Archive for the ‘Destinations’ Category

2011 Family Cruise Vacation Shopping Guide

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Tips For Finding A Family Friendly Cruise

Making memories

There is no better remedy for combating the short, cold days of winter than planning a family cruise vacation. For some reason, just looking at itineraries and ship diagrams is enough to lift the spirits. But before long what started as a fun search for your next family vacation quickly becomes a nightmare as data-overload sends you over the edge.

To help keep things in balance, Family Cruise Advisor has put together a few tips to help make the cruise buying process a little more user friendly.

Think Value, Not Price

Disney Dream It

Although price is a good motivator, value is a better indicator that a cruise will be a success.

Consider what is included in the cruise price.

  • Does the ship have adequate care for infants? Some ships charge for babysitting infants because they do not have facilities for babies.
  • Does the ship offer kids programming for the ages you need?
  • Are soft drinks and juice included in the price? Disney Cruise Line has generous soda fountains and juice available around the clock. Other cruise lines do not.

Consider A Slightly Older Ship, But Watch The Size

When looking at price make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples. New ships typically have a higher price tag than slightly older ships.

Although Royal Caribbean International’s new Oasis-class ship Allure of the Seas has a lot of great features, pricing is significantly lower on Liberty of the Seas and her sisters in the Freedom-class. The cruise experience is almost the same: great kids programs, specialty restaurants, surf simulator, rock climbing wall, ice-skating rink, arcade, etc.

Royal Caribbean

Speaking of Royal Caribbean, watch the size of the vessel you select. For example, there are many features that are not available on Monarch of the Seas due to her smaller size. This is an example of too much of a good thing. Savvy shoppers will notice some great cruise fares on Monarch of the Seas, but this ship does not have the bells and whistles found on the larger ships in the fleet.

When to spend money for a cruise on a new ship

Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship Disney Dream is fetching top dollar for a product that is completely different than Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. The updated technology and innovations on Disney Dream are well worth the additional investment in vacation dollars.

Destination

Disney Cruise Line

In most cases when cruising as a family, the ship is the destination. However, families must also consider where the ship sails. Popular family cruise destinations for 2011 are: Europe, Alaska, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Depending on the age of your children and their tolerance for long flights, a realistic destination will become obvious. I say go for gold and head to Europe. But I am also the same person that took a three-month old baby on an six-hour flight to Hawaii.

Show Me The Money!

A lot of people think that if they wait long enough, cruise lines will offer deep discounts. Although this could be the case, when traveling with a family it is better to plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

Remember that there is little risk to putting down a deposit in advance. In most cases (Disney concierge class suites exempt) deposits are refundable. Final payment is due 90 days before the cruise. Some travel agencies and cruise lines will guarantee the price, which means that if the cruise fare goes down before final payment, you are entitled to getting the lower price.

Family Cruise Basics

Meet Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen, Germany

Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream  has left the building and has begun the transatlantic crossing.

Disney Dream makes her transatlantic journey

Just a few days ago Disney Cruise Line‘s newest ship, Disney Dream left Bremerhaven, Germany on a transatlantic journey to Florida. Disney Dream will greet family cruisers starting January 26, 2011 on her inaugural cruise.

A Disney Cruise is always a great choice for families looking for a touch of elegance with just the right mix of kid-friendly amenities.

Family Cruise Advisor has compiled extensive reports about Disney Dream to help families navigate the many features and amenities on this new ship.

I am excited to see the blending of classic ocean liner design with state-of-the-art technology. Topping off my list of Disney Dream bells-and-whistles are the AquaDuck water coaster and Disney Cruise Line’s new adults-only Remy restaurant.

Disney Dream posts on Family Cruise Advisor:

  • An Overview of Disney Dream Highlights Too busy to read everything? This is a great place to discover the highlights of Disney Dream’s one-of-a-kind venues and experiences.
  • Disney Dream Youth Programs Everything a parent needs to know about youth programs on Disney Dream. The key to making sure the whole family has fun on a cruise vacation. Disney Cruise Line has one of the best children’s programs at sea. Discover what awaits your young cruiser.
  • Dining Options For Family Cruisers on Disney Dream. I appreciate a cruise line that offers a variety of food that appeals to both adults and kids, and I love how Disney Cruise Line staff will dispense ketchup for kids in the shape of Mickey Mouse as well as offering a sophisticated menu for adults in the no-kids zone specialty restaurants. Disney Dream is upping the game a bit in the food service department, especially for adults. For more on how Disney is pleasing parents and palates, read Disney Cruise Line, Michelin-starred Chef Create Perfect Pairing with French-inspired Remy Restaurant On the Disney Dream.
  • Entertainment on Disney Dream When you think of Disney, animation, technology and entertainment come to mind. It all comes together on Disney Dream, where entertainment
 includes live musical shows, first-run films, Digital 3-D movies and fun-filled family deck parties, which features the largest fireworks show aboard a cruise ship.

Can’t get enough? Check out our other Disney Dream stories on Family Cruise Advisor:

From Port Canaveral, Florida, Disney Dream will cruise to the Bahamas on rotating 3, 4, and 5-night cruises. All cruises on Disney Dream will visit Disney Cruise Line’s private Bahamian island Castaway Cay.

 

Family Cruise News: Disney Cruise Line Takes The Helm Of Disney Dream

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

It’s official. Disney Dream is the newest and largest Disney Cruise Line vessel.

Disney Dream is designed like a transatlantic ocean liner with contemporary details.

Disney Dream is one step closer to greeting guests in Florida now that Meyer Werft officially delivered the new vessel to Disney Cruise Line today in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Construction of Disney Dream started two years ago in Papenburg, Germany. Disney Dream measures 128,000 tons and has 1,250 staterooms with the capacity to accommodate 4,000 passengers. The largest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, Disney Dream has many  innovations  that will allow family cruisers to have the vacation experience of a lifetime. Perhaps my favorite innovation is the AquaDuck water coaster.

Check out the video. This is not just another water slide at sea. The AquaDuck looks really fast and should provide a lot of fun.

Disney Dream will deliver family cruise experiences like no other.

Other noteworthy features on Disney Dream include:  Inside staterooms with virtual views, Enchanted Art that immerses guests in stories, and fine dining at Remy.

The shipboard experience remains focused on the legacy and heritage of The Walt Disney Company’s most valuable assets – master storytelling, world-class entertainment and legendary guest service.

Disney Dream is ready to welcome family cruisers on its maiden voyage, set for January 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Want to learn more about Disney Dream?