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Dadtography's 10 Best Reasons to go on a Family Cruise in 2019

Updated for Spring, 2019.

There's a chill in the air right now, or maybe more than a "chill", depending upon where you live. We're a bit spoiled here in Florida, but if you're living "up north", you may already be counting down the days until spring!

For us, 2019 is definitely going to be the year of the family cruise! We've already scheduled 22 nights of cruises for the upcoming year, and we're just getting started!

Never been on a family cruise? That's okay; make 2019 the year you try one for the first time! In our (humble) opinion cruising is better than all the other options available to families for travel out there. Check out our post below - Dadtography's Top 10 reasons you should consider a family cruise and then head straight to your favorite travel site and commence the family traveling!

Cruising is way better (and often cheaper) than a "stay-cation".

We live in Florida - arguably one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. We have a lot of options just within a few miles of Orlando - from staycations to major trips, your imagination (and budget) are likely the only things holding you back!

If you're like my family, we do live on a budget being a single income household. What we spend our money on has to go a long way. When it comes to family travel, we've found that cruises are an awesome way to stretch your family travel dollar and still get out there and see some new sights. Below is our "top ten" list of reasons you should consider a family cruise for your next vacation.

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You almost can't beat the value of most cruises when you consider their length and what you get.

Reason #9 to Cruise: The Price

Family cruises are still one of the best travel values out there.

Yes, I am going to lead with price on this one. You almost can't beat the value of most cruises when you consider their length and what you get. Let's do a little math for a second (bare with me).

Let's say you go on a seven day cruise. Right now according to Carnival.com, that would run you approximately $619 per person, on average for a total of around $2,200 USD, plus the money you spend in ports.

Doing some simple math, that comes down to around $79 per person, per day. But guess what? All of your meals are included, too! Not to mention the on-board amenities like pools and activities for kids.

You're going to pay more than $79 per night for hotels in most cities. From a dollars and cents perspective, it's hard to argue the value of a cruise for families!

Reason #9 to Cruise: The FOOD

So many choices, such little time.

What have you heard about cruise food? Some of it is likely true and some is based on personal preferences. Here's what I can tell you are the facts about food while on a cruise:

  • You can eat as much as you want. I had 4 lobster tails on steak and lobster night on my last cruise.
  • All meals on the ship are included. Every single one - breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Some restaurants on the ship require an "upgrade" to dine, but it's typically less than what full-price meals would cost at the on-shore equivalent.
  • Cruise ships refresh their stock of food each time they port. It's usually very high quality, but it's not going to be exactly the same as on-shore restaurants.
  • There are usually two dining times per sailing - an early (6pm-ish) and late (after 8pm). Choose a time that works best for your family's schedule.
  • In addition to meals, most cruises have numerous options for snacks during the day.
  • You will not go hungry on a cruise!

Cruise food has always been good in my experience and some cruise lines are known for their food more than others. Personally, the food isn't the reason that I go, but it being included in the price is definitely an incentive, especially when I'm traveling with two boys!

Reason #8 - The Ports

How else can you see three, four or even more foreign countries in a single trip? Sure, you could plan an extensive Caribbean or European tour, but that can quickly become stressful and expensive. Cruises provide a set itinerary that often include stops in multiple ports. You don't have to get off the ship if you don't want to, but exploring the ports is a great way for your family to see new places, but have the security of the ship to return to.

Not all ports are created equal, so I definitely recommend you study up on the ports your particular cruise will be visiting. Also, when it comes to shore excursions, I've personally done cruises where I've booked excursions through the cruise line and where I've planned my own on-shore excursions (or just winged it). Booking excursions through the cruise line definitely has some advantages and can help to ensure a great experience, but you're also going to pay somewhat of a premium for that experience. Considering what you likely saved on the trip by cruising, booking shore excursions, even for the budget-minded family traveler may not be much of an issue.

