What’s next on your travel bucket list – hope it’s one of my favorite family cruise vacations!
Perhaps you’ve always yearned to see Alaska’s glaciers and bears. Maybe it’s Mexican culture and authentic tacos calling to you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit the Hawaiian Islands without having to island-hop by plane.
If you are shouting YES! to any of these, a Princess Cruise might be in your future.
Family cruise vacations are one of the safest travel options right now. In fact, the CDC has removed COVID-19 warnings for cruise ship travelers and has now relaxed a key pandemic cruise regulation. This will allow more kids, including unvaccinated children, to sail on “highly vaccinated” ships. For ships to be considered highly vaccinated, 90% of passengers 5 and older must be vaccinated, rather than the previously required 95%. (Children under 5 not eligible for vaccines yet aren’t counted.)
The Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) said this latest change recognizes protective measures the industry has taken, such as requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding. Expect an environment where every eligible person is vaccinated, there’s increased ventilation, and staff does ongoing sanitation of all public spaces, staterooms and crew cabins.
That’s why even families whose children are under 5 and not yet eligible to be vaccinated believe a cruise is one of the safest vacations they can take.
Multi-generational families love family cruise vacations because there are activities — on and off the ship — for all ages. Princess, for example, has children’s programming and shore excursions developed in partnership with “Animal Planet.” There’s no arguing over where to go or what to do as families can split up during the day, gathering for dinner to talk over their adventures. Cabins are designed for families (some suites even have bathtubs.)
Together time is made easy with upscale dining options and unique cocktails – some without alcohol – to toast your good times. And the youngest foodies in the crowd, regardless of any dietary restrictions, appreciate they can eat whatever and whenever they want without any extra cost.
To make sailing easier, Princess Cruises has just announced Princess Premier, a new add-on package that offers guests unlimited WIFI (for up to four devices), premium beverage with bar charges included, family cruise vacation photos, specialty dining and tips for the crew. For just $75 per person a day, the cruise line says this can save you more than half the price of purchasing these perks separately.
Princess Premier guests also will be automatically entered into a new onboard promotion for a chance to win a cruise for two every year for a decade and up to $100,000 in cash prizes. Princess Prizes is a new experience that transforms guests’ stateroom entry into chances to win cruise vacations, cash, exclusive onboard experiences (perhaps a chef’s table dinner) and more. The new game is a first-of-its-kind stateroom gaming experience exclusively with Medallion Class capabilities.
Cruisers love Ocean Medallion, the Princess wearable disc medallions that enable them to check in online, touch base with kids on board, make reservations, have food delivered wherever they are and even open their stateroom doors. That’s contact-less to a new degree. A full 80% of the fleet have now resumed cruising. Three are Princess Medallion Class ships, and the rest are expected to be back by September with destinations including Alaska, Australia, the California Coast, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and the Panama Canal.
This summer, there is a cruise line for every budget and travel style. Did you realize there are more than 20 homeports for the various cruise lines in the United States?
Princess’ 3,660-passanger Discovery Princess sailing from Seattle to Alaska is a family cruise vacation that should be on every cruiser’s bucket list.
For an ultra-luxury Alaska adventure, check out Seabourn’s all-inclusive small ships. Naturalists, scientists, and photographers accompany many of their shore excursions. Seabourn’s super luxe, high touch approach extends to all destinations, including the Caribbean and Mexico.
The more modestly priced Carnival Cruise Line, on the other hand, carries more children than any other cruise line. Ready for the first roller coasters at sea? Carnival’s Mardi Gras and its BOLT coaster sail from Port Canaveral in Florida while her sister ship Celebration will set sail on her maiden voyage from Port Miami in November 2022. Holland America Line has more cruises for summer 2022 sailing from the port of San Diego, including some up the California Coast in the fall season.
Because of the bewildering array of choices, this is a time to work with a travel advisor who is a cruise expert. Determine the most important needs for your post-pandemic family cruise vacation and let a specialist do the legwork.
Remember, options range from a 3-day cruise on Carnival to a luxury experience aboard Cunard, complete with a kennel at sea to accommodate Fido on your family’s Queen Mary 2 sailing across the Atlantic.
Author Eileen Ogintz is the syndicated columnist from “Taking the Kids” and an avid cruiser. She contributed this post on behalf of sponsor TakingtheKids.com.
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