Sunday, November 9, 2008

Royal Caribbean Introduces More Family Cruising Ammenities

It's no surprise that I talk alot about Royal Caribbean. For a family cruiser, this cruise line has been making more and more child friendly innovations.

Starting with Oasis of the Seas - A nursery for children 6 mos up to 36 mos

Open daily, the nursery will offer parents childcare drop-off options in the daytime and evening, carefully maintaining an optimum staff to child ratio. Free-time play also will be offered daily, creating an interactive environment where parents and children can bond while playing with a variety of Fisher Price developmental toys in specially-designed programs offered exclusively for guests sailing with Royal Caribbean. The Crayola Beginnings line of toddler art tools will be featured in unique developmentally-appropriate art activities designed for parents and children to enjoy precious creative moments together.

New Family Play Areas on Oasis/Allure

Oasis of the Seas will introduce exciting new common play areas, including the Kid’s Arcade for video games; the Workshop, where families can learn scrapbooking skills or create personalized jewelry; Imagination Studio where children can explore the world of color and imagination through Adventure Art by Crayola; a fully-equipped lab for Adventure Science Lab, where Einsteins-in-the-making can expand their knowledge; Play, a circular area where children can rollick and participate in a variety of sports and games; and Adventure Ocean Theater, the first-ever children’s theater at sea - complete with a stage and curtains, audience seating and state-of-the-art production equipment - where children of all ages can learn about theatrical productions, take part in talent shows, or sign up for hip hop dance classes.

Children's Library Fleetwide

The Adventure Family Library with a range of books for the entire family, a journey within a journey is just around the corner from your stateroom. They've designed the libraries in such a way that books for young readers are easily accessible. From books about animals to toddlers to bedtime stories, there is something to keep your little ones entertained. Books can be found in different languages, depending on your itinerary. Choose your child's favorite story, or try out a different one each night with the Royal Caribbean Adventure Family Library.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Atlantis - Paradise Island, Bahamas

If you love water mixed with a little adventure, then treat your family to a trip to Atlantis, Paradise Island. I see alot of families torn on what to do when they get to Nassau. Some want to stay on the ship. Some just want to walk around the markets. If you have kids, the more pre-planning you do before the cruise, the better experience you will have.

Atlantis Paradise Island takes some advanced planning, but it is a resort with WOW.

So let's start with the pre-planning and booking Atlantis.

-Most cruise lines offer an excursion to Atlantis that includes transportation to the resort, use of the beach, pools/slides and access to the Dig/Aquarium. This would be a simple option if it wasn't so expensive.

-Atlantis Resort does offer day passes, but they have been known to have "limited availability". Once you get more than 2 people in your group, the day pass price is higher than the next option....

-Reserve a room and be a guest of Atlantis OR the adjacent property Comfort Suites Paradise Island. Guests of the Comfort Suites enjoy full use of the Atlantis facilities including the dig, pools/slides and beach. It sounds absurd, booking a room you will never use. But once you look at the prices of the room and compare the amount of money that you will save by doing this, it is the best way to "do Atlantis".

You can use a booking site like Expedia to search the prices of a room at Atlantis. Then compare those with the prices from Comfort Suites for the day you will be there....

You will be able to travel to Atlantis and "check in" to receive your water park passes upon arrival. You do not need to wait until the 2pm check in time. You can get your bracelets immediately.

Each room comes with up to 4 bracelets which includes access to everything on the Atlantis grounds, excluding some of the specialty excursions like swimming with the dolphins.

Even if you have young children, there are many different places to explore at Atlantis. There is so much to do, odds are you won't be able to see it all in one day trip. Note - some of the water slides and the rapids river at Aquaventure does have a 48" height minimum on it. That doesn't mean that young children have nothing to do. There are many children pools, some smaller slides and a Lazy River for the under 48" crowd to ride with their parents.

Getting to Atlantis
There are two ways to get to Atlantis from your cruise ship. Walk into the Nassau port building and up to the Transportation/Tour desk. Tell them you want to go to Atlantis. For $3pp you can take the water taxi (bring your courage cause they like to pack em in on these boats). For $4/pp you can take a regular taxi (my preferred method because I like the door to door service).

So don't stay on the ship in Nassau. Atlantis is one experience you won't want to miss.