Some people may think taking school-age kids along on a European cruise is an extravagance and a waste of money. Doesn’t it make more sense to leave them at home with the grandparents and escape on a romantic European cruise as a second honeymoon? Will an 8 or 9-year-old appreciate, or even remember the experience when their grown? In my opinion, a family cruise to Europe is one of the best gifts you can give your children!
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” A European cruise teaches your kids that people throughout the world may have a different take on things. Maybe they view life differently, interact differently, have fun differently, or may worship differently. We may do things in a way but who’s to say that’s the only way, or the right way? Travel teaches our children (and us), to expand our thinking, to consider other alternatives, and to view the world with more acceptance.
Europe is a living and breathing museum of history! Seeing and experiencing historical sites up close can make history come alive for children! While I may have thought that the gladiators walking around the outside of the Roman Coliseum for picture ops was tacky and commercial, my son begged for a picture. And when went inside to walk around he had endless questions regarding who they were, how and why did they fight, and what kind of animals did they battle?
On a shore excursion to Pompeii we had a young tour guide that was so impassioned when he spoke that if you closed your eyes you could almost hear and smell the chaos of the erupting Mount Vesuvius! When you add to that the fact that you can view bodies “mummified” by ash, that was a day of learning no classroom teacher or text book can compete with!
Once your children travel to a foreign land it’s no longer so foreign or so distant and they now have this connection to it. Spend a day strolling around Paris, and that item about the terrorist attack on the evening news suddenly seems more interesting. If you stayed in London for a day or two pre-cruise, it’s not surprising when your kids ask what the headline “Brexit” means. Suddenly, the worldhas gotten a bit smaller.
European cruising exposes your children’s taste buds to a world of different foods, flavors and spices. On my son’s first European cruise we visited Rome, Naples and Florence. In each city, he was determined to taste and compare their pizza. He was brought up to believe he lived in the pizza capital of the world…New York! Years later, on another cruise he was a bit more adventurous. We dined on paella in Valencia, wild boar in small village on the Costa del Sol, and chicken tagine and couscous in Morocco. Sure, we have all sorts of ethnic restaurants here at home, but trust me, it’s not the same!
Of course, the most obvious and maybe the most important reason to cruise to Europe with your kids is the bonding and the special memories you are making that will last a lifetime! That’s not extravagant… it’s priceless!