New Reasons To Consider Cruise Vacations

 For those who love to travel, cruise vacations make it easy. No surprise there. Unpacking once and visiting multiple destinations appeals to those who have done land vacations. The outstanding inclusive value cruising represents, when compared to other travel options, is undeniable. Reason enough to consider cruising your go to travel choice? Probably, but there are other reasons as well, some we don’t think about too much.

Something For Everyone, If You Know Where To Look
To say “there is something for everyone” on a cruise vacation has been a standard talking point of travel agents for a long time. But the ‘one size fits all nature’ of cruise vacations is changing as cruise lines look to zero in on their target passenger base. No longer satisfied with a laundry list of activities, features and onboard programming they could not possibly complete on a 7-day cruise, savvy cruise travelers are looking for something more. They don’t want to feel overwhelmed and are choosing a cruise line offering an experience that matches their desires.

Evolving Cruise Lines Put Best Foot Forward And Hope You Like The Style
Need proof that cruise lines are different? Visit your choice of three major cruise line web sites. Upon arrival, note the different feel, navigation options and what each line is featuring. Now, spend a few minutes on each web site. Give yourself ten clicks of time. Click on anything you want to; whatever looks good to you but stop on the tenth click. Now go back and review where you ended on each site. Odds are, one of those will appeal to you more than the others. This is a great example of how cruise lines are moving from ‘something for everyone’ to ‘something specifically for you’, or at least making us think that. Keep those windows open, we’ll revisit them shortly, for another reason.

Family Style No Longer Means Supersized
Some cruise lines cater to families and families are getting smarter all the time. In the past, dropping the kids at the cruise line’s children’s program was just what we did, not to be thought of all that much. Now, cruise lines have incorporated branded elements of well-known iconic characters ranging from SpongeBob Squarepants and the stable of Dreamworks characters to edutaining Dr Seuss. Arguably, none of them will stand up to Disney’s Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto), featured on Disney Cruise Line, but unique programming on all are making an active (as opposed to passive) cruise experience for children.

Information Sources Getting Better All The Time
Thank the rise and popularity of mommy bloggers for putting an extreme focus on what cruise lines are offering families. While most mommy bloggers seem to focus on all travel options available to families, some have a good reputation in the cruise travel community as being well-versed in which lines to what better than others. Stefanie Fauquet of Mommy Musings comes to mind; a mommy blogger with an young(adorable) daughter in tow who sails frequently. Shannon Hurst Lane from the Vacation Gals is another, currently enjoying the late teen years of her children. Both have been there and done that.

Adults Only Please, With Few Exceptions
Other cruise lines could care less about children and offer an experience totally without them in mind. Luxury cruise lines sail longer itineraries that cost more and knock the lions share of young families out of the running. They like it that way too, offering an upscale experience that is often focused on the destinations, not ship features.

The rapidly expanding world of river cruising is a good example with ships that have zero children’s facilities, programming or even a place for them to sleep.

On a 15-day Viking River Cruise last Summer, I was surprised to see a few kids along for the ride. The longships of Viking River Cruises are set for two people only per cabin, few onboard attractions might scare the bejesus out of most families but the well-mannered, brainiac children on board Viking Odin were into the experience. For the right kids, sailing through history might be one of the best gifts a parent can give them.

Group Travel Options
Once a great way to travel with friends and family, group cruises took a nose dive just before the economic recession. Prior to that difficult time, cruise lines were moving away from promoting group travel as much, choosing to prefer that we book via individual reservations which brought a better yield (profit). But after the economic recession and then some negative publicity that still haunts the industry, group cruising is back in full force, offering better value than ever.

Go back to those three websites I asked you to explore earlier, pick one and click on what looks to be a great deal. Whatever that is, if booked via a group cruise and done right, it will be a better value.

Odds are high that just being part of the group will bring a lower price. Add some onboard amenities like $onboard credit, a group cocktail party or in-cabin amenities not offered as an individual booking brings additional value. Be the leader of a group with as few as eight cabins and further financial benefits are gained too.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
Indeed, today’s cruise vacation is a whole lot different than it was ten years ago or will be ten years from now. Change, it seems, is inevitable. Unique to cruise vacations though: cruise lines are listening to us and offering what we want. Better yet, forward-thinking cruise lines are offering what we need as well.

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