I’m told again and again that cruising is in it’s infancy in reaching vacationers. Less than 20 percent of people have boarded cruise ships in the United States. I have clients tell me on a regular basis that they get motion sick and are not interested in a cruise. I contend that folks don’t realize the size of the ships and most of the time when I’m on one, I can’t even tell if it’s moving. I could put the average cruise ship on Sandusky Street in Delaware, in the block between Central Avenue and William Street, and it would cover that area and more. The size alone makes it a city on the water.
Cruise lines are working hard to make cruising a “resort at sea” and providing fun for the whole family. Swimming, ice skating, surfing, riding a bike, driving bumper cars, zip lining, playing basketball, taking a yoga or Zumba class, attending a cooking class, playing trivia, scrapbooking, catching the full Broadway production of “Cats” or “Grease,” playing Texas hold ‘em, attending to a lecture from a Iditarod winner, enjoying high tea with cucumber sandwiches, and riding a carousel are just some of the things you can now do on a cruise ship. One cruise line recently announced a 1,000-foot-long, two-level open air race car track with go-karts that can go upwards of 30 mph.
Some of the appeal of cruising is because of convenience. The biggest decision is where to go and what is the best ship to get you there. Once that’s decided, you can do most of the planning and reservations for shows, dining, and excursions prior to sailing. Once you set foot on the cruise ship, let the party begin.
Cruises appeal to multi-generational family members. Young and old will find something to do on and off the ship and then meet up for a terrific meal at the end of the day. The food is world class and plentiful, and no one is stuck in the kitchen cooking or having to do the dishes. The dining room staff will work to accommodate any dietary restrictions as well as learn your food preferences. Nightly entertainment will fill your evenings. A date night every night of the cruise!
Children clubs onboard offer a wide range of activities to keep children of all ages busy and happy on the ship. The clubs are run by background-checked and college-educated team members that have busy programs planned, such as scavenger hunts, backstage tours, breakfast with the characters (DreamWorks, Dr. Seuss, Nickelodeon, Disney characters are some of the options depending on the cruise line) and even a talent show. Cruise lines are working to be all-inclusive of special needs children allowing priority boarding, a special toy library, reduced lighting in the cabin and play area, and relaxing some of the requirements for the kids club in terms of potty training and age requirements. Older children have their own center with organized activities such as dance and pizza parties.
Cruise ports easily reachable by car from Delaware are New York/New Jersey, Charleston, South Carolina, and Baltimore. Tampa, New Orleans and Port Canaveral are about the same mileage (800-plus miles) in driving distance. The larger cruise ports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale are harder to get to by car (about 1,200 miles), but there are several airlines that offer non-stop flights out of Columbus to make it an easy trip. These two ports offer more choices in itineraries and often offer better value because of the many ships at this location.
Finally, the price of the cruise is attractive. You chose your cabin and pay for two guests with discounts or the third and fourth person in the cabin. Almost everything is included with the price. Food is available 24/7 with everything from room service to buffet, to steak and lobster dinners. Pizza and ice cream were the foods that kept my son happy all day. Even the pickiest eaters will never go hungry. As for entertainment, there is an entire staff dedicated to making your cruise a never-ending conga line of fun.
Cruising is a wonderful and relatively inexpensive way to give your entire family a vacation filled with a lifetime of memories. No matter where in the world you cruise, the amenities on the ship and the world-renowned customer service of the crew and staff will add to your overall vacation experience.
Marci DeWitt owns a local travel agency, Anchor and Away Travel, a Dream Vacations franchise. She can be reached by email at mdewitt@DreamVacations.com.