The Time We Went Cruising with Kids

This is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while, now that I’m in the ‘no-fly’ trimester of pregnancy.  I’ve been reminiscing over our last major holiday a lot, so when the chance came along to join up with Brit Mums and Visit Wales for the  #Wales4Kids Family Holiday Challenge I simply couldn’t resist!

Last April marked the end of my maternity leave, some birthdays and a whole heap of significant events that had taken place in our little family.  A celebration was in order!  What better to mark all this than a family cruise with Thomson.  My husband and I had cruised before, and really felt it was the holiday for us.  We’ve seen a lot of Europe, and wanted to experience some new cultures and destinations this time round.  We were headed for the ‘Pharaohs and The Promised Land.

We flew to Cyprus and the port of Limassol to embark on the Thomson Spirit.  The Teen was full of lots of questions about the ship and the intrepid adventure he was about to encounter.  This was quite honestly the most excited he has ever been about a family holiday.  He’d even packed his basketball boots so he could use the ship’s sports deck to shoot a few hoops.  After the Musters Drill, there was a lot of exploring to be done!


Thomson Spirit

We were all very excited about going to go to see the Pyramids on this holiday, and there were some other excursions we were interested in. We had come along way to see these new places, and we were not going to be perturbed by the fact we had a 1 year old in tow.  We are lucky in that having the Teen with us meant we had 3 pairs of hands on deck, so to speak!

After a family stroll along the beach in Alanya, Turkey with some local cuisine at a beach side restaurant followed by a day at sea enjoying what the ship had to offer we arrived in Alexandria, Egypt.  We were heading for Cairo with a baby in tow!  The other holiday makers were clearly a little anxious about this, as they all worked out how they were not going to sit near the family with the baby.


family  Boat

Going to Egypt was an eye opening experience for all of us.  As everyone is probably aware the country is now in turmoil and we witnessed the chaos and poverty the people were experiencing first hand.  The streets were filled with rubbish, buildings were derelict and everyone was begging.  It’s not like seeing it on the TV where your always a little bit removed from what it’s going on, it made it very real and gave us all an appreciation for our lives back home.

The haggling we experienced when we arrived at the Pyramids was aggressive!  It doesn’t sit well with the English disposition.  The Teen took it all in his stride, he had nothing to give them so he wasn’t phased.  He spoke to the locals, and he soaked up all the ancient history this amazing site had to offer.  He’s always been a big fan of Ancient Egypt and to see it first hand was truly special for him.  Little Princess didn’t bat an eyelid either, she just looked on in wonder at all the new sights, smells and camels.

There was more ancient history to be had in the Port of Alexandria the next day, visiting a local museum and Egypt’s only Roman Amphitheatre.  We all learnt how the ancient relics were removed removed from the seas and and  painstakingly restored for tourists and locals to enjoy.  

Alexandria Egypt

We arrived in Israel after 2 days in Egypt, and what a contrast to the country we had left behind.  For the Teen to see the difference in these bordering countries was a lesson in itself.  The difference in order and control was staggering.  Immigration boarded the ship and insisted on meeting all passengers face to face whether you were disembarking or not.  They were also stationed at the gangway for the entire duration of our stay.  No one was getting on or off that boat without them knowing about it!

We took the Panoramic Tour of Jerusalem, which to our surprise became the highlight of the holiday.  The Teen had wanted to stay on the ship for the on board activities, but fortunately it was too late to cancel his ticket.  He would have genuinely missed out if he hadn’t come.  With a 10 hour day ahead of us, we were ready for anything after our experiences in Egypt.  We had one of the most knowledgeable tour guides we have come across, an American who had fallen in love with an Israeli girl, and had chased her down the street til she agreed to go for coffee with him.  Now married and 2 children later he was enlightening naive tourists on the history and religious sites of Jerusalem.  The Teen was not disappointed in the slightest about what he saw and learnt that day.  Little Princess too, soaked it all up without a whimper or a groan.

