I think cruising is a GREAT vacation option for everyone, especially families. Also, in the last few years cruise lines have been making great strides to appeal to families and their many needs.
While there are many fantastic cruise lines I think the best cruise lines for families right now are Disney, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival.
Here are some of the reasons why I think a cruise can make a family vacation one to remember:
1. Budget Friendly
Cruises are a great value because, these are vacations that include just about everything you will need to have an amazing vacation. Your cruise vacation will include food, accommodations and round the clock entertainment. The cruise lines also offer great deals throughout the year where you can get upgrades, discounts and even “Kids Sail Free” sailings.
2. Great Destinations and Only Unpack Once
Cruising offers you the opportunity to see the world with all the destinations that are offered. Of course, the most popular family destinations are the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. When traveling as a family it is great to be able to wake up almost every day in a new destination and you only had to unpack once. This is one of the big reasons I think cruising is a great way to introduce your children to Europe.
3. Complimentary Kids and Teen Clubs
I think this is a BIG perk of choosing a cruise. Many all-inclusive and hotel destinations offer kids clubs, but many of them will not allow kids to participate until they are 4 or even 5 years old. Most cruise lines cater to kids 3 and up. As well, Disney and Royal Caribbean offer babysitting and activities for the 2 and under crowd. There are also separate teen clubs. The teen clubs offer activities, entertainment and a safe place to hang out and make new friends. The best part of all the kid and teen clubs is that they allow Mom and Dad to have a night out, relax and reconnect.
Long gone are the tiny cabins. All the major cruise lines have added more space and special “Family” categories of staterooms to make sure families have what they need – more space, connecting staterooms for larger families and bigger bathrooms. Some cabins also come with actual bathtubs which helps when you have little ones.
5. Dining Options
Along with all the great dining options that are included in your cruise, the cruise lines offer many family friendly specialty restaurants. My boys love the Hibachi restaurants. Some of the cruise lines are now also offering dinner shows. Norwegian’s dinner shows offer a circus or magic theme. You will also find special kids buffets and seating areas. Royal Caribbean and Disney both offer a “Family Dining” option where the kids have a family dinner and then head up to the kids club, leaving Mom and Dad to enjoy the rest of their meal.
6. Mom and Dad Time
OK, this is a also a BIG perk of cruising. The amazing kids clubs, allow Mom and Dad to know the kids are safe and having fun. So that means Mom and Dad can enjoy time together. There are many options, like having a great dinner, taking in a show, heading to the Casino or maybe even a couple’s massage.
If you sail on Disney, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and now even Carnival, the kids will not miss out on hanging out with some of their favorite characters. Characters like; SpongeBob, Mickey and Kung Fu Panda. The ships offer meet and greet times to get autographs and pictures, character breakfasts, parades and more. You can even have a special SpongeBob or Barbie room experience package.
8. Amazing Entertainment
The ships offer something for everyone. They have added Broadway shows like Chicago and Rock of Ages. Most of the newer ships now have 3D theaters and offer first run films. Disney is big for showing new films on the ship. As well, both the Disney and Norwegian Breakaway have fireworks.
9. Family Time
While I have mentioned all the activities that allow Mom, Dad and the kids to have some “alone” time, wanted to say cruising also offer so many family activities. Everyday, a newsletter will be delivered to your cabin with all the activities that will be happening throughout the day. The ships offer classes, shows, behind the scenes tours and more. There are so many activities to choose from I am sure you can find something to do together, even if it is just hanging out at the pool together.
It is the ease of being on the ship and having your room in walking distance that allows you to just take it easy and enjoy each other, hang out and make great memories.
As you can see there are many perks to taking a cruise. I love cruising as an option for families. It offers a great trip for any budget and if you are lucky and live close to a cruise port you don’t have the added cost of flying to your vacation.
Are you ready to sail away?
Kimberly Milnes is a mother of 2 boys and owner of Adventures By Kim. She is a Family Travel Expert and professional sharing family travel tips, and information as well as helping families’ plan amazing and hassle free family vacations. Please feel free to contact her at [email protected] or www.adventuresbykim.com.