Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, reports that families are traveling more. The brand saw a 15 percent increase in passengers cruising with children or multi-generational groups over the past 12 months.
“As the travel industry continues to experience exciting changes in 2014, one of the fastest growing trends in travel involves the entire family,” said COO of Cruise Planners-American Express Travel, Vicky Garcia. “Instead of taking solitary trips, family members are pooling their resources to take advantage of multi-generational travel deals.”
The best way to get the most value is using a trusted travel agent who can ensure family members get to enjoy their quality time together experiencing once-in-a-lifetime activities in their chosen locale, says Cruise Planners. This summer, there are plenty of money-saving deals that the best travel agents can secure for families looking to cruise – some of the deals even include children sailing for free.
The top trends in multi-generational family travel for summer 2014 cited by Cruise Planners include:
Cruising, the best value for your money: Many families are discovering the value of cruising. In addition to the great deals available to families right now, cruises also offer vacations with something for everyone. The myriad of activities aboard provide outlets for every member of the family, while fun and exotic locations offer an ever-changing backdrop for each adventure.
Customizing cabin choices: From connecting rooms (on ships such as Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas) to solo lofts (aboard ships such as the Norwegian Breakaway and the new Norwegian Getaway), cruise cabins are appealing to all group sizes. Solo cabins are ideal for families since everyone can be included on a trip – even if they are single.
Private, VIP areas: Some travelers are demanding a more customized and personalized experience including butler service, private areas to avoid large crowds or intimate options such as private dining aboard cruise ships. These exclusive amenities are perfect for grandparents who are traveling with their family, but also want to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere as sophisticated travelers who expect a certain level of service. Cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, which has The Haven, Royal Caribbean International, which offers private lounges for their loyal past guests and MSC, which features the Yacht Club for VIP guests are all in high demand. This way, more seasoned generations get the full cruise experience with options for more seclusion when they desire.
Onboard kids care: Many cruise lines provide daycare for kids and some actually have babysitters for babies who are only 6 months old. It’s best to work with your travel agent to find out the best cruise line for your family and activities that fit your kid’s interest. Look into onboard experiences such as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Meet-and-Greet with Nickelodeon Characters, and the DreamWorks Experience exclusively on Royal Caribbean International or Seuss at Sea with Carnival Cruise Lines. Every cruise line offers kids menus for every meal, which is an added plus.
Teens influencing the itinerary: More and more, children are influencing family travel activities and destinations. Many cruise ships are developing entertainment designed especially for teens in mind. For example: Royal Caribbean International’s Scratch DJ Academy on the Oasis of the Seas, MSC Cruises’ Formula 1 simulator, and iTake video project on board Celebrity Cruises. These attractions are wooing the teen traveler, and families are also deciding for cruises based on teens’ opinions.
Educational and cultural trips: Creating once-in-a-lifetime memories is what cruising all about, which is why each cruise line is creating enticing, draws for multigenerational groups. For example, exploring Europe with the kids, or experiencing dog sledding in Alaska (for kids at least 12 years old), or visiting Brazil, the home of this year’s World Cup on one of Royal Caribbean International’s Culturally Enriching voyages.
“PANKs”; Professional Aunts, No Kids: According to a research study “PANKs” are influencing travel trends, as they spend millions of dollars each year to travel with their nieces and nephews to exciting places. PANKs are interested in domestic travel, particularly Disney resorts and Hawaii, as well as Europe, especially the UK. These highly valued family members are willing do whatever it takes to get quality time with their loved ones, so cruises are the perfect backdrop for a vacation experience.
Babymoons: As more and more couples are waiting until later in life to start a family, many of them appreciate couples trips or when they are trying to conceive or just found out they are expecting. This is a growing trend especially among celebrity couples. Duchess Kate and Prince William enjoyed their babymoon in the private Caribbean island of Mustique, while parents-to-be Kim Kardashian and Kanye West toured Rio de Janeiro.