FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Air Canada

Making the Most of a Family Cruise

by Barbara Rogers

Aug 7, 2020

Photo: Windstar Cruises

Cruising

Cruising is among the best ways to see a region’s highlights without the hassle of driving, foreign languages or changing hotels. But veteran cruise passengers often get a lot more value from their experience than first-time cruisers simply because they know the ropes.

 

Before choosing a ship or itinerary for your family, learn the basics of cruising to find the best value, see the best places and make the most of the shipboard experience.

 

Look for the Real Value of a Cruise

Free airfare and shore excursions mean big savings, especially if the cruise line doesn’t ordinarily offer them. These bonuses are often added to attract passengers on less popular sailing dates or fill empty cabins close to departure. Ask if some sailing dates include free air or other perks not normally included that represent real savings. Compare costs with and without airfare packages to be sure it’s a better deal than making separate air arrangements. But be sure the cost of getting from the airport to the ship, normally included in packages, doesn’t eat up any savings.

 

Consider whether all-inclusive ships, including alcoholic drinks, are a real savings — for those who drink sparingly, the added cost of these cruises might not be. Tipping adds significantly to the cost of a cruise. Know if tips are discretionary, added on to your bill automatically, or if the ship has a no-tip policy.

 

Read the Fine Print About Destinations

What is the purpose of your cruise? If it is to have family time together in a different place with lots of activities, the destination and shore stops don’t matter so much. But if it’s to combine this with real-time travel experiences, then details of port stops matter a lot. Be sure they are places you really want to see and interest your family members.

 

Check the Fine Print for How Long the Ship is in Port — and Time of Day

A three-hour stop in a major port may barely be time enough to get off the ship before it’s time to re-board. Consider what time the ship arrives and leaves. A stop late in the day may arrive after museums and attractions close. An overnight stay departing early in the morning may leave little useable time. Some cruise lines cut docking costs by arriving at less-popular hours when other ships have left, but they can still list the port on the itinerary.

 

Know the Real Value of a Shore Excursion

Before booking expensive shore excursions, do a little research to learn the sightseeing alternatives. With more than three people it’s often less expensive to hire a private English-speaking guide with a car — you can reserve these easily in advance. Or take a taxi — there are always plenty waiting at the docks and you can arrange with the driver to pick you up for the return. These details are often as simple as looking at a map on the internet. Remember many shore excursions are just bus rides past the sights without entering — your kids would rather actually explore a place than drive past.

#WhereverFamily

Insta Feed
Travel Tips
Jan 21, 2021

Back to School, Travel and More with These Brands

Shopping for your active teens, stylish young adults and avid travelers, including yourself, can be a challenge. Before getting back to travel or school, shop these stylish streetwear looks and keep up on the trails, in class or at brunch.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card Launches BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card recently launched BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com, an interactive, online resource allowing families to plan future travel together. The launch followed the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card Survey of parents and grandparents that revealed most parents believe children are important resources for planning family vacations and that one-third of parents don’t currently involve their children in planning but would like to.

Age Specific / Kids
Jan 20, 2021

Virgin Limited Edition Launches New Virtual Kids Series

The Virgin Limited Edition collection of properties came together to create a unique series of activities tailored for children. The new series will offer kids a taste of worldwide cultures and offer parents a respite with an educational and fun activity to break up the day.

North America
Jan 19, 2021

Empire State Bike Trail Opens

Bicycling enthusiasts have something to look forward to in 2021 — a 750-mile path running through New York to the Canadian border is now open to the public. First announced in 2017, the Empire State Trail officially opened in December 2020.

The Greatest Show on Earth

Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.

Destinations / North America
Jan 18, 2021

Get Cozy in the Catskills

The Urban Cowboy hospitality brand is no stranger to making city-adjacent stays feel a little more country. The newest addition to the roster, The Chalet, goes a rustic-chic step further at The Urban Cowboy property in the Catskills, New York.