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Kid friendly cruise line 

Family Friendly Cruise Lines Perfect for Your Next Vacation

Cruises provide impressive vacation value to families, especially families who are on a budget. From lodging to food, activities, and transportation to faraway places for one set price-families really can’t ask for much more. With a never-ending lineup of activities, kids are kept occupied and happy while parents have the option to relax if they so choose. Even those hard to please teenagers are less moody! Now we have really caught your attention, haven’t we?

Check out our top 5 picks for the most exciting family cruise lines.

1) Disney Cruise Line

Just like its land-based theme parks, Disney Cruise Line caters fantastically to kids and kids at heart. Every minute of a Disney cruise is crammed with parties, character autograph sessions, tours, movies, games, musicals, and a 4,000 person water play area on the Disney Fantasy Ship. Children’s and teens programs are among the best of any cruise line and include animation lessons, science classes, princess/hero parties, arcades, teen lounges which are accompanied by music, television, videogames and more.

Even newborn babies are welcome aboard—in typical Disney style, no detail is left forgotten and delightful nurseries are available with care for little ones 3 years and younger. Parents can enjoy the spa and state of the art fitness facilities, a quiet adult-exclusive pool, nightclubs, and art galleries to name a few.

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America's 5 Best Road Trips

America’s 5 Best Summer Road Trips

As gas prices continue to remain low, the temptation for road trips is oh so attractive. 2015 is destined to be the summer of the road trip and you’ve got five thrilling, adventurous, and affordable options for a memorable summer road trip vacation.

Pack up the trunk, fill the cooler with ice, prep your music playlists, and hit the open road to explore America!

Iconic Route 66-New Mexico
Start: Albuquerque, New Mexico
End: Moriarty, New Mexico
Distance: 38 miles

At the top of most road trippers bucket list is Route 66. This 38 mile drive along I-40 is iconic and recently has a new twist, now known as Singing Road, and one of few such roads that exist in the world. Drivers will hear “America the Beautiful,” but there is a catch-you must reduce speed to 45mph. The road uses rumble strips to play music to help prevent motorists from speeding or falling asleep at the wheel. An experiment by the National Geographic Channel as part of its series “Crowd Control,” the Singing Road is part of an innovative experiment designed to test and curate social behavior, revealing how and why we behave as we do. This drive will take you through the Cibola National Forest, Tijeras, Sunset Motel, old west bars, and along the way you will spot those familiar neon Route 66 signs which are often seen in familiar blockbuster hits, like Little Miss Sunshine released in 2006. 

Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway
Start: Grand Junction, Colorado
End: Moab, Utah
Distance: 424 miles

This route loops you through some of the Wild West’s top dinosaur sites-plus some killer scenery. By starting in Grand Junction, Colorado you can head northwest to the town of Dinosaur. Spend a few hours at Dinosaur National Monument, where you can see live digs and a paleontology lab. A prehistoric pairing for the recent release of this summer’s film Jurassic World, continue west into Utah where you can visit the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. Kids especially love the museum’s garden of life-size dinosaurs.

Montgomery National Historic Trail
Start: Selma, Alabama
End: Montgomery, Alabama
Distance: 54 miles

Take a drive through history on this National Scenic Byway which traces 54 miles of civil rights history. This route was home to civil rights demonstrators in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Road trippers can spend a few hours exploring the small Alabama town that took center stage in the fight for voting rights. Then follow U.S. 80, crossing over the famous arched Edmund Pettus Bridge which is the site of the violent clash between marchers and law enforcement known as Bloody Sunday. Not only does this route take you on a history lesson, the drive through Montgomery continues east and takes you through breath-taking rural countryside, passing farms and churches that served as campsites for the marches.

Start: Boston, Massachusetts
End: Seattle, Washington
Distance: 3,024 miles (without detours of course)

A true road trippers dream along with low gas prices make this coast-to-coast road trip a must-do. If you’re going to drive across the country, you might as well take the long route: I-90, which connects Boston to Seattle along the longest interstate in the U.S. Passing through thirteen states, you could do the drive in 6 days, but it’s best to take your time and make detours to some of the nation’s top sites which include Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, the Great Plains, Continental Divide, and Yellowstone National Park.

Presidential Trail
Start: Pensacola, Florida
End: Key West, Florida
Distance: 1, 045 miles

As presidential candidates start to announce their run for the White House, you may want a reason to explore an impressive lineup of historic sites relating to former presidents. This route has you starting in Pensacola, where Andrew Jackson served as Florida’s first governor after accepting the land from Spain. Cruise over to northern Florida in the Daytona Beach area where you can dine at The Cellar, a restaurant that used to be Warren G. Harding’s home. A true experience! Onward to Central Florida, you’ll find some tributes to America’s leaders at Walt Disney World Hall of Presidents and Clermont’s The Presidents Hall of Fame. Finally, swing down into the Keys for a peek at Harry Truman’s Little White house, his winter home on Key West. This road trip covers almost the entire state, from the Panhandle to Key West, so if time is tight, you may want to consider focusing on one section.

