Cruise Planning Part III: The Family Cruise Lines
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Adventure: The line's whose catch phrase is "get out there" is all about topping itself — and there isn't much passengers can't do at sea. Zipline anyone?
Sovereign Class (can hold more than 2,700 passengers): Monarch of the Seas (1991), Majesty of the Seas (1992)
Vision Class (can hold between 2,075 and 2,440 passengers): Legend of the Seas (1994), Splendour of the Seas (1995), Grandeur of the Seas (1996), Rhapsody of the Seas (1996), Enchantment of the Seas (1997) Vision of the Seas (1998)
Radiance Class (can hold between 2,100 and 2,500 passengers): Radiance of the Seas (2001), Brilliance of the Seas (2002), Serenade of the Seas (2003), Jewel of the Seas (2004)
Voyager Class (can hold more than 3,110 passengers): Voyager of the Seas (1999), Explorer of the Seas (2000), Adventure of the Seas (2001), Navigator of the Seas (2002), Mariner of the Seas (2003)
Freedom Class (can hold 4,370 passengers): Freedom of the Seas (2006), Liberty of the Seas (2007), Independence of the Seas (2008)
Oasis Class (can hold 5,400-6,400 passengers): Oasis of the Seas (2009), Allure of the Seas (under construction)
Athens, Baltimore, Barcelona, Boston , Buenos Aires, Cape Liberty (New Jersey), Colon, Copenhagen, Dubai, Ft. Lauderdale, Galveston, Honolulu, Istanbul, Lisbon, London (Harwich and Southhampton) , Los Angeles (San Pedro), Malaga, Miami, Norfolk, Oslo, Perth, Port Canaveral, Rio De Janeiro, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Santo Domingo, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Seward, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tampa, Valparaiso, Vancouver, Venice
Alaska (Glaciers, Inside Passage), Asia, Australia/ New Zealand, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean (Eastern, Western and Southern), Dubai/Emerates, Europe (Baltic, British Isles, Mediterranean), Hawaii, Mexico (Baja, Mexican Riviera), Pacific/Northwest, Panama Canal, South America, South Pacific/Tahiti, Transatlantic
There are seven programs for the under-18 set on Royal Caribbean: Royal Babies (ages 6-18 months) and Royal Tots (ages 18-36 months), both of whom can enjoy activities designed by Fisher-Price; Aquanauts (ages 3-5), who can enjoy an ice cream party and Crayola's Adventure Art; Explorers (ages 6-8), who participate in Camp Broadway's Adventure Theater class and enjoy scavenger hunts; Voyagers (ages 9-11), who participate in Adventure Science by High Touch High Tech and play in their own X Games; and two groups of Teens (ages to 12-14) and (ages 15-17), who and Dance Dance Revolution and can enjoy a teen casino. Each of the groups has their own "adult-free" hangout. Also, for three sailings in 2009, RCCL is teaming up with Nickelodeon to offer themed cruises on Freedom on the Seas (sailing from Port Canaveral) and Mariner of the Seas (sailing from San Pedro). Starting March 23, through the Babies 2 Go program, parents can pre-order organic baby food and Huggies diapers, wipes and creams for delivery to their cabins and the Stroll & Roll program allows parents with strollers take over the jogging track during specified times for some onboard exercise with their baby. As for mealtime, the new Lunch and Play program is an alternative to closing down Adventure Ocean at lunchtime. Between noon and 2 p.m., lunch will be served in the kids' clubs, along with supervised play, for a cost of $7.95 per child, ages 3-11.
The Royal Caribbean ships give your family the chance to do things on sea they might never do on land. From the 40-foot high rock climbing walls that overlook the ocean, inline skating tracks that circle the sports deck, nine-hold outdoor miniature golf course, indoor ice skating (plus evening skating shows) and a surfing simulator called the Flowrider. For those who like to take it a bit easier, there are also plenty of slower-paced -- but just as fun -- activities, including a family disco, bingo and talent shows. When parents need some alone time, the Solarium Pool and Shipshape Spa and Fitness Center make for a quiet break. Or turn it up in the Casino Royale and then party the night away at a nightclub that has a 360-degree view of the ocean.
A seven-night cruise to Alaska in June starts at $699 for an inside stateroom; seven- night Southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan in February starts at $599; and a 10-night cruise in Australia in November starts at $919.
Once you've put down the deposit for a cruise, Royal Caribbean's Web site lets you see a countdown of your cruise, book shore and land excursions and make reservations at one of the specialty restaurants. You can also check-in on line and print out your boarding pass. Starting March 31, you can pair a three or four night cruise on the Monarch of the Seas, or a seven-night cruise onboard the Freedom of the Seas, with three- or four-night stays at Universal Orlando resort. The packages include hotel and shipboard accommodations; multiday passes to both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure; admission to some CityWalk venues; and ground transfers between airport, hotel, theme parks and Port Canaveral
Now that you've checked out the lines, it is time to pack .
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