Vibrant, fascinating and above all beautiful; it’s small wonder Southeast Asia is fast becoming one of the world’s most coveted cruise destinations. In a single sailing, cruise guests are treated to an odyssey of natural and manmade wonders, where a handful of distinct cultures collide — creating the perfect backdrop for an exotic, far-flung getaway.
In recent years, more and more people have set sail to Southeast Asia in a bid to find out first hand what these unique countries — which include Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia — have to offer. This has served to lessen the region’s image as a destination exclusively available to young backpackers, and one that’s compatible with all visitors — from young families to over fifties.
In this guide, we’ll provide some useful advice and insight for concerned parents looking to take their youngsters on a Southeast Asian cruise for the first time.
Take a Robust Pram or Use a Baby Carrier
Take to the waves with very young children, and it’s a good idea to invest in a robust pram or top quality baby carrier before you travel — not only to provide peace of mind aboard, but also to make it more feasible to navigate the rutted, uneven and often cobbled streets which are typical of the region (excluding Singapore).
Be Careful When Crossing Busy Streets
Unlike the street-crossing procedure adopted back home, Southeast Asian countries are notorious for their questionable approach to road safety. Aside from Singapore, most other countries in the region don’t have lights and crossings to govern traffic flow, so you’ve got to be extremely careful when negotiating busy roads. Our advice is to take one lane at a time, keep hold of your child’s hand and stay patient.
Don’t be Afraid to Let Your Youngsters Try New Foods
If you’re spending a day or so away from the cruise ship on an all day excursion, you’ll need to feed your family. In most ports, familiar food such as burgers, fries and pasta are easy to come by, but don’t be afraid to expose your kids to local cuisine, too. Southeast Asia is renowned for its delicious regional dishes, and allowing your kids to sample different cuisine is a great way to fully immerse yourselves in the culture and atmosphere of the given country.
Don’t Forget the Sun Cream
Protecting a child’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays is priority number one for most parents, making readily available sun cream an absolute must. If you’ve scheduled a shore excursion, be sure to take a tube of top quality sun cream with you, as you won’t find it so easily. Even if you do, it’ll cost a small fortune, and will probably only be available in a low SPF.
Be Prepared for Attention
One thing to be aware of when visiting certain countries in Southeast Asia is the level of attention you and your children might receive from over-enthusiastic locals — particularly away from built-up, touristy areas. Though most forms of adoration and interaction are innocent and harmless, some locals can occasionally be a little too hands-on — with cheek pinching, hair rubbing and arm grabbing being among the most intrusive forms of interaction levelled at you and your little ones.
Nine times out of ten however, you won’t encounter any such behaviour, but it’s just something to be aware of.
We hope this guide has soothed some of your worries surrounding a cruise in Southeast Asia with your children. If you’d like to make a booking, click here to visit our site where you’ll find hundreds of upcoming Southeast Asian cruises and exclusive deals. Alternatively, if you have any further queries concerning an Asian cruise holiday, don’t hesitate to call our team on 1300 857 345.
Header image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Lawrence Murray
Body images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Suzanne Sharar, Karl Grenet, Tanu Anand, Niklas Morberg