Vacationing with extended family can be tricky, but so can traveling alone, especially with children. Due to the variety of activities for children and adults that are provided on most cruise ships, finding the balance between quality time and time apart becomes easier, resulting in a vacation and memories that you and your family will cherish for years to come.
Published: May 4, 2018
By: By Kristi Mehes
Author Website: Click to Visit
Going on a cruise with kids, parents and grandparents is a great way to spend quality time together without getting on each other’s nerves. Here’s why a cruise is a great option for a multi-generational family vacation.
It Makes Paying Easy
Traveling with other people, including family members, can be uncomfortable when it comes to finances. Have you ever argued about who’s going to pay the bill when you and your family go out to eat? Have you ever had a family vacation go over budget?
Cruises are a vacation option that provide several pleasant budget surprises. Most of the food is included in the price of the cruise, with the exception of specialty dining and alcohol. Most cruise lines also offer nightly entertainment, like theater performances and comedy acts, as part of the overall price. Any extra expenses, such as port excursions, are things you can budget for well in advance.
Just remember to bring cash for tipping the incredibly hard-working cruise staff. The cruise line will generally offer guidance on how much to tip, so even that can be figured into your budget before you leave home.
A Cruise Line for Every Budget
The prices of cruises can vary depending on the length of the cruise, the itinerary, the time of year and the stateroom you choose. However, there are cruises that fit every budget. Do you want a fun budget cruise? Carnival Cruise Line can be known as a party boat, but there are also several activities that younger kids will definitely enjoy. Disney cruises are more expensive, but you certainly get your money’s worth throughout the entire experience. The quality of food will satisfy your inner foodie, kids will go bananas over the kids activity center, and, of course, the entertainment is Disney-level. Other cruise lines that cater to multigenerational families are Princess Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. My family really enjoyed the cruises we took through Princess. Their staff was wonderful with our son, and while the kids activity centers aren’t as elaborate as those provided by Disney, there are plenty of things for kids to do.
For those who want to cruise in luxury, there’s the Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Not only are there cruise lines for every budget, but there are also different types of staterooms for every budget. Did you know that you can try to get connecting cabins if you’re traveling with extended family members? This is especially true on Disney cruises. However, if you want connecting cabins, book early. It will increase your chances of finding two connected cabins.
A Variety of Food Options
Dining on a cruise ship provides something for everyone. Most of the food is included in the price of the cruise, including an all-you-can-eat buffet and several sit-down restaurants.
Specialty dining is also available, but expect to pay for it. Not only are there several restaurants on-board cruise ships, but they also offer a variety of tasty foods outside of a restaurant setting.
Some cruise ships have restaurants that serve sushi, although it’s usually considered to be specialty dining, so be prepared to pay extra for it. Are you more of a meat and potatoes type of person? The pool grill might be the perfect place for you. And vegetarians? You’re covered, too.
Something for Everyone
When it comes to adults, there are so many things to do on a cruise ship. Everything from shopping to spending an afternoon at the spa are available aboard these ships. Several cruise lines also have casinos. For younger children, tweens and teens, there are kids clubs and teen clubs, not to mention plenty of time to hang out at the pool. Several cruise ships offer other activities to enjoy, including bowling, mini golf, zip lining and water slides.
Also, while Caribbean cruises are popular for families, there are also other cruises that may surprise you, like the Canada and New England cruise my family and I took a couple of years ago. It was a destination that both my parents and I (along with my husband and our son) had never experienced.
Spending Quality Time Together
Making memories as a family is important and that includes spending quality time together. Because cruising means most of the details are taken care of for you (you unpack once and visit several destinations without having to worry about any of the logistics), you are able to have more quality time with your loved ones. No one has to cook or clean, and no one has to do laundry (unless they want or need to). The goal is to have fun and relax. Cruises offer the unique ability to spend more time together and plenty of time a part.
While spending quality time together is important, there are plenty of places on the cruise ship to go to spend time apart as well.
I scheduled a spa appointment while my son enjoyed spending time at the kids center. My husband found a quiet place to read his Kindle. My mom perused the shops, and my dad rested and walked around the cruise ship. So if you need to get away from everyone, you can.
Assistance if Needed
My son loves spending time in the kids clubs now that he’s old enough to stay there without a parent present. But, when he didn’t meet the age requirement during our Canada/New England cruise, my parents helped out by watching him. This allowed my husband and I time to enjoy dinner at an adults-only restaurant. This can also help with shore excursions. If you have multiple, adult family members traveling with you, it becomes easier to split up excursions according to similar interests.
Professional Family Photos
Most cruise lines have professional photographers on board to take photographs of passengers and their families. When is the last time you had professional family photos taken with your extended family?
Yes, you could get that photo taken at home. But you wouldn’t have the gorgeous background and incredible memory of being together on a multi-generational family adventure. Even better, if you don’t like how the cruise photos turn out, there’s no obligation to buy them.
Photo taken by Kristi Mehes of the Disney Dream cruise ship.