Archive for the ‘Private Islands’ 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

Disney Cruise Line Opens Bookings For Disney Fantasy Family Cruise Vacations

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Family Cruisers Can Now Book Disney Cruise Line’s Newest Ship Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy's maiden voyage is April 20, 2012

Disney Cruise Line will begin accepting bookings for the new Disney Fantasy on October 20, 2010.

Available dates for Disney Fantasy bookings are for the period between April 2012 and August 2012. More dates will become available later.

Disney Cruise Line is a family cruise favorite and winner of numerous awards. See Disney Cruise Line Rate Number 1 By Readers Of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine

Disney Fantasy will sail roundtrip from Port Canaveral, Florida

Family cruisers will can select 7-night Eastern Caribbean or 7-Night Western Caribbean itineraries. Both itineraries will spend a day at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

In addition to calling on Castaway Cay, Eastern Caribbean ports-of-call include St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Western Caribbean ports-of-call are Grand Cayman and Costa Maya, Cozumel.

Rates for the seven-night Caribbean cruise itineraries on the Disney Fantasy start at $959 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Paradise Found: Cruise Line Private Islands

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

When he was but a nine-year-old boy, my son Alex reached into the Windex-blue waters on a sandy Bahamian beach and quickly withdrew his hand to proclaim, “Dad, I touched a stingray.” He furrowed his tender brow and added thoughtfully, “They’re nice.”

In doing so, he had ascribed a sweet, if somewhat inaccurate, characteristic to the stingray. Yes, the stingray was nice indeed, particularly with its barb blunted for safety. None of tragedy that befell animal lover Steve Irwin here. Off the coast of Australia, a ray’s barb had pierced his heart and stunned the world.

Alex, my daughter and I were in a friendlier place, a paradise really, free of danger and removed from the real world, an idyllic island created for us by a cruise line.

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