Three for the kids: Cruise lines

For the ultimate family holiday, try one of these kid-friendly cruise lines sailing New Zealand waters this summer.

1 Ovation Of The Seas

Currently the line holding the record for the world’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean cruises are a safe bet for all round family fun. Visiting New Zealand this summer is Ovation of the Seas — a ship so big it has to be anchored in Auckland harbour, rather than coming in to dock. Although it doesn’t have waterslides like many of its sister ships, there is still plenty of fun on board. Attractions include the Flowrider wave simulator where the kids can try out surfing and body-boarding, and SeaPlex RCI — an indoor activity park with bumper cars, a roller rink, full-size basketball court, circus school, floating DJ booth, and food truck. Kids aged 3 and older can try out skydiving in a controlled environment at Ripcord by iFly. The ship’s Adventure Ocean programme covers kids aged 3 to 17, with age-appropriate, educational activities that will keep them busy while you relax in the more adult-friendly areas of the ship, like the robot-operated cocktail bar.

2 Carnival Spirit

Boasting the largest waterpark at sea in Australasia, mini-golf, sports court, youth programmes, and 24-hour pizza and icecream, Carnival Spirit — which sails Australia, NZ and the Pacific Islands — has something for kids of all ages. Hasbro, The Game Show brings board games like Connect 4, Operation and Yahtzee to life, with teams playing for prizes in front of a live audience. Suess at Sea is a special Dr Suess-themed parade, story time, arts and crafts activities and character breakfast, and the Build-a-Bear workshop allows them to create their own personalised teddy bear. Hard-to-please teens will be impressed (although they won’t tell you that) at Circle C (12- to 14-year-olds) and Club 02 (15- to 17-year-olds), where they can watch movies, listen to music, sing karaoke and play video games, all away from their embarrassing parents.

3 Norwegian Jewel

This is one of Norwegian‘s older ships, christened in 2005 (by Melania Trump. But don’t let that put you off) and featuring fewer of the star attractions the Jewel’s sister ships have (no top deck go-kart track, for example). But it has won numerous Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice awards for being the ship with the best entertainment. Specifically for the kids, there’s the Sapphire Kids Pool; Splash Academy — which has open space for running around, and an arts and crafts area; a video game arcade; and Club Underground — a space for teens where they can lounge in front of plasma TVs, games consoles, jukeboxes, or prop up the (non-alcoholic) bar then hit the dancefloor.

• October is Cruise Month in NZ, marking the beginning of the summer season and a full schedule of ships visiting our shores. Keep an eye on Travel and Sunday Travel over the month for all the latest cruising news.

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