Sometimes taking a family vacation is more trouble than it is worth. This is something that most people have to learn the hard way. Taking the family on a road trip across the country might seem like a good idea, but hour after hour in the cramped car will cause tensions to quickly rise and brother will turn against brother in a backseat version of the Civil War.
National Lampoon tried to warn us of this with its tragic portrait of the Griswald family. America thought it was a joke. How naive we were.
Today, more and more families are finally discovering the advantages of a cruise vacation. They have all the benefits of a road trip and none of the drawbacks. You get to see multiple locations but you do not have to worry about booking a hotel. Dad is not getting stressed about driving and the kids will not get cabin fever because they have the whole boat to explore!
Cruise lines are finally figuring out that there are lots of families out there interested in a cruise vacation, and there are more affordable family packages and destinations out there today than there ever were before. Here are a few great ideas for cruises that will be fun for the whole family.
Royal Caribbean runs a three-night cruise of the Bahamas so even if you can not get a whole week of work off, you and the family can still get away for a nice long weekend. This trip leaves from Miami, Florida and has stops in CocoCay and Nassau. What's more, they also offer a lowered rate for the third and fourth passenger so it is even easier to bring the whole family along!
If you want a slightly longer stay, Royal Caribbean also has a four-night cruise that leaves from Fort Lauderdale and sails around the southern tip of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. The ship makes a day stop in Key West before hitting the seas overnight on its way to Cozumel, Mexico for a full day of exploring. After that it is another day or cruising the high seas before docking back in Fort Lauderdale.
For East Coasters who do not want to make the plane trip down south, Norwegian Cruise lines runs a seven-night trip that sails out of New York City and on to the Bahamas. This also features a stop at Norwegian's own private island!
For the kids, this cruise ship also features the Splashdown Kid's Club, Sapphire Kid's Pool, and Underground Teen's Club. While they are busy the adults can sneak off to the Relaxation Room at the Bora Bora Health Spa or have a cocktail at the martini bar!
Of course some families do not like all of the running around and may prefer a vacation where they get to their destination and spend a few days just relaxing. Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Summit sets sail out of Bayonne, New Jersey and after two long days at sea it docks for three whole days at beautiful King's Wharf, Bermuda. This locale is known for its gorgeous and comfortable beaches and palm tree-lined streets.
While you are docked at King's Wharf you will still be able to enjoy the ship's many amenities. The Summit features basketball courts, a golf simulator, and shuffleboard. And do not forget to check out the swimming pool or any of the four whirlpools!
As for wining and dining, Master Chef Michel Roux presides over the kitchen of the two-story main restaurant. There is also a dine-in wine cellar and the Mast Bar, which overlooks the pool. You'll have so much fun on the summit you will not want to leave the boat!
Still, there are certainly families out there who have experienced the pleasures of the Bahamas and the relaxing waters of the Caribbean. They are ready to sail new and uncharted territory!
For these adventurous families MSC Cruises offers a seven-night cruise of the Western Mediterranean. This once-in-a-lifetime trip leaves from Genoa and explores the cities of Ajaccio, Civitavecchia, Salerno, Tunis, Palma De Mallorca, and Toulon.
It should be noted that there are advantages and disadvantages for a family when on a port-heavy trip like this. Some younger kids might not be as into touring the cities of the Mediterranean as the adults are. That being said, if your kids are in fact up for a little multi-cultural exploring, it is important to note that all children who are 17 and youngger sail FREE when they are staying in the same room as two full fare paying passengers!
Family vacations are an important part of childhood and they strengthen bonds between family members more than they may initially realize. Spending a whole week crammed into a room room or in a rental car can sometimes cause more stress between family members than is being let off.
A family trip on a cruise ship gives everyone a chance to have a little bit of breathing room. There is still plenty of opportunity for the family to hang out for some quality time, but there is so much to do on a cruise ship that people can take a break from each other if they need it. This will keep everyone happy and relaxed for the entire trip.