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BellaOnline's Cruises Editor

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Freedom For Everyone On Family Cruises


One of the most challenging parts of family vacation planning is finding a place that offers activities and attractions for everyone. There are so many different ages and interests to please. Travel styles within families can also be poles apart, particularly when dealing with teens and multigenerational groups.

Parents and travel experts say choosing the right vacation destination can make or break a family vacation. It’s critical to pick a venue that provides a wide variety of experiences so every family member can find something they will enjoy. With differing travel styles, it’s also important to build opportunities for freedom into the mix. That is why cruising is such a great choice for family vacations.

Cruising offers families a wide variety of things to see and experience, both on land and at sea. In addition, family members can enjoy the freedom of doing their own thing – coming back together at meals to share their stories. Rather than a forced family vacation regimen, daily schedules can be adjusted based on individual travel styles and interests.

When considering a family cruise vacation, it’s important to pick the right ship. Take the aptly named Carnival Freedom, for example. This ship has something for every age group and interest, plus it provides plenty of opportunities for family members to enjoy their vacation both together and apart. Here’s a quick look at a seven of the distinctive features that make the Carnival Freedom a great choice for families and multigenerational groups:

1. Family-Oriented Seuss At Sea Program. As part of an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Carnival Cruise Lines has launched Seuss At Sea – a series of shipboard family focused dining and entertainment experiences. “Our guests can participate in many of the activities as a family and that is what makes the Seuss themed experiences so meaningful,” says Lania Rittenhouse, VP of Product Development at Carnival Cruise Lines. Children and parents will enjoy participating in the Seuss-a-palooza Character Parade and Seuss-a-palooza Story Time. Another feature of Seuss At Sea is the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends. The nominal $5 per person charge for this colorful character breakfast is an excellent value and a good fit with the average family’s vacation budget. Dr. Seuss movies and themed photo opportunities are also available during the cruise.

2. Seuss Themed Bookville Reading Area. Parents love to encourage their children to read. Bookville, currently available solely on the Carnival Freedom, is the perfect place for parents to read with their children and play together. “The whimsical furniture and 3D characters really make the space come to life,” says Carnival’s Rittenhouse. An extensive array of Dr. Seuss books, toys and related games are available here. Parents of little ones particularly enjoy reading and playing in Bookville with their kids, but adults come in to rediscover their Dr. Seuss childhood favorites, too. “Dr. Seuss is an iconic brand – everyone remembers reading Dr. Seuss books as a child,” says Jim Berra, Carnival’s Chief Marketing Officer.

3. Awesome Camp Ocean for Kids. Great children’s programs are entertaining for kids and also provide parents with some much-needed freedom on vacation. Carnival’s new Camp Ocean program does just that. Camp Ocean is focused on children ages 2 to 11 and it’s divided into three groups: Penguins for ages 2-5; Stingrays for kids 6-8; and Sharks for ages 9-11. Each age group has its own separate room within Camp Ocean and there's a cool party & multipurpose space in the middle. Carnival listened to its guests and consulted with a group of toy inventors, gaming specialists, academics, media and moms in designing their new marine-themed program. “Their work evolved into the 200-plus ocean themed activities that we have rolled out thus far,” says Lania Rittenhouse. Camp Ocean’s hours typically last from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. On port days when shore excursions leave early, Camp Ocean opens in advance to accommodate parents who want to let their children stay onboard and play with their friends while they go exploring. Kids can also have dinner with the youth staff in the evening, giving parents the opportunity for a romantic night out.

When Camp Ocean programs end at about 10 p.m., Carnival's late night fee-based children's programming gets underway to allow parents the freedom to explore all the ship offers. Camp Ocean’s Night Owls group babysitting service is designed to be a fun-filled slumber party at sea complete with activities. The Night Owls program is available from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. nightly during the cruise and different children’s late night parties are held as well. Unlike many other cruise lines, children do not have to be potty-trained to participate in Camp Ocean or Night Owls – a big Carnival plus for parents.

