The Christmas holiday chaos has ended, and parents everywhere are breathing a huge sigh of relief as the whirlwinds of endless energy, chocolate consumption and requests for batteries known as ‘children’ step down a gear. That’s right – they’ve returned to their studies, and you won’t have to cope with another e-numbers catastrophe until Easter rolls around.
With school back in full swing, now you can finally find the time to book that summer getaway for the whole family. But there lies another problem. If toys and an endless stream of confectionery won’t keep them occupied, how are you ever going to lounge by the pool without enduring the eternal battle of sun-cream application versus an unhealthy obsession with the massive water slide?
Fear not, beleaguered parents. Swinging to your rescue is a collection of cruise destinations that will have the kids enthralled and your tanning time blissfully left alone.
Portimao – The Algarve
Think the Spanish mainland without the crowds, and Southern France without the tourist traps, and you’re halfway to the Algarve. The character of this underrated part of the Portuguese coast is thoroughly laidback – but there’s adventure waiting around every corner.
Its biggest attraction, the Zoomarine, is an absolute joy for young and old. Its home to dolphins, sea lions, and a huge aviary filled with birds of prey, but the star highlight is the Dolphin Interaction programme – the only one of its kind in Europe – which lets you and your tearaways swim with the dolphins for a once in a lifetime experience.
Tenerife – Canary Islands
It has almost guaranteed sunshine all year-round, the soothing breezes of the trade winds, and a nightlife which is stuff of legend. As if this wasn’t enough for a family summer escape, the beaches are practically tailor-made for kids.
Costa Adeje in particular is equally fantastic for enjoying a reading binge and getting bronzed (you) or exploring a cove filled with rock pools, snorkelling with the sea life and generally getting up to mischief whilst demanding ice cream (your adoring cherubs). The fact that pretty much all of the
resorts on the island provide brilliant service to families is the icing on the cake, catering for everything you might need (including ice cream…or cake).
Port Canaveral – Florida
If it’s your first time travelling to Orlando, there’s one place you should make a beeline for. In fact, no matter how many times you’ve been to Orlando, if you’ve got children with you and want to avoid a lifetime of arguments over dinner, you had best head to Disneyland Florida. This is the flagship amusement park that has enchanted kids and families for decades, and the magic shows no sign of stopping.
You could spend days, even weeks attempting to explore the four main parks that make up the entire Disney complex, but that’s something to be celebrated. You can leave those worries about the kids becoming a bit bored and restless when you have 30,000 acres of attractions, rides, restaurants and studio tours waiting for you just an hour away from the main hub of Port Canaveral. All of your favourite Disney characters are there – admit it, you’d be just as excited as the kids – along with all the comforts of an amazing resort.
So go forth and cruise brave parents, and try not to think about keeping them wrecking the house until September rolls around.