Miami is an ideal location to begin a family cruise vacation. Start with a few days at one of the area’s beachfront resorts, enjoying sunshine, beautiful beaches, and world-class cuisine. After everyone is full relaxed and in true vacation mode, board one of these three family-friendly luxury cruises for a fantastic experience.
1. Disney Dream
For families who desire a magical cruise vacation, the Disney Dream is the best choice. Several Disney features that are fun for the entire family include live shows such as The Golden Mickeys, Character Greetings, and first-run movies inside the Buena Vista Theatre. Animator’s Palate is a dining venue whose walls display an ever-changing scene showing the art of animation from start to finish.
Young cruisers will enjoy the Oceaneer Club, including age-appropriate activities, interactions with Disney characters, and a Magic PlayFloor that immerses children into some of their favorite Disney movies. A nursery with trained staff is available for babies and toddlers for a small fee. Parents will appreciate the adults-only spaces onboard, including the Quiet Cove Pool, Senses Spa and Salon for pampering, and The District, which features Skyline and Pink Bars. Dance the night way at Evolution, a chic dance club.
The Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah accommodates a family of five with a spacious layout. The master bedroom has a queen bed with Frette linens, as well as a master bath with double sinks and a whirlpool tub. The living room has two wall pull-down beds (one double, one single). The private balcony boasts another whirlpool tub. Parents will appreciate the childproof locks throughout the suite. Concierge guests receive priority services onboard, including in-suite dining from the main restaurants, priority tender service, and access to the a private sun deck and the Concierge Lounge.
The Dream has a very nice 5-night Bahamas itinerary that includes two stops at their private island paradise, Castaway Cay. In between each of those stops is a day in Nassau, and the cruise ends with one sea day. Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island paradise, complete with family and adults-only beaches, biking trails, and a boat charter dock. Enjoy a spacious home base for your family by renting a cabana. Young cruisers can explore Scuttle’s Cove, a hub for youth activities with Disney counselors. Have fun snorkeling, or take the kids to Pelican Plunge, a 2,300 square-foot floating platform that features water slides and water play areas. Don’t forget to visit the island’s post office to send postcards home, complete with an actual stamp from Castaway Cay. Send one to your home as well, for a fun souvenir.
2. Celebrity Reflection
Sophisticated families will enjoy the Celebrity Reflection. Though she is the largest ship in Celebrity’s fleet, her clever design gives the feeling of plenty of space for each passenger. The popular Lawn Club (with real grass) is the perfect place for a family picnic at sea, delivered by the ship staff in a large wooden picnic basket. Explore unique dishes at Qsine, the ship’s innovative specialty restaurant.
Families who enjoy enriching activities will enjoy sushi-making demonstrations, digital camera classes, and a “Top Chef at Sea” show, in which guests may compete for prizes alongside the ship’s onboard chefs. The Reflection’s youth programs are highly-rated and offer age-appropriate activities. Teens will love participating in iTake, which is a video project that provides them with GoPros so they can create their own movies in the iLounge. Celebrity Cruises has also been certified as an Autism-Friendly Cruise Line. Guests can enjoy activities, games, and movies that are suitable for kids with autism.
The Reflection Suite is the top suite onboard, with two bedrooms and a sea-view bathroom and cantilevered shower that extends over the side of the ship. Floor-to-ceiling walls offer incredible, ever-changing views. Accommodating six guests, each member of the family staying in the Reflection Suite receives a complimentary Premium Beverage Package (minors receive the Nonalcoholic Package), unlimited internet for up to six personal devices, premium customizable mattresses, and personal butler service. Suite Class guests enjoy a dedicated private restaurant, Luminae, as well as full in-suite meal service throughout the day.
Reflection has a lovely 7-Night Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Visit El Morro and San Cristobal Forts and wander the cobblestone streets and brightly-colored buildings in Old San Juan. Catch a live flamenco show with dinner. Don’t forget to stand on deck or on your balcony to enjoy sail away from Old San Juan; the forts are illuminated at night. In St. Maarten, explore the French and Dutch sides of the island for shopping, dining, and beach time, or have an exhilarating experience racing a yacht during the America’s Cup 12 Metre Challenge. Hire a driver and visit Brimstone Hill Fortress in St. Kitts, taking in the breathtaking views from the top of the fortress.
3. Norwegian Escape
The Norwegian Escape is NCL’s most innovative ship. Built in 2015, this brand-new ship is perfect for families seeking a luxury vacation on their own terms. The Escape’s hallmark is Freestyle Cruising, which means guests may enjoy their vacations however they choose. This includes over 25 flexible dining experiences, a relaxed dress code, 21 bars and lounges, and Broadway entertainment.
Stroll the Waterfront, which is the ship’s quarter-mile oceanfront promenade. Enjoy specialty dining, including Teppanyaki and a Brazilian steakhouse. The young and young-at-heart will enjoy the multi-level Sports Complex, the Ropes Course complete with Sky Rail zip tracks. For an adrenaline rush, walk The Plank, which juts out 8 feet from the side of the ship. Adults can relax in the spa, which boasts a salt room and indulgent thermal suite. Parents will appreciate the children’s programs for ages 6 months and up. Teens will enjoy Entourage, the lounge offering movies, video games, and dance parties.
Discerning guests will savor the luxurious accommodations in The Haven, which is the ship’s exclusive Suite enclave. Limited to those with key-card access, the area features butler and concierge service, a private sundeck, private dining room, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an unlimited open bar throughout the cruise. The 2-Bedroom Family Villa with Balcony contains one room with a king-sized bed, another with a double sofa bed, and two bathrooms. The master has a soaking tub.
The Escape has a lovely 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary featuring a brand-new port of call, Harvest Caye, Belize. Owned by the Norwegian Cruise Line, the destination offers a salt-water lagoon for water sports, a 7-acre beach, zip lining, and snorkeling along the second-largest barrier reef on the planet.
About Chrystal Anderson
Chrystal Anderson and her husband are the proud co-owners of Cruise Planners-Virtue Travel. They travel often, and love to share their travel experiences with others. Follow Chrystal's adventures on her blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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