Antigua Family in the Ocean Waving to Mom

5 REASONS WHY CRUISES ARE GREAT FOR FAMILIES

Find out why cruising is the best way to gather the whole family and experience all the world has to offer.




What's more perfect than exploring new cultures while soaking up the sun and dipping your toes in turquoise waters? Doing these things with the whole family! Cruises offer the stress-free flexibility that all families look for when going on vacation. From onboard activities to offshore excursions, family cruises have something for everyone. Here are five reasons why you should gather up the gang for a family cruise getaway.





1. SEAS THE ONBOARD THRILLS

Kids climbing rock climbing wall

When you embark on a family cruise trip, you'll enjoy the thrills of an unforgettable vacation before you even get to your destination. Easy-to-plan, fun onboard activities are an enticing reason to choose a cruise instead of a land-based vacation for your family getaway. There are a variety of incredible options that the whole family can enjoy, most of which are included in your trip. Each activity is designed with your family's relaxation in mind. On a family cruise, every detail is carefully tended to by staff, so you are free to focus on collecting brag-worthy and life-changing moments.

How does skydiving in an onboard air machine, watching a show at an aquatic theater oasis or riding a carousel at sea sound to you? Activities you've always dreamed about (or never even imagined) doing are included and available with your cruise; they will give you a taste of the excitement to come on your off-board excursions. And while you're sipping a cocktail at the ship's swim-up bar, the kids will be having the time of their lives on one of the ship's many adventure sites, including bumper cars, roller skating and ice skating rinks, Broadway shows, rock climbing walls, and even a circus. With so many indoor and outdoor activities available for the whole family, these cruises will let you leave your stress on land, far, far behind.



2. SHORE FOR SURE

St. Lucia Mountains in the Caribbean

Witness the majesty of new lands from a stunning perspective. Sailing up to a brand new place and knowing you're about to step into a whole new world is an experience like no other. On an eastern or western Caribbean cruise, you'll catch glimpses of ancient forts like El Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, sitting right at the edge of the water. You'll follow the shapes of mountains like the mystical Piton peaks in St. Lucia. After you take in the Caribbean Islands' coastal beauty from the ship, then it's time to step on land and dive headfirst into thrilling family-friendly adventures. And to get the most of your onshore excursions, take advantage of a cruise-planner, an expert traveler who can design bespoke experiences for you and the family based on your preferences and mood for the day.

You'll find yourselves diving the warm waters of places like Belize, home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, or Jeep-adventuring through pine forests in the Bahamas. Or your cruise could take you to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where the whole family can listen to reggae beats as they trek Mount Zion. Wherever you end up in the Caribbean, be sure to check out some of the area's best attractions, including The Baths in Virgin Gorda, a magical scene of giant volcanic boulders over pool-like waters and bright white sand; Orange Bowl reef in the Bahamas, where you can discover a magical coral garden; and beautiful Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, with its fragrant markets selling everything from flowers to souvenirs. Once on land, you are free to let serendipity guide your vacation by venturing on your own, allowing destiny to dictate your adventures. Or if you're looking for something more particular for the family, use one of the comprehensive guides provided by our experts to embrace a new place with a touch of Royal Caribbean planning. Whether your strategy involves taking the family to the tried-and-true attractions or discovering hidden gems together, you're sure to find excitement happening beyond the shore.



3. CULTURE CLASS

Falmouth, Jamaica Couple Dancing with Locals

Let your family get in touch with a destination's heartbeat by way of its cultural heritage. True cultural immersion happens when you open up to a place and allow its rich history to guide you — all you have to do is look around and follow the off-beaten paths, like the stunning cobblestone lanes of places like Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, a 500-year-old town; the colorful and classic artisan markets in St. John's, Antigua; and the merengue-dancing fiestas happening in the streets of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

In Mexico, hike up Mayan temples like Chichen Itza; swim and surf with remnants of an ancient civilization as a background in Tulum; or walk by colonial buildings within lively villages in places like Puebla and Puerto Vallarta. In the British Virgin Islands, saunter the streets of Road Town, Tortola, and learn about the island's past sugar production in places like the 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum. In Curacao, take a walk along the water in Handelskade, the quintessentially Dutch pier lined with brightly painted buildings.

