"There is so much for the grandchildren to do on board," she explains -- everything from the kids' clubs to the
The crowds won't bother Abodeely as she's booked her family of eight into suites within the Haven, an exclusive mini ship at the top of the ship with a private sundeck, pool, hot tub 24-hour butler service and a private concierge who can book shore excursions and dinner reservations. Your butler unpacks for you and serves champagne or whatever you like on your balcony and breakfast or lunch are in a private restaurant away from the crowds.
Of course, it costs more -- as much as triple, suggests
Many families who cruise, of course, look for the best deal -- and this is "wave season" when cruise lines are offering upgrades, shipboard credits and discounts to encourage you to book for later in the year. Others look for ships that sail from a port near their home. But there seems to be a growing number who could afford the most luxurious ships, but instead are choosing the most upscale offerings on major-market ships. (TIP: This is one vacation where you would do well to use a travel agent who is a cruise expert. Find one near your home atCruising.org, the website of the
These days, multigenerational families are one of the fastest growing segments of the cruise industry, which expects to carry more than 24 million passengers this year. It's easy to see why -- activities for all ages (including morning-till-night supervised programs for kids and teens) a mostly inclusive vacation, price wise, and no packing or unpacking to visit different cities or islands. In many cases, you can avoid the hassle of airline travel and drive to the ship, your vacation starting as soon as you park your car. (Check out our 2016 Taking the Kids Cruise Guide to see what major cruise lines are offering this year.)
But still, such a multigenerational vacation will require compromises. The backpackers will have to forsake the wilderness; the culture mavens may not get as much time at a museum or church as they'd like. The kids may get so involved with new friends they won't want to spend time with the family.
At the very least, these upscale options on major ships now allow grandparents who want to get away from the fray, the quiet and luxury they prefer without sacrificing what the younger family members want; Some grandparents, in fact, book these accommodations and regular cabins for the rest of the family, cruise line executives say.
Think of it like being on a concierge level at a hotel with complimentary drinks, a special concierge and a separate place to have breakfast and snacks with all kinds of extra amenities thrown in.MSC even has special tailor-made shore excursions.
"Definitely worth the extra money without the kids," said frequent cruiser
The major cruise lines all seem to be upping the ante, meanwhile, though maybe not quite to the level of MSC and Norwegian. Carnival’s new Vista, debuting in
Sail in the new
There are plenty of extras. On
Sounds good to me. But all the amenities aren't the best part, insists
Eileen Ogintz is the creator of the syndicated column and website Taking the Kids. She is also the author of the ten-book Kid’s Guide series to major American cities and the Great Smoky Mountains. The third-edition of the Kid’s Guide to NYC has just been released.