Dadtography's 10 Best Reasons to go on a Family Cruise in 2019
Updated for Winter / Spring, 2019.
There's a chill in the air right now, or maybe more than a "chill", depending upon where you live. We're a bit spoiled here in Florida, but if you're living "up north", you may already be counting down the days until spring!
For us, 2019 is definitely going to be the year of the family cruise. We've already scheduled 22 nights of cruises for the upcoming year, and we're just getting started!
Never been on a family cruise? That's okay; make 2019 the year you try one for the first time! In our (humble) opinion cruising is better than all the other options available to families for travel out there. Check out our post below - Dadtography's Top 10 reasons you should consider a family cruise and then head straight to your favorite travel site and commence the family traveling!
Cruising is way better (and often cheaper) than a "stay-cation".
We live in Florida - arguably one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. We have a lot of options just within a few miles of Orlando - from staycations to major trips, your imagination (and budget) are likely the only things holding you back!
If you're like my family, we do live on a budget being a single income household. What we spend our money on has to go a long way. When it comes to family travel, we've found that cruises are an awesome way to stretch your family travel dollar and still get out there and see some new sights. Below is our "top ten" list of reasons you should consider a family cruise for your next vacation.
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Reason #10 - The Price
Yes, I am going to lead with price on this one. You almost can't beat the value of most cruises when you consider their length and what you get. Let's do a little math for a second (bare with me).
Let's say you go on a seven day cruise. Right now according to Carnival.com, that would run you approximately $619 per person, on average for a total of around $2,200 USD, plus the money you spend in ports. Doing some simple math, that comes down to around $79 per person, per day. But guess what? All of your meals are included, too! Not to mention the on-board amenities like pools and activities for kids. You're going to pay more than $79 per night for hotels in most cities. From a dollars and cents perspective, it's hard to argue the value of a cruise for families!
Reason #9 - The Food
What have you heard about cruise food? Some of it is likely true and some is based on personal preferences. Here's what I can tell you are the facts about food while on a cruise:
- You can eat as much as you want. I had 4 lobster tails on steak and lobster night on my last cruise.
- All meals on the ship are included. Every single one - breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Some restaurants on the ship require an "upgrade" to dine, but it's typically less than what full-price meals would cost at the on-shore equivalent.
- Cruise ships refresh their stock of food each time they port. It's usually very high quality, but it's not going to be exactly the same as on-shore restaurants.
- There are usually two dining times per sailing - an early (6pm-ish) and late (after 8pm). Choose a time that works best for your family's schedule.
- In addition to meals, most cruises have numerous options for snacks during the day.
- You will not go hungry on a cruise!
Cruise food has always been good in my experience and some cruise lines are known for their food more than others. Personally, the food isn't the reason that I go, but it being included in the price is definitely an incentive, especially when I'm traveling with two boys!
Reason #7 - The Staff
I think cruise staff are sometimes overlooked when travelers think back on their cruising experiences. My wife and I went on a cruise in May of 2015, and part of the reason we had such a fantastic time was because of the staff - especially our dining staff. Our 7-night cruise meant that we saw our dining staff at least fourteen times during the trip (breakfast and dinner each day). Our staff was so friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and personable that they really ended up contributing directly to us having a great trip.
Reason #6 - The Convenience
Okay, so living in central Florida, we may be a bit spoiled in this regard. We live 45 minutes from Port Canaveral, one of my favorite ports to sail out of (for a few reasons). We can hop in our car, have someone drive us to the port and be on the ship in less than two hours from when we left.
Even if you have to fly to your port of origin, cruises are a great convenience for families traveling. I strongly recommend you fly in the day before your ship leaves, if possible. Stay at a nearby hotel and use the (likely complimentary) hotel shuttle to the port.
Reason #5 - Safety
Let's face it, when planning your next family travel adventure you can't just ignore what's going on in the world today. You have to be mindful of your family's safety at all times. Cruises provide families with a "safety net" while traveling that many other travel options just don't. You always get to return to the ship on your days in port, and cruise lines take their port and ship safety very seriously. There's no such thing as 100% security when traveling, but I definitely like the odds that cruises provide.
Reason #3 - Time Away from Tech
I was talking to my boss about this very topic just last week. He totally agrees that cruises are among his favorite vacations because he doesn't feel guilty unplugging from tech and enjoying the time with his family.
Sure, most cruise ships offer Internet access for a fee. I purchased access the very first time I went on a cruise, but barely ever used it. I mean, who actually wants to pay up to $15 a day or more to check their Facebook? Is it really wroth it? You're on VACATION!
I actually really love having an "excuse" to not check emails, Facebook, Twitter and all the other stuff that distracts me when I'm at home.
Reason #2 - Family Entertainment Options
Depending on a cruise line, you're going to find a number of options that cater directly to families with both young and older children. I know a lot of families that go because the parents feel comfortable knowing the child care options on the ship are not only safe but enjoyable for their children.
How awesome is it to take your kids to a "day care" that they like and that you can trust and not feel guilty for spending some alone time? Because of this, even family cruises can provide the parents some much needed alone time, and even a date night or two!
On the last cruise I went on, I didn't even have enough time to explore all of the entertainment options available on the ship. Here were my personal favorites:
- Gym treadmills with a view.
- Shuffleboard on the side deck cruising the open waters.
- Pick-up basketball games on the top deck.
- The swimming pool, of course (another umbrella drink, anyone?).
- Adults-only hot tubs.
- Complimentary movies both outdoors at night and in the theater.
- Free, broadway style shows.
- A magician performing tricks before your eyes.
- Lounge singers and cocktails in a cozy corner of a 9th deck bar.