Travel! Best Family Vacation Choice!

5 Aug

A few years ago, I would go and plan my vacation without a hitch, I didn’t care about anything other then “don’t forget the suntan lotion!” ah the good ol’ days! OK I AM DONE DREAMING >>Fast forward to now… “Okay we have the diapers, baby cream, toys, snacks, oh yea the baby!” – a lot has changed. So now when I plan a vacation I tend to take a lot more into consideration; like, is this spot kid friendly? do they have supplies for kids in cause my wipes run out, do they have activities for kids? much more complicated then just worrying about suntan lotion. I guess every parent goes thru the pain and suffering of having to cross of their favorite vacation spot because now… that place – doesn’t have anything for a child to do.

I’m come to the conclusion that by far a CRUISE is the best bet; for a family vacation

Let’s begin with this; not all cruises are designed with the little ones in mind, but I will go into that a bit later… for the most part a lot of the popular ones are. Each cruise line offers their own program for children of certain ages, some even go as far as watching 6 month old babies in the nursery; provided they have one on board (you have to check the ship information on their websites). So, what are the benefits? FREE on board daycare typically from about 8am-10pm EVERYDAY that you are on board. If you like you can also pay $6/hr on most ships for extended hours 10pm-2am or $10/hr for in cabin babysitting.

Those options alone would make a cruise the best vacation ever for parents and kids! imagine the freedom? can you taste it already!(not to mention the food and entertainment for adults in all inclusive)

On a cruise not only do you get daycare included – it’s not ‘run of the mill’ either – where they horde your children into a room of toys and let them run a muck. Their staff is typically very well trained and know how to take care of and entertain your children. Activities vary throughout the day but they include Arts and Crafts, Face painting, music sessions, dance, educational classes/activities, parties and of course enough toys to make any child’s head spin! When you are docked at a port, daycare’s are typically still opened but they have a fee that you will have to pay if you wish to keep your children on board. So what does that mean to parents… an ultimate vacation! Some peace and quiet, kid free dinners (if you wish) and even the ability to dance at a ship club at night! This is why cruising is the best vacation for parents.

Now lets explore some of the cruise lines… I’m not expert but I must admit that I have been on 8 cruises so far and 5 of which were with baby – so I know a thing or two about them.  Order of voyages: Princess: Star Princess  >>  Norwegian: Dawn  >>  Carnival: Miracle  >>  Norwegian: Dawn  >>  Royal Caribbean: Explorer of the Seas  >>  Carnival: Miracle  >> Norwegian: Jewel  >>  Carnival: Miracle. Most of the ships I’ve been on numerous time but just with different itineraries and cause most of them are NYC Area based.

Carnival: By FAR the best cruise line for parents traveling with kids as young as two years old. Their youth staff is trained and they always have one that is a registered nurse/care taker there. They allow you to bring your own wipes and diapers to the room and they will do the changes for you. If you child is potty trained or training they will assist them as well, if you let them know. Great activities for young kids and a lot of parties and visits from the ships mascot: Funship Freddy! A family of four should expect to pay around: $1800 for an interior room, after taxes and fees have been included.

Norwegian: Has wonderful programs and activities for children as young two years old, but if you child is not potty trained they will give you a beeper to come to the daycare to change your child. Recently they have teamed up with Nickelodeon, so some of their ships have character breakfasts, meet and greets, shows and more! They are my second choice when it comes to traveling with kids. A family of four should expect to pay around: $1800 for an interior room, after taxes and fees have been included.

Royal Caribbean: Also offers plenty to do for the little ones, including a Build-a-Bear workshop on board, some ships have ice skating rings where you can skate (or learn) and they now have partnered with DreamWorks and offer the DreamWorks Experience. Some of their newer ships also provide nurseries where you can drop off your babies – so they can dose off while you enjoy that long awaited rest! My third choice! only because its a lot more expensive to go on then some of the other ships. A family of four should expect to pay around: $2500 for an interior room, after taxes and fees have been included.

Princess: From my experiences Princess does the least amount for children, a lot of complaints about sudden daycare closures, not enough attention etc. So this is one of the ships I would not recommend you go on if you have toddlers or preschool aged children. A family of four should expect to pay around: $3200 for an interior room, after taxes and fees have been included. *I have not personally been on this ship with a child, but my opinion is based on research I have done.

Disney Cruises: You would think this would be the ultimate kids dream vacation and my number one pick, all the care and on board perks of a regular cruise, plus Disney characters and Disney live concerts! everything minus the casino. SOUNDS LIKE THE FIRST PLACE I WOULD GO! esp since I LOVE Disney… right? wrong… yes it’s true that this would be paradise for all those involved… but unfortunately I have never had the pleasure of going on any of their voyages; shocking ain’t it? I know my heart is broken too but maybe if I had tons of money to spend on a vacation – I’d been there in a jiffy! Disney vacations (cruises and resorts) by far are the most over priced vacations – compared to almost anything domestic. What you pay for an interior room for a family of four is about $4800 which is comparable to what you would pay to go on Norwegian or Carnival in a SUITE with a tub and balcony. So sorry Disney, I love your stuff but you are WAY TOO OVERPRICED.

One Response to “Travel! Best Family Vacation Choice!”

  1. Leonard Szczepkowski September 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    You´ve red the article in peoples magazine September2011, too, right? The writer had some photos from his travels via the world and wrote very comparable about his trip. Oh man, and I have to remain the following 4 month in my dull hometown until i can travel again.

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