Cruising: the Ultimate Family Vacation!

by Jun 7, 2018

To my friends, I am known as ‘Christine Cruiser”! I love to cruise, and if I had my choice, I would go on a cruise every month of the year! I suppose what is called by some as “adulting” (and of course other real responsibilities) is what prevents this from being a reality. Someday, when I retire (sooner rather than later I hope), I will complete my bucket list of traveling to all seven continents and explore amazing destinations all over the world. My mode of transportation choice…a cruise ship.

 

 

I started cruising with friends in 2005. I remember that first cruise experience; walking into the cruise terminal in Florida and lining up with all of the other anxiously awaiting passengers to sign my forms, show my passport, and of course take a super fun photo in front of a backdrop of the cruise ship. Thirteen years, twenty-one cruises, and five continents later, I would be remiss not to say I’m hooked!!

 

 

I’ve had people ask me why I like to cruise so much, and what is so special about it? They ask – aren’t the cabins too small, don’t you get seasick, and don’t you get bored?  The list goes on and on. My answer as to why I cruise always begins with the most important reason…I can travel to multiple destinations, and I only have to pack and unpack one time. This is important to me because that gives me more time to relax and enjoy my time off from work – time-off that is hard earned and well deserved I might add. I see so many friends and family spending much of their vacations running around worrying about where to go or what to do next, and I feel bad for them – shouldn’t they get to relax and enjoy their time?

 

 

Another reason I love to cruise is that I love getting immersed in cultures. There are super fun and weird things that you can do all over the world! I have now been to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Israel, England, France, Spain, among many others, and I just love trying the local foods, visiting with the local people, and seeing the beautiful sights in their countries. There are so many choices for things to do, they are almost endless!  I loved being able to walk along the grassy hills that the Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings walked on while I was in Matamata, New Zealand visiting Hobbiton, the movie set from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit movies. I drank a beer with my parents at The Green Dragon movie set. I enjoyed a bagel in Jerusalem and watched the face of my friend and stepdad as they drank a cup of Turkish coffee. The list of memories are endless, and every one of them is priceless and will be cherished for a lifetime.

 

 

There is a lot of value built into a cruise vacation. If you figure out the cost of a land vacation, you have to include your transportation and fuel costs, your accommodations, your meals and your entertainment for everyone that is traveling. On a cruise, your base cruise fare will cover all of what I just mentioned. Of course, you can always add more to the cruise and pay for a special meal on board, or take a fun excursion and zip line through that rainforest or take that seaplane over those glaciers, but you can also pay for these fun extras well before you travel, which makes budgeting ahead of time for the cruise another benefit. Some cruises can be booked well in advance. Earlier this year, I booked a cruise that is sailing in April of 2020. It was over two years away when I booked the cruise, and all I had to do was put a small deposit down and now I have all the time ahead of me to make payments before and make it super manageable.

For families that are considering a cruise, there are so many wonderful options on many different cruise lines for programs for the children, ranging from ages 2 to 17 years old, and some offer after hours daycare as well. Want an adult’s only option – there are cruises for you as well!

 

 

What is there to do on a cruise ship? There are so many options available for all personality types. There is a cruise planner that the ship’s Cruise Director (the person in charge of the ship’s entertainment and activities) puts together and it will usually be delivered to your cabin during your nightly turndown service. Some ships have technology available now where you can access this information on your mobile device using an app that the ship has available, most work with either an iPhone or Android device. But no worries, if you decided to disconnect and hide that phone away in a drawer for the duration of your vacation, there is a paper copy. Activities vary by cruise line, but some examples include, bingo, trivia, men’s belly flop contest, women’s bicep competition, line dance classes, karaoke, scavenger hunts, and exercise classes. Some cruise ships have casinos, and they offer poker, blackjack and slot tournaments. There are also areas where you can play cards, borrow some ships have some board games for you to use or a library where you can borrow a book, or turn one in that you have finished reading. Depending on the ship’s amenities, you can take a sushi making class, a cupcake making class, you can zip line, rock climb, go on some awesome water slides or sit by the pool and work on your tan, and of course the ship has nightly entertainment from comedians, to jugglers, singers and dancers and some even have Broadway-caliber musicals.  Basically, there is something for everyone to do, and it is hard to find yourself bored on a cruise!

