It’s time to feel good about family cruising and gift everyone an unforgettable experience. After a swift recovery from the pandemic pause – cruise vacations are hotter than ever.
Travelers Love The Cruise Experience
Did you know that 12.6 Americans have already taken a cruise, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.
I’ve met devoted cruisers aboard ships from Carnival Corporation’s nine brands who have sailed literally hundreds of times. My family traveled with a woman who retired aboard Holland America Line ships, moving from one itinerary to the next without ever sleeping on land.
It’s not unusual now to meet repeat cruisers who have sailed dozens of times, often on the same cruise line. That’s going to become more common, as CLIA’s “State of the Cruise Industry 2023” reports that more than eight in 10 guests plan to cruise again.
Here are five reasons why that’s happening.
1. Family Cruising Is A Good Value Vacation
Family cruising is a great value with lodging, food, entertainment, childcare and transportation often included in one price. Cruise experts estimate that a vacation at sea is a 25% – 50% better value than land-based resort equivalents.
Families save even more by being able to drive to a cruise port and eliminate the stresses of flying. Look for one of 20 homeports around the country from New York City to Galveston, Texas; or Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Baltimore, Charleston, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Also save on the hassle factor of flying.
There are often deals, too. Repeat cruisers know how to find sales that may offer upgrades or specialty dining options, or include gratuities or drink packages. I recommend newcomers contact a cruise travel specialist and work with them to find the best value for their needs.
2. Cruise Vacations Guarantee Variety And Entertainment, Stress-Free
Even repeat cruisers discover a variety of experiences because there are always new ships. Carnival Cruise Line’s Jubilee, the cruise line’s newest ship, sets sail this December from Florida, and there’s no need to worry about booking hotels. Carnival Jubilee features more spacious Family Harbor staterooms and suites, plus a designated lounge for breakfast, snacks and activities together.
Love to travel for musical events? Aboard Sun Princess, the largest Princess Cruises ship ever built, look for more entertainment and new shows (“Spellbound by Magic Castle” anyone?)
Forget researching the hottest new restaurants, although you have to plan ahead to sample any cruise line’s premium restaurants. Holland America Line, for example, has strengthened its commitment to culinary excellence at sea with celebrity chefs like David Burke and Jacques Torres. The cruise line recently partnered with the famous Chef Morimoto, whose new Morimoto by Sea restaurant will open onboard Nieuw Amsterdam later this year.
Carnival Cruise Line has tapped celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse as its “Chief Culinary Officer.” Food Network star Guy Fieri has a complimentary Guy’s Burger Joint or Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse on several ships. NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal is Carnival’s “Chief Fun Officer,” and his Big Chicken restaurant – also complimentary – is very popular.
3. Family Cruising Experiences Appeal To All Ages
Cruising is a great bet for extended families whether they are looking for a bucket list trip in nature to Alaska or the Mediterranean. Explore beaches or fjords during an adults-only Seabourn expedition cruise. Younger children love Carnival Cruise Line ships with all the bells and whistles for kids – and those who are kids at heart – like a giant water slide or roller coaster at sea. Mix up the sophisticated urban vibe of luxurious Cunard ships with watching for whales, dolphins and birds while crossing the Atlantic. Those with disabilities have many options to accommodate their needs.
Supervised activities for kids and teens empower parents and grandparents with adult time. Go to the gym, the spa, indulge in a specialty dinner, play cards or simply spend some time together. Carnival Cruise Line’s Camp Ocean starts at age 2 while there is day care for babies starting at six months.
Cunard offers a free Night Nursery for those aged 6-23 months so adults on a family cruise can enjoy drinks, dinner and a show.
Princess Cruises’ new youth programming includes star gazing and shore excursions that are Discovery and Animal Planet exclusive tours.
4. Family Cruises Focus On Sustainable Tourism, Environmental Protection
Family cruisers will be pleased to know that the industry has accelerated research into environmental technologies and practices, including environmental education and programs on board. Carnival Corporation brands are leading the way in sustainable practices with everything from making their own water, recycling, reducing carbon emissions, ships powered by liquified natural gas, and reducing food waste.
Depending on your family cruising itinerary, learn about the ways your cruise line is giving back to local communities through training, economic and social investments, environmental cleanups and charitable work.
5. Family Cruising Is One Of The Easiest Ways To Broaden Horizons
Last but not least, any travel adds immeasurably to our development as people. And a family cruise is one of the best value, least stressful travel options which appeal to all ages and support sustainable tourism. You’ve probably read the quote often misattributed to St. Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Bon Voyage!
Repeat cruiser Eileen Ogintz, syndicated columnist of Taking the Kids, contributed this post about family cruising for sponsor Carnival Cruises P&LC. Opinions expressed are her own.
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