What Happens When The Kids Plan a Marella Cruise?


If you are a regular reader of Zena’s Suitcase you will already know that I’m passionate about putting kids at the heart of family travel.  Do you remember when Indie and I visited Amsterdam?  She was totally in charge of the itinerary for our holiday, and she had such fun researching and planning what she wanted to do for that trip.  When it came to the city break itself, she embraced every single minute of it and all the usual moans and groans you’d expect from a small child on holiday were no where to be seen.

tech kidizoom camera

As a cruise fan, I’ve wondered for a while what would happen if you took the same idea, and let the kids plan the holiday.  Taking a family cruise is the perfect kind of holiday to let your child get involved with the planning,  from which countries they would be interested in visiting to which activities they would like to do while onboard the ship.

Well, the Saconne Joly’s and Marella Cruises, the UK’s third largest cruise line, have put this idea to the test and I was not at all surprised by the outcome.  An independent study produced by Marella Cruises*, looked at what would happen if you let your children plan your holiday and the results are things that I see play out in every family holiday that we take.


Top 5 Most Important Things About Going on Holiday to UK Kids

Spending Time with Parents and Family

Marella Cruises research revealed that 31.9% of UK kids love being able to spend time with their family while on holiday.  Our girls thrive when they are on holiday with us without the distractions of day to day life or work getting in the way. They want to do things with us whether it’s go to the beach, explore new places or try a new activities.

Exploring & Going on Adventures

This is one of the main reasons I’d love to take Indie and Brook on a family cruise together now they are bit older.  They love exploring new places and if they could visit a new destination every day, their sense of adventure would be at an all time high. We did a Middle East Cruise with my teen son and Indie when she was just 14 months old and going to Egypt to see the Pyramids and Jerusalem to visit the Wailing Wall as a family are some of our favourite travel adventures.

Going Swimming

I was not surprised to see that 15.5% of UK kids said that going swimming was important to them when going on holiday.  I know Indie and Brook are at their happiest when we are all together in the swimming pool.  It’s such a perfect and easy way for us to spend quality time together, and if there is a pool available on their holiday you can guarantee they will ask to go in it most days.


Play Games Together

Despite the amount of tech around these days, lots of kids still want to play games when they are on holiday.  Brook and Indie love to play card games or a round of crazy golf long before they want to reach for their tablets.  Personally I don’t think anything can beat the fun and laughs you have together as a family when you are playing your favourite games together.

To Enjoy Some Freedom

Going on holiday is the perfect time for a child to grow a little independence, even from a very young age.  Lots of holidays provide safe places for children to play and activities that they can do without their parents, if they want to.  Whether it’s being able to run free on a campsite or go and see the kids show on a Marella Cruise by themselves, holidays are a great way to help children feel that all important sense of freedom they crave as they grow up.

If you are thinking of planning a family cruise, you can see exactly how the Saconne Joly’s faired when Emilia planned their Marella Cruise earlier this year.  It looks to me like their is something for everyone onboard a Marella Cruise.  What do you think?

This post was written in partnership with TUI. Marella Cruises have an unparalleled atmosphere and offer exceptional service to all it’s customers.

* The research was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Marella Cruises and polled 1,000 children aged 6 – 12 in March 2018.

Zena Goldman

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.

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11 Discussion to this post

  1. Rochelle @ www.rhubarbandwren.co.uk says:

    it’s a great idea to let the kids plan the holiday – my youngest would love that as she’s very keen on planning pretty much everything we do anyway!

  2. Katie says:

    I’ve never been on a cruise but always quite fancied it. I think it would be a great option with little ones xx

  3. We’ve just got back from a family holiday and I’m pleased to say that all those things were part of our break. One of our twins loved learning Chess and challenging us to beat her. Mich x
    michelle twin mum recently posted…Would You Use an Online Pharmacy?My Profile

  4. Jon says:

    Great post this. It doesn’t surprise me that going swimming is to high on the list!!

  5. Tracy Morgan says:

    I would have thought that swimming would have been more than 15%, actually. I said to my kids only yesterday that the only thing they are still happy to do as a family is go to the beach! So important to get the kids’ views and suggestions for what they want to do on holiday – it’s their holiday, too, after all!

  6. Jenny says:

    This is gonna sound sad but I haven’t yet been on holiday with my kids! I always put it off as they were in nappies, then toilet training…but now they’re a year off from going to school I think it’s the right time. Swimming would be high on their list and any oversized playgrounds!

  7. scots2travel says:

    I totally agree, what a lovely concept. I think swimming pools and ice-cream would feature v highly on the list!
    scots2travel recently posted…Cool Things to Do in Lisbon – with Kids!My Profile

  8. Rachel says:

    What a lovely idea to let the children plan the holiday itinerary – guess it stops them moaning like you say! Ice cream, swimming pools and playing games ould feature on my holiday plans so maybe I am a big kid! Loving your Instagram stories by the way 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…A Truly Luxurious and Romantic Glamping Getaway with Just Us Retreats in Crediton, DevonMy Profile

  9. Cathy Glynn says:

    Grace loves planning our holidays once we decide on a destination. I have always been a bit scared of cruises but hubbie would love to go on one.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I think I’d struggle, if we could afford to go on a cruise (or even a holiday!) to let the kids do all the planning, but it’s a great concept. It would end up being a very different trip, but something they’d really enjoy I’m sure.
    Elizabeth recently posted…‘Midnight Magic’ Unicorn Cake with Candy BarkMy Profile

  11. Kyle says:

    You are much braver than me. If my kids planned the trips there is no telling where we would end up. It is a great idea though to get them involved in the trip planning process and to see what really is important to them and not just us grown ups. Great post.

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