Choosing the best cruise used to be a simple matter. There were only a few cruise lines to choose from and all the ships and their accommodations were about the same. This is not true any longer. There are large ship and small ship cruises. There are "Funships" and there are luxury liners. Some ships are modern ressort atmospheres while others have preserved the Golden Age of Sailing ambiance. Some have even reached back to the era of the days when men plied the sea in ships powered by canvas sails. In addition, every ship has a distinctive personality. Choosing the right cruise is not as simple as it once was.
When it comes tochoosing the best cruise for your family it is even more complicated. Some ships are better for infants than others, and the same for teens. In addition, that the fact that not all itineraries are created equal further complicates the process. Add to the mix the fact that ships vary greatly not just from line to line but within fleets and that some are better than others in terms of onboard accouterments.
While virtually all the cruise lines offer some sort of programs designed for families (adults & children) some have gone the extra mile in developing their Family Cruising programs. Carnival Cruise Lines with it's Camp Carnival and Royal Caribbean with its tiered children's progarm lead the way. Others offer similiar but more limited children's facilities. If you want a uniquely themed cruise that appeals to children and the child in you perhaps a disney cruise is in your future.
The best thing you can do when choosing a family (commonly refered to as a multi-generational cruise) is to consult one of our cruise consultants and discuss what for each age divsion in your group and then let us make some recommendations. As cruise specialists we are familier with all the cruise lines and their programs and we are happy to help you plan your family vacation.
Click here to see our recommendations for the most Family Friendly cruises.
Not All Cruises Are Created Equal
There are a lot of misconceptions floating around the popular culture about cruising. While is is nearly impossible to debunk them all I will attempt to deal with what I find to be the top five cruise myths.
Myth #1: Cruise travel is for the "newly wed and nearly dead."
Reality: That may have been the case long ago though I doubt it. Today, however it simply not true any more!. Cruise Lines are configuring their ships to accommodate families. They are adding children’s programs, with kids-camp-like facilities that rival if not surpass those on land. For younger singles they are offering onboard entertainment that is downright edgy. Additionally cruise lines are offering more and more shorter-than-usual (three- to six-day) voyages that are marketed to working folk who simply can't give up two weeks or more.
Myth #2: All cruise ships are alike.
Reality: Shopping for a cruise ship is a lot like buying a new car. There are a myriad of variations: big ships, small ships, explorer-oriented ships, absolutely decadent luxury ships, family ships, "swinging single" ships ... and on and on!
Myth #3: Cruise ships are a bastion of gluttony.
Reality: On the contrary, the hottest trend in cruise cuisine is healthy eating. Most if not all lines offer heart-healthy menus, low-carb entrees and low-sodium fare. Some actually have onboard spa cafes. And a few have even done away with midnight buffets and replaced it with hors d'oeuvres served in late-night venues.
Myth #4: Taking a cruise is like visiting a high seas' version of Las Vegas or the Bahamas.
Reality: Yes and no. Cruise ships these days do have all the comforts and luxuries that travelers associate with on-land resorts. However, as obvious that this may seem, you are on a ship. The ocean may usually be calm, and ships, particularly newer ones, may have state-of-the-art technology that offers a smoother ride in bad weather and good, but you may still get seasick. So pack a remedy of choice.
Myth #5: Cruises are an all-inclusive vacation.
Reality: Even the luxury lines are never completely all-inclusive. Drinks and gratuities may occasionally be included in fares but spa treatments and shore excursions won't be. Your cruise fare does include a lot: meals in the main dining venues; onboard entertainment; accommodations; use of pools and other recreational facilities. It may even include a free cocktail at the captain's "welcome aboard" bash. But you need to be aware that you will pay extra for a whole host of amenities. Among them these are alternative restaurants, coffee and ice cream bars, drinks (from soda to wine and cocktails), shore excursions, spa treatments, and gratuities.