Another way of interacting with a new place is by simply walking around and making conversation. You'd be surprised at how much you can learn about a country through its people. Strike up a conversation with your taxi driver or your waiter, talk to the local family at the supermarket, say hello to folks looking out of their balconies. Get to know the people and ask about their daily life, what they love most about their home, what tourists can do to protect the area, how to say something in their language and more. Don't be surprised if they invite you in for coffee, introduce you to their family and friends or tell you where to go and where to eat. You'll leave the destination knowing, at a deeper level, what it means to be a local — what it really means to be Puerto Rican, Chilean, Mexican, Jamaican, Bermudian, Canadian, the list goes on. The best of all is that your family will be exposed to different cultures and ways of living, broadening their understanding of the world.

Everywhere you look, there's a chance to learn something about a destination's history, so make your family getaway a hunt for knowledge, culture and understanding.





4. TASTY SEAS AND LANDS

Coconut Shrimp in Falmouth, Jamaica.

A cruise vacation is also a haven for foodies of all ages. Onboard, taste your way around the ship through its many dining experiences — there are different world-renowned restaurants just steps away from your cabin. You'll be transported to different culinary capitals as you savor traditional homemade dishes and other family-pleasers the whole family will crave. Then enjoy the culinary wonders of your destinations. Bite into a new place like Belize by trying their hudut garifuna, an indigenous delicacy of snapper made in coconut milk and served with cassava bread and plantain mash.

In Puerto Rico, try the famous piña colada with an alcapurria, the popular fried plantains filled with savory meat. Don't forget to have a fragrant cup of coffee and a shot of Puerto Rican rum. In Aruba, go for pan bati (bread), mahi-mahi (fish) or their famous cabrito soba, a delicious goat stew. In the Caribbean, there are tasty treats for everyone to enjoy, and cruising from one destination to the next is the best way to dive into delicious dishes with the whole family.

In Jamaica, go for the famous jerk chicken, a sweetly perfumed, smoky dish that is the island's culinary claim to fame. A special rub is the reason behind the popular flavor, usually including Scotch bonnet chiles, allspice and nutmeg. If you want to try something more adventurous, go for ackee and codfish, made with the pear-shaped fruit and salted cod and served over a bed of rice or dumplings. In Bermuda, try the famous jumbo fish sandwiches made with shredded fish or go fine dining to try delicacies such as grilled scallops in white wine, puff pastries or duck prosciutto.

In Gran Canaria, taste the historical blend of African, Spanish and Latin American dishes that are part of the destination's culinary offer. Go for polvitos uruguayos, a cheesecake-like dessert or bienmesabe, the popular pastry made with almonds. For something savory, try chipirones con mojo verde, the delicious grilled squid served with a punchy, herby sauce.

Food is perhaps one of the main reasons people travel, and with a cruise you can hop to different culinary capitals, tasting your way around the world.



5. TURN THE LIGHTS OUT

Guest Enjoying the iFly at Night.

While nighttime usually belongs to the adults, every member of the family can enjoy the spirit of the night with the many activities available onboard. See the night in a whole new way with activities like the outdoor virtual reality experience that launches you into space while you hang from the ceiling of a galactic sphere. Or the skydiving adventure within the ship that features neon lights after sundown for an out-of-this-world experience. And if water wonders are your style, take on the tallest slide at sea that turns into a spectacle of light at night as you plummet 10 stories into a mystical underwater world. These attractions are sure to bring out the kid in each member of your family.

If you're looking for more grown-up nighttime activities, stop by any of the bars — there is a bar for everyone aboard a cruise. Pool bars, sky bars, maritime-inspired bars and more — you'll find just what you're looking for – a night of partying at sea. You may even encounter the trendy robotic mixologists who will make your favorite drinks or skillfully concoct new inventions of their own. It's a show on its own! And if the family is looking to enjoy some onboard theater, they can easily check out the ship's themed parties, Tony-award-winning shows, game nights and dance clubs. With your whole family having this much fun, don't be afraid to stay awake until the sun comes up.

You'll find unforgettable activities, make lasting memories and soar to new heights — all before you even leave the ship. Cruises offer you the ability to teach kids about fascinating cultures and customs while tasting local delicacies and lounging in luxury. So, next time you're deciding where to go for the upcoming family vacation, pack up your stuff, gather the crew and head out on the open seas. Your family will be talking about it for many years to come.

Insider Tips

1 Be sure to book your cruise well in advance to snag the best deals for busy weekends and school holidays.
2 Enjoy onboard discounts for the whole family when you book packages ahead of time.
3 Can't book ahead of time? Don't worry — there are plenty of options for last-minute 3- or 4-day cruises leaving from Florida or Texas.

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