Thinking of cruising during the school holidays? Look no further! Here is our handy guide on where you can explore and which cruise lines to consider when choosing your family cruise.

School terms fluctuate depending on your local area, so we have tried our best to cover all dates across the UK and Ireland, however, we also advise confirming your school’s term dates prior to booking.

Autumn Half Term

Cappadocia, Turkey - Mediterranean

Also known as October half term, this break is the first pupils get when they start a new school year. It’s usually only a week long but offers much potential for some winter sun prior to the winter season settling in.

The Mediterranean is still warm during these months and well within easy reach for a short cruise or even mini sailing. October is the time of year when we see many cruise lines start their repositioning, where they relocate ships to an alternative destination for the winter. These are usually to warmer destinations and feature a number of transatlantic voyages. Pair one of these sailings with a trip to New York and it’s the perfect opportunity to get some festive shopping done before Christmas!

Christmas Holidays

What better way to celebrate the Christmas period than with a cruise? Many of these sailings include breaks which cover both Christmas dates and New Year’s Eve, so you can count down to a new year in a fantastic selection of destinations.

Fireworks in Sydney - New Year's Eve

Watch the firework display in Sydney Harbour, catch the sunset on the final day of the year from a beach in the Caribbean, or swap Christmas presents in Croatia under the warm winter sun.

The Christmas school holidays are two-weeks long, meaning you can enjoy a lengthy getaway with your family, even travelling further for the ultimate Christmas cruise!

Spring Half Term

Spring Half Term is the first break of the new year after all the schools have returned in January following Christmas. It’s another week-long break for pupils, typically in February – just as the dull grey weather of the UK starts to fade away.

Mediterranean coastline - Amalfi coastline

If you’re longing for some sun and family fun at this time of year, there are plenty of destinations to choose from. The Mediterranean is still another top destination, with many seven-day itineraries available in February to fit the half term break perfectly.

Some of the most popular cruise lines also start new seasons at this time, from Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises, as well as family-friendly cruise ships with P&O Cruises such as Oceana and Ventura.

Easter Holidays

The Easter Holidays are a popular time to get away with the family, as the weather is almost guaranteed regardless of where you travel. Whether you choose the sunshine in the Canary Islands or opt for a fly-cruise to the exotics of Asia, your family will always love the journey to the destination!

Guadeloupe Caribbean

The Mediterranean begins to warm up as Easter comes, with great weather at this time of year. If you want sun-kissed beaches and warm sands, the Caribbean is the prime family destination, with water sports and beach fun to be had by all. As this break is two weeks long, it’s also ideal for reaching far-flung regions and enjoy the sun for longer.

Summer Half Term

A week-long holiday, the Summer Half Term shoulders the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May. This is the last break pupils get before the summer holidays, so is the last time you have to get away outside of term time before the holiday boom that comes with the summer holidays.

Sunshine in Barcelona, Spain

Some popular destinations to visit during the Summer Half Term include Alaska, due to the fair weather and extended daylight, as well as the Mediterranean as the sun starts to become more consistent as summer kicks in.

Summer Holidays

The biggest break of them all, the Summer Holidays stretch across six weeks, typically from mid-July to the beginning of September. This is one of the best times to cruise with your holiday as there is much more flexibility with dates, destinations and cruise lines.

Beach in the Caribbean

The Mediterranean is ideal at this time of year, as the summer settles in and provides some of the region’s hottest temperatures. It’s the perfect climate for a family holiday and great for discovering cultural gems and historical treasures of some top European cities. If you long to venture further, you can set sail for the Caribbean for two weeks or head to Asia for a culturally-immersive itinerary for all the family.

Book a sailing during the school holidays

Family on a beach holiday

When cruising with family and children who are of school age, the only time to book a cruise for is outside of term time. No matter which school break you choose, there is always a whole variety of destinations to pick from for you and your family to enjoy. We advise to always check your school’s term timetable prior to booking.

Not sure when you want to get away? Take a look at all of our school holiday sailings by clicking the button above. If you have any questions, call our Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118 for expert advice and award-winning customer service with your booking and family cruises.

Which is your favourite family-friendly cruise line? Where have you sailed with your family? Let us know in the comments below!

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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