I would venture to guess that most parents have a desire to take their children to Europe. What was once a vacation reserved for special occasions, like monumental birthdays and graduation, is now the norm for many American families.
The drop in the euro and competitive cruise prices make visiting the Mediterranean (countries include Spain, France, Italy, Croatia and Greece) more affordable — And not to mention enjoyable, as major cruise lines are essentially floating resorts, with activities and amenities to cater to everyone in the family.
Five Reasons to Take Your Family on a Mediterranean Cruise:
1. Expose Your Children to Culture Straight Out of the History books – No surprise here. The best reason to take your kids on a Mediterranean cruise is for the educational value. There’s just no comparison when it comes to experiencing destinations, such as Rome, Florence, and Pompeii, in person, versus reading about them in a book.
This is my daughter in Pompeii, with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. I made this excursion into a learning experience where I explained what happened on that fateful day in 79 AD. She has yet to cover this event in school, but when she does, she will have a deeper understanding of the aftermath.
2. Most Economical Way to See Europe– Let’s face it, traveling to Europe with a family can be costly, but that shouldn’t deter you from making the trip. The benefits, some of which are outlined in this post, far outweigh the expense. When you book a cruise with a major cruise line, such as Carnival, you pay for the bulk of your vacation in U.S. dollars. Compare the individual cost of hotels, transportation (country to country) and meals — then tack in the exchange rate and VAT taxes — and you save a considerable amount of money by cruising. Plus, deals can be had left and right. It’s not uncommon to spend as little as $65 per person, per day for a 12-day cruise through the Mediterranean.
View from the Carnival Breeze as we dock in Venice, Italy.
3. Easiest Way to Visit Multiple Countries with Children – If you planned a land-based trip to multiple countries along the Mediterranean — let’s say to Spain, France, Italy, and Croatia — could you imagine the travel time (by land and air) to get to each destination? It would take up the majority of your vacation! When you only have two weeks a year, time is precious. The beauty of cruising is that the ports come to you (you only have to unpack your suitcase once!). During travel time, children are occupied onboard the ship with an abundance of activities, from a kids’ camp with crafts and games to a water park with splash fountains and slides — it’s a no-brainer.
SportsSquare on the Carnival Breeze — Just one of many areas with activities for the whole family.
4. Easy Planning – If you’ve never taken your family to Europe, the planning behind it can be mind-blowing. Traveling to different countries with children can be daunting, especially if there’s a language barrier. Cruising, however, makes the process incredibly easy for families.
On board, you’ll be sailing with a majority of Americans, and all of the staff is English-speaking (with many fluent in other languages). No matter what country you’re in, there won’t be any confusion on the ship.
When you book your cruise, you’re paying upfront for your accommodations, travel (from port to port) and food. Airfare, transfers (to/from airport to port), shore excursions, travel insurance, and gratuities are not included in the base price, but they can all be handled by the cruise line. With the exception of souvenirs and a meal or two in port, everything can be paid up front, which decreases under budgeting and over spending.
My daughter’s first gelato in Florence, Italy — just a couple of euro, and worth every cent!
5. Open your Family to New Destinations – My opinion is travel leads to more travel — especially abroad. Once you’ve made the first trip to Europe with your family, it will be hard not to want to go back and see more. This year it may be a family Mediterranean cruise to France, Italy, and Croatia, next year it could be the Baltic. Exposing your kids to new cultures and experiences at young ages will shape their lives … travel is one of the greatest gifts that you can give them.
Fresh small fish from the Adriatic Sea are quickly fried and served whole in Dubrovnik, Croatia. After she got the courage to eat one, she gobbled down several more.
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