Growing up in a military family provided a different experience to my youth. We moved often, I had to make new friends every few years, my father was gone for long stints at a time and we just didn’t have the extra funds to spend on extra-curricular activities. I didn’t play in sports or go away to summer camps, and family vacations were few and far between. It may have been this initial lack of travel that is has my recent unquenchable thirst for wanderlust.
Now, as I plan my own family getaways, I’m always looking for trips that have the potential to achieve the status of an epic family vacation, the one I never had as a child. After years of heavy travel both with and without my family, I have come up with my three absolute must haves to create an enjoyable family vacation.
Quality Time Together
The whole point of a family vacation is to spend time with one another while visiting new locations and inspiring a sense of curiosity and appreciation for new cultures. As parents, we have the power to encourage a healthy appetite for exploration through family vacations. Cruising is a popular choice due to it’s ability to allow you to book, show up and then drop the mic. No planning, no driving, no cooking, no figuring out where to go or what to do next, because let’s be honest – all of the above can cause conflict and stress. On a cruise, virtually everything is taken care of for you and your biggest decision will be what bathing suit to wear or what drink to sip on next.
Offering incredible family vacations, a cruise on board Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2 (named the world’s most luxurious cruise ship) just might be the perfect way too slow down and enjoy time with each other on the open sea and exploring new favorite destinations. They have taken great care in creating trips that allow for a great vacation where the whole family can relax and enjoy themselves. For instance, their upcoming 2016 Autumn Holidays sailings for families include:
- The Big Apple – Cruise from New York to Progreso stopping along the way at Baltimore, New Orleans, and Miami. There will also be excursion through Washington D.C., Charleston, and the Everglades National Park.
- Progreso – Embarking from Progreso the cruise will travel to incredible destinations through Central America on its way to La Guairá. Families can see the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza like the massive Pyramid of Kukulkan. There will also be trips to beautiful beaches along the way with a stop at 7 mile beach in George Town in the Cayman Islands.
Children 11 and under get to travel on EUROPA Family Cruises for free if they are accompanied by their parents.
Activities, Activities, and More Activities!
The best way to keep kids occupied and prevent vacation whining is by having lots of options to stay busy. Boredom can spell catastrophe during a vacation, but on a EUROPA 2 Family Cruise, the kids can learn to make their own pizzas at the culinary school or take golf lessons and even play a game on the green. They can partake in the many workshops such as drama, music, and even a stunt workshop run by a real stuntman! I’ve been to countless destinations, all with amazing kids clubs, and none have even come close to this. These specially designated family sailings even offer Zodiac excursions designed just for kids and the chance to meet the ship’s Captain. It is a cruise your kids won’t forget.
A Little Alone Time
It is hard enough for parents to find time for each other at home, but on a family trip it is even more scarce. With the EUROPA 2 Family Cruise offering so many activities for the kids, parents can find some sacred alone time to enjoy a delicious dinner or even catch an on-board concert from talented artists like Daniel Hope, an international Award Winning violinist. There is even a trained childcare team that accommodates three age groups with babysitting programs offering age-appropriate excursions and activities to give Mom and Dad a little time on their own. Parents with children under three also receive a free Welcome Baby package upon boarding. When it’s time to retire to the cabin, you can take advantage of the family apartments designed with separate rooms for the kids with bunk beds, their own separate bathroom, and a play area!
Family vacations are an important part in the life of a family. It is the chance to experience new environments and each other beyond the monotony of every day life. It is the time to just relax with one other and spend days devoted to play. Discovering new destinations together is a part of the family vacation that cements a sense of togetherness and creates memories your kids will remember long after the trip is over.
What are your musts for a family vacation?