A new ship is heading to Miami this winter called The Norwegian Getaway. I'm thinking that this might be the next family vacation for us as this new ship (it arrives here in February) sails from here to the Caribbean year round.
I haven't sailed on NCL in awhile but the new ship looks like it could offer the perfect family vacation. If you have kids or teens and haven't cruised, you might be missing out on the perfect family vacation. It has been said that traveling with children is usually just a change of scenery rather than a vacation. I think that cruising might be the exception. I've cruised with my boys several times starting when my youngest was 7 and these trips have always been a blast.
These are my top five reasons why a cruise could possibly be the best way to travel with kids and teens:
1. Everyone goes on the same vacation but everyone can do what is fun for them. Ships today have kids and teen camps, game rooms and tons of activities for kids and teens to partake in. The Norwegian Getawy is going to have a waterpark onboard. This would definitely keep my guys busy for quite a while. When my son was younger, he wanted to go to the kids camp every single night.
The Getaway is also going to have a huge sports complex complete with a ropes course!
2. You might see something besides the top of their heads during the trip. Today's modern ships have wifi and celluar-at-sea available but they are not cheap. Therefore, the "unplugging" of the kids (and the parents) is one of the best parts of this type of trip. I always make everyone turn off the phones and stick them in the room safe when the ship sails away from the dock. (those roaming fees are steep on cell phones)
On my last three cruises, we used the "post-it note" method. The kids had to leave a post it note with the time and their destination on the mirror in the cabin so we knew where to find them. This worked like a charm. When they were younger, we used walkie-talkies. This gave them a little bit of freedom and we did not worry. Even with the huge ships we were on, we could always find them. We had rules about not going into other people's cabins, etc. We usually found them at the free pizza parlor!
3. For the most part, a cruise is paid for ahead of time. Unlike checking out of a regular resort after a week and having a giant bill, you pay for the cruise before you step onboard. Most meals are paid for so just your spending money is on the bill at the end. If you don't go crazy, it is usually not too painful to look at your bill at the end of the week. I have two teenaged boys. I think that cruising definitely is less expensive than feeding a la carte.
4. There are less decisions to be made than on a regular vacation. For the most part, you can plan out your dinners and shows ahead of time on most cruises. I always do this. This means that I tell everyone in my family, "Dinner is at 7 tonight in the main dining room. You need to wear a collared shirt and long pants" There is no arguing involved. There is no whining It makes it easy on everyone. If you have ever spent a day sightseeing and have tried to get a whole car full of hungry tired people to agree on a type or cuisine or restaurant, you know what I'm talking about. Those type of discussions have led to having dinner at "Golden Coral" or "apple bees" in vacation destinations which is a wasted vacation meal opportunity in my book.
5. Mom and Dad get a vacation too. You only have to unpack everyone once. No one is bored. Dad can sunbathe or gamble or scuba dive. Mom can sit somewhere in silence and read a book while watching the waves roll by or get a salt scrub in the spa.
The Getaway not only has a full spa but in it is a Salt room which is supposed to mimic the natural, highly therapeutic salt caves in Eastern Europe. Sign me up!
As for cost, cruise prices vary with cruise lines and times of the year. I think that a week on cruise is probably less than a week in Orlando ( a day ticket to see Mickey is now $100 per person!). While I love theme parks just as much as the next mom, when I get off of a cruise I feel energized, relaxed and that everyone got away from it all.
Now I just need to convince my husband to let me plan it!