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Travel Happiness: Family Travel
I can remember the times when moms and dads shipped the kids off to grandmothers while they enjoyed a vacation. That trend has changed today and I am glad. Now we can plan a family vacation that will cater to everyone--young and old alike.
A family vacation will leave lots of memories for years to come. We as a family have very fond memories of the many trips we enjoyed with our grandchildren over the past 25 years. Surprisingly, the grandchildren share these special times. I am glad we did it while we were physically able to enjoy as well. One year it was Europe for 17 days on tour, a number of cruises, Hawaii, Disney, the Caribbean, and even Africa and Alaska.
Today the cruise and tour companies are catering to the young marker while keeping in mind the adults need some time to relax as well. The cruise lines in particular are catering to the families. For example, Royal Caribbean cruises continue to add special amenities such as rock climbing walls, adventurous shore excursions, the skating rinks and bungee trampolines to mention a few. The new ship, Freedom of the Seas, offers a flow-river simulator.
There are daily programs for children 3-17 including special entertainment. They offer certified staff supervision. For preschoolers, its finger painting to Play Dough to color and shape. For the 6-8 year old group, the focus is on play games, special hunts, tours and theme nights. The 9-11 year olds play in competitions with pool parties, scavenger hunts, and karaoke. The teens have their own disco until 1:00AM.
Families can tour together, have meals together, and feel free to release the children in a safe environment.
The cruise lines are designing more cabins to accommodate families (generally up to 4 persons) with some adjoining rooms and suites for larger families. You must reserve early for family accommodations as they do sell out early. And by the way, the 3rd and 4th person in the cabin pays substantially less making it affordable.
Speaking of cost, when you consider what is included in a cruise vacation--accommodations, all food, entertainment programs for the children, etc., this one price is a great vacation value.
A family cruise is ideal for that special anniversary. We have more people celebrating 30, 40, 50 years of marriage than ever before and what a wonderful opportunity to include the family. We'll even help you celebrate on board.
Bottom line, that cruise many thought was only affordable by the rich and famous is now possible for everyone. I like to think of a family vacation as a necessity rather than a luxury. We work hard all year--for what? Material things are nice, but why not build a memory that will last forever. Watch my column for the next couple of months, as I will be talking about all the places for wonderful family vacations.
Art Richards is the owner of Richards World Travel, Inc. in Hagerstown. (www.richardsworldtravel.com)
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