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Latest Family travel articles

SeaWorld Orlando’s new virtual reality roller coaster opened to the public on June 16.

SeaWorld Orlando is ready to unleash your summer

June 20, 2017

Just in time for summer vacation, one of the fiercest underwater legends has come to life in an entirely new way. SeaWorld Orlando’s original roller coaster offers an adventure for thrill-seeking guests unlike any other, now that Kraken Unleashed opened to the public on June 16.

Imagine seeing a total solar eclipse like this at sea.

Royal Caribbean features the Total Eclipse Cruise

June 9, 2017

Americans will pause for a moment on August 21, head out its door and look to the sky. A total solar eclipse is set to become one of the summer’s most memorable moments, and many will ask, “Where were you?”

A total solar eclipse hasn’t crossed the continental United States since 1918

This hasn't become a media sensation just yet, but now's the time to plan if you'd like to see it.

A smart bet? Look to Royal Caribbean, which announced that it will offer a special set of events to coincide with the eclipse on a journey dubbed the Total Eclipse Cruise.

“We’re set to take vacationers on an unprecedented experience that is nearly a century in the making,” Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement. 

Royal Caribbean’s newest smartship, Symphony of the Seas, will debut in April 2018 as the world's biggest cruise ship.

Symphony of the Seas by the numbers (infographic)

May 18, 2017

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, is coming our way in April 2018, and when it debuts it will be the world's biggest cruise ship, slightly larger than Harmony of the Seas.

Here is our preview of the ship with a rundown of its features and amenities. And yes, it's open for booking.

Royal Caribbean shared the following infographic about the smartship, now under construction:

West Whale Bay in Bermuda features a secluded beach.

Disney Cruise Line adds Bermuda, Quebec City in 2018

May 12, 2017

Disney Cruise Line will make its debut in Bermuda and Quebec City, Canada, next year.

The cruise line revealed new details regarding its fall 2018 itineraries Thursday, including announcing that it will make first-time visits to those ports on new sailings from New York.

Disney also confirmed a trio of special sailings out of the Big Apple that will include stops at Walt Disney World and Disney's Castaway Cay private island in the Bahamas. Plus, the cruise line revealed additional voyages sailing out of California, Texas and Florida late next year.

The advent of MSC for Me promises technological advances for passengers of all ages.

The smartship wars are here!

March 31, 2017

At the Seatrade cruise trade show and conference earlier this month in Ft. Lauderdale, the top brass of MSC Cruises was on hand to outline an ambitious game plan that doubles the size of its fleet and triples its passenger capacity from the current 1.8 million passengers a year to more than 5 million annual passengers by 2026.

MSC's new megaship will have 16,000 points of connectivity, 700 digital access points, 114 interactive screens & 2,244 staterooms that open automatically

Notably, all of the new ships coming online will be next-generation smartships: The sleek new MSC Meraviglia debuts a new class of 5,714-passenger ships in June, MSC Seaside will launch in Miami in December as the first in a new class of 5,179-passenger ships, followed by a Meraviglia Plus class of 6,297-passenger megaships starting in 2019 and a World class of ships starting in 2022. 

What they all have in common is a new set of technologies — rolling out starting in June — that will put MSC Cruises at the forefront of the next generation of smartships. And Swiss-based MSC is betting big that its European stylings, world-class entertainment plus state-of-the-art tech will attract millions of new customers in North America; currently, only 10 percent of MSC’s overall passengers are from North America.

“North America here we come!” MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago declared to the assembled travel writers at Seatrade. 

Choose the spa or the pool for a quick dip — Carnival Vista offers many activities poolside.

Carnival Vista cruise review

December 27, 2016

From via

Carnival Cruise Line has had much to celebrate in 2016 with the launch of the 25th ship in its fleet, the Vista. We got an insider’s look at the brand new liner on one of its early voyages from Miami to check out the gizmos and gadgets that keep the ship afloat and the party going.

 The Carnival Vista was built in Italy, and after its completion in March of this year, it’s made its way from Europe to New York and down to the Port of Miami, where it currently sets sail with a variety of destinations. Cruise date options range from four days to eight days with a price range of $349 to $849 on average per person (taxes, fees and port expenses not included). We joined the five-day, sold out cruise embarking from the Port of Miami and traveling to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and Grand Turk Island. The short trip was just long enough for us to test and enjoy every attraction aboard.

 Although most features on the ship come with no additional charge to guests, some entertainment costs extra. Tickets for the IMAX theater are $12.95 for adults, specialty dining ranges from $5 to $35 per person, and internet plans range from $5 to $25 per day. As usual, alcohol and soda cost money unless you have a beverage package, starting from $49.95 per day for alcohol and $6.50 per day for soda for adults.

Walter Christen's insight:

I enjoy cruising on the larger cruise ships as the ship becomes an additional destination. Carnival Cruise Line's Vista has a lot of the amenities and entertainment to keep almost anyone (including the kids) busy on a cruise. I particularly like the IMAX theater and I really want to give the Skyride a try. 


Bringing your little one on board? The Youth Center aboard your Princess ship offers a venue full of activities, including drawing and face painting.

Revamped Princess youth centers spring from Discovery partnership

December 20, 2016

From via

Princess Cruises expanded its partnership with Discovery Communications to create reimagined youth centers with new themes, experiences and designs.

