Family Cruises at a Discount-Things To Do At Sea for Kids

 

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Note: We came across this magazine article we thought our guests would be most interested in reading. It first appeared in Carnival Cruise Line's Currents magazine, Summer 2005. If you are thinking about planning a family reunion cruise click here for more information.

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KIN SHIP

By Rick Just | Currents
Posted May 20, 2005

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IT'S A FAMILY TRADITION

Each year family and friends gather at the home of Dean and Nola "Nikki" Frahm in Stacy. Minnesota. There, at the Frahms' pool and hot tub, they toss around ideas for the next big family getaway. "We travel together because we like each other," Nikki explains, "and as a family we are building memories together."

This year 13 family members and friends agreed on a Western Caribbean cruise on the new Carnival Pride. Their voyage took them to Key West, Florida: Belize; and Cozumel and Progreso/Merida in Mexico.

"We chose the Pride because it sailed to unchartared ports and offered a special class of service and friendly comfort,'' Nikki says. After they set sail in February from Port Canaveral under Florida's bluebird skies, the Frahms explore Carnival's sleek ship. Though many are veteran cruisers, they're impressed. "Everywhere you go," says family friend Paul Radunez, there are "cool little touches,"

Throughout the seven-day cruise, the group finds a range of activities and pastimes aboard Carnival Pride to suit their varied interests. The littlest cruiser, Nicholas Rizzo, 2, son of niece Sharon Rizzo, enjoys the fun at Camp Carnival and the pools onboard. "Uncle" Paul basks in the sun and relaxes in the gentle sea breezes on his stateroom's private balcony.

Dean and Nikki enjoy lingering at the elegant upper-deck David's Supper Club, while the young and more restless couples get late-night laughs from corned/ shows and boogie into the wee hours at Beauties Dance Club.

FIRST PORT—KEY WEST

In port 100 miles from Miami and 90 miles from Havana, a trolley zips the Minnesotans to historic and colorful Key West. This is one reason why the Frahms and so many others choose to cruise for their large-group gatherings: Not only can you spend time together, but you also can go off and do your own thing. In Key West, some cruise guests choose a catamaran sail-and-snorkel trip or a bike tour, while others paddle through groves by kayak or tee off at the Key West Country Club.

Heading to the heartbeat of the island, Dean and Nikki arrive on lively Duval Street, a district jammed with funky shops and good-time watering holes. They stop at Sloppy Joe's, a popular restaurant and shrine to author Ernest Hemingway. Papa Hemingway, it's been said, liked to drink, write and fish in Key West.

Back onboard Carnival Pride, the Frahms join other guests for an eagerly anticipated ritual—fine dining in the dazzling Normandie Restaurant. "Anything you want," Paul says, marveling at the ship's array of culinary delights prepared and served with flair. As owner of The Cornerstone Pub & Prime in Wyoming, Minnesota, Uncle Paul is the group's expert food critic."I had some teriyaki ribs that were great. A killer!"

After dessert, the group encounters an unexpected treat in Beauties Dance Club: Super Bowl XXXVI is playing live on the massive floor-to-ceiling video monitor. The outcome generates cheers from some, groans from others. Family unity goes only so far. Then it's off to the Winners' Club, Carnival Pride's spacious casino.

UN-BELIZE-ABLE!

Rightfully described as an unpolished Caribbean gem, Belize is a place for those who seek the unique. You can explore the Belize River by boat, the jungle on horseback or float through caves and rain forests on a flotation tube.

Many of the Frahms join a guided half-hour boat ride to Goff Key and world-class snorkeling. This remote island, inhabited only by birds and coconut palms, is a tiny circle of paradise about 14 miles east of Belize.

Nicholas and his folks romp on the beach while the rest of the party slips into snorkel masks and fins. Diving into the clear, marine-blue Caribbean waters, they flip through a maze of colorful coral and schools of fish. April Frahm, Dean and Nikki's daughter-in-law, bolts to the surface. "I saw fish this long!" she gushes, stretching her arms a yard apart.

After hours of underwater snooping along the Caribbean reef, the Frahms hop aboard a tender to Belize City, the country's largest town, for a quick look around.

COZUMEL—SUCH A DEAL

Hola!  Welcome to Cozumel, Mexico's largest island, where you can snorkel or scuba, experience a dolphin encounter, go on an eco-adventure by Jeep or board a party cruiser—the triple-decker Fiesta that takes you to Playa Sol Beach Club.

