Experience Travel E-zine

Spotlight on Caribbean & Mexico

When it’s time for a family break, what better place to head for than the Caribbean or Mexico? It’s not too far to go and you’re in a relaxing, sunny place that offers a range of experiences, just right for that memorable vacation.

Spotlight on The Caribbean & Mexico

Traditional house with indoor courtyard.
Oaxaca, Mexico

For a sunny getaway that’s sure to please every member of the family, head for the islands and beaches of the Caribbean and Mexico.  Easy to get to with a wide range of activities to keep you occupied, there’s much to explore and enjoy across the region.

Whether you’re planning a quiet vacation with immediate family, a multigenerational reunion or a romantic couple’s escape, there’s a destination that’s just right for you in the Caribbean and Mexico. Here you have vibrant cities, peaceful villages and secluded resorts to choose from. Nature and eco activities, outstanding spa and wellness programs, enriching cultural activities and of course, everywhere you go, fabulous beaches and plenty of high octane water sports. 

There’s an accommodation style that will be exactly what you require. Mexico and the Dominican Republic have perfected the all-inclusive vacation that lets you know before leaving home exactly what the price tag will be. These multi-faceted resorts offer a range of dining options and activities so there’s something for every member of the family to participate in and enjoy.

Couples seeking a more private all-inclusive experience have a selection of couples-only resorts to choose from. The ultra-luxurious over-water bungalows in Jamaica could be just the right choice for your romantic escape!

Our Villa collection is another option for a luxurious, private home away from home. Ideal for multigenerational family groups or couples wanting to get away from it all, many of these exquisite properties have ocean views and are close to the beach. Maid service and even a chef can be a part of the experience to pamper you during your Mexican or Caribbean dream vacation.

Cruising is one of the best choices for a family vacation with many ships geared to accommodating and entertaining every generation. Spend your days enjoying your resort at sea or exploring ashore before meeting up for dinner to share the wonderful experiences of the day. It’s a carefree vacation that lets you focus on the destination and enjoy the company of family without the distractions of the usual day to day routine. You can also be as active or inactive as you like every day of the cruise. A top choice for that multigenerational family reunion!

Add to this a selection of boutique hotels, rustic cottages, spa and wellness resorts and hotel/casinos and you see the wide range of vacation styles that awaits across Mexico and the Caribbean. It’s a region focused on welcoming visitors to its shores for a fun-filled vacation that will create lasting memories.

On Location in Jamaica

Tropical shoreline in the British Virgin Islands.
British Virgin Island (BVI), Caribbean

Myrtle Dwyer is back with helpful information for families and multigenerational groups visiting Jamaica. Director of Sales & Marketing for our On Location partner, Glamour DMC, Myrtle certainly describes some enticing activities and options for beautiful Jamaica.

Q: What makes Jamaica a good choice for a family vacation?

Jamaica is a natural when it comes to family which is not limited to those who are related by birth. Families have a special bond which extends from grandparents to the babies and there is always an occasion to get together for a moment of fun and enjoyment. Throughout communities, adults are always looking out for children. This habit transcends the workplace where staff is always looking out for families. It is always a treat to see the children shed tears when they leave our resorts and when they return they look forward to their favorite members of staff. Most Jamaica resorts welcome guests of all ages, but there are some properties that are designed specifically with families in mind.

Unlike many other exotic popular vacation attractions, Jamaica has gone about creating a number of family friendly attractions for those vacationing with kids. From kid-friendly hotels to a wide selection of kid friendly activities, there is no time for boredom from your kids in Jamaica. With so many options you really cannot go wrong and there is always help to make the right choices. Children return with families until they become adults and some even choose to get married on island. There’s always something for multi-generational families to be together or spend some time together apart but there are always fond memories.

Q: Tell us about accommodation options that would suit families and large multi-generational groups?

Most Jamaica resorts welcome guests of all ages, but there are some specific properties that are designed specifically with children in mind. Every type of accommodation of well suited for families. There villas which are laid out with connecting rooms and staff who are trained to take care of small children. Similarly, small hotels, medium sized and large hotels have oversized suites, large bedrooms or connecting rooms which are well suited. There are hotels like Hilton Rose Hall, Jewel Runaway Bay, Iberostar Suites, Half Moon, Round Hill, Holiday Inn, Sunscape, Beaches among others who have built with families in mind. Family reunions groups frequent Jamaica a lot because of the availability of the various types of hotels with facilities and activities that are best suited for participants.

Q: Describe the beaches and the family-friendly amenities that are found there.

Think beautiful beaches, water parks, kids’ camps with loads of activities to keep all ages engaged and along "me time" for adults, games, talent shows, parades, pool activities, Reggae dance lessons, hair-braiding, art classes which are all supervised. In some resorts, there are teens night clubs which are supervised. Baby Sitters are always available so that adults can have a day or evening out. Special children’s menus and dining hours are organized.

