Choosing the right family vacation spot is one of the biggest and most important decisions couples make in a year. Well, it is in our house. We on our second go round of traveling with kids. We learned a lot with the first set so we don’t take the planning stage lightly. This year, the nine year old asked to go on a cruise. A cruise? Oh yeah that’s up our alley.
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We are a cruising family but ummmm its been years since we’ve taken a child on a cruise. So me being the overly paranoid planner, I immediately wrote out a list to help us with choosing the right family cruise vacation.
Things to remember when selecting a family cruise vacation:
It’s important that you choose the month or season that fits not only into your vacation time but also the kids school schedule. Also take into consideration if you want to go during the busiest cruise seasons: Spring break, Summer months and Christmas week.
Once you decide on the time of year you will cruise, decide on the length of the cruise. We have cruised 3 days up to 7 days. Guess what we are doing this year? Yep you guessed it: 7 days!
Select departure city
The cruise industry has grown so that cruising don’t start and stop just in Florida. You have many options. We are cruising out of New Orleans for our family cruise vacation. The choice of departure city probably will depend on if you will drive, fly or even take Amtrak to the port. If you want to extend a land and sea vacation, you may choose a departure city that allow your family to sightsee pre or post cruise.
So, this step is so important.
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Select cruise line
When you are researching cruise lines make sure you make a list of must haves that is important for your family cruise vacation. For this family cruise vacation these are the items that were important to us:
-length of cruise
The family cruise vacation that we are taking in May will include multigenerations. The one thing I’m really liking about cruise lines, especially Carnival, is that they are embracing the multigenerational cruising that families are doing.
For the nine year old first cruise, my mom, sister and niece are going so a cruise line would have to offer amenities that appeals to us all. And the Carnival Dream does.
Themed cruises appealing to kids (and family)
Kid Programs: We selected Carnival Dream for our cruise adventure because of is close proximity to Memphis but most importantly CAMP CARNIVAL. I’m, I mean, the nine year old is looking forward to attending Camp Carnival. Camp Carnival has five programs for kids based on ages: ages 2 to 5 (Toddlers), ages 6 to 8 (Juniors ) and 9 to 11 (Intermediates). The activities are age appropriate, such as: sing-alongs, arts and crafts for toddlers; games, Tshirt designs for Juniors; and talent shows and scavenger hunts for Intermediates. Oh don’t worry Carnival haven’t forgotten about the pre-teens 12 to 14 (Circle C) and teens 15 to 17 year olds (Club O2) this group have dances, pool parties, and special teens-only shore excursions. No child will ever be bored while on a cruise. Plus while they are enjoying Camp Carnival, the adults can enjoy the fun activities on deck.
Select cabin style
Don’t worry if you have a large family or a family of two or three, cruise lines have staterooms to fit the comfort of any size family. We chose Carnival Dream because they had rooms that will fit all 5 of us in one cabin + it has a balcony.Once you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to book. The fun of cruising starts with planning and watching the cruise countdown ticker on your personalized account page.
Our personal account page on Carnival.com gives us all the info we need to know about cruising, our cruise plus the excursions we can take each day at port. Oh don’t worry about that right now, I’ll share more about onboard activities and choosing excursions later.
We are so excited about this family cruise. The nine year old is super excited! If you haven’t been on a cruise, you should definitely look into taking one.
What’s your favorite family vacation?