Taking a cruise is ideal for families with children, multi-generational groups and reunion vacations because there are activities to please all ages, along with being cost effective compared to a land-based vacation. See: [Cruise Cost Comparison].
[FAMILY CRUISES & CRUISES WITH CHILDREN] [GROUP CRUISES AND REUNIONS]
FAMILY CRUISES & CRUISING WITH CHILDREN
If you are cruising with your family, have children, or are traveling with a group you can have the best of both worlds! You can have "adults only" time whenever you like, or spend time together participating in family meals and activities. All "mainstream" lines have children's programs, but check with cruise travel agencies or cruise specialists before booking to ensure you have a good match for your needs. All of the cruise lines are different; some do better than others in this respect.
- Many ships have "family sized" staterooms or suites to
accommodate the parents and children in the same room.
- Connecting staterooms can also be found, the same style as hotels.
- Staterooms can be outfitted with bunks for sharing the cabin with smaller children.
- Some cruise lines just generally have larger staterooms and are geared more towards families.
CHILDREN'S & TEEN PROGRAMS
- The mainstream cruise lines have elaborate supervised children's programs designed for different age groups, from ages 3-17.
- Some newer ships, such as Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas now have dedicated teen clubs and discos, along with separate children's pool areas.
- Check the children's program daily newsletter for a particular day's
- For babies and infants, dedicated play times and babysitting services are available.
- The children's program directors and staff hold degrees in education, childhood development, or similar.
- Special safety precautions are in place for all children.
- There should be a child-size life jacket in the cabin for each of your children. Ask your room steward for one if you don't see it.
- They receive and must wear a wristband with their muster station number (the emergency meeting place each stateroom gets assigned) in case they get separated from parents.
- Your children are supervised at all times when participating in kid's club activities.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS WHEN CRUISING WITH CHILDREN
participating in the infant playtimes
for parent and baby, your child must be
fully toilet trained.
- No diapers or
- On port days, children's activities are usually suspended so they can participate in shore excursions with their family. Occasionally a cruise line will offer separate kid's shore excursions.
- .Luxury, river, and adventure cruising generally do not offer the above kinds of experiences or amenities which make a cruise ideal for young children.
WHAT IS A GROUP?
- Charity fundraisers, family reunions, church groups, special interest groups such as a wine tasting club, Rotary, Lions... any group of people that have an "affinity," or something in common..
- Incentive groups: Many times a company will use the cruise as a reward, or "incentive," for meeting sales goals or a milestone of some sort.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE CONSIDERED A GROUP?
- When speaking of a "group" in cruise ship terms, this refers to a minimum number of berths (beds) booked on the same sailing.
- Each cruise line can determine exactly how many berths constitute a "group." Most of the time it means at least 16 berths. (In other words, 16 people.)
- The size of the group and class of cabin booked (i.e. balcony vs. inside) are all considerations when the cruise line assigns special group amenities, free berths, and discounts. The more revenue you generate for them, the more they do for you in return.
CHOOSING A SHIP FOR A GROUP
A good assumption would be that the newer and larger the ship, the more extensive the facilites and activities offered. If you have a general group spanning many generations, I would suggest a newer, bigger ship. All "megaships" offer the following aspects:
- Handicapped-accessible staterooms.
- Medical facilities.
- Pools, spa, and gym.
- Extensive activities-- both traditional and those geared towards the younger set.
- Supervised children's activities.
- sports facilites such as basketball, pingpong, running track, golf, mini-golf, various fitness classes and weight training equipment.
- Multiple dining choices.
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
A large megaship would not necessarily fit the bill if your group is made up of a special interest group such as an upscale wine tasting club, outdoor adventure or eco-club, or a group made up of mostly elderly guests. There are many other options: luxury wine cruise for the wine club; expedition ship for the outdoor club, smaller ship for the elderly... you get the picture!
CHARITY FUNDRAISER CRUISE
Charity fundraising cruises have become more popular in recent years. The funds can be generated in many different ways; sometimes the cruise line has a special fundraising program for this purpose, or the travel agent can "mark up" the fare and have the difference donated to the charity. You also could hold a raffle with a cruise as the prize. consult Cruises By Kate to explore the options.
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