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A young boy loves the waterslide action at Splashaway Bay on Harmony of the Seas.

Rob Kalmbach

A young boy loves the waterslide action at Splashaway Bay on Harmony of the Seas.

7 tips for families taking a spring break cruise

How to plan a smooth spring getaway for your fun-loving family

As an only-child who went on vacations frequently with my parents growing up, I understand the benefit of families sailing during spring break. Classes are out of session, and it’s prime time for a school holiday, particularly a weeklong cruise.

Last year Cruiseable listed 10 favorite spring break cruise vacations for 2016-17, ranging from a Caribbean getaway on Oasis of the Seas to a Princess cruise to the Mexican Riviera. While those are still great ideas for specific cruise getaways, here's a good starting point: 7 tips to help you plan a smooth spring break cruise for your family

Aruba offers plenty of family-friendly water parks and other attractions that will keep the kids occupied.
Courtesy of Aruba TourismCruise to Aruba and find plenty of family-friendly water attractions to keep the kids entertained.

Reserve your voyage well in advance

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With so many children off school, spring break (like Christmas) is one of the busiest times of the year for family trips, and that means plenty of people will want to book a cruise during the same exact window as you.

Parents of schoolchildren with schedules slightly staggered — Easter break versus spring break, for instance — from mainstream schedules have a slight edge, but ships will fill up quicker during either period. To make sure you get the cabin choice you want, book early. Doing so even a full year or longer out is not a bad idea, so it's not too early to consider a cruise in spring 2018.

Kids will have a good time exploring the world of color and creativity in Imagination Studio aboard Oasis of the Seas.
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean InternationalKids will have a good time exploring color and creativity in Imagination Studio aboard Oasis of the Seas.

Budget for higher cruise fares at that time of year

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Regardless of how soon you make a spring break booking, it is likely to be more expensive than those made for the off-season — supply and demand, after all. So, expect higher prices and budget accordingly. Alternatively, keep an eye out for cruise specials during the year that may apply to spring sailings to try and save some money. In many cases, third and fourth guests in a cabin can sail for reduced rates or completely free. (See Cruiseable's Deal Flow.)

 

Your kids can be part of a special Circus Parade as part of the children's activities in Splash Academy during your vacation on Norwegian Cruise Line.
Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise LineYour kids can be part of a special Circus Parade as part of the children's activities in Splash Academy during your vacation on Norwegian Cruise Line.

Expect more children & teens

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It should go without saying, but your family will not be the only family on board. Spring break cruises see some of the greatest numbers of children and teens of the entire year. That means kids clubs, pools and the buffet will be far more crowded, especially on family-friendly cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean.

Spend quality time with your kids on board Celebrity Reflection. Just remember, no hard fouls.
TROY_HOUSE / Courtesy of Celebrity CruisesSpend quality time with your kids on board Celebrity Reflection. Just remember, no hard fouls.

Book an alternative cruise line

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If you’re a family with older children or teens less interested in traditional kids facilities at sea, you might do well to consider a different cruise line to find more breathing room away from lots of youngsters.

Even premium, upscale and luxury lines are likely to receive more families during spring break than usual, but they will be less overrun with children than standard mainstream brands. Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line still feature kids facilities, for example, and are great for multigenerational travelers as well.

Kids frolic in the Family Pool on your Disney sailing, which sees a lot of action during the day.
Courtesy of Disney Cruise LineKids frolic in the Family Pool on a Disney sailing, which sees a lot of action during the day.

Be considerate of passengers without kids

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Not everyone else on board for spring break has children of their own. Everyone on board will appreciate good behavior from all offspring, whether they're parents or not. So, please remember that you're sharing this vacation with strangers who will thank you for keeping your children from screaming and running up and down the halls. A little discipline goes a long way.

The Sanctuary aboard your Princess Cruises ship offers guests a relaxing outdoor spa-inspired escape.
David Martinez / Courtesy of Princess CruisesThe Sanctuary aboard Princess Cruises offers a relaxing outdoor adults-only escape.

Take advantage of exclusive venues

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Family members like to sail because of the great travel memories that can be made together, but everyone occasionally enjoys some time to themselves. That’s why cruise lines include spaces just for children and just for adults to escape to.

Mom and Dad might enjoy a cocktail and entertainment in the evening while their children are having a blast in the kids club. The benefit of a cruise ship is neither group is ever far apart, and a rendezvous back at the cabin afterward or over dinner is super easy.

Consider another time of year

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Ideally, to avoid the need to adhere to any of the tips above, your family might prefer a different time altogether. School holidays in the middle of the year are compressed with little wiggle room for planning.

However, summer vacation time between school years is a broader period with more options and less density of people during any singular week. As such, this is a better alternative for scheduling a cruise longer than seven days, or there’s always the option to take shorter weekend getaways during the year with minimal time required off school or work.

— Jason Leppert, TravelPulse. This article originally appeared on TravelPulse.com.

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