Keep Calm and Cruise ON!

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Sweet summertime has been filling my heart.  I love everything about summer, including the heat and humidity.  And it definitely has been hot and humid here!  Sadly, the days are flying by in my house. I am working hard to savor the moments with my girls at home.  In the last week, we crammed in blueberry picking (paired with lots of baking), visiting grandparents, floating the James River and so much more.  What have you been up to? I love getting ideas from my readers!

Speaking of questions, I have had a few people inquire about cruises and all the options out there.  Many were surprised by where they could travel by sea. Have you ever considered taking a cruise?  There are so many opportunities to get to destinations that fit just about any travel desire.  The cruising world has been exploding, ships can’t be built fast enough. They are constantly upgrading the ships that are already sailing while also designing and building new ones to meet everyone's needs.  Ships appeal to all ages young and old and especially to families looking to make everyone happy. Isn’t that the key to a great vacation?
 

Finding the right cruise for your family can be...well overwhelming. I counted over 58 cruise lines on wikipedia, that is just a cruise company, not a destination, length of trip or even ship category. So you must be wondering how do all these cruise lines differ and what are your options. This is when you turn to a travel agent and ask that question, “Help me book my cruise!” It’s ok to ask, it is certainly overwhelming and very time consuming.

The ships are built to entertain everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Taking a cruise as family can be a great option to enjoy several destinations without shleping all your luggage around from hotel to hotel or figuring out transportation between different locations.  Another great advantage to these cruise lines is they all have kid drop off areas so the adults can also enjoy some time to themselves. They have on board entertainment, adventure, sports, pools, spa and so much more for days at sea or if you simply don’t want to get off the boat. 

If you live on the East Coast like me you are probably familiar with cruises leaving from Florida and traveling to the Carribean, Bahamas and Mexico.  While these are great places, here are a few other destinations perfect for families in mind.  

Explore these gems by Ship

  • Alaska// Most cruise lines sailing Alaska have guides who lead hikes on land and skiff explorations on the water. Special kid-focused itineraries customize the experience for the younger set. Kids come away from their Alaska adventure having seen whales (orcas, humpback, gray, beluga), sea lions, walruses, seals, otters, eagles and other native birds, bears, and so much more. Alaska is ideal for first-time cruisers. Ships travel along the calm waters, you would be hard-pressed to get seasick on one of these voyages.

  • Costa Rica// Ideal for families that want a mix of active adventures (think ziplining, swimming with sea turtles, snorkeling, exploring the rainforest and getting close to a real volcano (Masaya) while also enjoying more relaxing activities (like onboard spa treatments and a restful day at sea).

  • Galapagos Islands// Off the ship kids will hike, swim, kayak, snorkel, and take part in expeditions via skiff. Children are always enamored by the amazing—and unusual—wildlife like marine and land iguanas, reef sharks, rays, eels, tortoises, cormorants, and more. Environmentalists fiercely protect the Galapagos Islands, so the animals here do not fear people. You and your children will be able to view and photograph animals from close range.

  • Mediterranean Sea// If you think exploring Europe with kids is impossible, consider taking a cruise around the Mediterranean. This itinerary will be chalked full of educational experience as they include ports that will bring ancient history and civilizations to life for everyone in the family.

  • Danube River Christmas Market// Stay tuned for next week's edition of the Christmas markets but to read more about river cruises, check it out here. : )

Now to the decisions: size of ship, length of trip and off shore excursions? Yes, there is a lot to pick from, let a travel advisor help narrow down all the endless decisions.

Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free
— Christy Ann Martine