Gaming at sea – part one

Celebrity Solstice cruises

I’ve got to start this post with a bit of an admission. Just before midnight on Monday, you’d have found me standing in my local supermarket, queuing. I wasn’t buying food or drinks (that wouldn’t be much of an admission – that I had poor time management). No, I was queuing for the midnight release of Grand Theft Auto V for my Xbox 360.

Don’t judge me.

The fact is I’m 27, and I’ve grown up playing games. I remember my first Atari. Games just started making inroads into the mass markets at the ideal time that I was ready to embrace them.

Now as much as I’d love to wax lyrical on my love of games for this entire post, which I could quite easily do, I have to rein it in and make it relevant. And that’s easy because this is a post aimed mainly at all of you families with a gamer child. It’s also aimed at any adults who, like me, have a passion for games that they don’t want to live without, but primarily this is for the families.

I understand that these days with technology moving on it’s harder to drag your kids away from their gaming. If they’re not taking over the TV with the latest releases on home consoles they’ve got their heads glued to their portable PSP or 3DS, or they’re tapping away on the newest craze on iPad or Android tablet or phone.

I get that it can be a factor when you’re going on holiday – kids are used to playing their games, and while in an ideal world you’ll drag them away and get them some quality time with the family, away from Mario and Sonic and FIFA and all of that, the reality is that gaming is built into the entertainment culture for children, and some may not want to be fully deprived of that.

So what do you do, do you force the offspring to leave behind all forms of gaming entertainment? Do you reach a compromise, or do you just bring every electrical toy you can fit in your luggage, and then give them an unlimited budget in the on-board arcade?

Because that’s the thing, family-oriented ships these days almost always have a video arcade on-board that could quite easily rack up quite the bill for you by the end of your voyage. And some ships even go further with Nintendo Wiis, PlayStations, Xboxes and more either installed in the dedicated kids clubs or even in other parts of the ship.

I’m going to go into this in more detail in a couple more posts. Firstly I want to look at the best ships for fans of gaming, and the many features that are available on-board so that you don’t have to miss your set ups at home. Then I want to look at the top alternatives, ways to entertain the kids and make them forget all about the games they love.

In the meantime, I’d love if you could share your stories of your experiences of games when you’re on holiday. Do they get in the way of family time, or are they a useful method of getting a bit of quiet?

Maybe you’re even an adult gamer, like me, and you think there should be more options for you on-board? You know what to do: comment below.

By Ian Lewis

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Jenni Fielding
Jenni has been working in the travel industry for over 10 years. She fell in love with cruising on her first-ever cruise, a Caribbean cruise on Allure of the Seas, during her honeymoon in 2013. Nowadays, Jenni enjoys cruising with her husband and two young children. Her favourite ships are family-friendly megaships which are packed with exciting facilities. She loves sea days and had been known to skip port visits to spend more time on the ship!

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