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Travel Blog

Latest Family travel articles

MSC Seashore at Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.

MSC Seashore makes Caribbean debut

December 17, 2021
Review by Janeen Christoff / Agent Studio

MSC Seashore is the first ship in MSC's Seaside EVO Class, which stems from the cruise line's original Seaside Class. Seaside-class ships were the first purpose-built by MSC for the American market. Seashore is the first of two enriched Seaside EVO-class ships and is outfitted with advanced environmental technology to increase energy efficiency.

While the MSC Seashore was designed for the U.S. traveler, it has a distinctly European flair. For example, dinners are long and the staff is understated rather than overly outgoing.

For travelers sailing on MSC Seashore will find an elegant vibe and an outstanding variety of dining and entertainment venues that offer an immersive experience without being overdone. Some spots could be called kitschy, but instead of feeling cheap, they feel fun.

Nothing kicks off the start of a vacation like stepping onboard to a "wow" moment, and that is just what happens when guests set foot onboard and see the four-deck atrium with changing screens, sparkling chrome mirrors and adorned on either side with Swarovski crystal staircases. It's also the perfect spot for a concert with stages for musicians on three levels.

Odyssey of the Seas' launch was postponed because some crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

One more hurdle before boarding that cruise ship

July 1, 2021

In the wake of a somewhat rocky re-entry into cruising, Royal Caribbean International is now requiring unvaccinated passengers age 12 and older to show proof of insurance that covers all COVID-19 medical expenses. The move comes on the heels of the discovery of COVID-19 cases on its recent cruises.

In June two teenagers tested positive for the virus on Adventure of the Seas.  And before that two other people tested positive on Celebrity Millennium. In all instances the cruise line covered quarantine and evacuation expenses.

The line also was forced to postpone its launch of Odyssey of the Seas after crew members proved positive for the virus.

Allure of the Seas has received approval for test cruises starting July 27, 2021.

Royal Caribbean gets OK for more test cruises

June 4, 2021

Two more Royal Caribbean International ships have received approval for test cruises from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

“Yippee,” Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley wrote on Facebook on June 3. “Just got approval from the CDC for our simulated sailings on Allure of the Seas for July 27 to July 29 from Port Canaveral and Symphony of the Seas sailing from Miami on August 1st to 3rd.”

Royal Caribbean previously received approval to operate a test cruise on Freedom of the Seas June 20-22 from PortMiami.

The simulated cruises are required for ships that don’t mandate vaccinations of at least 98 percent of its crew and 95 percent of its passengers – the latter of which is difficult to do for companies that attract families since most young children aren’t eligible for the vaccines yet.

Black bear cubs in Glacier Bay National Park.

Holland America focuses on family with reduced fares & promos

June 14, 2019

Are you wondering if cruising with the whole family is a good idea? Maybe you worry that the tots or teenagers won’t have a good time.

Well, Holland America thinks its ships are perfect for families from toddlers to grandparents. The line is offering family fares this summer that allow the third and fourth child or adult in the same stateroom to sail free.

So once on board, what do you do with the kids?

Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America, says, “If you want to experience new cultures with family, bring history to life for your children or just have a fun-in-the-sun vacation, then we’re the cruise line for you.”

Carnival Miracle will offer four- to 15-day cruises from the Bay Area to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico starting in 2020.

Carnival begins San Francisco departures in 2020

January 3, 2019

Last week Carnival Cruise Line announced that it will launch its first San Francisco departures in 2020, offering four- to 15-day cruises from the Bay Area to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico aboard Carnival Miracle.

First up, beginning March 19, 2020, will be four-day weekend cruises from San Francisco to Ensenada, Mexico, followed by five and six-day trips to Ensenada, Catalina Island and San Diego this spring.

Fifteen-day Hawaiian cruises begin April 16, with stops in Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island, plus Ensenada. And summer will bring 10-day Alaska cruises — with stops in Juneau, Skagway and Icy Strait Point — that start from and return to San Francisco.

