We all lead such busy lives! That's why a family vacation is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones. Need a family vacation idea? Among the best family vacations are a cruise and an all inclusive resort. This is because either option offers a family an affordable vacation, with lots of entertaining things to do together. For a more information on either of these family vacations options, please check out the following details:
A cruise is the perfect vacation choice for a family. There really are endless options for family cruises; it all depends on what features and amenities are most important to your family in particular. Some of the most popular cruise lines for family cruises are (in no particular order) Royal Caribbean
, Norwegian Cruise Line
, Carnival Cruise Lines
and Disney Cruise Line
. Each one of these cruise lines offers fabulous activities, amenities, and programs that would be great for everyone in your family.
Among the amenities that cruise lines may have available to you and your family are babysitting, dancing classes, games, contests, ice cream bars, pizza bars, kids' dining menus, movies, ping pong, pools, shore excursions, live entertainment, video game arcades and youth programs.
Here's a brief summary of select cruise lines that happen to be great choices for a family cruise (listed in alphabetical order, for your convenience):
|Carnival Cruise Lines
|The world's largest cruise line is also one of the best (and most popular) choices for a family vacation. Among the many family-friendly features that a Carnival cruise can offer its guests are:
• Youth Programs: Carnival Cruise Lines features three youth programs onboard all of their ships, based by age: Camp Ocean (ages 2-11), Circle "C" (ages 12-14) and Club O2 (ages 15-17). Their programs include elaborate youth facilities (including onboard areas and even shore excursions just for teens), as well as great activities.
• Carnival WaterWorks: Available on select Carnival cruise ships, this is a water park that features a huge twister waterslide and much more.
• Carnival's Dive-In Movies: a 12-foot-high by 22-foot-wide LED screen with a 70,000-watt sound system. It's located poolside on the Lido deck, showing a variety of movies, sporting events, concerts and more.
• Sports: Play a game with your family on Carnival's 9-hole mini golf course, take a swim with them in one of the large swimming pools, or perhaps enjoy a friendly race around the ship-top jogging track.
• Live Entertainment: You and your family can enjoy a wonderful live show during each evening of your Carnival cruise. Among the many possible shows are singers, musicians, dancers, comedians and magicians.
Adults only: Check out Carnival's Serenity Retreat, a quiet and tranquil place just for adults. This area of the ship features plush chaise lounge chairs, whirlpools, as well as oversized umbrellas for those looking for some shade. There's also a casino onboard each of the Carnival cruise ships. Of course, there are plenty of bars and lounges, as well as night clubs, onboard each Carnival ship. There are even late-night deck parties on select evenings! Also available onboard each Carnival cruise ship is a casino, featuring a variety of popular games (such as Blackjack, Roulette, Craps and Texas Hold'em).
♦ Learn more about Carnival Cruise Lines
|Disney Cruise Line
|It should come at no surprise to you that Disney Cruise Lines is one of the best options as far as family cruises go. Be sure to book your Disney vacation with us, as we're an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. While on a Disney cruise you and your family will be able to enjoy the following family-friendly features:
• Youth Clubs: There are a bunch of areas onboard each Disney ship that are specifically for children, tweens or teens. For example, Disney Oceaneer Club and Disney Oceaneer Lab (both which are children's activity centers) are available on all of their ships. Also available onboard all of the Disney ships is a nursery, providing care for children ages 3 months to 3 years, as well as exclusive teens-only spaces. Disney Fantasy, their newest ship, will feature D Lounge, a family lounge and nightclub where parents and children can dance, sing and play games.
• Character Experiences: As you might expect, each of Disney's cruises includes meet and greets with many of their famous characters (like Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Chip 'n Dale, Goofy, Captain Hook, Donald Duck and Cinderella). These exciting events occur in designated places, but there are also surprise appearances throughout their ships. While at these events, you'll even have the opportunity to get an autograph from these friendly characters!
• Live Shows: Every Disney cruise features Broadway-style live Disney shows in amazing theaters, with Disney characters singing and dancing in spectacular fashion. Live performances also take place during many of Disney's fun themed deck parties, such as "Pirate Night."
• Buena Vista Theatre: This large theater has a giant movie screen and plays first-run Disney movies and digital 3-D films.
