Got Some Cash and Some Time?
A cruise is like having a baby-if you have never done it, it's very hard to really understand it when someone else explains it. We took a 7 day Carribean cruise on Royal Carribean Cruiseline, and it was truly indescribable. I felt like a rich lady! I am very overprotective, but I felt totally safe letting my kids go to the camp they had onboard, which was open practically all the time. You could drop off and pick up whenever you wanted-no set times. My son was safe and felt grown up at the teen camp too. Mostly we kept the kids with us, but they went to camp at least for some time most days. Going ashore at port was easy and very doable with kids. The food is indescribable. We met many people who had cruised many different cruise lines (Carnival, Holland America, etc) and all agreed Royal Carribean was either better or just as good. I doubt we would bother trying a different line next time, and there WILL be a next time!
Cruising IS the absolute best family vacation; being a vacation planner myself, my kids got spoiled early on, and when we had not cruised for 7 months or so, they would ask what was wrong...??:( No seriously - and having been on 20+ cruises and recommended many, many more myself, I am also very partial to Royal Caribbean. They were the first line my husband and myself ever cruised on, and since the experience was terrific, just like everything else, that sticks with you!! Celebrity - their sister line, is also an awesome experience for a little bit more "elegance", but similar pricing:) Another hot tip is Norwegian, especially for Hawaii - my youngest - a teen - had been on one of the largest Royal Caribbean (highly recommended with kids!!) ship, and I had then booked Norwegian for a Hawaiian island cruise, and was a bit apprehensive. However, my teen, who was not lacking anything on RCCL, absolutely loved that trip and the cruise line. The Hawaii itinerary is VERY family-friendly and just beautiful and often offered at unbelievable pricing...
We've taken Royal Carribean twice and were very happy with them too. They also have very good spa services!