30 Reasons to book Disney Cruise Line for Families

June 13, 2018

From via


"It’s all in the details: everywhere you turn on a Disney ship, and everyone you interact with, has that special ‘Disney Difference’. Service, amenities, and ports-of-call all come with that undeniable layer of ‘pixie dust’ when you cruise with Disney."


Kirshan Murphy's insight:

When looking for travel options for families, a cruise is a fun and cost effective way to go.  This article breaks down many reasons why you should consider Disney Cruise Line for your next family trip.  Let us know in the comments any of your own family cruise experiences with Disney.


Dining options abound on Crown Eat Street

Crown Princess emerges from dry dock with new features that delight the appetite

June 4, 2018

New dining options and upgraded cabins greet passengers on Mediterranean cruises

Passenger sailing on  Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess this summer will be delighted and surprised by her recent facelift that includes additional culinary options and upgrades in cabins, public rooms and the Lotus Spa.

The ship debuted in 2006 and a dozen years later it was time for a facelift.  One of the most noticeable changes is the new signature logo on her bow, but of more interest to passengers will be the increased array of dining options, including: 

The Sky Pad is being called "the first virtual reality bungee trampoline experience at sea."

New on Royal: 'Virtual reality bungee trampolines' (video)

May 30, 2018

I've been waiting to see what Royal Caribbean was cooking up when it announced plans to add some "wow" factor to its older ships, and now we have a good idea: the Sky Pad, called "the first virtual reality bungee trampoline experience at sea."

Royal has put together a fun little 30-second video about the installation of Sky Pad on its 10-year-old Independence of the Seas taking place this month.

 Carnival Splendor sails in and around the Caribbean during winter months. Summer cruises include Eastern Caribbean destinations as well as cruises to Atlantic Canada and New England.

Carnival Splendor announces milestone voyage to Vietnam, Guam & Malaysia

May 16, 2018

Oct. 30, 2019, marks the beginning of Carnival Journeys with the start of a 24-day trans-Pacific crossing on Carnival Splendor from Long Beach, Calif., to Singapore.  The cruise is not only the lengthiest single voyage the line has ever offered but the first time Carnival has ever sent a ship to Guam, Vietnam and Malaysia on a North American departure.

Passengers on this trip will be offered a variety of activities that include sessions on photography, cooking, arts and crafts and celestial navigation, along with a 1980s-themed Throwback Sea Day. 

Queen Latifah will be named godmother of Carnival Horizon during a gala ceremony on the ship May 23.

Queen Latifah named godmother of new Carnival Horizon

March 1, 2018

She’s the queen of hip hop, a TV and movie actress, author, record company president and entrepreneur. And now Queen Latifah can add godmother to her royal portfolio.

It's a very cool choice. As Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy explains: ”With her fun-loving spirit and positive, can-do attitude, Queen Latifah embodies our brand and knows how to ‘Choose Fun’ in everything she does. ... Knowing that she is a long-time supporter of St. Jude and has performed and won ‘Lip Sync Battle’ made her the ideal candidate to serve as godmother to our newest ship.”

The Internet Cafe on Carnival Fascination — and dozens of other ships — may be getting faster Internet in the near future.

Carnival Corp. ships to get faster Internet

September 28, 2017

One of my editors took an Alaska cruise this summer and was bummed out about the excruciatingly slow and sometimes non-existent, Internet service on the ship.  So he did what many of us do, went to port in search of cyber cafes to do his business and posting.

Slow Internet service on ships has caused me to be less than ladylike as I try to file articles and photos while watching that little circle spin around and around or get the dreaded "Internet Connection Not Available."

Oosterdam at dusk during a sailaway out of Port Tampa Bay.

Drone video of Oosterdam in Tampa Bay

July 26, 2017

Here's a 2 1/2-minute drone video of Holland America's Oosterdam — which I just sailed on last week in Alaska — during a sailaway out of Port Tampa Bay for a Western Caribbean cruise. Some "crazy beautiful footage" of the ship leaving at dusk, as the videography team put it. 

The drone gets closer to the ship than in most cruise ship videos I've seen. The music chosen wouldn't be my first choice. But overall, short and sweet.