Reason #7 - The Staff

I think cruise staff are sometimes overlooked when travelers think back on their cruising experiences. My wife and I went on a cruise in May of 2015, and part of the reason we had such a fantastic time was because of the staff - especially our dining staff. Our 7-night cruise meant that we saw our dining staff at least fourteen times during the trip (breakfast and dinner each day). Our staff was so friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and personable that they really ended up contributing directly to us having a great trip.

Carnival Liberty Review - Maribel Signs My Son's Cast

Reason #6 - The Convenience

Okay, so living in central Florida, we may be a bit spoiled in this regard. We live 45 minutes from Port Canaveral, one of my favorite ports to sail out of (for a few reasons). We can hop in our car, have someone drive us to the port and be on the ship in less than two hours from when we left.

Even if you have to fly to your port of origin, cruises are a great convenience for families traveling. I strongly recommend you fly in the day before your ship leaves, if possible. Stay at a nearby hotel and use the (likely complimentary) hotel shuttle to the port.

Reason #5 - Safety

Let's face it, when planning your next family travel adventure you can't just ignore what's going on in the world today. You have to be mindful of your family's safety at all times. Cruises provide families with a "safety net" while traveling that many other travel options just don't. You always get to return to the ship on your days in port, and cruise lines take their port and ship safety very seriously. There's no such thing as 100% security when traveling, but I definitely like the odds that cruises provide.

Cruise Traveler Safety - Falmouth, Jamaica

Reason #4 - The Amenities

We already mentioned the food, but we shouldn't overlook all the other features, amenities and activities that cruise ships provide. When my son and I went on a cruise back in 2006 I counted over 100 round trips down the water slide alone. Some ships actually have floating water parks!

What's in it for the parents? Do you know how long a water slide can occupy a child? In my personal experience, the answer is multiple hours. Yes, you still have to keep an eye on them, but just one. Not both.

Where else, besides a cruise ship, can you go that can provide child care, a water park, a spa, workout facilities, restaurants, shopping, rock wall climbing, dance clubs and even Starbucks coffee shops in some cases? Your column of "reasons to go on a cruise" just got a little longer.

Reason #3 - Time Away from Tech

I was talking to my boss about this very topic just last week. He totally agrees that cruises are among his favorite vacations because he doesn't feel guilty unplugging from tech and enjoying the time with his family.

Sure, most cruise ships offer Internet access for a fee. I purchased access the very first time I went on a cruise, but barely ever used it. I mean, who actually wants to pay up to $15 a day or more to check their Facebook? Is it really wroth it? You're on VACATION!

I actually really love having an "excuse" to not check emails, Facebook, Twitter and all the other stuff that distracts me when I'm at home.

Reason #2: The family entertainment options.

Some ships even have Broadway quality shows!

Depending on a cruise line, you're going to find a number of options that cater directly to families with both young and older children. I know a lot of families that go because the parents feel comfortable knowing the child care options on the ship are not only safe but enjoyable for their children.

How awesome is it to take your kids to a "day care" that they like and that you can trust and not feel guilty for spending some alone time? Because of this, even family cruises can provide the parents some much needed alone time, and even a date night or two!

On the last cruise I went on, I didn't even have enough time to explore all of the entertainment options available on the ship. Here were my personal favorites:

  • Gym treadmills with a view.
  • Shuffleboard on the side deck cruising the open waters.
  • Pick-up basketball games on the top deck.
  • The swimming pool, of course (another umbrella drink, anyone?).
  • Adults-only hot tubs.
  • Complimentary movies both outdoors at night and in the theater.
  • Free, broadway style shows.
  • A magician performing tricks before your eyes.
  • Lounge singers and cocktails in a cozy corner of a 9th deck bar.

Reason #1 - The Memories

What do you get when you add up all the reasons above? Memories of course! Family cruises are a great way to make unique memories with your loved ones. From small, intimate family cruises to large, extended family reunion type cruises, I have never forgotten a past experience and my children remind me all the time how much fun they had. Family cruises are a great opportunity to take lots of family photos, too. Photography options on a cruise are some of my biggest reasons for going!

Did I forget any reasons for choosing a family cruise for your adventures? Add yours to the comments below!

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