Plan Your Vacation

Cruising is, arguably, one of the best family vacation options available. The almost all-inclusive nature of cruising means great value, and there’s always something fun to do for each member of the family. The key to finding the right cruise for your family starts with finding a perfect match—a cruise line, specific ship and itinerary—that suits your family’s needs perfectly.

When planning your family cruise, you should take a close look at kids’ programs and amenities. Many major cruise lines offer babysitting services in addition to special kids’ clubs and activities. The majority of kids’ programs offered onboard are complimentary, but some cruise lines may not be able to cater to young cruisers still in diapers.

Selecting the right cruise line and ship is a crucial variable in the planning puzzle. The best family cruise vacations are those that are able to give you and your family everything you need—and even more than you expected during your onboard experience. Not all lines cater to families and not all ships within a line are identical. With our help, you can decide which ship and line works best for you. Safety and security, dining options and stateroom accommodations are all important factors to consider.

Shore Excursions

What you do while in port is just as important—and memorable—as what you and your family do onboard the ship, so it’s crucial to pick a cruise ship and itinerary that allows you to do all of the activities that you and your family want to do, and introduces you to some you may not have previously considered.

In choosing the right shore excursions for your family, you want to make sure you choose those that help you make the very most of your time ashore and the locations you’re visiting. When involving the kids in your selection, it’s not only important to pick something that will provide hands-on entertainment, but will also educate them about the places they’re visiting and the cultures and histories to be found there. In Alaska, for instance, some lines allow children to learn how to “pan for gold” just as the first Western settlers and miners did in the 1800s. On a cruise through Europe, kids and their parents can take a cooking class to learn how to make local delicacies and treats.

If you plan to travel with a larger multigenerational group, it’s crucial to pick shore excursions that include as many of the family members together all at once. This might involve a leisurely sightseeing tour or a bit of beach or resort time. If you and your family seek out more adventure, consider more active endeavors, from hiking excursions to canopy tours for the ultimate adrenalin rush.

Pre/Post Hotel Stays

In order to really enjoy the most of your cruise vacation, you and your family might consider staying a few days before and/or after your cruise. It’s an ideal way to ensure you make the most of your time spent traveling with the family.

Arriving a few days before your cruise sets sail allows you and your family to ease into your vacation, acclimate to any time differences and, more importantly, spend more time exploring a destination together. Many homeports are located in some of the most exciting, family-friendly destinations. Staying a few days after your cruise ends does much the same, allowing your family a few extra days to explore a new city even further and extend the vacation experience.

With our help, you can decide on the right family-friendly hotel or resort best suited for your family. Want a bit of sunshine? Consider a sun-drenched resort on the coast. Want to explore the history of a centuries-old European capital? Consider a family-friendly hotel in the heart of it all. We can also assist you with planning activities and excursions for your family to do while in town, from taking in the famous sites and eateries to exploring the history and culture of the city. Whatever your family decides to do, booking a pre- or post-cruise stay opens up even more possibilities and opportunities for enrichment, excitement, entertainment and relaxation during your travels.

Family Reunions

If cruising is arguably one of the best ways for families to travel, it follows that hosting a family reunion onboard a cruise is too. To make sure that your family reunion goes smoothly, you might want to consider the following tips:

1. Connecting cabins that share an interior door can really work for families with several kids. In these arrangements, mom and dad are in one room and on the other side of the door are the giggling kids.
2. If you are traveling with a large family and you need eight or more cabins, many cruise lines offer a group discount, so be sure to ask when booking.
3. Though four people in a standard cabin might seem tight, it’s doable. Young kids often love climbing up to the “bunk” (upper) berths and more importantly, you might save some money since the third or fourth person in a cabin is often charged about half the full fare.
4. It’s good to carve some alone time for yourself and/or your immediate family. Consider taking walkie-talkies, a fun way for your group to stay connected while doing their own things (“We’re all meeting in the mid-ship buffet in 30 minutes”). The kids will love it!
5. In port, it’s often cheaper and more flexible to hire a van or large car for your family to explore the sights. We can help you research before your cruise to see what your local options are in port and what the best value is.
6. Don’t miss the photo opportunities onboard the ship, especially when the ship’s photographer can capture a good group shot.