When it comes to family getaways, cruises are often overlooked - deemed as an adults-only vacation. However, there at many incredible cruise lines offering amazing family amenities that will actually save you a TON of money in activities, snacks (because what kid doesn't eat his body weight in snacks?!), and childcare services. In fact, I think cruising is a perfect family vacation; there is absolutely something for every member of your group.
Why your family MUST take a cruise, at least once!
1. You'll never be bored!
Cruises are the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure! The choices are endless, and no matter what your travel style is, you'll find something you love. Looking for a peaceful getaway? Relax in the spa, grab coffee on the balcony or take a swim in the adults-only pool (while the kids are happily taken care of!). Looking for adventure? Climb a rock wall or hot on the surf simulator. Foodie at heart? Eat at a different restaurant each night and experience cuisines from around the world.
2. Unpack once, see the world.
What an amazing way to learn about the world! Each day your cruise ship will pull into port at a new and exciting place to explore. Tour on your own, or hook up with one of our amazing guided adventures - there's no better way to learn than to actually experience and immerse yourself in new cultures.
3. Incredible Savings.
Cruise lines are one of the very best ways to see the world on a budget. Food, activities, entertainment, port calls and childcare are all included in the cruise price. Deals are often available, and when you pay ahead of time, it takes the stress out of 'nickel and diming' everything, allowing you to truly relax and enjoy your travels.
My Favorite Family-Friendly Cruise Lines
There are so many quality cruise lines out there, but there are a few that stick out as truly family-friendly. This DOES NOT mean that the entire ship is centered around children and child activities. What it DOES mean is that it's an incredibly accommodating cruise for families traveling with children, for parents and grandparents, and even single parents who desire time with their kids but also want some adult-only activities.
The Best Family-Centered Cruises
1. Let's get the obvious out of the way! Disney Cruise Line is fantastic with providing engaging kids club activities in a safe and secure environment and while also offering luxury dining, spa and entertainment opportunities for adults. Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, is an oasis of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. 100% included with your cruise, spend a day relaxing at one of the world's most gorgeous beaches. The kids will have a blast playing on the huge in-water climbing structure, snorkeling, or in the kid's club making new friends and enjoying once-in-a-lifetime experiences with trained childcare staff.
Disney is known for their level of care and has become the gold standard of family travel. Disney cruises will run you a bit more money, but the staterooms are larger in comparison to most other ships and the character interactions, shows, and special Disney parties go unmatched.
2. For adventure-loving families looking to push the boundaries, I suggest Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Incredible onboard activities make this one of the most extreme and engaging family vacations you can take! Rock wall climbing, zip-lining, ice skating, surf simulators, and waterslides - and that's just ON the cruise ships. At port, explore new terrain with exciting excursions like four-wheeling, catamaran rides, horseback riding, or hiking.
Kids ages 3-12 have a blast in the free Adventure Youth Programs aboard Royal Caribbean ships. Specially designed programs, broken up into ages, include Adventure Science Lab, Aquanauts, Imagination Studio, Adventure Theatre, and Adventure Voyagers. Your kids will love the talent shows, art classes, video games, and imaginative play spaces. I hate to tell you, but they won't want to leave the Adventure club! Bond with your baby in a Parent & Tot Session, an interactive playgroup where you engage in educational and fun activities with your child led by a trained childcare expert. Drop-off nursery care on select ships.
3. UnCruise is a totally different twist on family cruising. Instead of a major focus on relaxing (although you WILL have time to relax), UnCruise devotes its itineraries on adventure! These small group cruises revolve around engaging activities and excursions. They even have entire sailings that are specific to family's traveling together. One of my favorite itineraries UnCruise offers is a Hawaiian 7 day cruise sailing between all four islands. You'll snorkel with sea turtles, hike to a towering waterfall, immerse yourself in Hawaii's rich culture and history while speaking with locals, paddle board amidst surrounding volcanic cliffs, go whale watching, experience a traditional luau, and so much more. If you're looking for a truly adventurous cruising experience, UnCruise will be a perfect fit.
I've put together a FREEBIE just for you - it will save you so much time while packing for your first cruise. Click below to download the FREEBIE: The Ultimate Cruise Packing Checklist.
Have you cruised with your family? I'd love to hear your experiences - head over to the Meg Plans Travel Chat Facebook Group and let me know!
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