This multimillion-dollar investment is rolling out fleetwide through 2018, with program implementation taking place in early 2017 and new center designs planned for installation during scheduled ship renovations. There are three center themes catering to specific age groups.

Camp Discovery, for ages 3-12, includes The Treehouse (formerly Pelicans) for ages 3-7 and The Lodge (formerly Shockwaves) for ages 8-12. The Treehouse consists of a bright, whimsical forest and animal-themed center with hands-on activities, while The Lodge is inspired by the great outdoors and filled with sports activities and fun places for kids to explore, hang out and lounge.

The Beach House (previously Remix), for ages 13-17, provides a contemporary, surf-themed lounge where teens can hang out and socialize.

Walter Christen's insight:

To appeal to a wide variety of children, youth programs on cruise ships need varied programs and updated to today's technologies.  Nice to see that Princess Cruises understands and is making the changes needed to keep up.  I was impressed with some of their new upcoming offerings like 'MythBusters' science activities. 


Hot magma flows into the Pacific from a volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Cruising in Hawaii: the world's most relaxing family cruise?

December 11, 2016

From via

Stretching ahead, as far as the eye could see, was a desolate expanse of volcanic rock, broken only by a plume of white smoke rising from a crater into the cloudy sky.All was quiet, all was calm. Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire who reputedly resides in the crater of the Kilauea volcano, was obviously (and a little disappointingly) at peace that day.The Hawaiian Islands are famously volcanic, their lush terrain a by-product of the mercurial elements that have made this tropical archipelago one of the most geologically volatile places on earth. On the Big Island – where our ship Grand Princess was moored during a 14-night cruise of the islands – such tempestuous outpourings are confined to the 500-square-mile Volcanoes National Park, one of their top attractions.

Walter Christen's insight:

The Hawaiian Islands are very beautiful and there are many things to see and do.  I would have to agree that a cruise to the Hawaiian Islands would be a great family vacation although I am unsure if the number of sea days would go over well with my family.  Might be better to fly and take a cruise around to the different islands. Norwegian Cruise lines would be the only option for this type of cruise. 


12 reasons why family reunion cruises rule

November 30, 2016

From via

Over the holidays, 30 members of my family and I were lucky enough to have a family reunion on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas for 5 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Cozumel, Mexico and back. We had a fabulous time. Here are 12 reasons why family reunion cruises rule:

Walter Christen's insight:

I have been on many cruises over the years and do not think I have ever not seen a large family reunion group. On the last Royal Caribbean cruise we were on this past may, there was a group that had matching baseball jerseys and instead of their names on the back, they had their nicknames.  Some of them were very funny.

We have cruised with my in-laws and even had my niece join once.  The ability to get together was wonderful, but also being able to "get lost" on the ship if you needed some away time was good.

5 Thanksgiving cruises that are perfect for families

November 30, 2016

From via

This Thanksgiving, forget the cooking and cleaning and instead focus on spending quality time with your loved ones onboard one of the five best holiday cruises for families. With sailings throughout the holiday week, these cruises keep all the traditions intact, while adding fun and inventive ways to celebrate the feast. From pumpkin-pie cocktails to post-dinner NFL games shows on jumbo screens, the comforts of home have never been more buoyant.

Walter Christen's insight:

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take that multigenerational family cruise or a group cruise with friends and family.  Imaging not having to cook and clean for the holiday and also not worrying about fitting all the leftovers in the refrigerator. Missing the black Friday craziness is also a plus. 

Disney Wonder visits the Port of San Diego.

Five things to love about the revamped Disney Wonder

November 28, 2016

From via

Aboard the Disney Wonder -- It was another makeover for the record books.

As can be seen in the photo tour above, the six-week overhaul this fall of the 1,754-passenger Disney Wonder, one of Disney Cruise Line's two original ships, brought major changes to wide swaths of the vessel including eateries, lounges and cabins. The grand Lobby Atrium, a signature feature, was completely reworked. The Mickey-shaped kiddie pool, an icon of the ship since its debut in 1999, was replaced by a new watery fun zone.

USA TODAY got a peek at the revamped vessel in recent days as it resumed sailings out of Galveston, Texas, and here we highlight five things we love about it.


Frozen, a Musical SpectacularTiana’s Place RestaurantAquaLabCrown & Fin PubMarvel Super Hero Academy


Walter Christen's insight:

My family cruised on the Disney Wonder in 2003. it was a great cruise for the whole family.  It is still one of my children's most talked about cruises even though they are older now.  The changes that Disney has done on this latest revamp look like they are hitting the mark with both children and adults alike.


A look at the 2017 debut of MSC Seaside

November 28, 2016

Switzerland-based cruise line MSC Cruises has just floated out its next megaship, MSC Seaside — one of two new groundbreaking vessels it's debuting between June and December 2017 (the other is MSC Meraviglia in June) — in a gala ceremony that took place Thanksgiving weekend at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the ship is being built. (See Cruiseable's preview of MSC Seaside.)

The float-out is an important milestone in the construction of a cruise ship as it is the moment where the ship first floats on water when the dry dock is flooded and the ship is moved to a wet dock for the final phase of her construction. The exterior of the ship is complete and work moves to complete interiors, fixtures and fittings.