By Deborah Hamilton-Lynne

Today a visit to see Nana and Pop often becomes a vacation that includes whole families vacationing together and making memories. As you make vacation plans for Spring Break or the summer, imagine a stress-free holiday— no cooking, no need to come up with activities, no arguing about what to do, and no packing and unpacking at every destination. What if each member of the group had freedom and a wide variety of choices of how to spend their time in their own way, and make the trip a truly enjoyable adventure for all ages?

Come Sail Away

As intergenerational travel becomes more popular, and all members of the family from toddlers to grandparents have become more active, cruising has become a popular option. In a three-and-a-half hour drive to Galveston from Austin, vacationers can find Liberty of the Seas, a luxurious floating resort that just happens to visit some great ports of call.

If you have never been on a cruise, or if it’s been a while, your family is in for a treat. The amount of time everyone spends together or separately is your decision. Vacationing with extended family often allows parents to have some time to rest or play separately while grandparents make memories with their grandchildren. The ships are simply jaw-dropping with unexpected amenities that include an ice rink, super waterslides, and a rock climbing wall. This is just some of what you can enjoy on your days at sea.

Adventure Time

On a seven-day cruise, Liberty of the Seas visits three ports. On my cruise, we visited Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico. There are literally dozens of family friendly excursions that include snorkeling, sailing, cave tubing, horseback riding, swimming with stingrays, sharks and dolphins, zip lining, and adrenaline boat rides.  For adults only, excursions include cooking classes, golf, scuba certification dives, days of lounging beachside, and tequila tastings. For an educational outing, families can explore Mayan culture and ruins, or help release sea turtles.

One of the mantras that cruise lines understand best is “when kids are happy, parents and grandparents are happy.” Liberty of the Seas serves up happiness on every level. One of the best stress relievers on a cruise is the food. The options are endless from formal dining to favorites like Johnny Rockets, a pizzeria, specialty restaurants, poolside buffets, and more. There are so many options, there’s never a need to argue about meals, what’s on the menu, or even what time to eat.  Special dietary needs including low sodium, diabetic, low-fat, gluten-free, and others can be accommodated.

Go with the Flow

For a relaxing day at sea, Mom and Grandma can enjoy a day at the spa while Dad and Grandpa can visit an English pub. Meanwhile, the kids can enjoy the royal treatment in the royal nursery for 6-36 month- old children, while older kids are entertained by professionally planned and supervised adventure activities for all ages. Groups break down into Aquanauts for 3-5 years, Explorers for 6-8 years, Voyagers for 9-11 years, and Teens for 12-17 years. Activities include art and science programs, rock climbing, and even karaoke. Kids come away with a group of new friends and pen pals that last long after the cruise has ended.

For family fun on days at sea, the only decisions are what to do next and how to fit it all in.

Exciting options include The Tidal Wave, the world’s first boomerang style slide at sea and The Perfect Storm featuring dueling water slides. There is a huge aqua park and kids pool area, as well as a flow rider where older kids can try surfing. At night there are Broadway-style shows, ice shows, and even aerial performances, as well as an outdoor family movie night. The teen disco is strictly for teens. No parents allowed! There are also dance parties and lessons, a huge video arcade, art auction, wine tastings, and jewelry making classes. Truly something for everyone.

With each member of your family from tots to grandparents coming away with happy memories of days spent on the high seas, a cruise should be high on your list for intergenerational travel. Don’t forget to book a formal family portrait while you are on board and check the holiday card photo off your list.  Bon Voyage.

Deborah Hamilton-Lynne is an award-winning writer, editor, and content developer based in Austin.

Before You Cast Off…
  • Single parents or those traveling without a spouse need to have notarized permission from   other parent to travel outside of the country.
  • Check all additional expenses such as charges for drinks, including soft drinks. Also check the cost of excursions. Many things are not included in the initial cost of your cruise.
  • Special offers and packages may make your cruise more affordable. These can include seasonal offers, last minute cruises, and offers for families and for Texas residents.
  • Make arrangements in advance for dietary needs, special needs, or any other condition that may require additional support.
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