There are literally dozens of cruise lines in operation today ranging from large cruise lines offering sailings around the world to small ships cruise lines that offer everything from dinner cruises to river cruises. Unfortunately, not all cruise lines are considered family friendly – keeping in mind that the average family is on a budget. Fortunately, there are a number of cruise lines that are family and budget-friendly. Some are actually targeted towards families while others offer programs that help attract families.
Two of the top family friendly cruise lines are Disney Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruises. A third is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Royal Caribbean offers family focused entertainment, family friendly recreational programs, and family friendly restaurants and “clubs.” Although cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and even Norwegian Cruise Lines offer family friendly programs, Disney and Carnival remain at the top of the market.
About Disney Cruise Lines
No other cruise line in the world says family fun like Disney Cruise Line. In fact, Disney Cruise Line’s ships were the first in the industry to be designed specifically for families and kids. Not only this, but Disney Cruise Line has been one of the world’s top cruise lines for more than a decade attracting more than half a million travelers each year. Owned by the Walt Disney Company and headquartered in Port Canaveral, Florida, Disney Cruise Lines is also a favorite among couples and singles interested in casual fun and excellent deals.
The Disney Cruise Line fleet includes: Disney Magic and Disney Wonder which can be found at the famous Disney Cruise Line Terminal — terminal 8. The $27 million, 70,000-square-foot facility terminal was completed and dedicated more than a decade ago on November 17, 1997. The Disney Cruise Line Terminal is Port Canaveral’s third ultra-modern mega-ship terminal and it is the exclusive home of Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.
Each cruise ship offers a wide variety of accommodations, itineraries, and activities. Nearly identical in design and space, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder feature spacious staterooms. Disney Magic has 875 staterooms and Disney Wonder has 874 staterooms — themed dining rooms and unique areas that cater to every age group including: toddlers, young children, tweens, teens, and adults. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small child or an adult, Disney Cruise Line has something for everyone.
Disney Cruise Line offers a wide variety of itineraries that will appeal to the couple seeking a fun getaway to the family seeking an extended vacation. Disney Wonder, which makes frequent sailings to Nassau, Bahamas is a popular choice for families and couples alike. Passengers have the option to choose from 3-day and 4-day cruises and packages that include either a 3 or 4 day stay at the Walt Disney World Resort prior to voyage. There are currently two special 10-day and 11-day voyages. Disney Magic offers several itineraries including Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean cruises or special cruises that sail to Disney’s private island paradise — Castaway Cay.
While a Disney Cruise Line offers a wide variety of exciting onboard features and amenities, one of the biggest attractions aboard Disney cruise ships is the Walt Disney Theater. Broadway caliber shows are offered nightly as well as blockbuster Disney movies, variety shows and surprise appearances by some of the most popular Disney characters today. In addition, Disney cruise ships feature the Buena Vista movie-theater, themed deck parties, shopping galore, ping pong, shuffleboard, lounges, basketball courts, Studio Sea and even Internet service!
Pricing and Reservations
Prices for Disney cruises tend to fluctuate, so it is nearly impossible to predict exactly how much a Disney cruise will cost. One of the most important things to consider first is the time of year as this will affect how much or how little passengers will spend. The busiest time of the year is of course, summer. During the summer months expect to pay more and during spring and fall, expect to find killer deals on Disney cruises.
Disney cruise prices are typically based on 2 adults (shared room). Passengers traveling with a child will still pay the price for two adults. After the initial two-adult price, 3rd and 4th passengers will pay a lower rate. If passengers over the initial two are under 13, the rate may range from $229 – $429 for a 3-day cruise, $329-$529 for a 4-day cruise and $349 – $749 for a 7-day cruise. This price includes land/sea vacations and varies greatly based on season.
If you are planning to book a cruise through Disney Cruise Line, it’s best to book as far in advance as possible. Several months in advance is your best bet as the full amount for a Disney cruise is due 90 days prior to sailing. In addition, the further in advance you book, the better the deals and discounts will be.
To book a Disney cruise, visit the Disney Cruise Line website, contact your local cruise travel agent or visit any of the following discount booking search engines to shop and compare!
About Carnival Cruise Lines
Besides Disney Cruise Line, no other cruise line in the world attracts more families with kids of all ages and cruisers of all kinds (especially those on a budget) than Carnival Cruise Line. In fact, Carnival Cruise Line carries more passengers that any other cruise line in service today making it the “Most Popular Cruise Line in the World.”
Not only does Carnival Cruise Lines offer some of the most affordable cruises on the market today, it also features a wide variety of exciting destinations, an excellent selection of theme cruises, exciting excursions, and flexible schedules that will appeal to the couple interested in a European vacation to the family interested in a fun-filled Caribbean cruise. Carnival Cruise Lines’ destinations include: Alaska (Glacier, Northbound Alaska, Southbound Alaska), Bahamas, Canada/New England, the Eastern, Southern, and Western, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico (Baja Mexico, Mexican Riviera), Panama Canal, and South America. Carnival Cruise Lines also offers special voyages to Bermuda and Transatlantic sailings.
Carnival Cruise Lines’ Fun Ship Fleet includes: Carnival Conquest, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Elation, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Glory, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Pride, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor, Carnival Celebration, Carnival Victory, Carnival Holiday, and Carnival Dream.
Carnival Cruises offers itineraries ranging from a two-day ‘cruise to nowhere’ from Norfolk, VA up to itineraries consisting of 10 days or more to Europe, Alaska, Mexico, and more. Depending on the type of cruise, whether it’s an Alaskan cruise or a Mexican Cruise, shore excursions run the gamut from glacier adventure cruises and historic horseback riding tours to swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling, jeep tours, motor coach journeys, and rain forest exploration, to name a few.
Depending on the length of the cruise, passengers may spend a day or two at sea or even more. Luckily, Carnival Cruise Lines onboard experience is just as exciting as its destinations. Onboard, passengers will enjoy one of Carnival Cruise Lines many restaurants ranging from casual to posh, nightlife such as gambling at casinos (all Carnival Cruise Lines’ casinos feature slot machines, black jack, poker, and roulette), nightclubs, bars, lounges, live music shows and other live performances. Passengers can also take golf lessons, swim, shop, or spend the day at Carnival Cruises’ Spa Carnival Spa Carnival features a health club with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a jogging track, and aerobics classes. It also features a steam room and sauna, full-body massage services, facials, loofah treatments, manicures, pedicures, and hairstyling.
Depending on a number of factors ranging from accommodations (interior, ocean view, balcony, suite, and penthouse suite) destination, when you book, and how you book (online, through an agent, in-person) Carnival Cruise Lines rates may start at around $299 up to $700 or more. If you book on the Carnival Cruise Lines website, there are plenty of opportunities to score a discount. Carnival cruises offers Alaska specials, Caribbean cruise specials, family deals, special rates on new itineraries, specials on European sailings, New York specials, specials on theme cruises, and ‘fun from Florida’ deals. A good example is Carnival Cruises’ 5-day Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Carnival Destiny. Starting at $349, this cruise departs from Miami, Florida with stops in Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, and Nassau, Bahamas.
For more information about Carnival Cruise Lines or to book your Carnival Cruise vacation, visit the official Carnival Cruise Lines website at www.carnival.com. You can also book a Carnival Cruise (for some of the lowest prices available) through just about any booking search engine such as Expedia.com or Orbitz.com.