Cruise lines have long been ahead of the curve in appealing to families, and that trend extends from mainstream lines to some of the priciest companies in the industry. How do you know which ship is right for you? Factors to consider are the ages of your children and whether or not you want a full-service supervised kid’s program or just an occasional spot of babysitting. You should also consider what dining venues are available on board, the cabin size and configuration and, of course, price and destination.
You can also check out consumer surveys to see what appeals to other parents. This year, for example, CruiseCompete, an online cruise marketplace, tapped into its database to come up with its 2017 Family Friendly Cruise Planner, a list of the most requested cruise lines by category. In other words, while not all these requests for information resulted in bookings, they show the trends today’s families are looking for on the high seas.
In the category Contemporary & Upscale Contemporary Cruise Lines, for example, the most requested line was Royal Caribbean International, followed by Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.
And while the more expensive, exclusive lines don’t draw the same crowds of families with young children as the mainstream lines do — don’t expect to find supervised children’s programs with age-appropriate activities on most of them, for example — it’s interesting to note they are nonetheless popular with some family groups. Think multi-generational families, for example, and families with older children.
Among the Ultra-Premium lines, Cunard topped the list, followed by Windstar Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Oceania Cruises, while SeaDream Yacht Club snagged the No. 1 spot among Ultra-Luxury Cruise Lines, followed by Silversea Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Seabourn.
Keep in mind, though, that while other people’s opinions can be helpful, you know your family dynamics best and should make your choice based on your unique group. It’s also important not to overlook the needs of the adults in the group. If you love gourmet food and wine with flexible timing, and a great spa experience is important to you, don’t be too quick to jump on a ship that offers standard fare, assigned dining and a routine fitness center just because there’s a fun kids’ program. The good news is, in today’s cruise environment, savvy parents can find the right ship that has it all.
Only the bravest of family travelers should venture to Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights. Every year, Universal Orlando turns into the spookiest place in Florida, if not in the country. On select nights throughout the season, visitors and locals alike can head to the popular amusement park for frights, scares and thrilling adventures. Explore 10 terrifying haunted houses; five scare zones; live entertainment; and themed attractions, food and merchandise.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
With kids back in school and the grueling temperatures of summer finally behind us, life is starting to get back into the routine of fall. That doesn’t mean, however, that family fun has to stop. Big international trips may not be practical for all family travelers this time of year, but places like South County in Rhode Island offer so many fun things to do for families, a quick trip to this East Coast haven is practically a must.
Take Part in England’s Exmoor Dark Skies Festival Dusk Wildlife Safaris and Children’s Art Competition
Planning a trip to the United Kingdom soon? Time your travel for the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival in Somerset, England, from Oct. 13 to 29. The setting is Exmoor National Park, located within a gorgeous mix of farmland, wild forests, stunning valleys and moorlands in South West England.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Part of a family who just loves a good scare or ghost story? This fall, wherever your travels might take you, chances are you’ll be near an Omni hotel or resort with a history of haunted sightings and other scary happenings. So, why not learn a bit about where you’re staying to make the experience all the more eerie …