Q: What activities and attractions are good for families to visit with young children or teenagers?

Fortunately, there are plenty of activities and attractions around the island to for the family to resist the temptation of staying "on campus. Hotels are equipped with family programs for varying ages of children but they are always encouraged to venture out on Family trips – horseback riding, water parks, dolphin lagoons, river rafting, river-tubing, catamaran cruises, "Meet the People" programs where families visit the homes of Jamaican families and enjoy a sumptuous meal or enjoy cocktails. Kids can visit schools on island and enjoy various games and interaction.

Q: Are there any tours geared to families?

There are activities which are geared towards families in mind: nature walks, hiking, scenic rides and garden tours; bird sanctuaries, historical, art .and cultural tours; water activities at sea, waterfalls and rivers, theme and water parks.

Q: What dining options do you recommend for families?

Children are always taken into consideration for dining options. Hotels and restaurants have menus for children. Jamaica is the home of local culinary treats and everyone is allowed to take part in the various sumptuous dishes and the tasty fruits which grow on island.

Q: What shopping options would teenagers enjoy?

There are markets abounding to shop for island souvenirs or duty free shops and the entire family is welcome!

10 Family-Friendly Activities

Green Sea Turtle
Grand Cayman

There’s something for every generation to call fun while vacationing in the Caribbean or Mexico. Whether you are staying at a resort or cruising, this is a sun-filled vacation that’s sure to please.

Swimming with turtles, Grand Cayman

At the Cayman Turtle Centre, enjoy an array of activities including swimming with turtles in a lagoon teeming with marine life. Here they have created a tourist attraction while raising and releasing the endangered Green Sea Turtle so you’re supporting a worthwhile cause while enjoying the edu-tainment.

Discover Mayan culture

On Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula there are temples to climb, ruins to explore, accessible caves and indigenous festivals; numerous excursions for your family to experience Mayan culture. Don’t miss the factory tour at Kaokao, on Cozumel to learn the history of chocolate, a delicacy and form of currency for the ancient Maya!

Water sports – all types!

Weather your family is into windsurfing, sailing, jet skiing, fishing, para-sailing or simply swimming, you’re in the right place! Your resort will have a range of activities on the water while private operators offer more options from their facilities. Fun in the sun is the order of the day and water sports fit the bill!

Markets for local culture

Shopping can be a great family pastime that introduces you to local food, culture, arts and crafts when you visit a Caribbean or Mexican market together. Pick up souvenirs and gifts for friends at home while meeting the residents of your destination. It’s a fun and rewarding activity!

Hiking the rainforest

For active families with older children, you’ll come across waterfalls, exquisite views, beautiful flowers and birds as you hike the tropical forest. Top destinations are Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Rainforest, Dominica’s Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Grenada’s Natural Reserve and St. Lucia’s guided rainforest nature walks.

Snorkeling and diving certification

Why not use your vacation time to learn to snorkel or dive in tranquil waters with great visibility? Curacao is one ’dive island’ where you can take lessons and get certified while on vacation. Snorkeling is something even young children can enjoy to explore the beautiful under-water world.

Exploring history

Between the ancient Maya, tales of pirates, battles and islands changing hands there’s a lot to learn about the Caribbean and Mexico! Wander historic forts and the streets of Old San Juan, Santo Domingo and Havana. Martinique tells its story of volcanic disaster in 1902; interesting places where families can learn together.

Swim in a cenote

Here’s something different in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Cenotes are sinkholes formed when the roof of a cavern collapses. They are filled with crystal-clear water from underground rivers providing a unique place to swim. Many have life guards, the best choice for families wanting try this unusual activity.

Aquariums & underwater observatories

It’s always a thrill to watch shark and sting ray feedings while exploring these eco/educational facilities. Also watch marine life in a coral reef from the underwater observatory at Coral Park, St. Thomas. Get to know some flippered friends at the Sea Lion Encounter at Curacao’s Sea Aquarium. Two great choices for a day out!

Endless activities aboard ship

On a Caribbean/Mexico cruise, there are fun activities for every generation from sports activities to cooking classes. Celebrity Cruises’ new Summer Camp at Sea program keeps kids busy and inspired with Explorer Academy (science), iTake (moviemaking), Creation Station (art) and Recreation Nation (Xbox, sports, and more).

Cruising the Caribbean & Mexico

Ik-Kil Cenote
Near Chichen Itza, Mexico

Want to see more than one destination on your Caribbean vacation? Cruising to Mexico’s Mayan Riviera along with several islands in the Caribbean is a good choice. Enjoy all the entertainment and dining options your state of the art cruise ship has to offer then explore ashore as you visit a number of different ports of call. It’s a winning combination for an idyllic vacation.

