Chris Hurley discovers that everyone, from three years olds to octogenarians, will be kept entertained for the entire voyage on Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship
With busy jobs and people living miles apart, holidays with the family have become precious golden moments to enjoy and remember. This is evident by the huge growth in multi-generational vacations.
As a mother and grandmother, I know all too well that the big issue is finding a holiday that will keep everybody happy, from tots to teens and fun seekers to foodies. You could choose a villa in southern Europe or a self-catering holiday park but none of these offers the breadth or depth of experience to suit all ages and interests.
At last, I have found the perfect solution, thanks to a short trip on the new Norwegian Cruise Line ship Bliss. This brand new ship is relaxed, informal and has a wide range of attractions and activities for all ages.
There is no specific dress code, although smart casual seems to be the self-imposed norm in the evening, and you can eat any one of twenty restaurants whenever you like. The food caters for all tastes with menus offering steaks to seafood and Italian frittata to fine French dining.
Taking a look at facilities for the younger set first, Guppies is a secure play area hosted by an Early Years Coordinator where children over six months can enjoy up to two hours a day of interactive parent-child activities like sensory play and painting. For older children, Splash Academy is where they can enjoy creative activities, sports and circus skills. Safe in the knowledge that the young staff know how to keep them entertained, you can drop off the kids during a supervised Group Sitting on port days while you go off and explore or you can leave them in the evening while you enjoy a romantic dinner.
For teenagers movies, art, music and video games are available aplenty at Entourage. This retreat is for teens looking to have fun and hang out with people their own age. There is one strict rule absolutely, positively, no parents allowed.
On the top deck children of all ages will enjoy the Kids’ Aqua Park with its tube slides, tipping water buckets and cannons. When they have had enough of all this excitement you can take them for an ice cream at Dolce Gelato, chocolate at Coco’s or The Bake Shop for a cake.
Staying on the top deck teenagers and adults will love the Laser Tag adventure set in an abandoned space ship and for budding Formula 1 drivers, you can drive a mini racing car on the dual level 1000 foot long track. It’s the longest afloat and has lots of challenging hairpins and chicanes. To really get the adrenalin pumping Ocean Loops is a freefall water slide that loops you twice over the side of the ship more than 150 feet above the ocean.
Twenty and thirty-somethings will appreciate the chilled out Vibe Beach Club or the Ibiza style upbeat Spice H2O, with cocktails and hot tubs during the day and dancing under the stars at night.
When it comes to restaurants and bars there’s enough choice to keep everyone happy. The older ones might prefer fine dining and a sense of occasion in restaurants like the French Le Bistro or visiting The Local, a traditional pub. There is a craft beer bar, wine tasting in The Cellars, a wide range of whiskeys at The Maltings and even a cigar lounge.
Younger ones will enjoy the skills of the mixologists as they sip cocktails at the Sugarcane Mojito or Mixx bars before watching the chefs perform in the Teppanyaki restaurant or enjoy short ribs at the meat lovers paradise Q Texas Smokehouse. Kids can get tasty hamburgers at Savor restaurant or a buffet-style meal in The Garden Cafe.
There are spectacular West End shows like the Jersey Boys. baby boomers can walk or dance down memory lane at The Cavern featuring a Beatles tribute band while younger family members can head to the Social Comedy and Night Club where, as the evening progresses, humour morphs into Hip Hop.
Away from this non-stop whirl of entertainment, you can slow the pace yourself. Go for a walk along The Waterfront, a quarter-mile long promenade right next to the sea that’s lined with bars and restaurants, wonder at the panoramic views through the wrap around windows of the Observatory Lounge or book a treatment at the Mandara Spa.
All of this comes at a family-friendly price. Four of the eateries are inclusive with supplements in the speciality restaurants. There are small supplements for some of the attractions like the race track. The Premium All Inclusive package will give you free drinks and will cover service charges and tips.
After cruising on NCL Bliss I really do believe I need look no further for the perfect family holiday to keep three or even four generations happy.
NCL Bliss is based in Seattle offering voyages to Alaska in the summer and operates from Miami in the winter cruising to the Caribbean
NCL has sixteen ships in its fleet all offering similar facilities to Bliss. Cruises are available from North America, Europe, Latin American, Asia and Australasia
For full details and to book go to