• Sports: All of the Disney ships feature fitness and recreational sports for people of all ages, such as basketball and ping-pong. Of course, there is also a fitness center available on each ship, with state-of-the-art weight machines and ellipticals.
Adults only: Although Disney Cruise Line features a ton of things for kids of all ages to do, they also feature a nice selection of areas just for adults to ensure that everyone in the family is more than happy while cruising with them. Among Disney's adult-only venues are Palo, a wonderful specialty restaurant available on all of their ships. There are also a bunch of bars and lounges throughout each of the Disney cruise ships, including dance clubs, sports bars, piano bars and much more. Cove Cafe is an adults-only lounge available on all of the Disney ships that features internet access, TVs and magazines, and serves mixed drinks, gourmet coffee and snacks. Adults should be aware that there are no casinos onboard the Disney cruise ships.
♦ Learn more about Disney Cruise Line
|Norwegian Cruise Line
|NCL is definitely one of the most family-friendly cruise lines around. Their Freestyle Cruising concept allows for families to eat where they want, when they want. Their ships are hip and innovative, appealing to a wide range of people. Here are just a few of the aspects of an NCL cruise that are particularly great for families:
• Complimentary Youth Programs: NCL's onboard programs for children and teens are split up into four age-based groups: Guppies (ages 6 mo. to 3), Splash Academy (ages 3-12), and Entourage (ages 13-17). Programs such as late-night and in-port babysitting are available for an additional fee. Among the many activities that are available for children and teens are playing WII video games, various sports activities, scavenger hunts and team-building challenges. There's also a teen dance club aboard each NCL ship, allowing your teens the space they need to meet and mingle with others in their age group.
• Inter-connecting Staterooms: Perfect for families, such rooms have a doorway between them so that families can stay in multiple rooms and walk between them, allowing for more space and even privacy (when it's desired).
• Courtyard and Garden Villas: Families may want to consider reserving one of NCL's exclusive Villas, all of which feature butler and concierge service. The Courtyard Villas, at up to 572 square feet in size, are available on some of the newer NCL ships, share a private-access courtyard with a pool, hot tub, exercise room, sundeck, cabanas and more. At up to 5,750 square feet the Garden Villa, available onboard many of NCL's ships, is the ultimate at-sea accommodation.
• Lots of Dining Choices: With up to 13 different restaurants and dining rooms to choose from on each NCL cruise, your family is not going to get bored of similar food on each night of their cruise. NCL features the largest selection of specialty restaurants in the cruising world, including French restaurants, Asian cuisine, Italian restaurants, Mexican dining options and traditional American steakhouses. This wonderful variety of restaurants, in addition to NCL's buffets and 24-hour room service, results in a fantastic dining experience.
• Live Entertainment: Every NCL cruise offers its guests a plethora of live shows. Among the many shows you may have an opportunity to enjoy while on an NCL cruise are Broadway-style shows, singers, dancers, gymnasts, comedians and magicians. Available on every cruise onboard NCL's new Norwegian Epic are performances by one of the world's most popular live entertainment groups, Blue Man Group.
• Sports: There's a great variety of sports to take part in while on an NCL cruise. A few of the newer NCL ships, such as Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem feature a huge rock-climbing wall onboard. Also on these three ships is a four-lane, mood-lit bowling alley in the exciting Bliss Ultra Lounge.
Adults only: Each NCL ship features a casino (except Pride of America, their year-round Hawaii cruise ship), with gaming awards available through their Casinos at Sea program. Among the games available in NCL's casinos are Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Texas Hold'em, 3 Card Poker and much more. Also onboard each NCL ship is a variety of bars, lounges and night clubs. Whether you're looking for a quiet place to sip a glass of wine, or a lively area with dancing and karaoke, an NCL cruise has it all.
