When you’re traveling with kids, it’s rarely about the “journey”- it’s most usually all about the destination. Where do you think the infamous “Are we there yet?” originated?
On a cruise, this plays out a little differently. After all, your mode of transportation is often a “destination” in and of itself. With their specialized children’s activities, clubs, menus and entertainment, today’s ships provide enough excitement to keep even the busiest of kids occupied.
But there is another facet to cruising- one that doesn’t take place on the ship- that is perhaps the most popular for families: shore excursions. The lines have put a large amount of effort into finding some truly excellent family-oriented activities to do when away from the ship. They include things like dolphin encounters, kayaking, horseback riding, aquariums and museums… and much more.
Depending on the excursion, these outings can range from quite affordable ($29 per person for European City Tours, for example, to more expensive ($450 for Private Market Shopping and Lunch in Italy).
However, if you’ll be planning a cruise in the near future with your family, you may want to take a close look at Norwegian – they’re running a pretty hard-to-beat deal on shore excursions if you book between now and May 13, 2012. And by this I mean… shore excursions are FREE for kids under 12. And, they’re discounting the price for teens (aged 13-17) by 50% during this window, as well. So if you’re planning a series of excursions on your cruise, these discounts could add up to big savings.
Here’s what I think is the most important blub from the press release I received from them, but make sure to check all the details with your travel agent when booking an NCL cruise.
“Just in time for summer vacation planning, Norwegian Cruise Line (“Norwegian”) is launching an exciting offer for families who book a 2012 cruise from today through May 13, 2012. With the “Little Norwegian’s Explore For Free” offer, children 12 years and younger will receive complimentary Norwegian-sponsored shore excursions* and teens (13 to 17 years old) will receive half-off shore excursions* when in the same stateroom with a paying adult on the same excursion. This applies to all 2012 sailings fleet-wide for all ports of call. Families can whale watch in Alaska; explore ancient cities in Europe; or have fun in the sun on a snorkel excursion in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda or Hawai’i.”
This is undoubtedly a good deal from the NCL and worth investigating, but if you’re looking at sailing on another line, consider going with an independent excursions company. A quick search is definitely in your best interest; you’ll often find the same excursions at discounted prices. If you want to find out more about the benefits of booking excursions this way, and why a lot of savvy travelers choose this route, take a look at this press release.