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November 07, 2004

KID FRIENDLY CRUISES

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CRUISE VACATION OFFERS SOMETHING FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY

New York - Recognizing the importance of ‚??family time‚?Ě and the need for consumers to make the most of their travel dollars, the member lines of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are now offering a variety of shipboard amenities and activities to make cruising the ideal family-friendly vacation.

With the wide variety of cruises available today, it‚??s no wonder that nearly 1 million children sailed aboard CLIA ships last year. In fact, multi-generational families are one of the fastest-growing segments of the entire cruise market.

‚??A cruise vacation has something for all ages. Cruises make learning fun, treat both kids and adults like VIPs and offer the most value of any family vacation available today,‚?Ě says Terry L. Dale, CLIA‚??s president and CEO. ‚??Cruising makes planning your family‚??s summer vacation much simpler.‚?Ě

Cruises are very ‚??family-friendly‚??, with accommodations designed with families in mind and meals featuring such kid-favorites as hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, ice cream and chicken nuggets.

‚??Cruising‚??s all-inclusive nature ‚?? coupled with special children‚??s pricing that may be available ‚?? make a cruise a great vacation value, particularly as rising gas prices increase the cost of family road trips,‚?Ě says Dale.

Among the unique elements of a family-focused cruise vacation is that there is something for everyone, which also makes cruising a wonderful option for family reunions and multi-generational vacations. The CLIA cruise lines have developed programs combining ‚??alone time‚?Ě (after all, both adults and kids need time to themselves) with family ‚??together‚?Ě time. While the youngsters are enjoying themselves in supervised age-appropriate activities, for example, the adults can take in the sun on deck, enjoy pampering in the spa or take an enrichment class. Then everyone can get together for dinner and share their experiences.

To ensure that Mom and Dad can enjoy their vacation and some time together without worrying about the youngsters, the lines have developed extensive children‚??s programs with specific activities tailored to the interests and needs of each age group. Activities, including treasure hunts, water games, crafts, movies and special parties, are offered under the direction of a caring staff of highly trained counselors that ensure the children are in a safe and secure environment.

Even often hard-to-please teens will find plenty to enjoy in ‚??clubs‚?Ě designed just for their age group.

There are cruises to suit any family‚??s schedule ‚?? from an extended weekend getaway to a week or even longer. Plus, with more ships departing from ports within easy driving distance of many North Americans, families can eliminate the costs and logistics associated with flying.

Following is a sampling of the family-friendly programs and amenities available on CLIA member-line ships:

Carnival Cruise Lines features expansive play areas with spin and sand art machines, video walls displaying movies and cartoons and candy-making machines. Each ship has at least three pools and a water slide. Kid-friendly dining options include children‚??s menus in the main dining rooms, as well as 24-hour pizza and ice cream. Other features include turn-down service with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at bedtime, and a new program where children can dine with the youth counselors. Babysitting services are available.

Celebrity Cruises‚?? Family Cruising Program, which includes four age groups, is available during summer and seasonal sailing periods. Celebrity Science Journeys is a hands-on age-appropriate program that encourages children to learn about science and nature. Topics include pirates, sunken treasure and excavation; biomes, pollination and the solar system; natural phenomena and ‚??man-made disasters‚?Ě; encounters with insects and arachnids; listening to sea life (including dolphins and whales) communicating underwater; and weather patterns.

Costa Cruises‚?? Costa Kids Club features scavenger hunts, Italian language lessons, games, ‚??coketail‚?Ě parties, pizza parties and kids‚?? karaoke while the Costa Teens Club offers activities specially geared toward 15 to 17 year olds. Also offered on Caribbean cruises is ‚??Parents Night(s) Out,‚?Ě enabling parents to spend the evening alone while their children are supervised in their own activities.

On Alaska cruises onboard Crystal Cruises‚?? Crystal Harmony, children under the age of 12 sail free on all 10 of the 12-day cruises when sharing the same stateroom with two adults. They can also learn social skills through the line‚??s Cotillion program. The line‚??s ships have a fully supervised Junior Activities program for youngsters ages 17 and under on holiday and summer cruises that include a children‚??s playroom, teen video arcade, movies, and a variety of games and activities.