4. Hip Tweens and Teens Clubs. Tweens and teens crave independence on vacation. Parents generally are willing to oblige, as long as they feel comfortable with their safety. Tweens and teens have their own expansive, well-designed areas on the Carnival Freedom. All events and activities in these spaces are free of charge and are supervised by dedicated directors and trained counselors who know how to make things fun, safe and cool. Club O2 caters to older teens ages 15-17 and has a hip nightclub feel. Tweens ages 12-14 congregate at Circle C, a dedicated club-type space devoted to this age group. As part of their club activities, tweens and teens can hang out with friends and listen to music, play video games, watch a movie, enjoy dance and pool parties, participate in special events, and so much more. Kids and parents alike rave about the tween and teen programs on the Carnival Freedom. “It gives them the freedom they desire and the level of control I need,” said one mom, “plus I get a little time for myself.”

5. Babysitting Options for Little Ones. Carnival knows parents of wee ones need to enjoy some free time, too. That’s why the cruise line has set aside specific hours when the Camp Ocean staff is available to take care of kids ages 6 months to 2 years. On days at sea, parents can leave their children under 2 with the camp's Youth Staff from 8-10 a.m. for a nominal fee. The Camp Ocean facilities are also exclusively available to parents and children under 2 during those hours if they’d like to play together free of charge. During days when ships are in port, Camp Ocean’s care for children under 2 starts 15 minutes before the first tour until 12 noon, or from 1-5 p.m. for ships arriving in port after noon. Parents can also let their tots participate in Carnival’s fee-based Night Owls program. Parents of little ones should be aware children ages 2-11 will be participating in this program, too. Pillows and blankets are available for sleeping and Pack & Plays are provided for young ones.

6. Fun For Adults. Vacation fun isn’t just meant for the kids, of course – it’s for adults, too. The Carnival Freedom offers adults tons of venues and branded experiences for nightlife, fun bars, cool entertainment options, and high-energy onboard excitement. For those over 21, the Carnival Freedom features bars with lots of personality including the RedFrog Rum Bar, the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, EA SPORTS Bar, Alchemy Bar, and the ever-popular RedFrog Pub. Guy’s Burger Joint is a Carnival Freedom favorite, serving over 1,200 free handcrafted burgers on the ship each day. Sun King Steakhouse, a classic American steakhouse, is an exceptional specialty restaurant and an excellent choice for a Parents' Night Out. For adults looking for a place to relax, Serenity offers the perfect escape. Located at the front of the ship, Serenity features hammocks, comfy cushion-topped loungers, and huge whirlpools. Admission to this area is free on Carnival ships, unlike on some other cruise lines. When the sun goes down, the Carnival Freedom heats up - after all, it's a Fun Ship! Trained by the award-winning DJ IRIE, the Carnival Freedom's DJs can be found keeping the late night action going at spots around the ship. The ship's new Playlist Productions, shorter high-tech revue-type shows combining music with fashion and dance, feature popular artists and themes like Heart of Soul, 80’s Pop to the Max, Getaway Island, and 88 Keys: The Rock n’ Roll Piano Show. The late night Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez is another favorite with adults.

7. Entertaining Family Events. For families that love game night, competitions and winning prizes, Hasbro, The Game Show is the place to be. Families can participate in games including SORRY! SLIDERS, SIMON FLASH, YAHTZEE BOWLING, OPERATION SLAM DUNK, and CONNECT 4 BASKETBALL. The Carnival Freedom features a huge LED flat screen that overlooks the pool, offering "Dive In Movies," sporting events, concerts, and shows. There are even G-rated Punchliner Comedy Club shows for families who enjoy laughing together.

For more information about Carnival Cruise Lines and the Carnival Freedom, visit http://www.carnival.com.


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Content copyright © 2014 by Nancy Schretter. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Nancy Schretter. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Nancy Schretter for details.

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