Going on a family cruise is a great way to have a vacation without needing to worry about a ton of logistics; all you need to do is get your stuff, grab the kids, and get on the boat. Cruise ships offer many of the amenities found in big resort hotels, including day spas, fitness centers, swimming pools, hot tubs, shopping centers and fine dining establishments, as well as entertainment for all ages. Most cruises take passengers through various port cities where they can disembark and do some sightseeing, and the choice of locations is practically endless. In fact, most of your options are endless when it comes to choosing a great affordable family cruise package, when considering all of the factors that should be included in your decision such as affordability, kid-friendliness, destination, atmosphere and everything in between. In order to narrow your search, here are the top 3 best affordable family cruise lines of 2017: Disney Cruise, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises. These cruise lines have been applauded for truly exceeding families' expectations, offering innumerable cruise packages to accommodate all different kinds of families and their desired family cruise experiences. Before choosing which cruise line is right for you and your family, consider asking yourself or a travel agent these important questions first, because if you play your cards right, you can get a cruise deal starting at only $86 a night like Princess Cruise lines are currently offering.
What kinds of restaurants are on the ship?
Cruise companies tend to cater toward older passengers who make up the majority of their customers, which means a lot of the food on cruise ships can be kind of bland. If you care about having variety in your food choices, you should ask about what kinds of restaurants are on the ship. Sometimes, you may be able to view menus online. Cruise ships tend to offer plenty of options for families including comfort foods like pizza and hamburgers, but they also offer chef-prepared meals
Is there a dress code?
Some cruises have dress codes, while others are completely casual. Some cruise lines have one or two nights when fancy clothes are required. Check on this ahead of time so you're not caught off guard. When it comes to Rpyal Caribbean, Disney Crusies and Princess Cruises, you don't need to worry about what you wear.
How close to my cruise can I cancel my trip?
Most cruise lines require that final payments be made up to 90 days before departing. Until then, you can usually cancel without any kind of penalty. This is a good thing to ask though when booking your cruise. Other vacation plans are much easier to cancel without being out of so much money.
Are there last-minute tickets available?
People who want to travel for cheap can buy last-minute cruise tickets. Cruise lines can often tell you if they have any last-minute tickets available, and you can also find these tickets on various travel Web sites. The drawback is you must be ready to leave on very short notice. Princess Cruises offers a week-long Western Caribbean cruise starting at $578. Get this deal before it sets sail.
Is the cruise family friendly?
Some cruises are geared toward adults only, while others include activities for the whole family. Always check with the cruise line or travel agent ahead of time if you plan to bring children with you on your cruise, and ask about any kid-friendly activities that will be available. Disney Cruise Line is great for families but it's a little on the pricey side with cruises around the $3K range.
How long is the cruise?
Cruises vary in distance and travel time, so check with the cruise line directly or contact your travel agent for specific details about your cruise. Some cruises can be as long as a few months, while others are as short as a day or even a few hours. The most common cruise length is seven days.
What kinds of activities are available?
Activities on cruise ships can include everything from performing arts shows to swimming pools and fitness centers. Check with your cruise line or travel agent to find out which activities you can expect to enjoy on your cruise. Amenities typically include a pool, spa,in-room entertainment, bars, and nightlife, as well as casino games. However, you can also find unique events such as the Star Wars Day at Sea available only through Disney Cruises.
Is there anything not included in the cost of my cruise?
Some cruise lines include everything in the price, while others may charge extra for some onboard activities. Speak with your travel agent or contact the cruise line to find out whether you should plan for extra expenses during your cruise. For their summer cruises, Princess Cruises offers free specialty dining plus up to $900 in onboard credit, but other dining and services are not included. Royal Caribbean offers services in packages such as dining and beverage packages as low as $12.99 per day.