Cunard Line‚??s Queen Mary 2 offers extensive children‚??s facilities broken into three age groups: Nursery, 1-2, run by nannies, with cribs and beds in the facility; Play Zone, 3-5 and 6-8; and The Zone, 9-11. Children‚??s Tea is served in the Kings Court, which is decorated with balloons, artwork place mats and crayons at each setting. The ship also has a Minnows Splash Pool for children only, Children‚??s Disco, ball pool and Xboxes in the Zone and Play Zone.

On Disney Cruise Line, adults can enjoy an adults-only pool, a nighttime entertainment district, a full-service spa and salon, a secluded beach with massage cabanas overlooking the sea and a specialty Italian restaurant. Children enjoy supervised programming in five different age groups, a kids-only pool, a teen club and swimming, snorkeling, boating and biking on Castaway Cay, Disney‚??s private island. Families can enjoy three different themed restaurants, first-run Disney movies and animated classics and original Disney musicals on stage.

Holland America Line is expanding Club HAL. Facilities on the entire fleet will expand to match those on Vista ships; the project is set to be completed by 2006. Half Moon Cay, the line‚??s private island, has new features including a waterpark area for kids and adults.

MSC Cruises caters to kids with its Mini-Club recreation facility and video arcade on its newest ships, MSC Lirica and MSC Opera. Babysitting service is also available for parents who want to enjoy some time apart from their children.

Norwegian Cruise Line‚??s enhanced ‚??Kid‚??s Crew‚?Ě program features expanded hours of operation and a year-round program for children ages 2-5. Kids 2-17 enjoy a four-tiered lineup of supervised activities designed for each age group, including games, parties, scavenger hunts, visits to the Captain‚??s bridge, wacky cooking classes, T-shirt painting and video games. There are also coordinated on-shore activities such as a treasure hunt and sandcastle building competition on the line‚??s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

Princess Cruises offers kids new interactive placemats/menus in the dining rooms ‚?? a different mat each night ‚?? featuring the children‚??s menu choices as well as interactive games and interesting facts about the ship or destination. California Science Center and National Wildlife Federation programming are also part of the kids‚?? program.

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises‚?? Club Mariner program for ages 6-17 is offered on more voyages than ever this year, including summer itineraries on Seven Seas Voyager in the Baltic, Seven Seas Mariner in Alaska and Seven Seas Navigator in Bermuda. Caribbean holiday sailings (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years) on the three ships and Radisson Diamond will also offer Club Mariner programs.

On Royal Caribbean International‚??s Mariner of the Seas, younger children have options for fun-filled days, from the Challenger‚??s Arcade and scavenger hunts to sport tournaments and art and science workshops. The ship features three ultra-hip, teen-only areas: Fuel nightclub, complete with ‚??mocktails,‚?Ě teen-favorite foods and dance music; The Living Room hangout, furnished with TVs, a coffee bar and games; and The Back Deck, a private outdoor deck where teens can sunbathe during the day and dance under the stars at night.

‚??The best place to start planning a family vacation is by visiting a travel agency affiliated with CLIA, the non-profit association representing the North American cruise industry,‚?Ě says Dale. ‚??The staff there is specially trained to answer your questions, help you find the right cruise for you and make planning a summer cruise vacation a breeze.‚?Ě

The more than 16,000 CLIA-affiliated travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada are the best resources when it comes to helping select the summer cruise vacation that best suits your needs. They are familiar with more information than ever before, including the 19 CLIA-member cruise lines, the CLIA fleet of nearly 150 ships, the more than 1,800 worldwide destinations visited by cruise ships and the ever-expanding list of amenities available to travelers.

Click Here For More Information About Kids Programs On Cruise Ships

Press Release By CLIA

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Posted by Denise at November 7, 2004 06:24 PM
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