Do you have a vacation wish list? Even if you don’t have anything planned — except maybe the required appearance at an upcoming family reunion — it’s fun to think about where your family really wants to go. Have you considered a cruise? It turns out that the vast majority of people recently surveyed about vacations who have never been on a cruise (94 percent) said they’d like to try cruising.
Is a Cruise the Perfect Vacation?
*Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Taking the Kids.com as part of their #cruises4all campaign.
Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would leave the kids at home for a “perfect vacation”, while nearly as many (37.4 percent) said they would rather take a family vacation. (Check out the Taking the Kids 2019 Family Cruise Guide for what different cruise lines offer families). Cruise lines say you can have that perfect vacation (or near perfect) — and bring the kids — as there are organized activities from morning to night.
Family Friendly Cruise Lines
Princess and Holland America, both upscale cruise lines, cater to multigenerational families with programming designed to teach as well as entertain. Princess, for example, encourages families to keep in touch and play together onboard with wearable Medallion digital assistants. The OceanCompass™ is a personal interactive navigator, that takes passengers wherever they want to go and helps them easily locate and chat with friends and family anywhere on board. Holland America has extensive onboard programming, with professionally trained staff who work with kids of all ages and abilities. Their ships have organized programs for children from ages three to 17.
Carnival Cruise Line carries more families than any other cruise line – think 800,000 kids a year — and offers organized activities for kids starting at age 2. These include a new “Zumbini” music and dance program for the littlest kids and Seuss at Sea family activities, as well as teen-pleasing hang-out spaces and programs, including special spa treatments.
A very upscale Seabourn cruise — with its suite staterooms, gourmet dining and included shore excursions — would be a great choice for a romantic couples getaway, or a cultural adventure with adult children.
Are there foodies in your family? Forty-five percent of the women surveyed report that food and wine are important on vacation. Cruise lines can cater to any dietary restriction and at the same time offer an opportunity for kids to try new foods as there is no charge for a second meal if they didn’t like their first pick. Since food is available all day and evening, no worries if someone isn’t hungry at meal time.
At night, expect everything from Broadway-style shows to cabarets to comedy to movies, with casinos to discos late into the night — depending on which cruise you choose.
Cruising in the United States is convenient
Families love cruises because you can visit new places — as a third of those surveyed want to do (no packing or unpacking; no navigating unfamiliar roads in foreign countries). More importantly, you can cruise from a port near home.
On the East Coast, for example, Carnival’s Sunrise (now sailing after a $200 million renovation) will be cruising to the Caribbean from New York City, with 9-day cruises starting from $619 per person. Carnival Cruise Line has Caribbean departures from ports in Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, as well as several in Florida. Some three- and four-day options start at less than $200 a person.
On the West Coast, Princess has six ships sailing from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Vancouver to Alaska. This cruise line is celebrating their 50th year of exploring America’s Last Frontier with new experiences and sailings starting at less than $700. Holland America will have 20 cruises and three ships this fall heading to the Mexican Riviera, with rates starting at $699.
How to book a cruise for your family
Planning a cruise is one time you will want to consult a travel agent because there are a bewildering array of choices (ships that cater to different vacation styles and budgets, for families, couples or those traveling solo). The key is to choose the right cruise line, the right ship and the right itinerary for your family within your budget and whether you want sightseeing, glacier trekking, non-stop recreation, kids clubs, or pure relaxation.
That there are so many affordable options may be a surprise to the 41 percent of those surveyed who report price would keep them from cruising. Time to turn that wish list into reality. See you on board!