Cruising With Kids on the Mediterranean
by Larry Berle
Costa Cruises promotes itself as the largest cruise line in Europe.
The boat we were on, the Costa Serena, was built in 2007 and has a passenger capacity of 3800 plus 1100 crew. That may sound quite large, but the largest ship in the world holds over 6000.
The itinerary we chose included the following ports; Venice and Bari, Italy; Olympia, Greece; Izmir and Istanbul, Turkey; and Dubrovnik, Croatia. One may board the ship at several different locations, so the composite profile of passengers is in a constant flux, the majority being Italian, with German and Spanish patrons in a close tie for second place. Less than 10% of the guests were from the U.S.
Costa Cruises makes cruising with kids fun for everyone!
On board this ship you will never tire for lack of activity, including gambling in the casino, bingo games, dance lessons, spa and gymnasium services, cooking lessons, Italian language lessons, and much more. Thanks to the free-of-charge babysitting service, it’s a buffet of options for any adult.
Family entertainment includes a talent show, karaoke, and more. But the largest area for entertainment is found in the 1200 seat theater, where you will find specialty performances on a nightly basis. It is not uncommon to be entertained by skillful acrobats, multi-talented musicians, spell-binding magicians, or even the Costa Crew itself.
For children, the Costa Serena is paradise. A giant, two-story slide plunges into a refreshing pool on the top deck for starters. And if that doesn’t give them a scream, the Formula One simulated race-car will certainly excite them. There are video games, pirate treasure hunts, masquerades, face painting, Italian language lessons, deck-side contests, arts and crafts, and pizza parties at all hours. If you want your children to have a multicultural interaction with other cruisers, than this is the spot! Our cruise was host to over 700 children. Parents who share their cabin with the children can do so at no additional cost, and there are plenty of activities in the Costa Kids Program with competent staff to supervise.
There is even special attention just for teens. Some of the activities in the TeenZone include*: Temporary tattoos and body painting, ethnic or pearl necklace making, sports tournaments: volleyball, basketball, swimming, water polo, etc. There are several evening events like: pool party with midnight dip, themed evenings (Rave, Funk, etc.), election of Miss / Mr. Teen; dance lessons: hip-hop, Latin, etc.; Nutella party, guitar party under the stars, and much more. (*varies from ship to ship and high or low season)
Younger guests can play in a pirate ship or giant Lego brick room.
There are daily excursions, which, if led by Costa, may be purchased for an additional fee (no less than 50 euros per tour). But you are welcome to enter each port individually and self-explore.
The staff appears to be very happy, jovial and full of life as they take care of your every need. They are a pleasure to be with.
If you go: Costa Cruises
Larry Berle is a travel writer who writes on many travel topics but specializes in golf travel. Check out his travel blog, as well as his book, A GOLFER’S DREAM: HOW A REGULAR GUY CONQUERED THE GOLF DIGEST LIST OF AMERICA’S TOP 100 GOLF COURSES at www.GolfersDreamBook.com.