AllThingsCruise.com, the premier resource website for cruise enthusiasts announced today of their partnership with nationally syndicated columnist and family travel expert Eileen Ogintz. Eileen is the creator of TakingTheKids.com and my fellow Park City Mountain Resort Snowmama. Eileen Ogintz has been giving families the best tips on traveling for over 20 years! Eileen will be writing about cruising with families on the All Things Cruise and I had a change to chat with Eileen and get a preview of what can be expected on the All Things Cruise site and some of Eileen’s best tips about cruising with the kids, and get scoop where the cruise expert herself will take her next cruise!
Skimbaco Travel: Tell us about your new partnership with All Things Cruise.
Eileen Ogintz: I’m excited to be partnering with All Things Cruise because I want to help families plan the best cruise vacation they can. Especially when you are new to cruising, planning can be overwhelming. There are so many ships to choose from.. so many itineraries… You don’t want to get it wrong!
There are currently over 1,000,000 children per year under the age of 18 cruising on the various lines. Families are clearly an ever-growing demographic, and the key to a successful cruise is choosing the right trip, with the right line. You don’t want to get on board with a three year old, only to find that their children’s programs start at age four!
Skimbaco Travel: No kidding! That’s a great tip. Why do you think cruises are so popular among families and are such a great way of traveling with children?
Eileen Ogintz: Cruises are great for a number of reasons: You know there will be lots of other kids on board. You know there will be organized activities for kids and teens so that you can get an adult break. Your kids can have more freedom too on board a ship than you might permit them at another vacation destination which will make them very happy.
You know what you are paying up front and that you are paying one price for lodging, entertainment, kids activities, food and transportation–a good deal! You also can indulge your junior foodies–they can order three entrees and it won’t cost a penny more!
I also find cruises great for multigenerational groups because there are activities for every age group and everyone can have their own space. I met a lot of multigenerational groups in Alaska when I was researching my book The Kids Guide: Cruising Alaska
Skimbaco Travel: I absolutely love that you have been cruising around so much. What are some of your own favorite cruise memories?
Eileen Ogintz: The thing about cruising is that it can be big ships and little ones too. I especially had fun on Disney’s Private Island with my family with all the water toys but also loved sailing around the British Virgin Islands on our own chartered yacht which was like camping on the water but we loved the freedom and the time together! I’ve got lots of memories of cruising in Glacier Bay on a small boat when we went kayaking amid the icebergs every day and in the Med on big ships with young family members awed by their first introduction to “great sites,” but happy we could return to the ship where they could swim and get a burger and everyone would speak English!
Skimbaco Travel: What are some of your best tips for booking a cruise and finding the one that fits your family?
Eileen Ogintz: If you are new to cruising, do a lot of research. Check out our Taking the Kids Family Cruise Guide You want to make sure you choose a ship that has activities for your age child. If you have a tween, look for a ship that has a separate club for tweens. (Some ships even have separate facilities for younger and older teens.) Check websites like All Things Cruise to browse the different cruise lines; Sites like Cruise Compete can help you see the best deals that are available.
Consider if you want an itinerary-heavy trip or one where you cruise from beach island to beach island. Plan your shore excursions ahead (it will make the trip less stressful) but be mindful of cost–shore excursions can add up, especially in Europe and Alaska. You may want to alternate less expensive activities (kayaking or biking in Alaska) with pricey ones (a helicopter to a glacier.) Make sure to include the kids in the planning!
Skimbaco Travel: I have to ask… Where are you cruising the next?
Eileen Ogintz: I’m actually leaving Thursday on a Lindblad Expedition to the Land of the Ice Bears in the Arctic Svalbard in Norway! And I’m taking another adult cruise the end of the summer with my hubby on a Windstar yacht in Italy and Croatia. AND we’re already talking about a Disney Alaska cruise next summer with the little kids in the family!