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10

Ultimate Family Vacations | FALL 2018

The day went by so quickly as the

girls shopped at the market and we all

grabbed a bite to eat beachside, and

before long, it was time to get back on

the ship to continue our journey. It was

no surprise really that a beach resort in

Belize would be an enjoyable part of our

vacation, but what was a surprise, for

me at least, was that our days at sea felt

just as luxurious.

I quickly realized that one of the best

things about a cruise vacation is that it’s

always changing. You’re literally on the

move all the time which multiplies the

fun and unique experiences you can

hope to have. With each port, you are

brought somewhere new and different

to explore. There is no way to be bored,

which when you are travelling with

sometimes jaded pre-teens is a real

blessing.

I found that there were so many activities

and amenities to keep the kids busy all

day that it felt like the cruise was two

vacations in one: a non-stop action-filled

play-a-thon for the children and an

elegant and restful break for the parents.

The kids played at the Aqua Parks

at sea, which is one of the biggest

waterparks on a cruise ship – yes that's

right, a waterpark on a cruise ship! It

featured multi-story water slides, a

special Kids’ Aqua Park, pools and hot

tubs, so the adults could relax and chat

while the kids splashed to their heart's

content. On windy days or if we just

wanted a change, we played a game

of nine-hole mini golf or giggled as the

kids completed the ropes course before

us, making us walk the plank as they

pretended to be pirates.

Rather than feeling like I had to entertain

my son constantly, some days I hardly

saw him at all! He went to the kids’ club,

Splash Academy, every day and really

didn't want to leave. This freed up lots

of time for my friend and I to enjoy the

adult amenities on board, including

the simple pleasure of walking the

quarter-mile promenade called The

Waterfront, or achieving a state of

Zen in the Thermal spa and salt room.

We were delighted to find that we didn't

need to stick to strict dinner times with

the freestyle cruising method, and as

kids eat for free, the pressure was taken

off when dealing with fussy eaters. On

the last night, we dressed up for dinner,

which the girls loved, but for the rest of

the vacation, we ate meals in shorts and

T-shirts and enjoyed the relaxed, casual

atmosphere which was perfect for

families.

My friend’s oldest daughter played

babysitter some evenings once the

younger kids fell asleep, so the adults

could head over to the casino or

comedy club, and of course, there

were the traditional Broadway-style

shows every night.

We stayed in a family mini-suite, which

was bigger than I imagined but we really

didn't spend much time in our cabin

at all; all the fun was on deck. After a

week at sea, I was a convert to cruises –

this modern, family-friendly cruise

offered by Norwegian Cruise Line

made for a dual vacation of both adult

relaxation and kid-approved fun.

L A U G H . P L A Y . R E P E A T .

More Fun with the Whole Family

Alaska and Europe

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