Cruise Planning Part I: Why Cruise?
One thing you probably won't hear from your kids when you are on a cruise: "Are We There Yet?"
Many cruise lines, once considered havens for the "newlywed, nearly dead and overfed" have turned their attention toward families – and making sure yours has the best vacation ever is their top priority.
By adding more family- and kid-focused programs and expanding public areas around the ship, these floating resorts have reached out to a group that was once ignored.
Some ships now have cabins that come with bunk or pulldown beds so the family can stay in one cabin, as well as split bathrooms where more people can get ready at the same time; some lines offer rotational dining where you get a chance to sample several restaurants, but stay with the same waitstaff, others have specialty restaurants like Johnny Rockets or Ben and Jerry's; kids clubs, teen clubs and even family clubs are becoming more prevalent; and an entire staff of youth counselors has been added on many ships to cater specifically to the needs of younger cruisers.
While many families believe a cruise for four (or more) is too expensive, they might be surprised to learn how cost effective it can be to cruise.
Remember, when you pay for your cruise, the cost of food, entertainment, activities, and your cabin is included in the price, along with perks such as 24-hour beverage stations, kids activity programs, special events and, of course, the chance to see the world. That means no paying for a hotel, plus meals, plus transportation, plus evening or daytime activities.
So whether you are rocking back and forth between taking a cruise vacation, or if you are trying to convince friends or family members to hop on board with you, check out some reasons why cruising is such a popular travel choice.
On a cruise…
- Have as much (or as little) family together time as you want.
- The kids can't get lost.
- Everyone eats dinner together.
- There is no packing and unpacking every few days.
- Your beds are made every morning and turned down every night.
- Staff members will get to know you by name – and often anticipate what you want before you ask for it.
- There are activities for every age group – and some ships even offer babysitting services.
- No actual cash is needed – and you can decide if the kids can have charging privileges.
- You can do as much or as little as you want.
- Eat all the food you want and work it off by taking the stairs.
- Get as dressed up – or dressed down – as you want.
- Meet people from all over the world.
- Grownups can get alone time while the kids are having their own supervised fun.
- See some of the most beautiful places on the planet that other transportation can't easily reach.
- And … each day breaks down to less than $85 a person (for adults) on average.
Planning to take a cruise might seem like a daunting task. Time, price, and location all become factors in organizing your family vacation. With so many options in the world of cruising, check out Part II of our Cruise Planning Guide, which asks some questions to help you get started.
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