Spring break is the time of year for families and college students to let loose and blow off some steam. Cruising offers college students the opportunity to relax in a safe environment, while still having a great time with their peers. For parents and children, cruising is the ideal way to enjoy activities and explore exotic ports as a family. After hours, the parents can tuck in the children and enjoy the cruise ship’s nightlife
There are so many cruise liners and destinations to choose from, it can be difficult for even the seasoned traveler to design a package that fits his or her expectations. Beyond destinations, pricing and availability, there is also the possibility of choosing a cruise that is intended for another age group or lifestyle. Take the guess work out of the process by researching the different destinations to determine which is right for you, your family and, most importantly, your budget.
Destinations for College Students
- Aruba: If you’re a college student looking for a mixture of culture and an active nightlife, Aruba is the destination for you. Step off the boat and hit the beach, explore the Archaeological Museum of Aruba or visit the Natural Bridge, a limestone arch and the area’s most photographed attraction. End your days in Aruba by visiting the many shops, casinos and restaurants that are found in this exciting and popular port.
- Cozumel: Cozumel is a small island off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and is the ideal spot for shopping and sporting enthusiasts. The island relies heavily on tourist dollars, which creates an abundance of distractions, restaurants and shops to choose from. College students can spend their days snorkeling, touring the island on bicycles or swimming with the dolphins before enjoying the restaurants and nightlife. One popular eatery, Carlos ‘n Charlie’s, is akin to the Hard Rock Café and becomes a hub for students to dance, drink and mingle after sunset.
- Key West: For many college students, the words “spring break” goes naturally with the word “Florida.” Step away from the family-friendly destinations of Orlando and Miami, and instead visit Key West. This southernmost city in the United States allows college students to experience an exotic locale without ever technically leaving the country. If you’re over 21, Key West offers a nightlife that rivals many other destinations that are thousands of miles away, for a fraction of the price.
Booking the Cruise for College Students
Before booking the cruise, study the liner’s policy on occupancy. The majority of cruise ships allow persons over 21 to travel unsupervised. If the group is under 21, an adult 25 or older must accompany them. If you’re the parent of a college student, check the liner’s policy on alcohol consumption and gambling. Many liners allow persons under 21 to gamble while at sea. The majority of liners don’t allow underage drinking, and if the student is caught with liquor this could be grounds for disembarkment at the next port.
Family Friendly Destinations
- Alaska: Take your children on a breathtaking tour of Alaska’s wilderness. The state is one of America’s final frontiers, and allows children and adults to experience wildlife firsthand. Don’t be surprised if your child wakes you to point out a whale, sea lion or porpoise swimming next to the boat. Alaska is home to three species of bears: black, brown and polar. Chances are once you leave the ship, you’ll encounter these majestic creatures on your travels.
- Hawaii: Many cruise ships heading to Hawaii cater directly to kids, making this destination the ideal choice for parents with children of all ages. The number of family-friendly excursions and activities in Hawaii is countless, meaning the kids will remain engaged and occupied through the entire trip. The best part? You’re not straying too far from home and don’t need passports.
- Australia: Choose Australia if you’re traveling with older children, as the younger members of your family might become restless during the 12 to 14 days it can take to reach the continent. Consider a cruise ship that offers an itinerary that includes an educational tour of the Great Barrier Reef, which boasts the world’s largest collection or coral and a variety of other exotic sea life, including dolphins, sting rays and over 1500 different species of tropical fish.
Booking the Family Cruise
Book a cruise ship that offers a variety of on-board kid activities and is intended exclusively for families. Look for a liner that hosts programs for kids run by certified counselors. Steer clear of liners that cater to all age groups, as these ships can become rowdy party cruises. Many cruise ships also allow children under two to cruise for the price of port charges and taxes.
Whichever liner or destination you choose, check for availability, discounts and what exactly is included in your all-inclusive vacations. The phrase “all-inclusive” means different things to different cruise lines, so read the fine print to ensure your budget isn’t exceeded before boarding the ship.
This guest post was provided by Shannon Pierce, who is a freelance writer and cruise coordinator. She helps hundreds of people book great cruises, and believes that whether you are booking a Mexico cruise or visiting New York City, it is important to get out and experience the world.