Cruises are one of the most family-friendly, all-inclusive vacations available today. With onboard activities like water parks, movie theaters, kids clubs and more, there are many great ways to enjoy a family vacation at sea. However, there are some extra steps all families can take to make sure they enjoy their cruise to the fullest extent. We asked Mike Pack, cruise director with Carnival Cruise Line, for his top five tips for families to make the most of their family cruise vacation.
1. Plan Your Day.
Every single day sit down together, be it the night before or in the morning, with the Fun Times to highlight, circle and underline the things you do not want to miss, either individually or as a family. I mean, it’s a family holiday, but you don’t have to be together 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ve got the Serenity Deck for the adults, Camp Ocean for the children. The enjoyment you see from the children involved in that is amazing. So plot out what you want to do. Take that 30 minutes, put the phones away, sit with each other, eat some food, chat about it. Go old school. Work out how you can enjoy this vacation together, where you can capture those memories, get those pictures.
2. Book Events Early.
Use the Carnival Hub app, and you can do exactly what I just said. Plan the ports of call. Don’t miss the Behind the Scenes tour. If you want to know the behind the scenes of cruising, you need to be on it the first day; otherwise, you’ll miss out on it because it will sell out. Plan the chef’s table. Book online before you even get on board.
3. Experience Everything.
Get involved; don’t sit back, and watch everyone else. If there’s a line dance going on, you might not have done it before but just do it for two minutes and see if you like it. If you like it, you like it; if you don’t, you don’t. Just do it. Go to the deck party when you hear a song you like, and maybe you’ll stay on the floor. Just experience everything. Have two desserts. Why not? Have two chocolate melting cakes. Why not? If you haven’t had a chocolate melting cake before and you’re thinking, ‘I don’t usually eat chocolate,’ have it! Don’t get to the end of your cruise, and say, ‘I wish I’d done that.’ You can’t regret living life to the fullest. There are 67 different nationalities on my ship, the Breeze. Talk to your cabin steward. Learn about them. Talk to guests at your table. You don’t want to sit with other people? Why not? Talk to them, and see what you have in common. You already have two things in common. First, you’ve all worked hard to be on this cruise. Second, you’re all guests on this cruise.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Separate.
When it comes to families, sometimes families get a little too wrapped up in thinking they have to spend every minute together. You don’t need to do that. I know if there’s little children reading this, they’re thinking their parents want to spend every single minute with them, but they don’t. Children, I know you want to hang out with people your own age and do activities. Meet at the end of the day, do a trivia together, do a line dance together, go to the deck party together. Do things together like Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is amazing. You can do the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, you can do the Seuss-A-Palooza Parade; that’s a family activity. When that’s finished, I give a shout-out to Serenity. When dining, maybe the children don’t want to have the pizza. Maybe you as adults want a Guy’s Burger. It’s OK. Don’t be afraid to not spend every second together. But do spend time together.
5. Be Entertained.
If you see a show, go in there. You’re thinking, ‘I don’t like Motown.’ I don’t know who wouldn’t like Motown, but say you don’t like Motown. You know what? It’s dancers, it’s singers, it’s high entertainment. Go in there and see it. If you don’t want to stay for the entire show, don’t stay the entire time. You already paid for it. Go to the shows, go to the bands, and eat everything. Have 10 meals a day!
These are Mike’s tips for making the most of your family cruise vacation. What are your tips for having the best cruise vacation with the family? Tell us in the comments.
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