Mum and daughter travelling

wailing wall Jerusalem

 view of Jerusalem

None of us will forget the atmosphere at the Wailing Wall, the amazing panoramic views across the city or the significance of the Mount of Olives or any of the religious sites in between including a stop off at the room of the Last Supper.

This holiday wasn’t about learning to swim or jet ski, it was about learning about what other people experience in their lives and learning first  hand everything that had gone before it to arrive at this place in time.  It was inspirational and enlightening and I will never forget sharing it with everyone, but especially the Teen.  He learnt there was a world outside his bedroom and there was a lot he didn’t know about it.   The whistle stop tour across these amazing cultures has opened his eyes forever to what else might be out there.

Our next holiday may be a little closer to home as we look for something we can enjoy with a Teen, a toddler and a new baby.  With lots of free family attractions on offer and beautiful scenery to enjoy Wales will definitely be on our list.  All the family would enjoy an adventure looking for Dolphins off the clifftops at Mwnt.   The Cardiff Summer Festival looks a must, where we could all enjoy the music, street entertainment and fun fair rides this amazing event has to offer.  The Teen would love some outdoor mountaineering only ever having had chance to scale an indoor climbing wall until now.  There is much more information on these events and what is happening in Wales if you follow @visitwales on Twitter or pop over to Facebook(, especially  if your still deciding on your holiday plans for this year like we are.

This post is an entry for the Visit Wales #Wales4Kids Family Holiday Challenge. Wales is the perfect place for a fun-filled family break.

If you are planning a cruise, check out my packing list packed full of tips & tricks.  

Zena's Suitcase

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life.

Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. Sam
    March 11, 2014 / 8:28 pm

    What an amazing holiday! I’m sure the memories of that trip will last forever and how lovely that both your teenager and beautiful baby were both able to enjoy it too.

  2. chloe
    March 12, 2014 / 11:04 am

    i loved Egypt best holiday and great for history!

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:26 pm

      It definitely has a lot to offer, shame it’s a country that has had a lot of troubles recently

  3. March 12, 2014 / 12:54 pm

    What a wonderful adventure. Thank you for sharing!

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:25 pm

      Thank you, it was for the whole family, which is an achievement in itself!

  4. Honey
    March 12, 2014 / 4:09 pm

    How amazing to go to Egypt! Sounds like you all had a lot of fun!! x

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:23 pm

      It was amazing, something I’ll never forget. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. March 12, 2014 / 4:20 pm

    WOW, WOW, WOW what an amazing experience with your lovely family. The photos look stunning. Looks like fun was had by all for sure. I am jealous. I have never been. I love forward to family vacation when my two are a bit older, we braved Lanzarote recently with a 6 month old and a 2 year old, wasn’t as bad as I thought travelling with young ones. Cruising with kids sounds amazing. What a great opportunity. Thank you ever so much for joining in SHARE WITH ME linky, and introducing me to you and your lovely blog. I am off to peak at more post you have! Hope to see you again soon. #sharewithme

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:22 pm

      Thank you! It was such a great experience. Holidays with kids are a little more challenging, but as long as your prepared it’s not that bad. So glad I stumbled upon #sharewithmelinky

  6. March 12, 2014 / 4:23 pm

    What a lovely adventure. I can remember going to Portugal when I was 20 weeks pregnant and I always tell my little boy he came with us.

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:20 pm

      Aw bless, that’s so sweet. I was pregnant on my first cruise, so little Princess has seen a lot in her first few years of life! We’re really lucky

  7. Alexandra Mercer
    March 12, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    It looks like you’ve had some amazing experiences as a family. #ShareWithMe

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:18 pm

      We did, we were very lucky indeed. Going back through the photos was great for me and writing this post.

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:16 pm

      It was, I loved going back through the pictures to write this post. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d go back to Egypt, but can really recommend Israel

  8. Kat
    March 12, 2014 / 10:17 pm

    Great stuff that your Teen is still up for going on holidays with you! And that border crossing must have been a great eye opening for him. I have heard some ‘great’ stories about that from my family.

