Enjoy Christmas at home and New Year’s in the sun! Holland America Line, invites families on leisurely holiday cruises. Teens traveling on HAL cruise ships can enjoy The Loft, a special lounge area for kids aged 13–17 designed to resemble a New York artist’s studio. The setting includes music and videos, comfortable furniture, Internet access stations, video games and karaoke, big screen TVs, and more. Kids will love the secluded passageway that leads upstairs to The Oasis, a teen sundeck featuring a nine-foot waterfall and a cooling cave; they can sunbathe during the day and dance under the stars at night to the beat of a state-of-the-art sound system and laser show. HAL also offers a Teen Culinary Arts Center Program where kids can learn about basic cooking techniques, kitchen safety, ingredients, and how to follow recipe instructions. Kids up to age fifteen can participate in this program, teens age fifteen and up may participate in the standard classes.
Alternatively, you can take a quick holiday trip on Disney Cruises, always a popular favorite with families. Disney offers sailings throughout the holidays and year-round. You can even ring in the New Year on a cruise! Disney has a reputation for fantastic kids’ amenities, and they don’t disappoint with their teen programs: The Magic offers Ocean Quest, an interactive play space constructed to look like the ship’s bridge. Kids aged 11–13 can steer a virtual ship, play video games, watch television, and participate in arts and crafts. The Stack lounge, designed for older teens (aged 14–17) is a trendy spot for teens to play video games, listen to music, surf the web in the Internet café, and enjoy social activities throughout the day. Activities on the ship run into the wee hours…perfect for the teen crowd.
For families looking for an alternative to the traditional reunion, a gathering at sea will surely make a splash with everyone. The following are the top reasons family reunions at sea are more popular than ever:
1. Superior Value – The all-inclusive pricing of cruise vacations includes a family’s accommodations, meals, 24-hour room service, most onboard activities, and top entertainment. Groups often receive special amenities. Cruise ships offer families a variety of staterooms to fit any budget and travel needs. Some cabins have been specially designed to accommodate four or more guests. Special suites are available for the disabled and folks who want more room and luxury amenities.
2. Convenient Departure Points – Traveling to the embarkation point of a cruise ship has never been easier. Ships depart from more than twenty ports across North America. Today, cruise ships are located within driving distance of or a short flight from many US cities, including Miami, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Galveston, New Orleans, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, among others.
3. No Worries – On a family reunion cruise, there is no cooking or cleaning to worry about—just relaxation. Furthermore, the weather is usually warm and pristine. Once everyone’s bags are unpacked (some lines may offer to do that, too), the ship’s crew does the rest.
4. Floating Fun – There is never a dull moment on a modern cruise ship. Guests enjoy swimming pools and water slides, rock climbing walls, surfing, ice-skating rinks, roller blade tracks, spa services, kids’ programs, nightclubs, gambling, shopping, dining, libraries, Internet and video arcades, enrichment seminars and guest lectures, yoga, and plenty more. A highlight for many families is the visit to the cruise lines’ private islands that dot the Caribbean—these are always full of fun and relaxation.
5. Food Galore – There are more food and dining choices on cruise ships than ever before, catering to people of all ages and tastes. Cruise ships still have their formal dining rooms, but most also feature more casual restaurants, grills, and poolside dining options, plus 24/7 room service. Specialty restaurants, created by some of the world’s most famous chefs, also are found on many cruise ships.
6. Spa Sensations – Men and women who want to be truly pampered are invited to enjoy incredible spa experiences. Cruise ship spa staffs make relaxation and rejuvenation the focus of your visit, from the time you slip on your spa robe till the sad moment you leave this serene and peaceful Eden.
7. Children’s Programs – For parents who may want a break from their children (and vice versa), most of today’s cruise ships offer plenty of structured and supervised recreational programs for kids aged 3–17. In addition, special lounges and nightclubs for tweens and teens abound so that the younger generations can hang out in supervised settings—no parents allowed.