Thanks to cruising, children can travel almost everywhere\nthese days, from Europe, to the Caribbean, and even further-flung destinations\nsuch as the Arctic. \n\n\n\nCruise holidays are especially popular with the\nfamilies market, with 75 percent of Millennial families interested in booking a\ncruise within the next two years, according to research by MMGYGlobal. Overall,\nthe cruise industry is projecting 27.2-million passenger bookings this year.\n\n\n\n\u201cIt is catching on quickly with South African families wanting to expose their children to global travel but with the least amount of hassle,\u201d says Eamonn Ferrin, Vice President of Norwegian Cruise Lines & Managing Director South Africa. \n\n\n\n\u201cNowadays you\u2019ll be hard-pressed to meet a South African who has not cruised, and it's becoming even more popular with parents who have quickly realised it is the perfect holiday to bring the whole crew,\u201d he adds. \n\n\n\nAccording to Cape Town Tourism, South Africa\u2019s cruise sector grew from 6,050 passengers in 2012 to 31,035 passengers in 2017. \n\n\n\nKid citizens of the world\n\n\n\nCruising offers an opportunity to safely\nencourage your children to engage\nwith the world, rather than passively consuming it,\nsays Ferrin. \u201cFamily traditions like holidays spent together are crucial for their\nemotional well-being. You get to bond as a unit, and best of all, no one needs\nto be left behind.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cI love cruises, and my kids love it too,\u201d says Sara Essop, a writer for In Africa & Beyond. \u201cMy husband and I had previously [cruised] to the Caribbean and Mozambique before embarking on a week-long Mediterranean cruise with our two kids, ages eight and ten.\u201d \n\n\n\nEssop maintains, by meeting new people from\ndifferent cultures, children have an opportunity to develop empathy and\ncreativity. \u201cWe boarded in Venice and travelled to Dubrovnik in Croatia,\nSantorini and Katakolon in Greece, and Kusadasi in Turkey, and since then, they\nhave only been asking me when we are going again!\u201d she says.\n\n\n\nEssop adds: \u201cThe staff on the cruise\nwere so friendly. It was always interesting to learn about their nationalities and\nchat to them about their home countries.\u201d \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nSay \u2018ahoy\u2019 to hassle-free\ntravel \n\n\n\nIt is no secret that cruise holidays can save\nyou time. Says Ferrin: \u201cThere is no need arrange transport, family-friendly accommodation, meals and activities.\nYou can rather use that energy to focus on how you\u2019re going to best spend your\ntime on board or at the ports.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cIt wasn\u2019t difficult to book our cruise,\u201d Essop recalls. \u201cBeing frequent\ntravellers, we already had passports. However, we did have to apply for\nSchengen visas, which took the most admin\u2026 we had to get to Venice, so we flew\nto Rome and decided to explore other parts of Italy while we were there. It worked\nout quite nicely," she said.\n\n\n\nThe family "loved the feeling of sailing on\nthe seas, the nightly entertainment and the huge buffets. My kids loved the\nentertainment centre on board and would stay there as long as the club was\nopen,\u201d says Essop. \u201c[You can] visit so many destinations in one fell swoop without\nhaving to pack, unpack and move luggage frequently.\u201d\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nEverything your family could need in one\nplace\n\n\n\nFamily travel trends\nare evolving, says Ferrin. \u201cIncreasingly,\nit is not only about unique the destinations but more activity-filled\nadventures for family members to get that much-needed time to reconnect with\neach other while creating lasting memories.\n\n\n\nNorwegian\nhas invested in a multitude of new and exciting on board features and\nentertainment venues. The Norwegian Encore, set to launch this year, will\nfeature the largest open\n\n\n\nair laser tag\narena built at sea. \u201cThe design incorporates the theme of the lost city of\nAtlantis, and families can team up, hiding behind ancient ruins and running\npast giant tentacles of a monstrous sea creature to complete their mission,\u201d he\nadds.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\u201cOn our cruise, the onboard entertainment was as great, if\nnot even better than the port\nexcursions,\u201d says Essop. The children especially loved the ship's climbing wall\nand multiple swimming pools. \u201cI must admit, I did too! And we also had some\nextra perks, because we were considered repeat cruisers.\u201d.\n\n\n\nOn a cruise holiday,\nchildren are involved in the day-to-day itinerary and have more choice in terms\nof what they want to do, says Ferrin. \n\n\n\n\u201cOn some days families can easily break off\ninto smaller groups according to what they want to do, or eat, and re-group\nlater. Our Norwegian crew members are always on hand to help, but [it is]\namazing to watch how those little cruisers can get so involved in helping\ngrandma and grandpa find their way around the ship.\u201d\n\n\n\n\u201cAnother cruise is high up on our family travel bucket list,\u201d says\nEssop. \u201cThere are so many we would like to do, however, a Gulf cruise, and a\nNorthern Lights cruise are at the top of our list.\u201d \n\n\n\n\u201cWhatever your personal preference for a holiday\nwith your kids, there is a cruise out there for every family,\u201d she concludes.