Planning the perfect family vacation is like chasing chickens to the coop in the rain – a difficult task that can get awful messy in the end.
Ideally, you need to find ways to keep children entertained throughout the trip without creating a yawn-fest for the adults. Finding the right blend of activities certainly is tricky.
This is where cruise vacations excel. You can find everything you need in one tidy little vacation package. There’s a little bit for everyone, at every age… particularly if you are heading out with a company that excels at family cruise entertainment like Carnival Cruise Line.
Love your children, but tired of hearing “I’m bored,” “I’m tired,” or any number of grumpy phrases during your vacation activities?
Me too. But during our recent Carnival Cruise experience, I didn’t hear any of those dreaded phrases. Not once. In fact, the phrase I most heard from them was “what time does Camp Carnival start today?” And then I rarely heard a peep because they were busy all day with exciting adventures.
Camp Carnival offers three youth programs geared for age groups of 2 to 5 years, 6 to 8 years, and 9 to 11 years. Crafts, sports, dances, games and all kinds of goodies keep kids active and entertained are available throughout day and evening hours. And, best of all, it’s included in your cruise fare.
For a small additional fee, there are also special Night Owl programs with themed parties like “Mardi Gras.” Offers a great way for kids to have a fun night out while you participate in some of the “adult” nightlife options like a romantic dinner or date night at the comedy club.
Circle “C” for 12 to 14-year-old and Club 02 for teen 15 to 17-years-old gives older children a safe place to hang out… because well, you know it’s not like they really want to be bogged down by parents all vacation long. The clubs give them the freedom to have fun on their terms, with the security of knowing the activities are staff supervised.
There will certainly be times you want to keep the whole bunch together, after all, it is a family vacation. Carnival has you covered here, too, with a range of exciting options like the comedy brunch, stage shows, movies, pool and deck parties, karaoke, and swimming pool areas with slides and other play areas like Carnival Waterworks (water attractions will vary depending upon the ship design.)
Every day has a unique schedule jam-packed with choices. Of course you can always opt to lounge in the library, explore the shops and art galleries on the ship, or simply relax on deck any time, as well.
A featured activity Hasbro, The Game Show will strengthen your family bond as you compete for the chance to participate in a live, on-board game show. While we weren’t selected to compete, our family had a blast getting caught up in the enthusiastic experience and cheering on our fellow cruisers as they faced their challenges. Expect lots of laughter and plenty of crazy-fun moments.
Location. Location. Location.
If it’s near an ocean, chances are Carnival sails there. Alaska, Europe, Australia, Russia, Bahamas… where-ever the wind moves you to go, sailing on a cruise ship is a great way to get there.
Waking up to the purr of waves and fresh sea air is an enchantment in itself. Not to mention the spectacular sunrises and sunsets that are experienced at sea.
We recently sailed in the Western Caribbean and in addition to trying to catch each sunset, we enjoyed watching the water to spot sea life when we had a few moments. Our fun finds included spotting several schools of fish, flying fish, and a group of sea turtles. Others on our ship were lucky enough to catch some dolphins in action, too.
Each port you stop in opens up the chance for adding family outings to your trip, experiencing new sites and cultures. Carnival shore excursions are available (additional charges apply) with a wide range of activities from scuba diving or trips through the jungle on all-terrain vehicles to cultural and shopping tours.
We opted to go on a snorkeling trip in Belize to catch a glimpse of the barrier reef. Truly an amazing experience our family will be chatting up and eventually reminiscing upon for life.
If you are not up for a shore excursion, most ports have shopping, beach, and self-tour opportunities a few steps or a short boat ride away from the ship. We opted to go this route on our Isla Roatan and Cozumel stops.
And if you simply wish to stay on and enjoy the splendor of your cruise ship (and really, who wouldn’t, the ships are glorious) shore time is an incredible time to hang out on board. We came back early from our Isla Roatan outing and not only had the pool and slides nearly to ourselves, but had zero waiting in any of the food lines.
Have a picky eater at home but you are an adventurous one? There’s no need to research restaurants, scramble to find a good eatery with something for everyone, or make a sacrifice for your own taste buds to appease your little ones. Carnival Cruises absolutely have you covered with tasty options.
Each ship loads up with fresh food for your trip when you climb on board and a stellar kitchen crew caters to your feeding needs, all day long, twenty-four seven. Pizza created from scratch (no cardboard crusts here,) gourmet burgers, endless buffets, sandwich and omelet stations, dessert buffets, kids menus, tea time treats, sit-down meals and even 24-hour room service. On our cruise, we never had a problem finding something everyone liked and wanted to enjoy for a meal or snack.
I was happy to learn that Carnival also caters to allergy and special food needs. Simply work with the cruise line to alert the dining staff prior to your cruise. Also noticed that gluten free, Vegetarian, and heart-healthy options were available in the dining rooms and many of the buffets.
And if it happens that you want even more variety, there are extras (for a fee) like coffee shops, candy stores, specialty dining options and incredible culinary experiences like the Chef’s Table.
Lodging, transportation, entertainment, and food are all included in your package price. No guess work, no hidden surprises, it’s all spelled out, making it easy to book a trip that suits your budget.
Of course, you may want extras, but again, Carnival takes most of the guess-work out by detailing costs for short excursions, WiFi packages, special drink packages (for soda and alcohol,) and spa services for you to help plan for the expenses ahead of time.
The intangibles you’ll probably have will be only souvenir, costs associated with unexpected extras like a swimsuit that was left behind, and casino or arcade costs if you choose to partake in any game play.
I could go on (and will be highlighting additional features in subsequent articles) but in my opinion, these are the top 5 reasons you should include Carnival Cruise Lines in your future family travel plans. They’ll definitely remain a future consideration for our family trips.
Likely, I should have added a 6th point, though – price. Head out to compare Carnival’s special pricing offers to other family-friendly cruise lines and I’m betting you’ll easily see the exceptional value.
Special thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines for providing some of the accommodations and information, which helped facilitate this conversation. No monetary exchange has occurred and we’re under no obligation to provide a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are solely that of Rural Mom.