“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.
Norwegian Cruise Line and BlogHer are hosting a sweepstakes for one grand prize - a voucher for a cruise for a family of four! You can enter the sweepstakes by commenting right here on this blog post! Simply leave a comment, answering this question:
“What is your dream vacation for your family?”
No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: *Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post (see above.) *Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post. *Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post *For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. Entries from all participating blogs will be pooled for winner selection; only two entries per household. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 5/6/2013-6/2/2013. Be sure to visit Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!