Trip Coach: February 13, 2007 Luisa Frey Gaynor, family cruise editor for CruiseMates.com, answered your questions about family cruises. Budget Travel Tuesday, Feb 13, 2007, 2:30 PM Budget Travel LLC, 2016
 

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Trip Coach: February 13, 2007

Luisa Frey Gaynor, family cruise editor for CruiseMates.com, answered your questions about family cruises.

Luisa Frey Gaynor: Hi, I'm Luisa Frey Gaynor, a travel writer specializing in family cruising. Thanks for joining me. I'm ready to answer your questions.

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New York, NY: I have a five year old daughter and she really lives for dance and art. Are there cruises available that offer these activities? We're thinking of taking our first cruise this summer (in June, 2 adults & one 5yr. old). Thank you.

Luisa Frey Gaynor: RCI has a great youth program which usually features a daily "Adventure Art by Crayola" activity in which your daughter will be engaged in artistic activities. As for dance, none of the youth programs offer dance related activities for the kids, however, all the big family-friendly cruise lines (Carnival, RCI, Princess, NCL, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Costa Cruises) have big production shows many times throughout the cruise. Bring your daughter to the early shows and I bet she'll enjoy seeing the professional dancers up on stage!

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Brooklyn, NY: Are there any kid friendly cruises to Bermuda or somewhere close to the East coast for a family of four with two very active boys ages 5 & 8?

Luisa Frey Gaynor: Yes, there are a number of family friendly cruise lines cruising from the East Coast to Bermuda. The Bermuda season is usually from May through October. Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas cruises from Bayonne, NJ all season; Empress of the Seas sails from August through October from Philadelphia; and Grandeur of the Seas cruises during the fall from Baltimore. Also, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Journey sails all season from Bayonne, NJ. Additionally, Norwegian Cruise Line offers departures from Boston aboard the Norwegian Majesty all season, along with sailings on the Norwegian Crown from Philadelphia in May as well as New York City from June through October.

I suggest the Royal Caribbean ships as being most family friendly, especially since they all have rock walls and other active facilities. NCL's Norwegian Crown is also a good choice; however, the Norwegian Majesty is a smaller, older ship with not as many amenities for kids and teens.

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Philadelphia, PA: I have two sons with very different interests. My 10 year old is into sports & my 7 year old is into crafts. Is their a specific cruise that will keep them both happy?

Luisa Frey Gaynor: I suggest a Royal Caribbean Int'l cruise for your active family, especially their mega-ships such as the Voyager class of ships (home to indoor ice skating rinks) or Freedom of the Seas. This ship entered the market last year with a huge splash--not only because it was the largest cruise ship ever, but because it has an area for surfing as well as a water park which kids love! All RCI ships have plenty of pools, a rock climbing wall, and most of them also have mini-golf courses which your athletic son will love. As for your more artistic son, RCI has a top notch youth program too. Each cruise usually features a daily "Adventure Art by Crayola" activity in which your son will be able to express himself creatively. They often incorporate the destination into the crafts activity--for example, making fake Greek vases out of Crayola clay when sailing to the Greek Islands.

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Hastings, NE: What time of year can I get the best fares/savings for my family to cruise?

Luisa Frey Gaynor: Fall (Sept. through mid-November) is the best time to get savings for your family. Since it's back to school time, ships are slightly less full and this, coupled with potential hurricane season in the Caribbean, is the impetus for cruise lines to offer their lowest rates to the Caribbean. Cruising during this time might be best for a family with young children who aren't in grade school since this is traditionally "back to school" time for most older kids.

Also, check out Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises' annual Kids Cruise Free fares to the Caribbean during their November through April Caribbean season. This summer, MSC is also offering their Kids Cruise Free promotion on their European / Mediterranean cruises.

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NYC, NY: We would like to go to Nova Scotia with our 5 yr. old. Are there any special cruises that have lots of things (educational, exercise, etc.) for her to do?

Luisa Frey Gaynor: I recommend a five-day cruise out of NYC to Nova Scotia aboard Carnival Cruise Lines. They have a great youth program which features daily activities in various categories such as "Edu-Cruise" or "Exer-Seas" for each age group. These summer time cruises always have plenty of families aboard.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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