With so many enticing ports to visit, selecting the itinerary that suits you best might be a challenge! Cruises from a few days to a couple of weeks focus on the Eastern, Western or  Southern Caribbean. Longer cruises have time to combine two or three of these magnificent regions.

The Western itineraries include calls in Mexico where you can explore Mayan ruins, swim in a cenote, zipline through the rain forest, snorkel at one of the world’s top reefs or simply relax at a spectacular beach. Be sure to stop by the colorful markets, great places to purchase silver jewelry, leather goods and Mexican arts and crafts.

There are so many spectacular Caribbean islands, each with its own character and points of interest. Your luxurious and comfortable cruise ship can take you to many islands on one exciting vacation. Imagine having Cozumel, the Cayman Islands and Tortola come to life; experiencing San Juan, St. Thomas, Martinique, St. Lucia and Antigua. There’s something very special about cruising the Caribbean and seeing so many alluring places.

Many cruise lines have their own private island as well where you can enjoy a private beach day during your cruise. These havens have all the amenities and activities you could wish for with a tempting beach bar-b-que and assorted dining venues for when you’re hungry.

The newest addition is Harvest Caye on an island off the coast of Belize. Complete with swim up bar in the pool by the LandShark Bar & Grill, a seven acre beach area, and shopping village, Harvest Caye also offers tours to the Mayan ruins and other points of interest on mainland Belize.

Other lines create a special event at a port of call, like Windstar’s "St.Lucia Destination Discovery" event, a private beach day complete  with coconut drinks, beach buffet, Officer vs. Guest volleyball tournament, bocce ball, Steiner Fitness Program, and a mixology class featuring a local-themed drink.

Whether you want a big ship with all the features of a resort/ theme park at sea for the entire family to enjoy, a small ship with a more country-club lifestyle or something in between, there’s a ship for you calling at the Caribbean and Mexico. Different cruise lines, even ships within a cruise line fleet, cater to varying travel styles. You’ll find there’s a cruise vacation to suit every taste.

So stop dreaming and start planning your exceptional cruise to the Caribbean and Mexico, an exciting destination that fills the promise of a rewarding and refreshing vacation.

The Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage
Crystal Cruises

The World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line™ is making history once again as Crystal Serenity® returns to the Northwest Passage in 2017 for a second transit of the fabled route. Promising unprecedented adventures and unsurpassed luxury, follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers as you sail through breathtaking Arctic landscapes of grand glaciers and magnificent fjords.

The 32-day soft-expedition journey travels from Seward, Alaska to New York City, New York, August 15 – September 16, 2017, north of the Arctic Circle by way of the Canadian Archipelago. And if the success of Crystal®’s inaugural 2016 Northwest Passage transit is any indication of what’s in store this year, sophisticated adventurists can look forward to exceptional wildlife sightings, stunning displays of nature, and rare experiences carefully designed to revel remote cultures in the most authentic and engaging manner.

Hosted by a team of approximately 14 professionals—naturalists, historians, explorers, photographers and more—the Captain and his expanded crew of navigation experts are prepared to incorporate unplanned “expedition days” when favorable weather conditions allow. This means guests are treated to Crystal’s Unexpected Adventures™ ranging from Zodiac™ landings and kayaking in protected bays to trekking the tundra with an experienced guide. From staggered excursions ashore so as to not overwhelm the remote Inuit villages to the voluntary use of the highest grade of clean-burning fuel, Crystal has planned every aspect of this voyage the utmost attention to detail.

The all-inclusive experience on board is no less exclusive, as Crystal Serenity pampers with its superior standards of service, space, quality and choices. Guests enjoy exquisite dining at elegant venues, including Nobu Matsuhisa’s only sea-going restaurants, an unlimited pour of fine wines, champagnes and premium spirits, and all gratuities throughout the ship. Generously appointed staterooms and suites, nearly all with private verandahs, are a welcome enclave of comfort and luxury following adventurous days ashore.

Book Crystal’s 2017 Northwest Passage by March 31, 2017 and choose any one of three Crystal Clear Choices savings options that suit you best - up to $1,000 cruise fare savings, up to $1,100 Crystal Air credits or up to $2,500 per stateroom shipboard credits.

For more information, see your preferred travel professional or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

Mussels Mariniere

Inspired by legendary Master Chef Jacques Pépin, the cuisine of  Oceania Cruises is renowned as the finest at sea and rivals Michelin starred restaurants ashore. Our superb gourmet restaurants serve exquisite dishes created à la minute and offer a remarkable array of choices, from Continental cuisine to authentic Italian to classic steakhouse fare. Every restaurant on board is complimentary and features open seating, so you may dine wherever and whenever suits your taste and schedule.

