Cruising promises endless options for family members of every age and delivers in activities, food, entertainment, and best of all, value. In fact, so many multigenerational families are going on cruises that cruise lines are tailoring their offerings to attract families that include members of all ages.
“The wonderful thing about a multigenerational cruise is that everyone gets to do what they want, eat what and when they want, sleep how they want, and someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning and taking care of the kids.” says Gary E. Smith, president of TravelPerks Dream Vacations. “If you’re a grandma, you might want to relax on a deck chair and read. If you’re a grandchild, you might want to do the FlowRider® surfing simulation. Everyone shares the vacation, and everyone has fun their own way.”
Here are Gary’s Top Five Reasons to make your next family vacation a cruise:
Custom Food for Everyone.
Food as the #1 reason might seem odd, but food at a family gathering, including the hassle of preparation and cleanup, is of major importance. On a cruise, everyone gets exactly what they desire. Modern cruise ships have as many as 25 dining venues onboard, plus room service, so you’ll never go hungry and you’ll enjoy amazing options from worldwide cuisines. Smith recommends that when traveling with youngsters, that you take advantage of the opportunity for them to try foods they don’t get at home. If they like them, great. If not, order them something else at no extra cost.
Smith also says that if you’re traveling with a larger group of 20 or more people, you should utilize your travel agent to assist, where possible, with making dining arrangements, which vary by ship, before you start your cruise.
Tots, Teens, Parents, and Grandparents Will All Have Fun.
With clubs specifically aimed at notoriously hard-to-please kids at different ages and stages, a toddler can have just as much fun as a teenager. These clubs also provide opportunities for parents to have a night out, enjoy some adult time, and have the kids supervised in a setting that entertains them and engages their minds. Even luxury brands offer kids activities, and some family-focused cruise lines have dedicated facilities that are so amazing that even eye-rolling teenagers will break down and say “Thank You!” for the vacation.
Cabin Choices Have Evolved.
As more and more intergenerational families are traveling together, the cruise lines have taken notice and now offer a wide array of stateroom choices. For example, on Norwegian Cruise Line, where 15 to 20 percent of guests are part of a multigenerational travel group, the ship-within-a-ship complex (the Haven), offers the ability to book luxurious staterooms that are located near Norwegian’s complimentary youth spaces and the pool deck. At the same time, there are also studio accommodations for single family members.
One tip for larger families is to have mom & dad and the grandparents in nice balcony or suite accommodations, and put older kids in rooms across the hall. This saves a little money, but also provides a nice suite for everyone to enjoy during the day and acts as a meeting place for the family.
Entertainment is family-friendly.
Because cruises target families, the entertainment follows suit. For example, a Carnival cruise promises a host of G-rated options.
“We do family-friendly comedy shows each night at 7:30 p.m.,” says Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival spokesperson. “It’s appropriate for everyone in the audience.” This is in addition to the R-rated shows later that Carnival is also known to offer.
While most large ships offer an incredible variety of activities on sea days and in the evenings, you can always create your own entertainment. “Ask a chef to lead a cooking class for the whole family, or create your own cruise Olympics with different events around the ship,” Smith suggests. “Another great aspect of family travel are shore excursions. I suggest you also ask your travel agent about private shore excursion options. These can be very affordable for a group, and provide another opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime memory for everyone.
A cruise can be educational.
On a multigenerational cruise, the grandparents want kids to have fun but learn something, too. All cruise lines offer enrichment programs, but as you move up to premium and luxury cruises, enrichment programs become more of a focus, especially for adults. Shore excursions are another great source of enrichment while cruising. Whether it’s a visit to a chocolate or spice factory or a visit to a historic place, is an important component of the cruise. Grandparents want kids to see that people in other parts of the world don’t live the way we do and to gain perspective from the opportunity that travel offers to broaden their world view.