Archive for the ‘Alaska’ 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

Cruise Line Profile: Family Cruising In Europe And Alaska On Holland America Line

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

For family cruises to Europe and Alaska, Holland America Line continues to provide an excellent experience that is entertaining as well as educational for both children and adults, helping everyone enjoy and appreciate the destination as well as the shipboard experience.

On top of all that, Holland America has been working to provide greater values to family groups cruising to Europe and Alaska. Obviously, Holland America Line knows how to get your family there and show all of you what’s important, whether you want to see glaciers and whales off the coast of Alaska or the great cities of Europe. And kids will soak up the background information like sponges, as Holland America Line has always staffed its ships with interpretive experts who can explain what you are visiting and why it’s important.

It is difficult to imagine a childhood vacation that could have more value for an impressionable mind than a cruise to either Europe or Alaska. And regardless of the destination, cruising is always going to be the travel-method that does the best job of defining and controlling costs for families while providing a safe and secure “home base” where parents don’t have to keep an eye on their kids every waking moment.

Holland America Line also offers several money-saving programs for families. The company always offers reasonable fares for families needing a third or fourth berth in their cabin. But for families booking eight or more staterooms for a reunion or some other special occasion, there are reduced fares available that carry several additional benefits. Besides the special group pricing, this program includes useful and valuable extras such as a Fountain Soda Card for every member of the family, each good for 20 glasses of fountain soda and a souvenir cup.

Also, each stateroom will receive a family portrait free, and the entire family will enjoy free lunch together at the alternative Pinnacle Grill Restaurant, which normally carries a charge. Finally, the Family Reunion Program for eight staterooms or more carries an upgrade from an outside stateroom to a verandah stateroom.

The beauty of a family cruise to Europe or Alaska with Holland America Line is that kids don’t have to be on high-alert all the time for the next once-in-a-lifetime moment. That kind of vigilance, which is usually required on land tours, wears kids out and makes them cranky. But cruises allow kids to take a breath and enjoy, and nobody does a better job of entertaining kids on a cruise than Holland America Line.

The line’s Club HAL program offers activities and dedicated rooms — fully equipped with computers, video, toys and crafting supplies — for kids age 3 to 12, and all ships feature a teen program for ages 13 to 17. The supervised and age-specific programs allow children to get involved with fun and creative activities while parents are able to pursue their own interests. Club HAL and teen activities operate all day during sea days with breaks for meals. The programs are also available during port visits if the kids reserve in advance.

With more than a century of experience, Holland America Line will show your family the wonders of the world in a style that no one else can.

Choosing An Alaska Cruisetour

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008


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Selecting an Alaska cruisetour can be daunting for the uninitiated. With more that 50 cruisetours offered by the major players, how do you sift through the options to find an Alaska cruisetour that’s right for you? To find out, we sat down with Paul Allen, vice president of sales for Holland America Line. (more…)