 

 

Need a cabin for a larger family, a cabin if you are traveling solo or a nice romantic suite for you and that special someone? Each cruise line has many different categories to choose from when selecting your cabin, also known as a stateroom. There are inside cabins, that have no window, these are nice and dark, and many travelers like this option as they factor in the small amount of time they will be in their cabin. There are now even inside cabins that have a “virtual balcony” – an LCD screen that is streaming a live image from the front of the ship’s bow, making it like you have your own little window. There are also oceanview cabins that have a small porthole window or sometimes a nice large square window, this is nice so you can look out and see the ocean as you are getting ready to start your day. Lastly, there are balcony cabins that have a door to an area with a chair or two, a small table, or even a lounger…and some cruise lines even have a jacuzzi on the balcony – talk about cruising in style!

 

 

On most cruises, you can have breakfast delivered to your cabin, and with a balcony, you can sit outside and enjoy a view of the ocean, possible the sunrise if you are on the correct side of the ship and just take in the beautiful view. Each of the cabins I just listed come in different categories and range in price. Some of the items that determine lower or higher pricing are the size of the cabin, the location on the ship, and whether you want to select your cabin before you set sail or if you want the cruise line to select your cabin for you at the last minute as they are close to final booking. The last option is called a “guarantee” cabin and you can find some good deals with those. There is a minor drawback on a guarantee cabin, you may get an obstructed view (there may be a fixture or lifeboat blocking part of your view out your porthole or window) or you may be placed in the last cabin at the very forward “front” of the ship, and depending on your itinerary and the weather, may have too much movement for them.

 

 

Now that I’ve mentioned weather and cabin location, this is a good time to discuss motion sickness. Let me preface this part by saying that I personally am very prone to motion sickness, I used to get sick on family car rides as a child, and if I look down to read a map for even a minute I start to get queasy. If you have ever had motion sickness, you know it is not a good feeling and doesn’t go away very quickly. After twenty-one cruise, I have learned some excellent strategies and found some amazing tools to help in my quest of smooth sailing. When I first cruised, and for the first ten years of cruising, I would get a prescription for a patch called Transderm Scope from my doctor. Some people do not like pharmaceuticals, or have an aversion to this particular medication and take Dramamine® or Bonine® while they are cruising and have very good luck with that as well. There are also some nice natural alternatives, like ginger chews, Chimes is my favorite brand and comes in a few flavors, or eating a sour green apple. I have only been seasick one time on one cruise, for one night – this was after sailing through the Panama Canal – heading toward Columbia and the ship encountered some rough weather, twenty foot swells (waves) and gale force winds, these two paired together made for a rocky night, and my cabin that particular sailing was on deck six, four cabins from the very front of the ship. Let’s just say, I won’t ever sail in a forward cabin again. I have since found an amazing tool that I use every time called The Relief Band®. This small gadget is like worn like a wristwatch and for me personally can stop sea sickness after it starts. It may not work for everyone, but since I bought one in 2016, I have used it for every flight, every cruise and even on some crazy fun rides at Disneyland®.

 

 

In my honest opinion, there is a cruise out there for everyone. There are small intimate ships up to the big mega ships that are floating cities. There are river cruises, paddle boat cruises, and gorgeous luxury sailboats. Affordable budget cruises all the way to high-end all-inclusive luxury cruises, and everything in between. You can absolutely contact one of our Key to the World Travel® planners, and any of us would be happy to match up the perfect cruise vacation for you, your family or any group that you would like to get together to make some amazing memories together.

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All Key to the World Travel® planners are experts and offer the highest level of exemplary customer service. Contact your travel planner to book your vacation, or click here to request a quote today!

 

 

 

Christine Dempsay

Christine Dempsay

Travel Planner

Contact Christine today using the links below!