Or shop. The Frahms pile into cabs for a ride into downtown Cozumel, where haggling is a time-honored custom. They are on a mission to find jewelry and other souvenirs at discount prices.
Daughter Misty Knode scores on a silver and burgundy bracelet by talking a salesman down from $20 to $4. Husband Mike lands a shark's-tooth necklace. "I've wanted one for years," he beams. Later, they join others at rocking Carlos 'N Charlie's for lunch, libations and dancing. "I could spend a week in Cozumel," Misty sighs.

MEXICAN MARVELS AT PROGRESO AND MERIDA

Though only recently offered to Carnival guests, the Progreso/Merida area in Mexico already has plenty of excursions to choose from. Among the most popular choices are various tours of Mayan ruins—from the Chichen-ltza archaeological site to the beautiful city of Uxmal with its 114-step Pyramid of the Magician. Some guests opt for a kayak adventure. Others I head for a Mexican rodeo show or visits to either Progreso or Merida.

For the Frahms, Thursday brings an easygoing tour of intriguing shops in Progreso's old market area. As the sun climbs, they find the wide beach and kick back in the sand under the shade of thatched-roof huts.

CHAMPAGNE SUNSET

The baker's dozen from Minnesota wraps up a final Fun Day at Sea Friday evening with a champagne toast on the full balcony of Dean and Nikki's aft stateroom suite. With a panoramic view of the sea as wide as the horizon, they hoist their glasses to three special occasions—Dean and Nikki's 33rd anniversary, as well as the birthdays of niece Lisa jaynes and family friend Joanie Coughlin.

Here's to another successful Frahm family reunion.

"Another week sure would be great," Lisa's fiance Jason Flagstad says wistfully over the rhythmic shushing of the sea. "This is the only way I want to travel."

End of article


More about Carnival Cruise Lines........

Carnival Cruise Lines recently enhanced its complimentary fleet-wide kids’ program "Camp Carnival." Added to the kid-friendly amenities is a new turn-down service with bedtime cookies, an updated children’s menu and more logoed items to all "Camp Carnival" participants.

At Carnival, fun is a famliy affair. We don't just allow kids. We love kids. Every "Fun Ship®" has a terrific supervised program just for children. We call it Camp Carnival where your kids will have the time of their lives.
Whether they're teens or toddlers, Camp Carnival has an age-appropriate program offering full days of high energy fun under the friendly nd competent supervision of Camp Carnival® counselors.
We haven't forgotten about the grownups, either. Whether you're looking for dazzling Vegas-style shows or a late romantic evening in an intimate piano bar, Carnival's got your fun. And, assuming you can pull your kids away from the fun they're having, there are plenty of great activities for the family to enjoy together -- sumptuous meals, sports and games, and all kinds of entertainment. And that's just on board. You can explore the activities, culture and sights at every port of call.
So, bring your kids and your taste for fun. This year, treat the family to a perfect family vacation aboard a Carnival "Fun Ship®". And discover for yourself why Family Circle magazine calls Carnival "The Best Family Vacation Value" among all-inclusive vacations.

"It’s the little things that add up to a great vacation," says Bob Dickinson, Carnival president, "and these enhancements represent our continued commitment to providing guests of all ages with a high quality cruise experience."

The new turn-down service provides kids with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on their pillows on the first and last night of their cruise. Accompanying the cookies is a special poem, one welcomes the child on board and the other thanks them for their "Camp Carnival" participation.

The children’s menu now includes kids’ favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, pepperoni pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, banana splits and daily "Junior Specials." In addition, the ever-popular "Fountain Fun Card" still offers unlimited soft drink purchases for children under age 21. The cards, purchased on board, range in price from $8 on a three-day cruise to $18 on seven-day voyages.

Ping pong, scavenger hunts, poolside water games, toys, puzzles, computers (including Apple iMacs), outdoor play areas and three swimming pools are just some of the activities and facilities children can enjoy on a Carnival Cruise.

Babysitting for children under 2 is also available from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Cost is $5 per hour for one child; $3 per hour for each additional child in the same family.

To choose a family cruise by cruise ship and see the latest specials on Carnival Cruise Line Click here.

The above information is presumed to be timely, but may not be up-to-date and is subject to change without notice.

Information source: Cruise Line International Association. Visit the CLIA at www.cruising.org for further information.

Cruise Direct Online is a proud agency member of the Cruise Line International Association.

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