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:15 pm

      I have to say, he’s not keen on all holidays, but we were lucky with this one that it ticked all our boxes. We all got a lot out of it. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. seychellesmama
    March 13, 2014 / 5:09 am

    what a fantastic holiday it looks incredible! x

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:13 pm

      Thanks you, it was. The memories will last forever!

  10. tracey bowden
    March 13, 2014 / 9:52 am

    I have always wanted to go on a cruise and yours sounds amazing. I visited egypt a few years ago and was a bit put off by hagglers outside of the resort too so we only ventured out once #sharewithme

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:11 pm

      This cruise was great, but we have also been around the Med, and we stopped at more countries, and had an equally amazing time! I’d probably do a Med cruise if we are luckily enough to go again.

  11. March 13, 2014 / 10:12 am

    Wow this sounds amazing – we would love o do a cruise with the little man this year – sounds very exciting and not stressful at all 🙂

    Laura x
    Laura recently posted…Our chic short break to LondonMy Profile

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:08 pm

      I can absolutely recommend cruising, the ships themselves are great,the staff are wonderful and the food and entertainment is great.Be prepared to put on a few pounds 😉

  12. Tarana
    March 13, 2014 / 11:56 am

    Looks like you had a wonderful time! I’ve always wanted to do a cruise, and Egypt is on my bucket list.

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:06 pm

      We certainly did. Cruises are an amazing way to holiday, we really love them. I’m not so sure I’d rush back to Egypt, Israel was a beautiful country. Thanks for reading!

  13. March 13, 2014 / 1:38 pm

    Wow. This sounds like an amazing adventure with lots to learn along the way. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part.

    • Zena
      March 13, 2014 / 2:04 pm

      Thanks Kate, it was an absolute pleasure! Zx

  14. Loving life with little ones
    March 14, 2014 / 9:12 am

    What a lovey time you had. I had not thought of israel as a holiday destination before reading your post but would consider it now. We almost went to egypt for our honeymoon but chose somewhere less intrusive instead.x #Binkylinky

    • Zena
      March 14, 2014 / 9:18 am

      To be honest, I hadn’t either, so it was really a surprise. We saw some amazing things there, and there’s loads to learn

  15. Mummy Whiskers
    March 14, 2014 / 9:37 am

    WOW what a fantastic trip, I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt so I really enjoyed reding this #BinkyLinky

  16. March 14, 2014 / 10:01 am

    Wow what a great holiday! We went on a cruise for our honeymoon and loved it! Would love to do it again! Pocolo
    Thelifeofwife recently posted…Review: Vauxhall ZafiraMy Profile

  17. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk)
    March 14, 2014 / 10:37 am

    Looks like you had awesome time. Thanks for sharing your holiday!


  18. Michelle Maggs
    March 14, 2014 / 3:53 pm

    Love all your photos and loved reading your post 🙂 #binkylinky x

  19. March 15, 2014 / 5:19 pm

    Wow, it sounds like you had an amazing time 🙂 I took Grace to Egypt but not via a cruise – I’d love to go on a cruise one day 🙂 Good luck with the competition. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo X

  20. Kate @ Family Fever
    March 18, 2014 / 8:32 pm

    Wow, what an amazing experience, it looks like so much fun for everyone. Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  21. March 18, 2014 / 9:59 pm

    What an amazing experience! We’ve not had a proper holiday in years and I have to admit the idea of taking three very small children abroad terrifies me!
    Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested
    Colette recently posted…Tried & Tested TuesdayMy Profile

More About This UK Travel Blog

Whether you are looking for travel tips to make the most of your next cruise holiday or you need UK travel ideas we’ve got you covered on Zena’s Suitcase UK travel blog.  We started sharing our holiday and travel reviews in 2013, so if you can’t find the travel, family or lifestyle blog above you are after make sure you head over to the search bar to find what you need.  Think of us as one of the best travel blogs brimming with ideas to get you out and about with and without the kids.