Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Summer Cruise? Maybe!

It  might be Spring but I'm thinking about summer vacation! Not sure yet what, where, or when we will vacation but I do know we have taken some pretty awesome family vacations in the past. One of my favorites is cruising, and yes, with the kids! You would be surprised what a great deal a cruise vacation can be and oh such luxury for Mom and Dad!

If you haven't cruised before with children you might want to research the web for reputable cruise lines that offer programs for children. Disney Cruise Line, for example, offers fabulous onboard experiences such as the Frozen Deck Party and the Star Wars Day At Sea.  Disney Cruises aren't just for the kids! Adults can enjoy Broadway style live shows and top off the evening with a nightcap in one of the ship's nightclubs or lounges. And in the morning, before onshore sightseeing trips or an afternoon at the pool, Mom and Dad can work out at the ship's fitness center or have a relaxing massage at the spa. Disney's onboard clubs provide an array of fun activities for kids and teens of every age. Child care is also available at an additional charge on Disney ships for children 3 years of age and under. The It's A Small World Nursery is open from 9 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., and is the perfect solution if Mom and Dad want to enjoy an onshore excursion or private dinner and show.

Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean International is another kid-friendly cruise line. In fact, in 2013 readers of Travel + Leisure magazine recognized Royal Caribbean as one of the world's best vacation options for families. Some ships in their fleet offer family suites that can sleep up to six people. Age appropriate programs are also available for kids of all ages at no additional charge. On a Royal Caribbean sailing your little ones can visit with their favorite characters from Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda during character dining events, shows, and surprise appearances. Your older kids can participate in sporting contests such as miniature golf and table top tennis tournaments. They can also enjoy poolside games planned by the staff of the Adventure Ocean® Youth Program. In addition, select ships offer daytime and evening drop off care for children ages 6 months to 36 months at an additional cost.

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Norwegian Cruise Line offers several sailings where the 3rd and 4th guests (presumably your kiddos!) sail at either half off or even free! Now that's a deal! Children traveling aboard ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line enjoy a multitude of activities and programs that are optimized for the specific age groups including infants, kids, and teens. For an additional fee Group Sitting Services can be booked for children 3 -12 year of age every night from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and on port days while the ship is docked. A variety of Youth Programs are hosted by NCL and include such fun activities as arts and crafts, treasure hunts, and even Circus School with stilts and ball juggling! Teens can also enjoy the complimentary and fully supervised dance club in the teen center.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Cruise lines also offer a variety of dining options including everything from laid back casual to formal dinners with the ship's Captain. 

Dining in one of the many restaurants on a Disney Cruise Line ship is pure pleasure! Options include exclusive adult dining, main dining, casual dining, and quick service available 24 hours per day. Complimentary room service for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks is also included in the price of your cruise. My all-time favorite Disney movie is "Beauty and the Beast" so dining at Lumiere's aboard the Disney Magic ship is a must! There are a plethora of opportunities to meet your favorite Disney characters while sailing with the Disney Cruise Line. It's an absolute unforgettable experience and the photo ops are amazing!

There are so many dining options on Royal Caribbean ships that it's difficult to choose because you'll want to experience all of them! Just about any food delight you could ever desire is available ranging from finger foods to a five course gourmet meal. And since there are no required formal dining hours or seating assignments it makes meal time so convenient when accommodating eating schedules for both children and adults. RCL also offers several beverage packages at reduced cost for your favorite drinks including bottled water, fruit juices, Coke products, beer, wine and even cocktails!

Norwegian Cruise Line offers Freestyle Dining which, in my opinion, is perfect when sailing with the kiddos. There are no fixed meal times or pre-assigned seats so you can eat whenever it's best for your family and at any restaurant, grill or cafe on the ship! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets and 24-hour room service round out the dining options provided by NCL.

Cruising with the kiddos!

Be sure to check out Cruises.com for current cruise deals and specials! They also have tons of information on several respected cruise lines, destinations, and top shore excursions. Whatever your summer plans.... Happy vacationing!