Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:25 AM
For a getaway that young and old alike will love, family cruises departing from Cork should be at the top of the pile of potential holidays. Not only will you get to explore this beautiful historic city, but you'll also have the chance to discover other places.
Cork, in County Cork, is on the south-west coast of Ireland, so you can be guaranteed there will be coves, bays, rolling hills and beaches nearby. Before your cruise sets sail to the first destination on your itinerary, which will more than likely be Amsterdam, you will have several hours to explore Cork and the surrounding area. One great place to head to with youngsters is Cobh. Here, you can visit the Heritage Centre, which tells the story of emigrants from Ireland. You will find out about the past of Annie Moore, who was the first Irish person to be officially processed by immigration in the US, a popular destination for those leaving Ireland.
Cobh is also home to the Titanic Experience, which, as the name suggests, brings the ill-fated ship to life. See the remains of the promenade where the final 123 passengers to board the Titanic will have walked along, as well as delve into detail about their lives. Holographs and touch-screen technology are some of the ways that the characters are brought to life. Adding to the experience is the fact that the museum is housed in White Star Line's former offices.
If you have ever heard of the phrase 'talking Blarney', you can - according to legend - get the gift of the gab yourself by kissing the stone of the same name at Blarney Castle. You'll need to lie down on the ground and lean backwards in order to reach it, but it certainly makes for something different and children will love watching their parents having a go! Of course, there is more to this former fortress than the stone. The castle is around 600 years old and was built by Cormac MacCarthy. After you have explored the structure itself, check out the gardens. One of the green spaces kids will enjoy and boast to their friends about is the Poison Garden. The plants found here are so dangerous that they are kept in cages. Ricin, opium, mandrake and wolfsbane are some of the plants you can look at and learn more about.
Don't worry if you don't get to see everything you want to, as your cruise will return to the port at the end of its voyage, providing you with another opportunity to explore the sights of Cork. Departing from the port, the family-friendly city of Amsterdam will be next on the itinerary. Aside from the large variety of cultural centres little ones will love, such as the Voldendam Museum, the Dutch destination is perfect for hiring a bike and cycling around. Take a gentle ride along the waterways and soak up the laidback atmosphere.
Hamburg and Hegloland in Germany will be next on your captain's agenda, followed by South Queensferry, Ivergordon, Kirkwall and Stornoway. There are plenty of stops in the UK and Ireland and they will hopefully remind you that there is no need to jet off to exotic climes in order to enjoy a cruise in beautiful destinations. With each port an easy journey away from the next, it also means you will get as much time as possible to spend with your loved ones exploring new places. Oban and Dublin make up the final two stops of your cruise, before rounding off your family holiday back in Cork.