Plan a Cruise with Your Family

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng

There are many reasons why holidaying on board a luxury cruise liner is so titillating for people from all walks of life and ages. It is like a dream vacation for many, so it is not really surprising that a lot of people want to go on a trip on the high seas with their families. Cruising is never perfect - there is a crowd to contend with during high season, shore tours and excursions can cost heftily, and food can be second-rate unless you'll go all out with the most expensive there is aboard the cruise ship. However, think of the pleasure, the unique experiences and the fun that kids can have in the large spaces and amenities on board. Besides, the downsides are really not that bad if you put enough thought into planning a cruise with your family.

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Cruising can offer an easy way to travel when you have kids in tow. You need not tire yourself out if you can find the right cruise for your needs. You only need to decide which shore tour or activities you would want to join, and everything else is arranged for you. Kids, especially bigger ones, can eat on their own and choose the entertainment they like. It is no wonder that this family market in this type of travel has tremendously grown in the last five years.

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Planning and Smart Travel: Tips to Great Family Cruises

Despite all the promising tales and the stories told by the glossy pictures in their websites, to sail on the cruise ship of your dream vacation, you need to plan. This is all the more important when you are traveling with your kids. Do you want to stay within your budget without compromising the fun and thrill of the days while on high seas? Do you want to stay safe while cruising or calling on ports along the way? Do you want to enjoy the vacation as much as your kids? Don't stress yourself. Be a smart traveler; plan ahead.

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  1. 1
    Do your research using websites, travel consultants or agencies
    1. A lot of things can be clearer when you are well-informed. Start by gathering information of where you want to go or what you want to see and do.
    2. Use the websites. There are countless websites that can provide you with those kinds of information.
    3. Find the right travel consultant or agency. Once you have working knowledge, it is easier to find the right people to deal with that can start a flurry of activities to get things done.
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  2. 2
    Deciding where to go and for how long
    1. Opportunities and variables. There are myriad reasons to go to each place. It is good to know why you are finally deciding on a certain cruise liner or destination.
    2. By meeting with your family, you can get a glimpse of what each wants - sea and history, beach, sun and sunsets, glaciers and wildlife, romance and secluded excursions, etc.
    3. Find out which cruise liner can best satisfy your family's vacation whims and the destinations they can each take you to for a price.
    4. Caribbean cruises are fantastic when your family has small and big kids alike, and you have to make the vacation work for everyone.
    5. If you want to stretch your budget, Caribbean and Scandinavian cruises are great options. Forego expensive shore excursions and still have fun.
    6. If you have kids who like history and castles, Europe makes a great destination.
    7. Kids fascinated with glaciers and snowy caps that harbor awe-inspiring wild life can take in Alaska and similar routes.
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  3. 3
    Pick your cruise line thoughtfully and smartly
    Most family oriented cruises have special amenities and programs for children of different age groups. There can be babysitting services for the very young ones so that the rest of the family can enjoy their cruising days. There are also supervised activities and programs for younger children, depending on the ship's amenities and facilities. There are also supervised activities for bigger kids, especially if they are participating in risky adventures or those that require skills, such as wall climbing, ice skating and water sports.
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  4. 4
    Check out accommodations before booking
    1. Unfortunately, the glossy images in the websites can often give you the wrong idea about what you are actually getting. Such things cannot be taken for granted, especially when travelling with young kids.
    2. Make sure that everyone will have a satisfactory place to sleep and do things. Check out if there is a balcony that can give you a vista of the sea, the sunrise or the sunset.
    3. It is best if you can actually make a physical visit to examine your accommodation options.
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  5. 5
    Assess the safety and health codes of the ship
    1. Make sure that your choice of cruise ship adheres to standard rules and protocols before making a booking.
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  6. 6
    Pack for the trip carefully
    1. Find out if the cruise ship has a dress code. Find out also what activities you will be participating in to be able to pack what you need for you and your family's utmost pleasure.
    2. If you are planning to spend hours poolside, you will need not only swimwear, but also sunscreen. If you are going to visit the glaciers, make sure you will stay warm with the clothes you'll bring.
    3. If there are formal events, you need to pack a formal outfit suitable to the occasion and weather.
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Traveling with Big Kids and Teens

If your kids are that age when they want to do things on their own without you hovering like a Papa Bear or Mother Hen, the type of entertainment and the things they offer kids in this age range are important. If you want your kids to enjoy this cruise thing, why not try checking out the five most popular cruises for teens?

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  • Disney Cruise Line for Disney fans.
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    This is indeed a great cruise experience for the young ones and even teens. Disney's hit movies, kid's lounges where "no parents are allowed" replete with smoothie bar, big screen TV's and comfortable couches are the spots they can't say "no" to. Those who like music and the Internet can use those here, along with participating in other interesting activities.

  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for the adventurous teens.
    Active teens will love this cruise ship, that has been fitted with rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, a basketball court, miniature golf, and other teen-friendly facilities. Let them feel all grown up with spots to chill out like the teen-only lounges, eateries (Ben and Jerry's and Johnny Rockets) and other teen-focused programs.

  • Teen-only Activities at Carnival Cruise Line.
    This liner treats its teen guests with pool-side movies, teen-only dance clubs, tournaments, miniature golf, and game nights for the so-called "social teen travelers." Let them bask in a relaxing experience with the liner's on-board spa services for teens and shore excursions.

  • Anything goes at Princess Cruises.
    This is a great cruise when kids are of varying ages. Here, kids in the different age groups can enjoy themselves with so many options - gym or miniature golf courses for the active teens, and the teen centers where there are a sun deck and private whirlpool, as well as teen lounges with big-screen TV's, jukeboxes, and video games. While they can opt to join their parents during dinner or relaxation, they also have a dining spot where they can meet up with new fiends.

  • Socialize on board Norwegian Cruise Line.
    This is a great cruise for teens who fancy the limelight, where they can perform to regale the other passengers. There is also something to do for active teens with their sport facilities. Kids who love to party can enjoy a teen-only club, on-board arcade, dance parties and the farewell party on the last night to say goodbye to new friends.

What Are You and Your Family Waiting For?

Cruising is a fun way to see the world, especially with your family. Kids can enjoy it as much as the adults if you will take the time to plan the cruise well. Find out if there is something to do for each member of the family. Toddlers and small kids are easy to please if the cruise has activities intended for their age group. Teens are sometimes harder to please, so take time to ensure they will enjoy what is offered, and will be able to meet kids their age. When cruising with kids, those with briefer itineraries are your best bet. Who knows? They may end up begging you for a longer one next time around.

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Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Lynn, Nerissa Avisado

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