Lifeguards or not: Safety first!

Dear Family Travelers: With little fanfare, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has begun to implement a fleet-wide water safety program with lifeguards, coast guard approved life jackets, water safety signage and what I believe is a first — water safety activities in its organized Adventure Ocean kids and teens program. The goal is “to raise awareness amongst our guests about the importance of vigilance while enjoying water features on our ships,” the company statement said. At the moment, …

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Taking the Kids Annual Family Cruise Guide

Kids are everywhere on cruise ships these days, whether you are in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or far-flung destinations like the Galapagos Islands and even the polar regions. According to the 2016 Portrait of American Travelers, more travelers who travel with kids (63 percent) as compared to those without kids (56%) are interested in a cruise vacation and, with a projected 25.3 million passengers projected for 2017, kids will indeed be everywhere. Welcome to our Taking the …

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Last day of cruise – at the Gilded Age mansions in Newport RI

NEWPORT, RI (Day 7) — So many rules! I’ve dialed into the family audio tour at The Breakers in Newport, RI – the Vanderbilt summer “cottage” that at 70 rooms and with a staff of 40 was the largest and most lavish in this seaside playground of the mega rich during the Gilded Age. This is our last day aboard the Norwegian Gem—we return to New York City tomorrow and Newport, famous for its sailing and coastal …

Read moreLast day of cruise – at the Gilded Age mansions in Newport RI

Few kids on this cruise, but those aboard are having a blast

ABOARD THE NORWEGIAN GEM (DAY 6) — It’s never too late to try something new. That’s why sisters Sandy and Stacy Thompson surprised their 72-year–old parents with their first cruise vacation—aboard the Norwegian Gem that is sailing from New York to Nova Scotia. “Just because they are great parents,” aid Sandy Thompson. “I’ve never seen them happier!” The sisters are happy too—especially Stacy, who has left her husband and three kids at home and is having “a …

Read moreFew kids on this cruise, but those aboard are having a blast

Ashore in Bar Harbor ME, Acadia National Park and St. John, New Brunswick

BAR HARBOR, Maine (Days 4-5) — What luck! The fog was ticker than pea soup when we anchored but when we stepped off the Norwegian Gem in Bar Harbor, ME the sky was blue and the sun shining—no better time to go wish Acadia National Park Happy Birthday. Acadia, which is the eastern-most point in this country and has the bragging rights for the sun coming up first, is also celebrating its centennial this year. In fact, …

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Halifax, Nova Scotia – History and Heroism Combine

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Day 3) — More than 1,000 people came to the toddler’s funeral. But no one knew who he was until nearly 100 years later. He was Body #4 plucked from the icy water 700 miles northeast of Halifax by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett, sent out to recover bodies after the Titanic sank on April 15,1912. The little blonde haired boy, dressed in a grey coat, brown dress and petticoat, as was custom at …

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Families of all sizes on the Norwegian Gem – NYC to Canada

ABOARD THE NORWEGIAN GEM (DAY 2) — Linda Montana and her sister surprised their mom with this cruise on the Norwegian Gem up to Canada to celebrate her 75th birthday. They’ve left husbands and kids behind, and brought along a cousin of their mom. That they don’t have to worry about anyone but themselves on this girl’s trip “is the best part,” said Montana, sitting at the pool in the sunshine. Monica Colistra, meanwhile is traveling with …

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Like sailing from home — from NYC to Canada on the Norwegian Gem

NEW York (DAY 1) — No muss, no fuss. It’s almost like sailing from our backyard. We drive from Connecticut into Port NYC, park, check our bags and board the Norwegian Gem. Couldn’t be easier. We are among 8,000 passengers on three ships that are arriving and departing from the port on the West Side of New York but it’s not terribly crowded. And the cost to park for a week—roughly $280—for the four of us is …

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Arthur Tauck and the building of the family tourism industry

ABOARD THE MS JOY ON THE DANUBE RIVER IN BAVARIA (Day Two) — The next time your kids get in trouble in school, tell them Arthur Tauck’s story. Arthur Tauchnitz was born to German immigrants in Yonkers at the tail end of the 19th Century.  Fatherless by age 10, he was an indifferent student, often skipped school and after a science experiment gone wrong, he was expelled at age 13, ending his formal education. By age 23, …

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Tauck’s latest European river boat — extra space for families

ABOARD THE MS JOY ON THE DANUBE RIVER IN BAVARIA (Day One) – I love the bathroom! We’ve just boarded the MS Joy, Tauck’s newest ship that was christened in Straubing, Germany last week. The christening ceremony along the Danube River marked the launch of Tauck’s second new ship this year, following the christening of the MS Grace in April. The company has announced Tauck will be doubling its family river cruise departures next year to 20, …

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