♦ Learn more about NCL
♦ Please use the search tool at the top right of this page to find the perfect cruise for your family, if you'd like to do so on your own. For assistance in planning family vacations, feel free to contact us.
|One of the largest and most innovative cruise lines in the world, Royal Caribbean, is one of the top choices for family cruises Here are some of the highlights of Royal Caribbean related to them offering great family vacations:
• Youth Programs: Royal Caribbean's complimentary youth programs are divided into age-based groups. Adventure Ocean is for 3 to 11 year olds (which are separated into 3 groups: ages 3-5, ages 6-8, and ages 9-11). Royal Caribbean's teen program separates teens into 2 groups: ages 12-14 and ages 15-17. These programs give kids the opportunity to learn about the cultures of the countries their cruise is taking them to, as well as giving them the chance to make friends while they participate in a slew of fun onboard activities. Fuel is a teen-only nightclub that's sure to please your teens. The Living Room is a laid-back lounge also for teens, where they can meet up and relax.
• Sports: Many of the Royal Caribbean ships have large rock-climbing walls and ice-skating rinks, and a few of them (the Freedom Class ships) feature a state-of-the-art surfing simulator onboard (called a FlowRider®). Also available onboard each Royal Caribbean ship are sports such as basketball and ping-pong. Mini golf is available onboard many of the ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet. All of these options are a great way to spend some quality time with your family while on your vacation.
• Oasis Class Features: Royal Caribbean's newest Oasis Class ship, Symphony of the Seas, features a bunch of neighborhoods onboard. This type of setup is great for families, as each neighborhood offers something unique. For example, the Boardwalk neighborhood is like an old-fashioned seaside amusement park, featuring a Zip Line, an arcade, and the world's first at-sea Carousel. Also in this neighborhood is the AquaTheater, a special area featuring high-dive acrobatics, synchronized swimming and light shows.
• Fun Private Islands: CocoCay® (located in the Bahamas) and Labadee® (located in the Dominican Republic) are Royal Caribbean two private islands, both featured on many of Royal Caribbean's Bahamas and Caribbean cruises. Both of these islands feature beautiful beaches with many family-friendly beach activities to participate in. For instance, while in Labadee you can take a ride on its Mile Long Zip Line, or have some fun in the state-of-the-art Aqua Park.
• Royal Promenade: Available onboard many of Royal Caribbean's ships (including their Freedom, Oasis and Quantum Class ships), this is a large area of the ship that's meant to resemble a downtown city area, lines with shops, bars and dining venues. Throughout the cruise live performances and celebrations will take place in this lively area of the ship. This is definitely an area that your family is sure to spend a lot of time in while at sea.
• Live Shows: Every Royal Caribbean cruise features nightly live entertainment. Among the fantastic variety of shows that you may be able to see with your family while on a Royal Caribbean cruise are Broadway-style performances, comedians, singers, dancers, magicians and comedians. The Royal Caribbean ships that have an ice-skating rink onboard will feature ice shows throughout each cruise, which are a definite family favorite. Oasis-class ships feature the AquaTheater, where you can enjoy thrilling water shows.
Adults only: Each Royal Caribbean ship features a large Vegas-style casino onboard, with all of the popular games you'd expect (like Texas Hold'em, Slots, Blackjack, Roulette and Craps). There are also a large selection of bars, lounges (like Boleros, a Latin-themed club with a dance floor) and night clubs available onboard each Royal Caribbean ship. For example, the Quantum Class ships (Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas each feature the large, multifunctional Two70 Lounge).
♦ Learn more about Royal Caribbean
There are just too many family-friendly resorts to list. However, there are definitely a few that we can highlight and say are among the best choices for family resorts. Please check out the resorts described below, and feel free to contact us
if you're looking for something different:
|Walt Disney World Resorts
|The Walt Disney World Resorts in the Orlando, Florida area are among the world's most popular and best family resorts. All of the Disney resorts are close to (sometimes right next to) the Disney Theme Parks, and come with complimentary resort transportation via boat, bus or monorail.
Among the deluxe Disney resorts are Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (which is home to a massive 33-acre wildlife preserve), Disney's Yacht Club Resort (a Martha's Vineyard-themed hotel on Crescent Lake), Disney's Boardwalk Inn (a lakeside hotel fashioned after the seaside buildings of 1940s Atlantic City), Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (a Victorian-style hotel), Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Beach Club Resort (a New England-style lakeside hotel), and Disney's Wilderness Lodge. You really can't go wrong when it comes to these fabulous properties! Those looking for a truly upscale Disney vacation should consider reserving a Villa at one of the select properties that offer such accommodations. Contact us for details.
