It has been a while since my last blog, however I recently returned from my first multi-generational family vacation and I want to share some thoughts about that experience with you. You may be surprised to hear that this is my first multi-generational family vacation. After all, I have worked for Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD for 29 years and our cruises are popular for large groups of all ages. But I’m sure you can understand how challenging it is to get everyone’s work and school vacation schedules to align. I made it a mission this year and am proud to say that we did it! There were 14 of us ranging from 2 to 77 years of age and we set sail together on Allure of the Seas.
My friends and family are probably tired of hearing me talk about why cruising is such a great vacation, but what they don’t always seem to understand is that a cruise vacation is so much more than what you do on the ship. We fully immersed ourselves in activities on land in Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach destination, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.
Since we had such a wide range of ages in our group I worked with our in house Global Tour Operations team to plan customized multi-generational shore excursions in all of the ports of call. Truthfully, I was dreading this part of the planning because I didn’t think I could find activities that appealed to everyone in the group. I was expecting this to be a pressure-filled task and I was relieved when the team explained that finding activities for all ages to enjoy together is their specialty. They really made it fun and easy for me.
In Labadee, we purchased the private cabana and used it as our “base.” Everyone had the opportunity to enjoy all of the different experiences from the water park, zipline, coaster and wave jets, and we could do as little or as much as we wanted. In between all of the fun activities we had a meeting place where we would relax, take in the beautiful beach and connect for a nice lunch. There was something for everyone and that is what made it a stress free experience.
In Jamaica, we took a private excursion to Good Hope, which offered activities for just the people in our group. At Good Hope we learned about the history of the beautiful and historic plantation. We also had time to explore the property including play areas and there was gem mining for the kids. There was another opportunity to try a zipline, so of course we did it, and there were dune buggies (yup, my 77 year old mother drove one and I have the photograph to prove it). There were ATVs, a pool, horse and buggy rides, and a fabulous lunch. At this point I was two for two when it came to selecting our on-shore activities.
Our visit to Cozumel, Mexico was another opportunity to try a wide variety of things, however this time we had planned to split up and focus on our individual interests. This is something that our Global Tour Operations team said they handle all the time by just booking us in smaller groups. A few of us opted for Chitzan Itza. Chichen Itza is the largest archaeological city of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. This activity lasted 10 hours, which truthfully was a long day, but well worth it. Many of the adults and older kids just couldn’t pass up seeing one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The small children would never have lasted or enjoyed that excursion, so the morning was filled with horseback riding, followed by lunch, and then swimming with the dolphins, which was, of course, a big hit. That day was summed up by my four year old nephew who told my sister it was the best day of his life. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Our team can help you plan custom arrangements for groups of 16 or more. They will help you create your own itinerary for a port day, which can also include meals and entrance fees to local attractions. The itinerary must be arranged in advance, but it is very flexible when it comes to the number hours of your excursions. We offer this service for every port and destination worldwide. You just need to email email@example.com a minimum of 30 days before your cruise. The best part is that your family will think you are a rock star, just like mine did after our vacation on Allure of the Seas.
After 29 years of traveling, I can tell you that nothing beats taking the time to explore new parts of the world. If anyone has tips for our readers on taking a multi-generational family vacation with Royal Caribbean International, please enter them in the comment section below. I also would like to hear about some of your favorite ports of call and activities that you experienced while you were there.