Try These Top Ways To Stretch Your Family Cruise Dollars

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriescruise choices

Family cruises can accommodate a wide range of vacation budgets.  There are many reasons you might be interested in examining money saving strategies.  Your overall family vacation budget might be slim this year.  Or, perhaps you want to keep costs down so that you can cruise more often.  Or, it could be that you find pure joy in finding a great deal and  squeezing those dollars.  Wherever you fall in that mix, take a look at these seven strategies to shave substantial dollars off your final cruise bill.  Also, check out this related post: Cruise For Cheaper Than Disney On These Fun Family Favorites.

saving money for family cruises in "cruise fund" cookie jar
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1. Select Family Cruises Sailing From Nearby Ports.

If you are working with a limited or less flexible budget, the first factor to consider is your departure port. Consider driving to a port that is relatively nearby – a day’s drive or less.  Most vacationers in North America live within driving distance of a cruise port.  If you drive rather than fly, you will reap substantial savings from not buying air tickets for your entire family.  And, if you can comfortably drive in on embarkation day and park at the port, you will also save money on hotel costs.  If you don’t want to drive, you can still save money by selecting a departure city that requires cheaper flights.

If you live in the East:

The State of Florida hosts five different cruise ports — Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Port Canaveral and Tampa.  Every major cruise line has at least one ship departing from a Florida port.  Staying generally along the eastern coast, other major cruise ports include Baltimore, Maryland (sailings from Carnival and Royal Caribbean);Bayonne, New Jersey (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity); Boston, Massachusetts (Holland America, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean); and New York City(Carnival, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea).  Carnival also sails ships from Charleston, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia.

If you live more in the middle:

Moving west into the central time and the ports near the Gulf of Mexico, the major cruise ports include Galveston, Texas (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney); New Orleans, Louisiana (Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean); and Mobile, Alabama (Carnival).

If you live in the West:

Then, moving to the west coast, the State of Washington hosts one cruise port and California hosts another three:  Los Angeles, California (Carnival, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, Cunard, Silversea); San Diego, California (Celebrity, Holland America, Disney, Norwegian); San Francisco, California (Cunard, Celebrity, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas); Seattle, Washington (Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean). Read More …

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5 Reasons To Reject Hostility To Taking Babies On Cruises

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriesbabies, cruise choices, toddlers

I am always dismayed at folks who actively discourage other people from taking their babies or toddlers on a cruise.  You see it all the time in the various cruise-related internet groups.  It usually starts with some prospective traveller innocently posing a question about taking babies on cruises.  A slew of negative responses often follows.  Notably, most of the naysayers usually have never themselves traveled on a cruise with young children.  

colored illustration of 3 parents taking babies on cruises
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You will usually see the same objections.  Some people assert that you won’t be able to have any fun because you’ll be chained to your room during evenings and bedtime.  Or, that your kid won’t enjoy it because there aren’t any activities for babies and toddlers.  Or, they will be unhappy with no access to water play if they are still in diapers.  Yet others claim that you will feel uncomfortable because you will be annoying all those other cruisers.  Or, that it’s a waste of money taking babies on cruises because they won’t remember any of it.  

Hogwash to all of it!  Granted, not every baby or toddler will do well on a cruise, just like not every adult does well on a cruise.  But most people who contemplate taking babies on cruises can do just fine and have a wonderful time.  So, if you are struggling with negative feedback about your potential vacation choices, continue reading.  You will find here five great reasons to ignore those grumpy naysayers and sail on.
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5 Reasons To Cruise Alaska For Awesome Multigenerational Family Travel

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriescruise choices, Extended Family, multigenerational
Alaska family travel best experienced by cruise ship. Photo of cruise ship in Alaska harbor.
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Very few cruise experiences compare to the fun and excitement of an Alaskan cruise.  Just ask the thousands of cruisers who make the trip every year.  In fact, more than half of the visitors to Alaska arrive by cruise ship, and an Alaska cruise has consistently ranked as one of the top domestic vacations.  Not surprisingly, it is also a top destination choice for multigenerational cruisers.  If you’re considering planning some multigenerational family travel, check out these five reasons an Alaskan cruise is a perfect choice. 

1. Alaska Is One Of The Most Exotic Places You Can Visit for Family Travel In The USA.  

Alaska, which is often referred to as the last great frontier, is a very large territory dominated by thousands of acres of untamed wilderness and a smattering of cities/towns. By sheer geographic mass, Alaska is the largest state in America, and you could easily spend several weeks touring around all of the nooks and crannies.  

The massive glaciers and stunning marine wildlife provide a unique backdrop for a family cruise. The natural wildlife both in sea and on land is its own attraction.  Think humpback whales, sea otters, moose, grizzly bears, and the largest population of bald eagles in the country.  Where else can you see a moose strolling through town?  And, Alaska offers many outdoor adventures: stunning mountain hikes, dog sledding, fishing, kayaking, looking for bears while hiking through a rainforest, and various helicopter excursions only scratch the surface of what’s available.  As part of a land-tour extension, you could also visit Denali National Park and see Mt. McKinley, the tallest peak in America.  There are many one-of-a-kind experiences in Alaska that can truly be the foundation for the family trip of a lifetime.

2. Experience the Land of the Midnight Sun First Hand.

Have you ever wanted to see the midnight sun?  If that doesn’t excite you personally, your kids and/or grand-kids will probably get a huge kick out of it. Generally, the “midnight sun” phenomenon, where the sun remains visible even at or after midnight, occurs during the summer in places that are north of the Arctic Circle (or south of the Antarctic Circle).  Almost one-third of Alaska lies above the Arctic Circle and thus falls within the midnight sun zone.  But even those parts of the State that fall outside the zone still experience exceptionally long summer days, some with daylight hours of 17 hours or more.  

And there is plenty to pack into all of those extra daylight hours.  Many outdoor activities run past 8 p.m., and some Alaskans manage to start a golf game at 10 p.m. in the summer. 

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