Family Cruising: Few Decisions, Much Relaxation
Family vacations can take a lot of planning, especially if you want to visit multiple destinations on one trip. To minimize planning time and maximize relaxation time, choose a cruise vacation.
Cruises are all-inclusive, so there’s no need to plan how to move from place to place, to schedule daily activities or to find places to eat and sleep – the cruise ship and crew does all of that for you. There’s no cooking, serving or cleaning up required. Instead, there’s truly relaxing, reinvigorating time with the people who matter most to you.
However, a cruise vacation isn’t decision-free – you’ll need to decide where to cruise and which shore excursions to enjoy. But, those decisions are fun to make as a family. Many families love cruising the Caribbean or the coast of Alaska. Each offers gorgeous scenery and lots of opportunities for families to have fun together.
In the Caribbean, there are a wide variety of itineraries to choose from. If you just have a long weekend
to cruise, you can enjoy a three-day, roundtrip cruise to the Bahamas from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. You’re likely to call on Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. Nassau has swaying palm trees, lovely beaches and a bustling waterfront market. The whole family can enjoy a marine tour in a glass-bottomed boat, a carriage ride through the colorful colonial architecture or a tour of Fort Charlotte.
If you have more time, seven-night cruises of the Caribbean are a popular choice. Western Caribbean itineraries are great for families because they often include one or two days at sea, when you can devote yourselves to enjoying the amenities of the ship. Popular ports include Costa Maya, Mexico, once a trading post for the Mayan civilization. Here, families can enjoy snorkeling through the clear waters, spotting parrotfish and angelfish, then sunning on a beach or browsing the shops in the port area. Or, take an excursion to a center of Mayan culture, such as the settlement of Chacchoben, where excavated pyramids date back to 700 AD.
If your family wants to see spectacular mountain scenery and glaciers the size of a small state, Alaska is the place. The cruise through the Inside Passage is unforgettable, with everything from a misty rainforest to craggy fjords. As you draw close to Hubbard Glacier, you’ll see – and hear – sheets of ice separating, or “calving,” from the glacier and crashing into the sea as newborn icebergs. Many itineraries include a visit to Skagway, a town born in the excitement of the Yukon Gold Rush of 1898. While in port, families can visit a gold rush camp, hike on a glacier or take a wildlife-watching tour.