Gary Barlow has admitted he's struggling with raising teenagers as he reveals his kids only talk to him via text messaging.

Gary Barlow

Gary Barlow, who has son Daniel, 19, and daughters Emily, 17, and Daisy, 11, with wife of 20 years, Dawn, made the confession during the launch of his partnership with the new P&O cruise ship Iona which will see him take on the role of Musical Director of the ship’s 710 Club and Brand Ambassador.

Gary, 48, said, ‘I hate travelling, I really do. It’s hard work, it’s the bit I dread – times 10 with kids. So the idea that you can get on board and have a room, while the kids go off and go crazy, and every morning you wake up and you’re somewhere different.’

When it comes to relaxation as a family, the singer-songwriter admitted he finds it impossible.

Speaking to host Fearne Cotton, he said, ‘We’ve found that the kids as toddlers dead easy, ours are a bloody nightmare – full on teenagers. We are really going through it, we feel like couple of failed parents at the moment.’

He added, ‘My kids only talk to me through text!’

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Speaking about relaxation, Gary admitted meditation is still an important part of his life.

He said, ‘Getting home after a long day I find it so beneficial to either in the morning or the evening – or both if you’re lucky, to just get some quiet time. Anyone who is a parent will understand that bit of quiet time makes you a nicer person.’

These days Gary, is into his fitness, after battling an eating disorder, which he documents in his autobiography A Better Me.

He told Fearne, ‘[Exercise] For me it’s very important – if a plate of chips go past me I put two pounds on straight away so I’m always fighting a little bit with that.

‘If I’m going on board for a week, I’ve got time to do some exercise. It’s always finding the time that’s hard. I love to be in the gym, I love to be in there running or stretching, I love being part, especially in the morning, of a group of people all doing the same thing – the day is better after that.’

And when it comes to making the most of his own cruising holiday experience, he said, ‘I always gravitate towards the jazz club or where there are small performances going on.’

And looking forward to his new musical role, Gary is keen to open doors to other emerging artists.

He explained, ‘It’s getting back to basics – I do believe the artists that really stand out are the ones that can pick up a guitar or stand by a piano and do it live. The key is still there and we see it – our most popular artists are Ed Sheeran, Adele and Sam Smith – they can pick up a microphone, sing live and engage and audience.

‘To me there are fewer places where you can go and do that.’

He continued, ‘The Beatles went off to Germany in the 60s and earned their right to do it, I think this will be a place where artists can get six months experience – the more gigs you do the better you get.’

Iona will be Britain’s first green cruise ship – running on Liquified Natural Gas [LNG] with zero sulphur and nitrogen emissions.

Gary Barlow

On July 4th there will be a special festival at sea, Iona Fest – will have some of the UK’s biggest artists on board including Clean Bandit, Trevor Nelson, Jo Whiley and Sara Cox.

‘I love a gig – any excuse to get up and sing. I’m hoping to be on board many times but we do have a naming ceremony in Southampton on July 4th, I will be there, not only to witness the naming but to sing a few songs on board,’ added Gary.