Decisions, decisions. Whether you’ve been saving up for a special occasion, such as Christmas, or are spontaneously looking for a last minute deal, choosing the best option for your family vacation is a huge decision. Family time is precious and you want a vacation that will pack in the memories while being as low stress as possible, not to mention a vacation that fits the budget. Caribbean cruises and beachside resorts are both tempting options for a winter getaway vacation, but which one is best for your family? Take a closer look at both options.
The cruise industry knows how to do it right when it comes to offering a (mostly) all-inclusive family vacation. From water-slides and swimming pools to gourmet buffets, this is an easy answer to keeping kids entertained and parents free to relax by the pool with drink in hand. However, nothing is ever completely perfect. What are the real considerations when cruising?
- Entertaining kids
Although cruise ships have this well thought out in so many ways by offering kids clubs, pool activities, and even kids dance parties, there is still the reality that you are on a boat in the middle of the ocean which can possible make for a long day. Depending on the age of your kids and their personal interests they may, or may not, enjoy the kids club activities. And if they don’t, then it’s up to the parents to figure out how to put in hours on a boat. This has the potential to steal away from mom and dad’s romantic vision of a candle light dinner while the kids are supposed to be having a blast with their kids club crew. It’s worth looking into the kids club activities ahead of time to get a better idea of which cruise line offers programs that your kids would most enjoy.
2. Port stops
Port stops are often how a customer will select their chosen cruise. When seeking a winter getaway in the Caribbean port stops often include beautiful and intriguing places throughout Central America, Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands. The caveat to getting excited about your port stops; however, is being realistic about the amount of time you will have to explore the area.
Cruises typically arrive to each port early in the morning but often leave before dinner time. This may not give you the time to fulfill visions you have of exploring towns, hiking, and snorkeling all at one stop. While cruise ships offer loads of packages and adventures to enjoy at each port, these are often pricey and may not offer room to individualize your interests. Stops at ports can be amazing, but be realistic about time. Consider one or two activities that can be accomplished before the ship sets sail again into the sunset.
Family Resort Vacations
Vacations at an all-inclusive resort are basically a cruise on land. These vacations allow you to set up camp in one destination and let the fun begin. However, as seen with cruising, there are pros and cons to everything and all-inclusive vacations are not immune to this.
- Quality of the resort
Searching for all-inclusive resorts online can be an overwhelming experience. Finding resorts that fit your criteria of beach, pool, food and activities may be simple. However, finding the best quality for your dollar is a whole other challenge. There are so many resorts competing for your vacation time and money that it can be difficult to select one. Where do you start?
• Look for reviews and recommendations; Tripadvisor can be good for this.
• Consider if the resort is from a highly reputable chain.
• When looking at smaller, independent resorts consider how old they are and when were their facilities updated.
• Do they offer beach-side activities, like kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling?
• What is the size and quality of their pool?
• What are the food and beverage options?
2. Surrounding area
Unlike a cruise where there is the excitement of exploring multiple ports and new areas, a resort vacation may not have the option to explore new areas. While many people are perfectly content relaxing at their chosen resort for the duration of their vacation, others get antsy and want to explore.
Consider how far the resort is from local towns. Is there hiking, biking, or other activities that can be done nearby? Is the surrounding area safe? Are there restaurants off-site for a change in dining options? Is the surrounding area safe? This is obviously a huge consideration and travel warnings should be considered and respected.
Planning a family vacation as a winter getaway can be exciting both in the planning stage and the vacation itself. Deciding how to best optimize your time as a family to ensure everyone gets the rest, adventure, and quality time that they are seeking can be different for each family. It’s worth taking the time to consider the interests and personalities of your family members to help make the right decision between a cruise trip or a resort vacation. Whatever it is you choose, it’s sure to be amazing.