8 Reasons To Take A Mediterranean Family Cruise

By Nancy Schretter, Editor

Many parents are planning to take the kids to Europe this year. European destinations offer a rich tapestry of cultural, adventure and learning experiences for families with kids of all ages. Currently, the dollar’s improved exchange rate against the euro is making European vacations even more enticing.

Mediterranean cruises are one of the best ways for families and multigenerational groups to see Europe. Cruising eliminates a number of the logistical issues that can be involved in European family travel. Ships provide a comfortable, convenient home base where families can unpack once and let the wonders of the Mediterranean come to them. Family–friendly cruise lines, such as Norwegian Cruise Line and others, have ships in Europe providing families with a choice of exciting vacation itineraries.

If you’re considering heading to Europe with the family this year, here are eight reasons to choose a Mediterranean cruise for your family vacation:

1.  It’s So Easy.  It’s simple to plan and book a Mediterranean family cruise. Rather than worrying about the logistics of getting from place to place and finding budget–friendly family accommodations in each spot, parents and grandparents just choose their cruise and the rest is a breeze. Unpack once – and the ports arrive at your door each morning. It’s like seeing the coastal regions of Europe from your own floating family–friendly resort hotel. In addition, there are no currency conversion hassles when booking or onboard the ship.

2.  Friendly Home Base.  For some families, taking the kids to Europe can seem a bit daunting – particularly for first timers. Parents often have concerns about language differences, jet lag, food preferences and allergies, long touring days and more. It’s nice to have a welcoming familiar place to return to each day. On our recent Norwegian Jade Mediterranean cruise, the staff and crew went out of their way to make the ship feel like our “home away from home” with service that exceeded expectations. In addition, the ship’s easy accessibility and attentive service make it a great choice for multigenerational vacations.

3.  Great Value.  Mediterranean cruises offer a buffet of European sights, cultures and cities. These vacation experiences allow families to sample a wide variety of destinations in a short period of time, deciding on favorites for future return trips. Accomplishing this on land can be a logistical nightmare involving significantly more time – not to mention money. In addition, Mediterranean cruise prices are an excellent vacation value when compared to land–based European family vacations. Do the math and you’ll see, particularly if you’re traveling with more than one child.

4.  No Regimented Schedules–Just Right for Families.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Cruising approach is perfect for families cruising in Europe. There are great activities and entertainment offered constantly all around the ship with something to fit every age and interest. Freestyle Dining approach means families can have meals at anytime and at any restaurant that’s convenient for them. There are no fixed dinner times or seating locations and the wide variety of dining options lets families choose what they’d like to eat and how dressed up they want to be. It’s so much easier to just go with the flow, particularly after enjoying a day full of exciting experiences.

5.  Variety of Family–Friendly Accommodations.  Sometimes it can be hard to find reasonably priced accommodations for larger families in Europe. That’s not the case on Norwegian Cruise Line ships in the Mediterranean, such as the Norwegian Jade. For families and multigenerational groups, the Norwegian Jade is an absolute gem. It features a wide variety of stateroom choices to satisfy every family’s needs. In addition, many of the ship’s staterooms can be connected which is perfect for families and groups traveling together. Those seeking a truly luxurious family vacation experience should opt for some of the Norwegian Jade’s sumptuous suite and family–friendly villa options.

6.  Wide Array of Dining Options.  Parents often worry about their picky eaters or kids with food allergies when traveling abroad. There’s no need for concern on a Mediterranean cruise, particularly on Norwegian Cruise Line. There are lots of dining choices available on their ships such as the Norwegian Jade. Some of the dining venues are complimentary and selected specialty dining options carry an additional charge. Open seating is offered in the main dining rooms, but the Norwegian staff enables advance reservations for those who want to eat at a specific time. Families will also be happy to know that food allergies can be easily catered to with advance notice.

Some of the additional free dining options on the Norwegian Jade include the Jasmine Garden Asian restaurant, Blue Lagoon – which is open around the clock, and the Garden Café buffet dining area. Families will love the Kids Café section with kid–pleasing foods readily available for younger guests.

Specialty dining options abound on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. On the Norwegian Jade, choices include Cagney’s Steakhouse, Teppanyaki Asian restaurant featuring outstanding performances by hibachi–style chefs, Le Bistro French restaurant, Moderno Churrascaria Brazilian steakhouse, La Cucina Italian restaurant, and an a la carte sushi bar.

7.  Tons of Family Activities & Entertainment.  Pools and fun family entertainment are an important part of family vacations. Why should a European family vacation be any different? Sailing on family–friendly cruise ships makes it easy. The Norwegian Jade and other Norwegian Cruise Line ships in Europe offer their complimentary Splash Academy youth program on all sailings. Splash Academy features programs designed specifically for three age groups: Turtles for ages 3–5; Seals for ages 6–9; and Dolphins for ages 10–12. Programs include Circus School activities, interactive arts & crafts workshops, treasure hunts, games, storytelling and more. Splash Academy also offers activities for Guppies – little cruisers between the ages of 6 months and 3 years of age. Parents must be present at Guppies programs.

For those cruising with teens, Norwegian Cruise Line offers its Entourage teen’s club, providing free programs and activities. Entourage is a high energy zone exclusively for teens ages 13–17. At night, Entourage turns into a teens–only nightclub with a dance floor, video jukebox, large screen television and other amenities. Themed events for teens are offered as well.

Norwegian’s Port Play program for ages 3–12 can come in handy on Mediterranean cruises, particularly on days when parents are taking long or active tours. Parents who are booked on shore excursions and want to leave their kids onboard the ship can register for this complimentary program, enabling them to have fun ashore while their kids enjoy playing with their friends on the ship. There’s a small fee for supervising kids if parents will be away during meal times. Late Night Fun Zone activities from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. are also available for ages 3–12 for a small fee.

8.  Incredible Opportunities for Enrichment & Learning.
The idyllic Mediterranean is the perfect place to introduce kids and teens to Europe. There are captivating cities to explore, ruins of ancient civilizations to discover, and gorgeous sun–drenched beaches to enjoy. Europe’s Mediterranean is a patchwork quilt of histories, art and cultures. It’s no wonder that cruise lines such as Norwegian are seeing more families with kids, teens and young adults on their Mediterranean itineraries.

A Mediterranean cruise is the ultimate field trip for kids. History comes alive on these vacations and imaginations soar. On a Norwegian Mediterranean cruise, families can explore the remains of ancient civilizations in destinations such as Athens, Ephesus, Rome and Pompeii. It’s easy to fall in love with Europe – and a Mediterranean cruise will have your family yearning for more

For more information on the Mediterranean family cruises and the Norwegian Jade, visit the Norwegian Cruise Line website at www.ncl.com.

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