Spring is a great time for travel with the whole family. Warmer temperatures and a blooming outdoors mean ample opportunities for families to get outside to enjoy some bonding time and all that the season has to offer.
Whether families are looking for a blast of sunlight to recharge their souls until summer or outdoor fun, here are the latest trends for spring travel with the family.
Local travel specialists Evelyn Curlee at Curlee Travel and Dawn Celiberti with Time to Get Away Travel say that cruises are a must for family travel this spring.
“Absolutely hands down, cruises have been my biggest seller for spring break,” said Celiberti.
“After the wacky winter that we have had, this year I am hearing that people want to go as far south as possible and not take any chances and Florida and the beaches are not going to be as warm as they want, so it’s off to the Caribbean.
“Living in Tennessee affords the opportunity to leave from many different ports that are within one day’s driving time so it’s absolutely doable.”
Here are five recommended cruise lines for families.
Disney Cruise Line
According to ustravelnews.com, from its signature Sail-Away Celebration to its pirate-themed dinners and nighttime fireworks, Disney earns a nod of approval from cruising clans for its emphasis on kids’ programs and entertainment. Life-size Disney characters can be found mingling poolside or wandering the ships’ sports and activity areas. But it’s not only the youth-oriented amenities that help Disney stand out from competitors: Adults-only dining areas, excursions, nightclubs and quieter pools are perfect distractions for adults while the little ones spend time in supervised kids clubs.
Royal Caribbean International
According to the travelchannel.com, Royal Caribbean offers versatile amenities that cater to cruisers of all ages. The travel site states of the line’s 22 ships, children are kept entertained with rock climbing walls and ice rinks, while others feature zip lines and bumper cars.
Because Royal Caribbean has a partnership with Dreamworks, young cruisers can hang out with characters from popular animated flicks or tune into poolside movie screenings. And entertainment isn’t lost on older travelers who can catch Broadway-style performances and participate in Mystery Dinner Theaters.
Like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity offers plenty of amenities to satisfy families with young children. Youth programs are split into four age groups so the little ones can make arts and crafts while teens spend time at late-night dances. The cruise line’s website states that it also features a versatile lineup of shore excursions suitable for youngsters and adults alike, including 4×4 safari adventures, snorkeling trips and Segway tours. Plus, Family Veranda Staterooms have just enough space to sleep a family of five.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnivals frequent sales and budget-friendly fares mean a family can save some money on a getaway that’s filled with plenty of family-friendly amenities. This line’s sizable fleet includes several ships with water parks, basketball courts and ropes courses.
Those looking for a sophisticated scene can head to the ships’ casinos, piano bars or the Serenity Adult Retreat area designated for guests 21 and older. And with kids clubs for every age group, teens can be as active as toddlers. Carnival’s shore excursions, separated by activity type and exertion level, offer another perk for multigenerational groups.
Princess Cruises’ ships vary in size, allowing families to find the right boat for their at-sea needs. Facilities designated for youngsters can be found on nearly all Princess ships. And aboard 15 ships within the fleet, there are age-appropriate youth programming like poolside movie screenings and scavenger hunts, along with adult-focused facilities like the Lotus Spa. Plus, shore excursions cover a wide range of activity levels and vary by port, allowing adults to take children for a swim with dolphins or sail aboard a pirate ship.
Local agents added that those not interested in cruises should know there are many land destinations perfect for spring travel.
“Disney, as always, is a popular destination for spring, falling right behind Christmas and New Year as the busiest time to visit, yet people still want to go ahead and book their packages,” said Celiberti.
“The ticket prices recently went up again but that is not a deterrent to many. People are wanting to add Universal and Sea World to their visits more so this year. “
All-inclusive resorts and destinations are also in demand this spring, according to Celiberti.
“Many just want to go and relax, sit by the pool, the beautiful beaches and be waited on and not worry about anything,” she said. “The resorts have entertainment, many different food choices and a plethora of fun activities which you can choose to participate in or not. Packages which include airfare, the resort stay and round trip transfers are more affordable than many think they are.”
Some of the top land destinations include:
Las Vegas. The weather in March is not as hot as in the summer, so if you don’t like dry heat then spring is an ideal time to go.
“It’s a fun, exciting place that always has something to do so you won’t be bored. But if relaxing around the pool is in your mind then this would not be the time to go to Vegas,” said Celiberti.
New Orleans. Mardi Gras is over and that means the crowds have left. But fun is still to be had in New Orleans along with plenty of seafood as crawfish season begins this time of the year.
Sanibel Island, Florida. Farther south than Destin and the Panhandle, the chances of encountering beautiful weather and warmth are extremely high during this time of the year.
“It’s is a great place to just relax or to experience the many outdoor activities such as kayaking, canoeing, water-skiing, fishing, golfing and tennis in addition to the miles of trails for cycling,” said Celiberti.
For more information contact Dawn Celiberti at 247-8849 or Evelyn Curlee at Curlee Travel at 588-0678.