Planning the perfect family vacation that’s enjoyable for children and adults alike doesn’t have to be a challenge. Whether by sea or land, there are plenty of ways for the whole gang to have a happy and memorable getaway. Here are three essentials in choosing the best cruise or all-inclusive resort to keep everyone smiling:

Spacious Accommodations to Give Everyone Elbow Room

On a cruise, families have a myriad of accommodation options – from sprawling suites large enough for 16 to family-size staterooms to standard-sized, connecting cabins. Consider priorities when choosing the right space for your family. Is having a balcony to add extra space and fresh air important? Do you prefer connecting cabins, where you can open the doors when you want more space or close them when you need privacy? Bathtub versus shower? Fold-out beds versus berth?

What about having a cabin near the pool or kids’ club? Or maybe proximity to the sports deck or buffet is better suited? With our expertise and ship knowledge, we’re here to help guide you on cabin types and location.

To fit the whole family comfortably, choosing the right hotel room on land is just as important as on a cruise. All-inclusives tend to have spacious suites perfect for families. Many have kitchenettes with small refrigerators and bathrooms with shower and tub, perfect for rinsing sand off the little ones. Of course, if you want a place to spend time with your loved one after the wee ones go to bed, look for a separate living space, quiet balcony or at least a curtain to partition between the living and sleeping space.

Remember, for both land and sea, booking early will garner the most and best options.

Food Options for the Most Finicky Eaters

Cruises and all-inclusive resorts alike are fabulous for having enough restaurant and food choices for everyone in the family. And, what’s even better – most food options are included in the trip fare! Both have buffets with plenty of options, and many offer multiple specialty restaurants for a small charge in addition to the main dining room. Note that some a-la-carte restaurants on cruises and at all-inclusive hotels require reservations, so plan ahead. Plus, there’s always room service! With so many options, everyone is bound to find something they like!

If tasty and plentiful cuisine is high on the list for the perfect family getaway, be sure to mention that to us as your travel advisor, so we can help you choose the perfect ship or resort that’s kid- and parent-friendly.

Fun Activities for Everyone in the Family

Cruises and all-inclusive resorts offer such a variety of activities that each family member can craft his or her own experience. With so much to do, families can spend time together or split up to enjoy the kids’ club, spa and more.

The best family cruise lines have a mix of structured and unstructured children’s and teenager’s programs and activities – everything from scavenger hunts, sports courts, pools and waterslides/waterparks, movies, mini-golf and games to meet-and-greets with favorite characters, ziplines, surfing, rock climbing and rope courses. Each cruise line is a little different on how they divide children into age-appropriate groups, so think about personalities in addition to age and club hours when determining which cruise line is the best fit.

And while the kids are taking part in supervised club activities, the adults have alone or couple time to enjoy adults-only pools and whirlpools, spas, lounges, casinos and more.

There’s plenty for the family to do together, as well. A variety of offshore excursions will appeal to all ages – hiking ancient ruins, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, horseback riding or participating in local cultural traditions. Choosing the best ship for your family’s activity wish list is where the expertise of your travel advisor can really help.

All-inclusive resorts are typically all about the variety of pools, as well as water and beach activities. Beach volleyball, anyone? Look for resorts that have lots of water play for the kids; not only are they bound to stay happy for hours, but they’ll meet other youngsters to play with, too. And a safe, swimmable beach is always a bonus!

Like cruises, many all-inclusive resorts feature a kids’ club, where children can play in structured and cultured activities – anything from cooking lessons to arts and crafts. Consider what resort amenities are important to you and your family – land and water sports, exceptional cuisine, babysitting and shuttle services, laundry facilities, 24-hour room service, child-proofed rooms – and let us know, so we use our knowledge to help you find the perfect retreat.

In need of a vacation from your family vacation? The best resorts have excellent spa services, live entertainment, swim-up or poolside bars, and maybe even a private, romantic dinner beachside under the stars for parents to unwind.

Discover our agency’s collection of family-friendly cruises and resorts with special savings and perks.