Cruises are a great way for families to explore the world and offers a lot of value for your vacation dollar.
So far, we’ve been on one cruise with our kids (my husband and I have cruised a handful of times together before they were born) and hope to be able to continue cruising until they’re too cool to travel with Mom and Dad.
Here are 5 reasons to consider a family cruise:
1. Food, Food, Food
Whether you’re traveling with toddlers or teens they’ve got to eat. Cruises have dozens of options for meals (buffets, restaurants and poolside food court type fare) that can satisfy anyone’s tastes and preferences. Parents of picky eaters or teenagers that are always hungry don’t have to worry about what and when to eat. Not to mention you can eat as much as you like, as often as you like.
2. Unpack Once
When you board a cruise ship, that’s it. You can unpack your bags, settle in and make your space “home.” The ship does the moving from point to point – not you shuffling your bags and baby gear.
3. Activities for Kids and Parents
Cruise ships aim to keep you happy while you’re on board so there are dozens of activities all day long.
Almost every cruise line also offers a kids club (and some have nurseries for infants). Kids can stop in and play for a few hours in structured activities and events while mom and dad enjoy a meal together, take in a show or just soak up some sun.
If you’re cruising with Disney check out our review of the adult only restaurant PALO.
4. Cost Effective Vacation
A cruise is similar to an all inclusive resort – it just takes place on a ship instead of a beach! There are often very good deals offered on cruises – kids sail free, discounted fare when sailing out of a specific port etc.
When you figure in the cost of food, hotels, entertainment (shows, theme park or attraction admission) and point to point transportation for any other destination, you’re generally getting much more bang for your buck on a cruise.
By prepaying everything in advance (shore excursions, tips, drink packages etc.) you may not need to pull out your wallet even once when you’re actually on vacation and have the option of paying for everything in full even before you set foot on the cruise ship. Pretty good to come home and owe nothing for your vacation! How’s that for less stress?
5. Plan for Future Family Trips and Vacations
Depending on how long you want to sail for you can visit several countries or destinations in a short time. It’s much easier than if you were traveling by air or land. With multiple shore excursions offered at every port call you get a glimpse of what’s available at each destination and it gives you an idea of whether your family would like to return or not for a longer vacation or trip.
Below are several cruise lines that are known for being family friendly:
Disney Cruise Lines – This is no surprise, the happiest place on Earth just might be the happiest place on the seas too. They were the cruise line who originally developed family state rooms and cater to family needs and entertainment choices. Bath tubs in every room and on board character meets are several reasons why we chose to cruise with them for our first family cruise.
Royal Caribbean – One of the nice things about Royal Caribbean is that they cater to families without going over the top. If you have older children they may be happier on this line than with Disney due to the activities – ziplining, rock climbing, and skating rinks are some of the family friendly things they can do on board. An exceptional kids club and entertainment including DreamWorks film characters and Barbie are other kid friendly amenities offered on some newer Royal Caribbean ships.
Carnival – Although it’s gotten some bad press in recent years, Carnival has a large fleet, Guy Fieri’s (a well known tv personality) restaurants on several of their ships and often the most competitive prices in the cruise marketplace. You’ll want to compare room sizes and options depending on the ship as they can vary.
Have you taken a family cruise vacation? Would you consider one?