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Would you let your kids organise your cruise?!

Would you let your kids organise a cruise for you?

This post is brought to you in partnership with TUI UK because that is exactly what they did! Marella sent the Saccone Joly family on a Cuban itinerary and put the five-year-old Emilia (below) in charge… (the videos of their adventures are so so so cute). I was lucky enough to cruise as a child so this post contains a number of photos of little me, what I loved about cruising as a child and some stats from Marella’s research about what kids really want from their holidays. SPOILER: Packing goggles is very important to kids

Who are Marella?

Marella is the new name for Thomson cruises. They rebranded last year and I am going to be cruising with them onboard the Discovery in September! Marella means ‘shining sea’ in Celtic and one of my favourite things about the cruise line is the fact that the tips/gratuities are included in the price that you pay for your cruise. No hidden surprises!

There are currently five ships in the Marella Cruises fleet, Marella Dream, Marella Celebration, Marella Discovery, Marella Discovery 2 and Marella Spirit. New ship Marella Explorer will begin sailing in summer 2018.

Why I loved cruising as a child…

I started my cruising career aged 11 with a cruise around Alaska onboard the Norwegian Spirit and another around Hawaii on the Pride of Aloha. I LOVED the freedom that cruising gave me. I’m not sure that I should have been in charge of the cruise though, even at 11 I probably would have just wanted to eat pizza and play in the arcade all day long. I have many memories of spending my time in the arcade with my cousins.

norwegian spirit glass elevators kids children cruise family

Me in the lift with my mum, cousin and brother onboard the Norwegian Spirit.

Food and drink!

Cruising gave me so much more freedom than I had in my regular day to day life. If my parents wanted to eat in the main dining room and I wanted to get pizza from the buffet instead we could do that! I remember being completely overwhelmed by the amount of food in the buffet and the realisation that I could eat any of it, ANY TIME I WANTED.

Kid’s clubs

I always went to the kid’s clubs and went to the teen clubs too. (I was one of those teenagers who sit around in groups on the stairs being really annoying). Each day there is a schedule of events for the children and there are many activities taking place around the ship for them, meaning that they don’t always have to meet their new friends in the kids club lounge. Marella have ‘babytainment’ for kids under 3, a kids club for 3-11s and a teen club for older children. Most cruise lines offer some type of kids clubs although the number of activities will vary based on the cruise ship and line.

I’m wearing my NCL kids crew hat in the picture below…

cruising as a child hawaii beano club ncl kids crew hat


Making friends from around the world was one of my favourite things about cruising (and it still is!). I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet people from other countries when I was young because I really think it has made me grow up appreciating other cultures and with an interested in how other people live.

Family time

At 11 years old I wouldn’t have said this but… it was nice to spend time with my family! Marella have done a lot of research about this and apparently “Nearly a third (31.9%) of kids stated that spending time with parents is the most important thing to do on a holiday.”  Cruising as a child has without a doubt provided me with some of my favourite childhood memories. I wish that I took more photos but I definitely didn’t know that I would grow up to blog about cruising!

What do the kids think?

Marella has been doing some research into what kids think about cruising/holidays. Below are some of the stats that I think are quite funny..

  • Taking embarrassing snaps, attempting to speak the local language and spending way too much time checking work emails are among things kids wish their parents didn’t do on holiday. (Would agree with one!)
  • Sun cream wars continue to be the biggest bugbear for modern kids across the UK, who reel at the thought of their parents slapping on excessive lotion. (Bleh! Now I LOVE the smell of suncream, how things change)
  • The great outdoors also triumphed over tech, with a quarter of kids (25.5%) saying they’d rather explore and go on an adventure than stare at a screen whilst on their family holiday. (Not sure how this is a triumph if 75% want to look at their phone? haha)
  • The research found that if kids were allowed to do anything, they would love nothing more than going to a waterpark (55.%), followed by a theme park visit (51%) or a day by the pool (39%). Going out to eat favourite foods (43%), building sandcastles (39%) and freedom to pack what they want also rated high in the poll, with goggles proving the most important piece to pack (53%). (Goggles? How sweet!)

Emilia’s adventure!

Would you ever let your kids organise your cruise? Personally, I am far too much of a control freak to let anybody else organise my cruise, let alone a child. Could be pretty funny though!

Emilia’s parents had the following to say about their adventure:

We’re on a Marella Cruise, but this isn’t like our usual holidays – this time Emilia has planned the whole trip! Emilia has chosen everything – from the type of holiday, the destination to our itinerary. Allowing Emilia to plan the holiday has shown us that there’s something for everyone on a Marella Cruise.

To find out more you can visit Marella at Marella by U.

I am so SO excited to cruise with Marella in September. The more I do my research the more excited I become. I don’t have any kids but I am just an oversized child anyway. Watch this space for more Marella content!

While you’re here, why not join our Facebook group? We have over 1.3k lovely members but could always do with one more! Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People – FB Group.