Families on a budget will be happy to learn that Disney does offer moderate and value resorts as well. A couple of the moderate resorts available at Walt Disney World are Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney's Port Orleans Resort. Disney's All-Star Movie Resort and Disney's All-Star Sports Resort are just two of the value resorts offered by Walt Disney World.
Everyone that books a Walt Disney World Resort vacation with our company benefits from special booking gifts. The exact value and nature of the gift depends on the particulars of each reservation, but an example would be a Resort Credit to use while you're on your vacation.
Please contact us for pricing and availability at any of the Walt Disney World Resorts. Our company is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
|Atlantis, located on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, is a fabulous choice for a family vacation. Among the many things to do at Atlantis are interacting with dolphins, seas lions and mantas at the 14-acre Dolphin Cay, have fun at Aquaventure, a 141-acre water park that's complimentary for all guests staying at Atlantis (featuring a mile-long white-water rapids ride), as well as enjoying one of their beaches (including Cove Beach, Paradise Lagoon Beach and Atlantis Beach).
As far as dining goes, there are 21 restaurants at Atlantis. Among the many dining options are Nobu, an elegant Japanese restaurant, and Chef Boby Flay's award-wining Mesa Grill (featuring Southwestern cuisine). There are also 19 bars and lounges at Atlantis, sure there's always somewhere to relax and enjoy a cocktail.
Adults should be happy to learn that aside from the many activities that are great for the entire family, Atlantis is also home to an amazing casino, Ocean Club's championship golf course, as well as Aura Night Club (a 9,000-square-foot venue).
Please contact us for pricing and availability at Atlantis.
|Also among the most popular family resorts are the award-winning, all inclusive Beaches Resorts, a chain of family-friendly resorts located in the Caribbean (specifically in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos).
The Beaches resorts include Beaches Turks & Caicos, Beaches Ocho Rios, and Beaches Negril. These properties are particularly great for families with children, as they have a slew of fun activities available for guests of all ages. For example, Beaches Turks & Caicos has a 45,000-square-foot waterpark on the premises. Since Beaches Resorts are a sponsor of Sesame Street®, these are the only resorts are in the Caribbean where you can find their famous characters (such as Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, Bert and Ernie). In fact, Beaches has a special activity-filled program for children featuring these characters, called Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street®.
Of the many things to do at a Beaches resort, there are definitely a few things that are geared towards their adult guests. For instance, there's a fabulous spa (Red Lane Spa) at each of the resorts, where you can enjoy treatments such as a facial, massage and manicure. Other activities include golf, water sports and great night life featuring live entertainment. Plus, you always have to remember that you'll be able to enjoy unlimited premium drinks while at the many "open bars" in the Beaches resorts!
Please contact us for pricing and availability at any of the Beaches Resorts.
♦ If you're looking for a different destination or property, please contact us for assistance.
|Another great option for family vacations are the beautiful, all inclusive Azul Hotels, by Karisma. These family-friendly Gourmet Inclusive resorts are all located in Mexico, in the Riviera Maya. Among these resorts are the 98-room Azul Beach Hotel (a chic boutique hotel) and 438-suite Azul Sensatori Hotel (featuring family connecting suites), both located just 20 minutes from the Cancun International Airport, as well as Azul Fives Hotel, a 260-suite resort (with 1, 2 and 3-bedroom suites that's just 10 minutes from Playa del Carmen.
The Azul resorts redefine family vacations, as they feature kids clubs, toys for children, and family-oriented suites, in combination with award-winning gourmet cuisine, world class service and an all inclusive plan for all guests (featuring unlimited meals and premium beverages, from Johnny Walker to kids smoothies). The restaurants at these resorts feature a wide range of cuisine, such as Italian, Mexican, Asian and Grill. Besides all of these options, there is even 24-hour room service available, as well as a full-service concierge that is available to fulfill any and all of your food, beverage and activity needs.
Those looking to schedule a family reunion should be happy to hear that Azul features Family & Friends Vacation Planners that can coordinate family reunions, in conjunction with our travel experts.
In all, if you're looking for an all inclusive family resort that takes the entire vacation experience to the next level, you should definitely consider one of the Azul hotels.
Please contact us for pricing and availability at any of the Azul Hotels.