The Cruise Line International Association estimates about 17 million folks enjoyed a cruise in 2012. They expect this number to climb between 4-5% for 2013. Family cruises are a huge reason why these number are climbing, especially family cruise groups like multi generational vacations with kids, family reunions and family celebrations of all sorts.
If you have recently taken a cruise with your family then you can skip the rest of this article. You already know why family cruises are a fantastic option for a family vacation. If it's been a number of years since you've taken a cruise a LOT has changed. If you're a complete newbie, then you don't know what you've been missing. Here are 10 reasons to help convince you to plan a family cruise for your next vacation...
1. It's Easy - Pay one price and this includes your accommodations, all meals and snacks, exciting shipboard activities and entertainment. Free child care is also included with family friendly cruise lines like Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. Most offer free care for toddlers thru teens. Some also offer baby care either with parental participation or for a nominal fee.
2. See alot - or Sea alot, either way, pun intended. Family cruises allow parents the opportunity to explore a great deal of territory with their kids without the hassle of packing, unpacking, waiting and schlepping. Oh and you know those kids clubs we mentioned...they offer child care on port days. This means parents can catch a break and have a few hours all to themselves to go sightseeing, go scuba diving, play some golf...whatever.
3. Activities - Family cruises offer just about everything under the sun to keep kids and parents busy. Pools, waterslides, surf simulators, mini golf, rock climbing, bowling alleys and even 3D movie theaters and broadway shows. Now stop, think...imagine you spent the day at a resort and you're kids wanted to do all these "additional activities"...Cha-ching!!!! Family cruises include all this fun into one affordable price.
4. Food - Family cruises have come a long way from formal nights and midnight buffets. Sure, they are still there if your family likes that kind of thing but now a days the ships offer all sorts of different dining options from casual dining venues, fast food options, room service and gourmet treats. Chefs on board the cruise ships are very adept at creating delicious dining options for family members who may have food allergies.
5. Family Friendly Cabins - Newer ships offer plenty of options to make the time at sea with your kids more comfortable. Many cabins will allow families of five or six to stay in the same cabin for more a more affordable option. Family cruises also offer more adjoining cabin options for parents who may be looking for a bit of "romance" and privacy. There are also larger suites that can accommodation extended families up to 12 who want to sail together. Hotels often make these options more difficult and expensive.
6. Size Matters - Ships come in all sizes. From small exclusive yachts, European river barges to floating cities that will accommodation over 5,000 people there is a cruise line to fit every family. Obviously larger ships will offer far more amenities. Small ships are more exclusive and pricey but sometimes they can sail into places and ports that they big guys can't. Before you set sail, consider what type of experience will be best suited for your family.
7. Service - Families can look forward to excellent service on board Family cruises. From housekeeping to culinary to entertainment, the staff understand hospitality. Kids club staff and care givers are required to have college degrees in education and child development.
8. Good Balance of Time - Cruise offer plenty of kid activities, grown up alone time and a plenty of opportunities for family togetherness. Depending on the age of your kids, cruises can offer a bit of independence because they can't go far.
9. Stay in touch - Today's family cruises offer features like WiFi (fee) , satellite TV and cell phone service so that you can stay in touch with family, friends and work if need be. Be sure to check with your cell phone provider to avoid any surprise fees after the fact. Know before you go!
10. Value for Dollar - Family cruises offer excellent value for your family vacation dollar. Cruise can help families budget so that they know the cost of their vacation in advance. Cruises make it easy for families to save and budget because they can be booked almost two years in advance and layaway payments can be made monthly. For extended families, group discounts grow quickly. For every 8 cabins or 16 adults, the 17th person sails for free (must pay taxes). In any case, it is a very affordable and fun option for most families.