Imagine this; you have just enjoyed a delicious family meal after a day at the beach and you’re about the put the kids to bed and enjoy a few precious hours of peace, supplemented with a cocktail or two. Your expertly qualified night nurse arrives, hands you a pager and tells you to go away and enjoy yourself, she will take it from here. You slip on your heels for the first time in what feels like years and head to the smartest wine bar on the coast. Bliss!
Click! And you’re back in the room. The night nurse is but a dream of parents everywhere, save just for those with five-storey mansions in SW1 and deep enough pockets to facilitate ‘hired help’.
As we lead busier lives than ever, we look toward our family holiday as an opportunity to spend some quality time together; days at the beach; afternoons in the pool; and ice creams dripping down hands, arms and legs (and every other surface that dares to venture in-between!). Evenings are filled with family dinners and negotiations to steer determined little eaters away from the usual chicken nuggets in favour of something a little more exotic. You’ll do the same again tomorrow and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
But wouldn’t it be nice to have just one or two nights off? Just one precious date night filled with oodles of delicious food, grown up conversation and naughty cocktails.
Family Holidays Mean Fun-Filled Days…
The popularity of cruising has soared in recent years and it now presents a tempting option for a family holiday. Kid’s clubs are brimming with age-specific activities run by qualified (and fun!) leaders, children’s teas and parties are a regular occurrence and designated kids pools are equipped with water cannons. Norwegian Cruise Line takes it a step further and has water slides that twist and turn above deck! While the kids tear it up, parents can relax in luxury spas, laze on deck-top retreats or even catch a movie at the ship’s cinema. The whole family can come together for shore excursions that take you to a different place every single day; from sandy beaches in the Caribbean to historic cities in the Mediterranean. Cruising puts the best bits of a family holiday in one place…including a night nursery. An often complimentary night nursery.
…and Peaceful Nights
After spending a day exploring in port or making the most of the ship’s facilities, a night nursery on board allows you to put your toddler or baby down to sleep, while you enjoy some much-needed me time. The service is usually available to children aged between 6 months and 4 years of age, with parents contacted via pager should their child awake. Qualified staff oversee the peaceful area, regularly checking sleeping children and constantly monitoring and recording the temperature of the room. Services are in high demand; ships offer just a handful of beds and cots and it is first come first served! In the meantime, make your reservations so you can beat a hasty retreat to one of the ship’s lounges or enjoy a rare dinner for two in one of the ship’s speciality restaurants.
Staying On Dry Land
Many land-based resorts offer babysitting services similar to those offered aboard cruise ships. The Disneyworld In-Room Babysitting Service entertain little travellers between 6 months and 12 years with arts, crafts, reading and games, before settling them in their own bed for a peaceful nights slumber under the watchful eye of highly-qualified sitters. Similarly, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai also offers a babysitting service at an hourly charge.
Speak to your travel agent when booking your holiday, cruise or resort, and find out your options for planning even a child-free few hours minus the guilt. After all, a family holiday should be fun for everyone and we all know that mum and dad are more fun than ever when they’ve had a few hours off!
Michael Wilson has been the Managing Director at Bolsover Cruise Club for over 9 years and has seen the company grow and expand significantly in that time.