Cruise Ship Vacation

One of the biggest advantages to cruising is that you only have to unpack once. You can visit several countries without having to live out of your suitcase. With storage space being somewhat limited on board and airlines not only charging for checked baggage, but overcharges if your bags are heavy, it’s important to learn how to pack light for a cruise.

Beginner cruisers often freak out about what to pack for a cruise, but the reality is they probably have everything they need. Plus, if for some reason you forget something it’s likely to be easily at hand in the ship’s store or at shops within the ports.

The two most important considerations when packing for your cruise are:
• Where you’re cruising
• What ship you’re sailing on

Dress Codes

Most cruise lines have become more casual allowing onboard guests to wear t-shirts, shorts, jeans, and bathing suits (with cover-ups) pretty much anywhere on the ship. There are obvious exceptions such as if you do a sit-down lunch in the main dining room where restrictions are common. On the luxury cruise ships, this casual approach may equivocate to polos and khakis, sundresses, and other designer wear. What you wear at night varies by the ship you are cruising on and where you would like to dine. Many ships have formal nights held twice a week. Not all weeklong itineraries hold formal evenings but a lesson for first time cruisers is to use the term “formal” to a small degree.

Really, semiformal is a more appropriate term to use. Men can typically get by wearing a dark suit and women, a cocktail dress. Many cruise lines offer advice on what to wear depending on what ship you are cruising, too. For example, Oceania Cruises indicates a country club casual attire on board, which means you dress up a little more at night than you did during the day. As many of the cruise lines do, Oceania offers a great blog and tips for cruisers setting sail with them.

Cruise Services

Most cruise lines do offer laundry and dry cleaning services with a typical 24-hour turnaround. When you arrive in your cabin, a price list will break down the laundry services more in-depth for you. These convenient services are handy for those who prefer to pack extremely light, but you should expect to pay about $1.50 per sock, $3 per T-shirt, and $7 to dry clean a shirt. Carnival, Princess, and Holland America just to name a few do offer self-service washing machines and dryers.

If you are particular about products you use on a daily basis consider bringing your own in approved 8oz travel size containers. If you aren’t as particular, your cabin will have soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. If you happen to forget other toiletries such as toothbrushes, razors, sunscreen, etc. most ships have those items available for purchase.

American operated ships are well equipped with 110 and 220 AC current. One thing to keep in mind if you are traveling internationally on-board a non-American cruise line, you will want to verify if you need an adapter for your electronic devices. Most cabins have a couple outlets but if you’re an electronic guru bringing multiple devices, consider bringing along a small power strip.

Packing Essentials

An important tip for first time cruisers is-pack a day bag on day 1! Many times it can take up to 8 hours for your luggage to be delivered to your cabin so fill the bag with all essentials such as medications, documentation, etc. Always pack your camera and binoculars, especially if you’re on a cruise where you are likely to see wildlife. If you are planning on any shore excursions, take into consideration that you may need to dress appropriately if your excursion requires a lot of walking or hiking for example. To cut down on the attire that you bring, here is a tip for ladies on board. Jewelry and scarves allow you to wear simple dresses, such as a little black dress more than once. For men, wearing dark colored pants or shorts that can pair with different shirts each night will help cut down on attire as well.

Climate Cruising

Whether you are heading on a warm, sunny, tropical cruise or an Alaskan cruise, let’s break down what to pack based on the climate.

For warmer weather cruises, here are the top 10 items to pack:
• T-shirts, polos, blouses
• Shorts, sundresses, slacks
• Eveningwear
• Bathing suits/cover ups
• Sandals and or comfortable walking shoes
• Sweater or shawl
• Sunglasses
• Sunscreen
• Hats
• Mosquito repellent

For colder weather cruises, here are the top 10 items to pack:
• Jeans and/or long pants
• Sweaters, fleece pullovers, warm vests
• Eveningwear
• Waterproof jacket
• Sock cap and or gloves
• Walking shoes/cold weather, waterproof boots
• Umbrella
• Sunglasses
• Chapstick
• Swimsuit (for hot tub)

Cruising is a great way to celebrate a significant birthday, anniversary, or a vacation filled with memories of a lifetime. A safe environment, excellent value for your money, the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, fine dining, and witnessing open-waters only visible from the sky. With that said, enjoy your first cruise and may many more be in your future.

Unique Family Summer Activities

3 Unique Ideas for Summer Family Adventure

Must-Do Ideas for Guaranteed, Different Family Fun

Memorial Day has come and gone and that anticipated time of year has finally arrived-summer! Kids are out of school and parents have family vacations on the forefront of their minds. Where to go? What to do? How much will it cost? Will everyone have fun? These are the common questions that tend to arise for many families considering traveling this summer. Many families venture to the typical summer hot-spots, with the beach and amusement parks at the top of the list. What if this summer though, you skip the beach and long amusement park lines all together?

Here are 3 unique, different, family adventures that are sure to be remembered.

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