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Travel Buzz
Family Fun @ Sea

Creating a family vacation that your whole gang will love can sometimes be nothing short of a challenge — but that doesn’t mean it has to put a drain on you or your wallet.

By cruising, family fun can be found almost anywhere. The possibilities for you to get away from it all, relax and kick back while having a great time are endless. Cruise ships venture to nearly every corner of the globe, from the sun-drenched islands of the South Pacific to the snowy alpine scenery of Alaska and pretty much anywhere in between.

Offering everything from the comfort of cozy cabins and the excitement of bustling deck areas, to all-day buffets, nightly sweets, talent shows, and special programs for the kids, cruise vacations are voyages filled with a boatload of fun and a world of possibilities. From sunrise to sunset and beyond, you will find unique activities tailored to suit just about any cruiser.

Gone are the days of shuffleboard. Now you have your pick of swimming pools, spiraling waterslides, sports decks, scavenger hunts and much more. Oh, and the ports of call you can visit are pretty cool too!

Family Time Well Spent
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 oodles of new ships with great itineraries and amenities to experience.

No matter how old your kids are, the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line are prime for families — and the line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, is certainly no exception. The latest expression of NCL’s ever-popular and relaxed “freestyle cruising” atmosphere, the Norwegian Breakaway’s design will offer the best of the line’s current fleet while infusing a variety of new innovations to create the best vacation ever.

On board you’ll find NCL’s largest kids club to date for ages 3 to 12; and teens will actually look forward to getting out of bed and heading to Entourage where they can hang with their peers. Even the under two crowd can enjoy special playtime with their parents in a dedicated area.

To keep the kids active, the onboard Sports Complex will challenge cruisers to a game of mini golf or to climb the largest ropes course at sea. There’s even a basketball court and an enclosed climbing cage here too. Of course no family-friendly ship is complete without a pool, or two! The Aqua Park offers five multi-story waterslides (no other ship offers that). Add two swimming pools, four hot tubs and water features and you’ve got more ways to have fun than ever. For the younger crowd, the Kids Aqua Park features squirting Nickelodeon figures and a perfectly sized slide and pool.

Start your planning now as the stunning Norwegian Breakaway will set sail in the summer of 2013 from New York to the pink-sand beaches of Bermuda, and in the winter to the warm tropics of the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Florida.

Two Cities at Sea
Having revolutionized cruising with some of the most innovative and grounding breaking ships at sea, Royal Caribbean International has a knack for giving families everything they could want in a vacation…and a whole lot more. Take the Allure of the Seas for example.

As the newest ship to join Royal Caribbean’s awe-inspiring Oasis class, the Allure of the Seas is a captivating adventure unlike any other. Guests aboard this truly
massive ship can explore seven distinct neighborhoods filled with awesome new features — like the first Starbucks at sea, the Broadway hit musical Chicago in the main theater, and favorite moments with Shrek, Po the panda, and more movie-themed characters in the magical DreamWorks Experience.

Parents will love spicing up a sailing with margaritas and Mexican-fare favorites at Rita’s Cantina, or with prime cuts straight from the skewer at Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. In addition, more Oasis-class “Wows!” can be had at the classic carousel on the Boardwalk, watching aerial acrobats in the AquaTheater, taking a turn on the FlowRider surf simulators, plus zip-line views over Central Park — a meandering garden lined with shops and fine restaurants.

Much like its sister ship Allure of the Seas, the Oasis of the Seas is the ship that revolutionized cruising. The ship’s groundbreaking design introduced seven distinct neighborhoods built for ultimate enjoyment. Guests can hop on a classic carousel on the Boardwalk, then watch divers and acrobats splash down in the AquaTheater. Young imaginations can soar in the Youth Zone — the largest kids’ area at sea — or at the pool and Sports Zone, where cruisers will find FlowRider surf simulators and zip-line views. Parents can unwind with a stroll in Central Park or melt away stress at Vitality Spa. Evenings can be jazzed up by attending the Broadway hit Hairspray, or by hitting the ship’s Royal Promenade for memorable moments with DreamWorks Experience characters.

High Seas Sophistication
Interested in mixing in some cool sophistication with your family cruise? Before you ask if that’s even possible with kids in tow, the answer is “Yes!” To do so, look no further than Celebrity Cruises.

Poised with a beautiful, hi-tech fleet that now includes the equally compelling Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity offers an unrivaled cruise vacation the entire family will talk about for years to come.

Celebrity Reflection offers three new suites, including 34 new AquaClass Suites that feature stunning 79-square-foot verandas, so you can relax like never before. Plus, favorite spa amenities and priority access to the highly-rated specialty restaurant, Blu, are included. Parents will love having the opportunity to take a painting class with a Master Artist from the ArtCenter South Florida in The Art Studio.

Now, for the kids…
Celebrity’s youth program is geared to five different age groups ranging from toddlers to the hard to please 17 year-olds. Those ages 3 to 11 have their own Fun Factory, an entertainment center filled with the latest gaming technology and the hottest titles. These junior cruisers have the opportunity to participate in exciting games, sports, crafts, music, karaoke, treasure hunts, theme parties, movies and lots more. For young adults, Celebrity offers X-Club, the ultimate hangout place for teens featuring social activities, the newest gaming consoles and titles, sports activities, and teens-only late night dances. All activities are hosted and supervised by Youth Counselors.

And yes, Celebrity even offers private in-stateroom babysitting to children 12 months and older for a nominal fee for up to three children from the same family.

Getting up Close
Giving your family the chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most fascinating destinations is one of the true joys of travel. And that’s exactly where Paul Gauguin Cruises comes in.

Famed for its m/s Paul Gauguin ship, which was designed specifically for sailing the shallow seas of Tahiti and French Polynesia, Paul Gauguin Cruises has added to its collection of cruises with the unveiling of the m/v Tere Moana, the company’s second luxury ship. The Moana accommodates just 90 guests and reflects the high standard of quality and service for which Paul Gauguin has become known.

The Moana specializes in European, Caribbean and Latin American destinations, with an emphasis on delivering unique itineraries that larger ships simply cannot offer and exploring hidden ports throughout these regions. It’s for this very reason why families of all ages will adore cruising on the Moana.Kids will be absolutely mesmerized by the historic and always intriguing ports of call.

Spacious staterooms, a choice of two open-seating venues, extensive spa, and an onboard watersports marina are among the Moana’s luxurious attributes. In fact, watersports are a highlight of the Moana experience. With the ship’s specially designed watersports marina, guests may descend to sea level where they can conveniently hop aboard a windsurfer or launch a kayak.

Remember, when you’ve decided on which cruise is right for you — or if you need assistance choosing one — be sure to contact your local travel professional. They’ll not only find the best value for your hard-earned vacation dollars, but offer their personal recommendations for the very best family getaway.

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