Family Cruising: The Perfect Family Vacation
Planning a family vacation is no easy task. As a busy wife and mother with two active sons and a full-time job, take my word for it. It takes a lot of time and effort to plan a trip, not to mention trying to please everyone…. husband, teenagers, parents, in-laws, siblings, young nieces and nephews.
Of course, since I am a travel professional, the responsibility for planning our annual “get-together” is all mine! I have learned through experience that cruising is the answer to my prayers! When it comes to making sure that each and every member of the family has a fantastic time, a cruise is the only way to go!
Take your average land-based vacation. The planning will probably go something like this: after you’ve done a lot of research, you make a reservation at a hotel or rental property, let’s say for a week. Then, meals: make plans to eat three times a day, which times seven is twenty one meals…. the kids want pizza and burgers while the adults would like something a little more substantial, thank you very much! Not to mention activities: trying to figure out things to do each day that suits the entire family … all while trying to stay within your budget. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it! In this case you will likely need a vacation to recover from your vacation once all is said and done!
Now, compare that hassle to a cruise vacation for you and the entire family! Really, how easy can it get? You have all the essentials for the trip of a lifetime – beautiful, unique places to visit, great food, different entertainment every evening, tons of activities for family members of all ages throughout the day…. all at an affordable price. You are not reaching for your wallet every five minutes because just about everything is included. The staff treats you like gold, remembering that you take lemon and two sugars with your iced tea at dinner every evening. Your cabin attendant leaves you fresh towels on your bed every night in the shape of cute little animals. There are children’s programs run by licensed childcare professionals, broken down into groups for kids of all ages from 2-17. Broadway-style shows, magicians, audience-participation game shows, etc. There are also separate evening activities planned for young kids and teens – since mom and dad aren’t always cool enough to hang with at night.
Contemporary cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian, are a great choice for family cruises. Contemporary lines offer a comprehensive children’s program and facilities. Adults are not forgotten on these lines, with a full spectrum of activities geared towards adults — like water polo, mixology classes, ice sculpting demonstrations, and belly-flop contests — to name just a very few. Many of the newer ships have small water parks in the family pool area with fountains and water slides, and even pools where you can learn how to surf! Miniature golf and golf simulators are quite popular as well, as are rock-climbing walls, roller and ice skating (yes, at sea!) and video arcades. These activities offer indoor fun when everyone has had a bit too much sun.
One of the fantastic things about cruising is all the dining options onboard. There is truly something for everyone. The buffet is open from very early in the morning until quite late at night. Room service is available twenty-four hours a day at a nominal or no charge – you can even order for delivery first thing the next morning! You can sip your coffee while watching the sun rise! If you prefer a sit-down meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the dining rooms offer waiter service and wonderful, varied menus. There are special choices available for children also. For special occasions, or maybe ‘just because’, the specialty dining restaurants offer a more sophisticated dining experience for a small surcharge. Perhaps you’d like to try some of the fine French dishes or savor a steakhouse-quality filet mignon. You can even make arrangements ahead of time with the babysitting services (for a small hourly charge) to care for the kids while you and your spouse enjoy a little adult time.
Education and a great time for the whole family can be found in each and every port of call on your cruise! The Shore Excursions Desk will have a list of all the activities and points of interest in each port. This list will be delivered to your cabin the night before the port, and information on all future excursions is always available at the Shore Excursions Desk – in case you’d like to plan a bit further ahead.
Your Cruise Consultant knows all of this information and more! An experienced counselor will ask many questions about your family preferences — what type of activities you like, and what you may not like. Trust their recommendation. An experienced cruise consultant will have the knowledge and expertise to help you choose an amazing vacation! One that is right for you, the children, and everyone else. With the help of your Cruise Consultant, all you need to do is pack, grab your passports and sail off into the sunset. Happy Sailing!