How is it one family can have a wonderful time on a cruise and another can’t wait for it to be over? Barring illness, rough weather or other unforeseeable hiccups, there are a few things you can do to boost your odds of having a great vacation on the high seas.
Avoid Spring break. Being stuck on a ship with masses of spring breakers is a recipe for disaster for anyone who doesn’t want to party all night, but is especially tough if you are traveling with your children. Cruise lines stepped up efforts to curb under-age drinking and unsupervised crowds of young people, but your best bet still is to pick a different week for your vacation. Remember not every school has the same week off, so consider working with a cruise-only travel agent to pick the best time for you and your family.
The same precautions apply to shore excursions. Realize sunset cruises, for example, are typically booze cruises, and while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, it might not be the family-friendly atmosphere you’re looking for. If you’re hoping for a catamaran snorkel outing the whole family will enjoy, for example, do a little research before you book and don’t hesitate to ask for more information at the shore excursion counter.
Speaking of shore excursions, it’s a good idea to pre-book as many of them as possible online before you board. The popular ones often sell out, so if you and the kids have your hearts set on seeing dolphins or ziplining, for example, don’t wait too long to book.
That said, realize you can usually change your mind once on board, as long as you don’t wait until the last minute. If the first snorkel outing didn’t work out for junior, for example, or if the sea seems choppy, check out the shore excursion list to see if there is something you might like better.
Compare kids clubs. Check to see how many age groups are catered to, especially if you don’t like the idea of having your 11-year-old hanging with 15-year-olds, for example. On the flip side, is there any flexibility in moving children from group to group? If your children are close in age but are put into separate age group, determine ahead of time if they can stay together, especially if you think that’s important to them. Ask if your children can check themselves in and out or if Mom and Dad need to be on hand for the pick up. There’s no right or wrong philosophy on this, but you know your children best, so make your decision accordingly. Consider how you will stay in touch with your children if they are in the kids club. Today’s cruise lines have become inventive with loaner walkie-talkies and smartphones that help parents and kids stay touch even when they are out of sight. Finally, don’t forget very young and older kids. If your children are infants, are they too young for the kids club? Different ships have different accommodations for babies. And moody teens, who may think they don’t want any part of organized onboard activities, might find themselves wooed by teen-only discos and meet-and-greet sessions to help them break the ice with other older kids.
Don’t overpack. Space in cruise ship staterooms is limited, and today’s ships offer laundry service. Also, unless you specifically want to dress up for formal night, you can leave the ball gown and tiara at home.
All airplane flights begin on the ground. An airport is the starting point, but airspace issues continue to expand from the terrestrial to the aerial. Altitude is no barrier when countries claim sovereignty from the Earth to beyond the stratosphere.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
Flanked by the ski resort-studded Balkan Mountains and situated directly downwind from the fragrant pine forests of the Vitosha mountain, Sofia’s gorgeous landscape and strategic location between Asia and Europe put it at a crossroads where business and pleasure intermingle effortlessly. In recent years Bulgaria’s capital city has ranked as one of the top 10 best places in the world for startup businesses, and the onslaught of new tax exemptions for businesses looking to invest in the country make it an attractive option for many corporations to begin operations within the city.
While large areas of Colorado are experiencing exponential growth with far too many trees being clear-cut (it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the country), it’s still the home for great businesses striving to make the world a little greener. Those businesses include Sherpani, creators of women’s day bags, backpacks and travel bags, including a line of sophisticated, beautifully crafted items made from recycled plastic.
This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.