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By Donna Mulligan

Being a working mom for the past 18 years, family vacations are very sacred to me. Spending family time together, without the distractions of the kids’ homework, food shopping, paying bills or work, has always been a very blessed investment.

So it was with much excitement that I planned our first family cruise, a 4-night sailing from Boston to Nova Scotia. Our boys, who were ages 14, 12 and 8 at the time, were so thrilled and excited when they realized the ship was a floating resort hotel, fully equipped with miniature golf, game room, water slides and unlimited ice cream sundaes whenever they wanted!

The adjoining outside cabins gave us parents just enough privacy, and the boys were thrilled with the bunk bed that dropped out of the ceiling.

I felt relatively comfortable letting the boys explore the ship on their own. We provided them with a loaded game card and soft drink card, which gave them some freedom to be more independent. My husband, Joe, and I even booked reservations at one of the specialty restaurants one night, and the boys ordered whatever they wanted from room service. They later attended a G-rated comedy show by themselves, and were in bed by the time we returned from dinner around 10:30 p.m.

Cruising has so many activities and entertainmentoptions that it can easily accommodate everyone’s personal interests. I can see why it is so popular with extended families — grandparents and all. Personally, my kids enjoyed the bingo hour, and the cash prizes were an added bonus!

We all looked forward to the shore excursion when we docked. There were a number of options to choose from. As I had been to Halifax before, we chose to explore the harbor front on our own. There is an interesting Pier 21 in Halifax, which served as Canada‘s “Ellis Island” for European immigrants. My grandparents came through that very pier from Belgium back in 1926.

I truly would recommend family cruises to anyone — even better yet if you can include grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There is enough to satisfy everyone’s interests and the food is phenomenal!

Donna Mulligan is a full-time working mom to 3 hockey players, ages 18, 16 and 12. Her family’s favorite travel destinations include Killington, Vermont, the Adirondacks, Florida’s Gulf coast, and Quebec City.

Tagged: Cruise, Family time

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