grand masters.
And for sheer glamour and romance, nothing quite matches the Mediterranean for its ritzy beaches, stylish boutiques and inviting cafes lining its promenades and cobblestoned alleyways.
These exquisite delights are not simply the domain of historians, loved-up couples and groups of single friends.
Families can easily share the fun as the children come face-to-face with their school history lessons, jump aboard a gondola for a scenic ride, tuck into pizzas and taste divine gelato.
So if you’re planning your 2015 family getaway, here are five reasons why you should consider a Mediterranean cruise:
1. Avoid the hassle of planning
A Mediterranean cruise takes the hassle out of planning any European jaunt let alone a family holiday where the extras such as kids’ meals, kids’ clubs and fun playmates all need to be considered.
There are many cruise lines to choose from, but in my experience I found that MSC Cruises has it all covered; not only is it a family-based cruise line, they are also the experts in the Mediterranean with year-round cruising in the area.
2. More for your money
Almost a million Australians take a cruise every year and the Mediterranean is one of the most popular choices.
Passengers are drawn by the many countries that can be visited in a week to 10 days, the effortless flitting from port to port, the fact that once onboard you only need to unpack once and the competitive price of a cruise when compared to driving and coach holidays.
The price of a Mediterranean cruise includes transport, all meals, entertainment (both day and night), children’s clubs and the priceless opportunity to meet new friends amid opulent surroundings that are safe and secure.
3. Relax while the kids have fun
A perfect family cruise is one where parents know their little ones are having the time of their lives and are also being looked after by fully trained staff in well-equipped play rooms and kids’ clubs. They can then sit back, relax and enjoy a leisurely gourmet meal and then watch a show.
4. You’re on a giant floating playground
Cruise ships these days are destinations within themselves with all the features of grand hotels.
And for children there are giant floating playgrounds with waterslides, pools, video arcades, cinemas (including 4D cinemas on some MSC Cruises ships), pizza parlours and ice-cream shops.
MSC’s fleet of 12 ships is sleek and modern. Flagship, MSC Preziosa boasts a grand staircase glittering with Swarovski crystals and along with her three sisters – MSC Divina, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia – she also includes the MSC Yacht Club. This ‘ship within a ship’ offers a private lounge, personal concierge, 24-hour butler service and priority check-in and disembarkation.
It’s the crème de la crème of cruising, however, all MSC Cruises ships have great facilities including multiple pools, stunning show lounges for concerts and cabarets, several restaurants, wide open decks ideal for sunning and day spas with pampering treatments.
Kids’ clubs are divided into four separate age groups (from 3 to 17 years), with special activities for babies under 3 in the Mini Club where children and their parents can play with other littlies and the great range of Chicco toys.
Children under 18 travel free if sharing a cabin with two adults, while there are special children’s menus and Fun Time Dinners where they eat with their new friends in a supervised environment.
A good deal is the Super Family cabins on MSC Preziosa that sleeps six and has two bathrooms and two balconies.
5. Grab yourself a deal
For the best Mediterranean cruise deals book just before and after the festive season where the Mediterranean is still as magical as ever. There are numerous sites offering discounted cruise deals at this time and seven nights on a MSC cruise can be as low as $309 per adult.
What better time to cruise?
Caroline Gladstone is an Australian journalist and freelance travel writer living in Sydney. She has 25 years’ of experience in writing field and from the past 17 years she has specialised in travel writing. She also works as a Contract writer for Fodor’s Guide to Australia.