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Now Boarding: Family Fun!

A hot new batch of cruise ships are proving to be destinations in their own right

Just like your family, cruising is always changing and evolving, introducing new out-of-this world ships, along with new innovative amenities catering to families of all sizes and ages. If you’re planning a family cruise for the very first time, or if you’re a returning cruiser, you couldn’t have chosen a better time to set sail as there are some spectacular new ships to experience while sailing between beautiful ports of call.

Gone are the days of shuffleboard. Now you have your pick of multiple swimming pools, spiraling waterslides, sports decks, unforgettable entertainment and much more. No other type of getaway offers you the all-inclusive conveniences of unpacking once and experiencing multiple destinations, beautiful scenery, wonderful shore excursions, decadent food and a wide array of activities for one price.

Remember, to maximize your cruise fun and vacation dollars, be sure to contact your local travel professional. They’ll not only find you the very best value for your hard-earned vacation dollars, but they can provide personal recommendations based on their own experiences. Plus, they’ll be ready to help you at a moment’s notice should anything go awry during your trip. Booking the perfect cruise vacation has never been easier!

It’s Time to Getaway

Families (and couples too) wanting all of this in a vacation will absolutely love the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line – especially its newest addition –  Norwegian Getaway. From the young to the young-at-heart, everyone who sets sail aboard this massive, activity and amenity-packed ship is certain to enjoy one of the most fun experiences at sea.

Debuting in January 2014, the Miami-based ship will feature a seemingly endless lineup of activities and amenities to satisfy families craving loads of onboard fun. Highlights are many and will include an Aqua Park (featuring five water slides), a three-story sports complex with ropes course, a fireworks display staged on every cruise, and The Waterfront – a quarter-mile-long outdoor "boardwalk" with eight al fresco dining venues and lounges.

Kids will especially go giddy for the Illusionarium, a special effects-laden magic show inspired by the imagination of Jules Verne, Houdini and a cast of supernatural characters. Guests attending the show will find antique spell books, interactive artifacts and relics in a steampunk-inspired environment. Parents on the other hand will enjoy evening entertainment like the GRAMMY Experience. During the day, you can check out the GRAMMY museum; and at night, step into the first-ever GRAMMY Experience at sea, featuring live jazz and R&B performances by past GRAMMY winners and nominees.

Add to all this, an alternative dining option by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian; an array of cabin choices, including The Haven by Norwegian, a top-ship, 42-suite enclave; and special cabins and suites positioned around the spa.

All About Fun

In need of a vacation that will please everyone in the family? From tots to teens, grandparents to grandkids, Royal Caribbean International caters to the entire gang like few others – and the cruise line’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, first ship in their Quantum class, is raising the bar on seafaring comfort and thrills once again.

Quantum of the Seas will introduce the first ever sky-diving simulator at sea. Guest can experience the sheer thrill and exhilaration of flying in an air machine that lets you soar in a safe, controlled environment. Also taking thrills to new heights is the North Star, a jewel-shaped capsule that gently ascends over 300 feet above sea level. Breathtaking 360° views of the sea and ports of call is certain to the North Star one of the most anticipated features on this ship.

Newly designed staterooms, game-changing technology, groundbreaking venues and the best dining ever are just the start of what you'll find on board Quantum of the Seas. Play basketball, go roller skating and ride bumper cars at the Seaplex. Parents will love relaxing with a book atTwo70° and come back at night for a spectacular aerial show. The ship will also feature very cool transformative venues throughout the day. You won’t believe your eyes as these completely revolutionary spaces will slowly morph in their ambience as day turns to night. Plan to sail with your own large crew? The ship will even have more family-friendly modular staterooms that interconnect and the first virtual balconies at sea.

Plus, Royal Caribbean has enlisted celebrity experts in fields such as design, sports & fitness, entertainment and other areas to be part their Quantum Experience Advisor program to work hand-in-hand to provide their expertise to help shape interior design, key amenities and activities.

Mark your calendar now, Quantum of the Seas is set to sail November 2014.

Cruising the Good Life

Ah, the good life — lavish accommodations, five-star cuisine and once-in-a-lifetime shore excursions — that’s just what you can expect from Princess Cruises fleet of impeccable vessels, including the line’s newest ship, Royal Princess. Launched June 2013, Royal Princess is a mélange of first-rate service and bespoke elegance. It’s also a fantastic ship for families.

Many families choose Princess Cruises for its dining and entertainment options, and the line's solid family programs. Featuring expanded space for youth centers, Royal Princess adds a new level of kid-friendly excitement. All age groups will find plenty space with dedicated outdoor areas, including a teen lounge. Toddlers can also join the fun with a special fun area just for kids under three.

Princess Cruises honors traditional cruising – one dining room is dedicated to set-seating, cocktail lounges have an elegant ambience, lovely classical music performances are mixed in with jazzier tunes, and afternoon tea is a mainstay. All of these hallmarks can be found on Royal Princess, along with a few enhancements such as the SeaWalk, a walkway that hangs off one side of the ship 16 decks up and offers sweeping panoramic views.

Princess Cruises was the first cruise line to introduce Movies Under the Stars, and Royal Princess is has the largest outdoor movie watching venue in the line’s fleet. On the pool deck, a magical fountain does a Vegas-worthy water and light show at night. And then there's Princess Live!, the first television studio on a cruise ship, with room for audience seating and participation.

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