By Karolina Shenton, Manager of Marketing and Sales Operations, The Cruise Web, Inc.
Summer is coming and the kids will soon be out of school. It’s time to plan that epic vacation for your family; the one you’ve always dreamed of doing. You’re excited as you daydream of all the possibilities. But then something mysterious happens. You start to remember all those impossibly long family road trips and hotel stays when you were a kid. If you have a sibling, you recall hours of back seat bickering with your brother or sister and staring out the window watching the world go by, asking “are we there yet?” All of a sudden, you’re motivation starts to wither away. No matter how much of a super-parent you consider yourself, the challenges of family travel are enough to dissuade the most super of parents. There is, however, a better way: family cruises.
Now that I am a parent, I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with children. First and foremost, forget packing and unpacking over and over again and spending large amounts of time in transit. If you want to show your family the world, you need to get there in a way that won’t make everyone crazy. What better way than in a floating resort that will carry your family, along with all the entertainment you could ever want, to your destination of choice? Contemporary cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, MSC Cruises and Norwegian have built fleets of the most entertaining, diverse and well-appointed ships at sea. A recent cruise I took with my husband and our three-year-old daughter to Bermuda with Royal Caribbean’s Enchanment of the Seas leaving from my home port in Baltimore. So, within a couple of hours of leaving home, we were unpacked, in a pool, sipping tropical drinks and listening to a live band. Our weekly trips to the grocery store take longer than it took us to start having fun on our vacation.
Kids are picky when it comes to what to eat. While they might not want anything but pizza and fries, parents rarely feel the same way. So instead of spending a fortune on restaurants that might only please some of your family, a cruise ship has countless dining options. The staff is absolutely fantastic too when it comes to the whims of little people. While sailing Royal Caribbean’s Enchanment of the Seas, my daughter asked if she could have a cookie for dessert after dinner. The menu contained several expertly crafted desserts that thrilled me and my husband, but no cookies were listed. We asked the wait staff if they had a cookie, and each night for the rest of our vacation the wait staff had a plate with a variety of cookies for my daughter, without us ever asking again. My husband and I were trying new things, and enjoying meals designed by the expert chefs on board, while my daughter was in cookie heaven.
Activities for All
Boredom can unravel the most well planned family vacations. Kids don’t do well when they’re bored and they will usually let you know it. The massive floating resorts offered by contemporary cruise lines make boredom almost impossible. On these ships, you have pools and water slides, a sports deck with basketball, tennis and golf simulators, countless lounges and performers, libraries, big screen (and in room) first run movies, interactive group games, and special age-specific kid areas. Some of the special features range from ice skating rinks to bowling alleys to surfing machines. The older kids can hang out in the teen-only club and arcades, while the little ones can have a blast in the kid discovery areas. Each of these ships is staffed with licensed child-care professionals that keep your kids busy with fantastic maritime-themed activities. If the adults want to get away, all they need to do is arrange onboard babysitting and they have a night to themselves while their child is having the time of their lives becoming an honorary pirate crewmember. On our most recent Royal Caribbean cruise, we found the toys we brought for our daughter were boring her by mid-week, so the staff delivered a bag of toys for her to use while we were there. Great service!
So, if you are quickly joining the legions of parents who have lost their drive to face the realities of family vacations, consider planning a vacation that everyone, especially you, will enjoy. Contemporary cruises are the perfect remedy for all of your family travel woes. They are convenient, relatively inexpensive, will cater to everyone in your family and are incredibly fun for all. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, you can see almost any part of the world on one too!