Mussels Mariniére
Oceania Cruises
Array

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds black mussels
  • 9 tablespoons (4 ½ ounces) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced shallot
  • Bundle of 2 leek greens, 2 bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs and 3 parsley sprigs tied with twine
  • 2 cups dry white wine (preferably Chardonnay)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Crusty bread


Preparation

Cook shallots wide saute pan in butter on medium low for five minutes. Add herbs and wine and bring to a boil. Cook until wine is reduced by one-third. With liquid at a boil, add mussels and cover pan. Cook 2 minutes and remove as soon as they open.

Discard unopened mussels. Leave liquid in pan and continue to boil until reduced by half, then add salt and pepper. Pour sauce over mussels, sprinkle with parsley and toss. Serve with crusty bread.

Come Back New® With Princess

Experience the feeling of being completely eclipsed by the wonder, beauty and scale of the natural world. Introducing The Come Back New Experience - a series of onboard initiatives and innovations to provide you new and enriching experiences.

Welcome To Ocean Medallion™ Class

Ocean Medallion Class is the next wave of vacation travel, elevating cruising as the world knows it. You will be served by a crew that always understands and delivers exactly what you want, and can enjoy a level of immersion in local cultures that no other vacation can offer.

The Ship

Princess Cruises offers eighteen spectacular ships ranging from a small ship experience with the 670 passenger Pacific Princess to the brand new 3,560 passenger Majestic Princess debuting in April of 2017 in Europe. Each Princess ship is a destination in itself with a wide range of wonderful amenities and delightful diversions. Peruse the deck plans, see our well-appointed staterooms and take virtual tours of our fabulous public venues to learn more about these magnificent vessels and you soon will be charting a course for your next cruise with Princess!

The Ship


Accommodations

Discover the friendly services of your stateroom steward, whether you’ve chosen a modest inside stateroom or a luxurious suite. Enjoy the conveniences of home, including a TV, hairdryer, refrigerator, in-room safe, bathroom sundries, and more – in every stateroom!

Club Class - Mini-Suite With Exclusive Vip Touches

A premium stateroom category featuring our best located Mini-Suite staterooms, as well as the great amenities found in all Mini-Suites — plus premier dining benefits and luxurious perks. Each night enjoy Club Class Dining, an exclusive dining area featuring expedited seating with no wait, expanded menu options, dedicated wait staff and tableside preparations. Other amenities include priority embarkation and disembarkation, a complimentary one-time wine set-up and so much more!
Suite - Includes all the fine amenities of a spacious Club Class Mini-Suite plus:

  • Approx. 460 to 932 sq. ft., including balcony
  • Luxury balcony furniture including 2 loungers, 4 chairs, table and ottoman
  • 2 floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors
  • Separate sitting area with sofa bed, chair and 2 tables
  • One complimentary mini-bar setup and free daily bottled water
  • Spacious walk-in closet
  • Complimentary Lotus Spa® Thermal Suite access on select ships*
  • Complimentary laundry and professional cleaning services
  • Complimentary dinner in a specialty restaurant on embarkation day^
  • Priority specialty dining and shore excursion reservation
  • Priority disembarkation at tender ports

Accommodations


Dining

Dining on board a Princess cruise ship is a joyful celebration in the truest sense with every dish "designed for fresh" and crafted to exceed even the most discerning appetites. From hand-tossed pizza to dazzling multi-course gourmet dinners, you'll find enticing food and dining options throughout the day, as lovingly prepared as a home cooked meal.

Dining


Activities

Destination-Themed Activities

Live performances, music and dance lessons, local foods and more will give you a deeper connection to the places you visit. Depending on your itinerary, cruise activity options may include:

  • Meet Alaskan lumberjacks with North to Alaska
  • Hula dancing and ukulele lessons in Hawaii
  • Street pan drum lessons in the Caribbean
  • Mariachis on deck in Mexico
  • Traditional Maori performance in New Zealand
  • Brazilian samba dancers in South America
  • Local dishes served in our main dining rooms

Activities


Family

Reimagined Youth & Teen Clubs

In partnership with Discovery Communications™, Princess has developed engaging new youth programming and wonder-filled center designs for cruisers ages 3 to 17. Places for young explorers to learn about the world and discover new interests. Invitations to meet new friends and enjoy memorable experiences while sailing. New programs will roll out together fleetwide, while new center designs launch individually through 2018.

Family


Services

There's a reason we're the Best Cruise Line for Romance. Fall in love at sea with our romance packages.

Available Packages:

  • Anniversaries
  • Wedding & Honeymoon
  • Renewal of Vows
  • Engagements

Make that special occasion something to remember with one of our celebrations packages!

Available Packages:

  • Birthdays for adults & kids
  • Congratulations for graduation or retirement
  • Indulgent packages for everyday

You don't need a special occasion to celebrate. A little gift goes a long way…

Available Options:

  • Gift Cards & Balance Inquiry
  • Gift items including flowers, wine, merchandise & more!
  • Photography & Video

Services