Sometimes, a Carnival cruise is your big vacation of the year!
There once was a time when I’d scoff and roll my eyes at any suggestion of taking a cruise.
I mean,…who wants to be trapped on a ship with a bunch of tourists? Loud, tacky tourists at that. Stuck on a gaudy ship with casinos and sub-standard entertainment that is so corny it’s not even laughable. Then, this ship, this vessel upon which you’ve been confined for days at sea, rolls up into an overly populated tourist trap of a port of call for all of four, five, maybe six hours, so people can gawk at a very controlled and sanitized snapshot of “island life” thus erasing any chance of a true travel experience.
Never ever!!!! I said through my 20’s as I traveled slowly through Europe and Western Africa, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.
Never ever!!!! I said in my early thirties as I traveled to Japan, South Korea, Jamaica and Portugal with my passport bearing infant in tow.
Sign me up, where’s my ticket? I have to do to get away!!!!!!! I say now. Now that I have not one, but two boys. Now that they’re too old to ride on my lap via airplane and therefore by default require tickets- expensive tickets. Now that they’re too old to sit quietly, entertained easily by coos, stuffed animals and crayons. Now that they’re too young to be left alone and require a great deal of entertaining and engagement.
Now, now, now, that cruise vacation has come in handy.
What changed you say?
(Cue: the deep gurgly laughter of motherhood)
And without further ado….
5 Reasons to Take a Family Cruise Vacation:
I’m going to cut right to the chase here. Kids Clubs equal free babysitting and or paid babysitters after-hours.
I cruised with Carnival, but most ships have them. The Kids Clubs are FUN! They’re mini-camps on the boat broken down by age. There are toys, activities, excursions and special parties to keep your kiddos not only occupied, but fully engaged and happy. This means, YOU, my dear parent, are FREE for a few hours to lay out in the sun with no-one calling you “mom!” or “dad!.” You’re free to get your nails done, get a massage, lay out on the pool deck, go to the sauna or hot tub, eat in peace, read a book in peace, take a class, shop, gamble, see a comedy show or performance, drink yourself silly, whatever it is you want to do with your time.
When was the last time someone asked you what you want to do with your time since having kids?????
Family Friendly Activities!
Cruise ships these days are like mini amusement parks, malls and game centers at sea. We had a great time when we were together because there were so many age appropriate options for my kids.
My boys are 5 and 7, it takes A LOT to engage this age group! Luckily, Carnival was ready for us. Our boat had a basketball court, mini-golf course, bean bag toss, multiple water slides, a splash park, multiple swimming pools, an indoor arcade, regular screenings of family friendly movies on the upper deck, Build-A-Bear Workshop, live musical theatre performances (far, far, far, from Broadway or even community theatre standards, but so it is…) and a Dr. Seuss parade.
A Chance to Try New Things Together as a Family!
When was the last time you sang karaoke with your kids? Tried escargots or frog legs together while enjoying a fancy dress-up dinner? When was the last time you dared each other to go down the “waterslide of doom” or took a class together to learn something new that made your kids as much of an expert as you?
My kids had the opportunity to perform onstage with some of the actors from the performances, they tasted new foods, tried new things and were so present and engaged (no need for screen time!!!!).
Then there’s the highlight of your trip….the day or days that magnificent boat docks and suddenly your legs are on land. A wondrous and tropical new country is presented to you to enjoy and explore!
You can opt to engage in excursions and mini-adventures or you can take it slow and hit the beach as a family.
One of my greatest pleasures this trip was to watch my now proficient little swimmers, swim and play in the ocean for the first time. The water was pristine, the shoreline crystal clean, and they discovered one of life’s finer pleasures- being at one with the waves!
Can I get a woot woot! That’s right. For the most part (minus drinks and specialty items) everything on the boat is all inclusive. Food, activities, events, all FREE (well…you technically paid when you purchased your ticket, but…)
If picky eaters didn’t eat more than a spoonful of breakfast but decide they’re on the brink of starvation by 11 am, it’s so easy to accommodate (the nonsense) and ensure that everyone has exactly what they need with as little drama as possible.
Ah motherhood. Just get me through the day…
However you do it, cruising as a family, especially if you don’t have relatives you can send the kids to stay with over the summer is a great way to ensure a smooth vacation for all.
There is something for everyone…literally everyone on a cruise.
Granted, slow travel, if that’s your pace as it definitely is mine, may not happen in the manner you prefer, but the benefits, still outweigh the negatives.
And eventually the kids will grow older and grow up and you’ll have your slow travel time once again!