“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Every family benefits from a family vacation. Some of our vacations are staycations, and some are camping trips. We love any and all forms of travel, taking our family to places near and far. However, we made some choices, intentionally or not, when we decided to have a large family. One of those takes the form of this reality: Our family simply cannot take a vacation at the drop of a hat--both financially and logistically.
As a family of 8, hours and hours of planning now goes into any trip we take. With kids that span the ages of newborn to 11 years of age, there are many, many issues to consider: logistics of travel, sleeping arrangements, amenities for children and infants, food/meal choices, indoor/outdoor activities. One child MUST have a pool involved. Another child is into sports and loves to be active. One child really loves downtime for creative endeavors. Another child needs a quiet spot to read a little each day...you get the idea. (And that's not even including mom's desire for a nice dinner and live music and dad's desire for exploration and sightseeing!)
So, when a friend recently shared stories of taking her family on a cruise, I listened. Truth be told, I never used to think about going on a cruise. In my younger years, I felt intrigued by the idea of navigating public transportation, travel guides, language dictionaries, and hole-in-the wall restaurants. I still find that kind of travel mesmerizing--I do--but something's happened in the last decade of my life: I had 6 kids. And now, now, I want to spend less time thinking on the HOW and more time BEING together. A cruise has been sounding pretty enticing.
I was told about Norwegian Cruise Line's family-friendly cruises, and well, it looks like they've thought of everything. While my kids love to stay all together as a family, they would surely enjoy the youth program Norwegian offers, The Splash Academy, replete with sports, circus activities, and counselors to guide their fun. The program is available for children 6 months to 12 years of age...um, that's pretty much perfect for us! And what would Mr. Simons and I do without little ones to chase after? Well, for starters, Norwegian has the first rappelling wall at sea and and the only U.S. rated climbing wall afloat. I would have a difficult time getting Troy to come to dinner with me. :) As for me, I'd be happy with a hot stone massage...and perhaps a few other amazing spa treatments available on board. That's all. :)
With so many little ones to attend to and so many needs to meet, it is compelling to hear about flexible, creative options for the entire family that make it possible to spend less time working out logistics of how to do the things everyone wants to do, and more time enjoying one another-- which ultimately, is what a family vacation is all about.
Click here for more information about Norwegian's family vacation experience.
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