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Mother and daughter in Castaway Cay (Photo: Disney Cruise Line)
Mother and daughter in Castaway Cay (Photo: Disney Cruise Line)

Best Mother's Day Cruises

Moms do so much for us every day -- they deserve a cruise vacation as a "thank you" and a relaxing break from everyday stress. If you're thinking of treating your mom, the mother of your children or any mom really to a vacation at sea, which lines are the best to book? Here are our top picks for the best Mother's Day cruise options for our favorite mamas.

Updated March 19, 2018

Celebrity Cruises

Why It's Mom Worthy: Mothers who love a good massage or spa day will go ga-ga over Celebrity's AquaClass cabins, with their spa concierge, free thermal suite passes and exclusive access to onboard restaurant, Blu. Adults-only solariums are the perfect place to cat nap or catch up on reading, without pesky rug rats underfoot. Moms who miss evenings out at home will enjoy the choice of multiple restaurants (ranging from French to Asian) and fun lounges, like the Martini Bar, home of the martini flight.

Take Note: Some ships have AquaClass suites in addition to AquaClass cabins for an even more decadent spa-lifestyle cruise. In general, not all Celebrity ships have the same amenities so be sure to do your research before you book.

Disney Cruise Line

Why It's Mom Worthy: If Mom has to take the brood with her on vacation, Disney Cruise Line is a great choice for giving the matriarch a break even with the kids in tow. Disney's ships have fantastic kids' clubs and family-friendly activities, so the little ones can be occupied for an afternoon while Mom sips cocktails by the adults-only pool. Restaurant staff will cut up kids' food and fetch additional glasses of juice or milk so Mom can have an uninterrupted meal, and cabins with room-dividing curtains and split bathrooms make bedtime much more tolerable.

Take Note: You will be surrounded by hundreds of children and nonstop Mickey Mouse references and Disney characters, which could drive some stressed-out moms to the brink.

SeaDream Yacht Club

Why It's Mom Worthy: When it's time for a romantic getaway with Dad, you can't go wrong with SeaDream Yacht Club. From alfresco dining to lounging on top-deck Balinese beds, personal service and cruising to off-the-beaten-path and beautiful ports in the Caribbean and Europe, SeaDream will help rekindle the romance that's gone missing in between the diapers and parent-teacher conferences. Both of SeaDream's ships are small, with water sports marinas at the back and bicycles to borrow for playtime at anchor and in port.

Take Note: SeaDream's fares are all-inclusive, which means they're not cheap. Ships are not tricked out with multiple restaurants or onboard entertainment venues.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Why It's Mom Worthy: For the ultimate moms' week or weekend away, Norwegian Cruise Line has it all, from a range of restaurants to multiple bars and energetic evening shows. Mom and her friends can spend their days by the pool or at the adults-only Spice H2O sun deck and the evenings letting loose at the Glow Party or other themed events, or barhopping around the ship.

Take Note: Norwegian ships vary widely in onboard amenities; the newest ships have the most attractions and top shows.


Why It's Mom Worthy: If you want to treat your mom to intuitive service, dishes by big-name chefs, spacious digs and a choice of itineraries spanning the entire globe from Antarctica to the Arctic tip of Norway, book her a Seabourn cruise. She'll be spoiled rotten, whether her idea of a perfect afternoon is to sip tea and munch scones, venture out on a Zodiac tour or find her missing Zen with a massage and sound bowl therapy.

Take Note: Pricy Seabourn is best for a mom-and-dad-only trip, a best friends' getaway or a trip with adult children. Young children are welcome, but won't find many activities geared toward them.

Princess Cruises

Why It's Mom Worthy: Everyone knows that Mom's favorite guilty pleasures are wine and chocolate, and Princess can provide those in abundance. The cruise line partners with acclaimed chocolatier Norman Love and offers his desserts and pastries onboard; it also offers chocolate spa treatments, and wine and chocolate pairings at its Vines wine bar.

Take Note: Wine costs extra on Princess, so if Mom is planning to indulge, you might consider treating her to a wine-inclusive beverage package.

Viking River Cruises

Why It's Mom Worthy: Mature moms and those traveling with adult children should consider a river cruise -- the hottest cruising trend for the over-60 set. With more than 60 ships, Viking offers a variety of cruises on rivers throughout Europe, Asia, Russia and Egypt. Whether your mother prefers to sip wine on a Bordeaux cruise or check visiting the pyramids off her bucket list on an Egypt cruise, she will find a Viking itinerary that appeals.

Take Note: River cruises often involve active days with long days of walking and coach tours, so make sure your mama is feeling fit and packs her best walking shoes.

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Best Time to Cruise
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. For example, fall foliage enthusiasts will find September and October the best time to cruise Canada/New England, whereas families prefer to sail in summer when temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.
How To Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin: What You Need to Know
Your room on a cruise ship is called a cabin (or stateroom) and is akin to a hotel room, but typically much smaller. Choosing a cruise ship cabin can be fun and challenging at the same time, and not just a little bit frustrating on occasion. Cabins fall into different types or "categories," and some cruise lines will present as many as 20 or more categories per ship. Before you get overwhelmed, it's helpful to remember that there are essentially only four types of cabins on any cruise vessel: Inside: the smallest-sized room, with no window to the outside Outside: a room with a window or porthole (a round window) with a view to the outside, often similarly sized to an inside cabin or a bit larger; also known as oceanview Balcony: a room featuring a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks It's the permutations (size, view, location, amenities and price, for example) of the four basic cabin types that can make choosing difficult. In addition to knowing your cabin options, you need to know yourself: Do you tend to get seasick? Do you prefer to nest peaceably on your balcony rather than hanging with the crowd around the pool area? Conversely, is your idea of a stateroom simply a place to flop into bed at 1 a.m. -- no fancy notions necessary? Are there certain amenities you are willing to splurge on, or can you simply not justify paying for unnecessary perks? The answers will help guide you toward selecting the best stateroom for your money. If you're feeling overwhelmed by choice, we'll help you get started with this guide to choosing the best cruise cabins for you and your travel party.
What to Pack for a Cruise: A Beginner's Guide
There once was a not-so-savvy seafarer who didn't feel right unless she took two steamer trunks crammed with outfits on every cruise. This, she learned, was not a good idea. Besides incurring the wrath of her male traveling companion, who pointed out that he would have to wrestle with excess baggage through airport terminals and beyond, she quickly tired of cramming her belongings into tiny closets. The now savvy seafarer follows this packing rule: Thou shalt put into one's suitcase only that which will fit neatly in the allocated cabin storage space. Following that advice is getting easier because, for the most part, cruising has become a more casual vacation with relaxed dress codes. Plus, with airlines charging to check bags, it's just plain economical to pack light. To do so, you need to have a good sense of what you’re going to wear on a cruise so you don't pack your entire closet. If you're wondering what to bring on your next cruise, here are our guidelines for what you'll need to pack.