Planning your next family vacation? Dreading spending ten hours in the car followed by five days dragging your kids to the beach, the hotel pool and a local restaurant that does not offer a children's menu? If you're looking for a vacation that will show both you and the kids a good time, cruising could be it.
To learn about the benefits and drawbacks of family cruise vacations, keep reading to find out the best tips for planning your first or next family cruise.
Why a Family Cruise Vacation?
Because so many cruise ships are targeted directly towards families, you're getting a fully packaged vacation in a safe and contained environment. There are daily, scheduled activities for the children along with parental getaways that both allow you to enjoy time with your children and also have your own private vacation.
Most cruise lines either offer "day camp" options with regularly scheduled, on-board activities or supervised day care facilities. Because your children are on a boat with you and under the care of a well-screened and professionally-supervised staff, you can rest a little easier.
Is not it Expensive?
Cruising can be expensive, but most family cruise vacations typically cost about $ 500- $ 1000 per person per week. Add up the cost of all the hotels, meals, souvenirs and mileage that your last vacation cost you and compare it to that figure. You'll quickly see that a cruise vacation budgets in at about the same rate as a full, family vacation.
How do I book a "Family" Cruise?
Most cruise lines offer family-specific or family-friendly cruises that are geared specifically towards families with children. Ideally, you want to choose one of these rather than, say, a Senior's cruise or a Single's cruise.
Cruise lines like Disney or Norwegian also offer themed ships with full youth programs that are targeted to specific age groups from toddlers to teens. Again, this affords you the chance to take a break and enjoy the pool on your own. When booking a full family cruise, you may want to consider a travel agent. Often, they're able to discuss ship amenities, past client reviews and possible discounts.
However, if you're searching alone and online, try reading past traveler reviews of each individual ship. This will provide you a clear indication of the ship's facilities and accommodations than the cruise line's promotional website.
Things to Consider Before Departure
Make sure everyone in your family has their passport, travel health insurance and extra medication. Keep all of your documents in a safe and secure place with one person.