variety of staterooms to fit any budget and travel needs. Some cabins have been specially designed to accommodate four or more guests. Special suites are available for the disabled and folks who want more room and luxury amenities. 2. Convenient Departure Points – Traveling to the embarkation point of a cruise ship has never been easier. Ships depart from more than twenty ports across North America. Today, cruise ships are located within driving distance of or a short flight from many US cities, including Miami, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NewYork, Galveston, New Orleans, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, among others. 3. No Worries – On a family reunion cruise, there is no cooking or cleaning to worry about—just relaxation. Furthermore, the weather is usually warm and pristine. Once everyone’s bags are unpacked (some lines may offer to do that, too), the ship’s crew does the rest. 4. Floating Fun – There is never a dull moment on a modern cruise ship. Guests enjoy swimming pools and water slides, rock climbing walls, surfing, ice-skating rinks, roller blade tracks, spa services, kids’ programs, nightclubs, gambling, shopping, dining, libraries, Internet and video arcades, enrichment seminars and guest lectures, yoga, and plenty more. A highlight for many families is the visit to the cruise lines’ private islands that dot the Caribbean—these are always full of fun and relaxation. 5. Food Galore – There are more food and dining choices on cruise ships than ever before, catering to people of all ages and tastes. Cruise ships still have their formal dining rooms, but most also feature more casual restaurants, grills, and poolside dining options, plus 24/7 room service. Specialty restaurants, created by some of the world’s most famous chefs, also are found on many cruise ships. 6. Spa Sensations – Men and women who want to be truly pampered are invited to enjoy incredible spa experiences. Cruise ship spa staffs make relaxation and rejuvenation the focus of your visit, from the time you slip on your spa robe till the sad moment you leave this serene and peaceful Eden. 7. Children’s Programs – For parents who may want a break from their children (and vice versa), most of today’s cruise ships offer plenty of structured and supervised recreational programs for kids aged 3–17. In addition, special lounges and nightclubs for tweens and teens abound so that the younger generations can hang out in supervised settings—no parents allowed. Chapter XV What’sYour Ideal Cruise Ship Size? What’s Your Ideal Cruise Ship Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, or XXL?: The Differences Between Cruise Ship Sizes and What They Mean for You One of the most important decisions to make when planning your cruise is choosing the ship that best meets your particular needs. Ships sizes range from megaships (over 4,000 passengers) to very small vessels and luxury yachts whose passengers number in the mere dozens. Sea-going ships comprise the largest portion of the cruise industry, with a very wide range of passenger capacities and amenities. Below is information on the benefits each type of ocean-going ship provides to cruise travelers. Extra, Extra Large Ships (XXL) – 4,000+ passengers These megaships boast unparalleled options in entertainment and amenities. They truly give the impression of being on board a floating city, and provide endless choices in dining, activities, and shopping (some are so large that they even incorporate a “mall” area with brand name stores). If you desire a resort-type feel from your cruise or worry about sea-sickness, this may be your best option.
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