Cruising is a great family vacation. Modern day cruise ships are like floating five-star resorts, clearly the ship is the destination. You can count on marvelous dining choices, spacious and kid friendly accommodations, non-stop onboard activities, and all sorts of fun and entertaining programs for kids of all ages.
But before you snatch up the first cruise deal you see, keep in mind that all cruise lines are not the same. When I am working at Cruise Holidays of Mission Viejo, our first goal with a client is to match the right cruise line to the family.
Not all cruise lines are created equal. In fact, while reading “Travel and Leisure” magazine’s family insert of top 10 cruise lines for family vacations, I was shocked to see that 8 of the 10 lines were not my first choice if I was going on a cruise with my two children. Yes, I agree that Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises are all exception cruise lines, but for a family cruise these all high-end luxury options might not be the best choice.
Some cruise lines that cater to families are Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean (both on the “Travel & Leisure” magazine’s family insert top ten list.) Some things to look for when selecting a kid friendly cruise line are:
- Kids programs that accept a wide range of ages from babies to teens.
- A big enough kids program that will have enough space and age appropriate activities for each age group.
- If there are babies and older kids in diapers (and Pull-Ups), then selecting a cruise line what offers a program that accepts babies and non toilet trained kids is a must.
- Flexible dining options with open seating to accommodate a variety of eating times.
- Programs that provide baby food, cribs and shallow swimming pools.
- Cabins that accommodate larger families. Some staterooms only allow four passengers. Look for a cruise line that has larger staterooms that work perfectly for a family of five. Not all cruise lines have cabins with connecting doors. A suite is always a good option.
Although selecting the right cruise line for your vacation can sometimes be a challenge, it is well worth knowing what you are getting before your cruise starts. Differences between cruise lines can be vast and the last place to discover that the nuances do not suit your style is when you’re miles out at sea.