Cruises

Spring Break Cruises

From family time to adult retreats, there are a variety of cruise options available from March to April that allow travelers to embrace or escape the adolescent revelry during the annual scholastic recess. Cut through the cruising clutter with our recommendations for the best spring break cruises.

Family Cruises
With students out of school for a week or longer, the Spring Break is a prime time for family vacations. That means more children and teenagers will be at sea than usual, and they will have plenty of peers and other families to interact with onboard. Cruise lines are always seeking to improve their recreational programs and venues for kids, tweens, teens and families.

Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International
The most obvious choice when traveling with kids is perhaps the Disney Cruise Line and for good reason -- mainly the company’s wealth of in-house family entertainment expertly applied fleet-wide. The line has also pioneered the development of onboard kids facilities with space normally allocated for a casino instead dedicated exclusively to children. Add in a separate nursery, venues just for tweens and teens, aquatic play zones for the youth, and joint family experiences; and Disney is clearly a family cruise contender.

Not far behind -- and often for a lot less money -- are Disney’s competitors. Each has partnered up with outside entertainment franchises to offer their own family-friendly experiences.

Carnival Cruise Lines already hosts Hasbro game shows on some ships, and starting in 2014, its ships will begin to feature Dr. Seuss activities with Seuss at Sea. Kids can meet Nickelodeon favorites such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer onboard select Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Also, on an increasing number of Royal Caribbean International vessels is the DreamWorks Experience with film screenings and characters.

Adults-Only Choices
If you’re a single adult or couple, don’t let families scare you away from taking a cruise during Spring Break. Some Cruise lines continue to secure areas onboard exclusively for adults to escape. Even the family-oriented Disney Cruise Line, for instance, offers stellar adults-only venues throughout its ships, and a growing trend is for outdoor deck areas set aside for those over 18, like Carnival Cruise Lines’ fantastic and complimentary Serenity Retreat.

Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises
When there’s an abundance of kids onboard, they generally keep to their own areas, but if you’d rather not chance an encounter with occasionally misbehaving children, it might be best to consider luxury lines frequented mostly by adults. Of course heading into luxury territory -- the prices add up. For the best value, we recommend Azamara Club Cruises, especially for its focus on unique destinations. Or if you’re looking to try something entirely different, a luxurious river cruise -- like Viking River Cruises -- might be the right choice for you.

The Best of Both Worlds
Between standard and luxury, premium category cruise lines like Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises and their more generic kids programs might not be the first to come to mind for family cruising, but they do offer superior quality to the delight of discerning adults. It also just so happens that these lines’ newest television partnerships have tuned in to bridge the age gap, which appeals to variety of cruisers.

Holland America Line
Holland America Line
Holland America Line now features Dancing with the Stars: At Sea, and Celebrity Cruises introduces Top Chef at Sea. The Dancing with the Stars program gives Holland America Line’s traditional ballroom dancing a modern twist with complimentary dance classes, a guest competition and select theme cruises with members of the cast along for the ride. Spicing up the line’s already exemplary culinary reputation, Top Chef comes onboard Celebrity Cruises with exciting Quickfire Challenges, Top Chef menus and signature sailings with “chef’testants” straight from the show.

Now all you have to worry about is deciding which ports of call you want to visit during your Spring Break cruise.

About the Author

Jason Leppert is a San Diego-based writer, photographer and videographer who publishes his own cruise travel website, PopularCruising.com. He is a co-host of the weekly CruizeCast.com podcast and has contributed to digital and print publications such as Onboard.com, CruiseMates.com and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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