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Icelandic Adventures in Akureyri with Disney Cruise Line

posted on March 7th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


I’m back to tell you about more Icelandic adventures you can have with Disney Cruise Line this summer! In addition to Reykjavik, we’re calling on Akureyri, a charming fishing village located at the base of the beautiful Eyjafjordur Fjord.

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Designed just for Disney cruisers, our signature Port Adventure in Akureyri, Local Food And Gourmet, gives you the chance to savor Icelandic cuisine, including waffles, ice cream and smoked lamb, during visits to two farms and a smoke hut in the countryside. The excursion concludes with a visit to Santa’s House (did I mention Akureyri is only 60 miles from the Arctic Circle?!) where Christmas is celebrated all year long. You’ll have the chance to see Santa, buy holiday items and meet the legendary Grýla, the villainous mother of the thirteen Icelandic Santas.

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Akureyri is known as the gateway to the natural wonders of Northern Iceland, including Goðafoss, the “Waterfall of the Gods,” one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. On our Leisurely Akureyri & Godafoss Port Adventure, a visit to this amazing sight is combined with a stop at the gorgeous Akureyri Botanical Garden, home to every plant species indigenous to Iceland, plus high-latitude and high-altitude plants from around the world. We also offer an adult-only departure of this tour for those exploring Akureyri without kids.

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During our Akureyri Highlights tour, you’ll have the chance to explore some of the area’s must-visit locales and landmarks, including museums, art galleries and the iconic Akureyri Church, built in 1940 on a hill overlooking the town and fjord. One of the museums, Laufás Folk Museum, dates back to the 1860’s when it was built as a farmhouse in the traditional Icelandic style of stone and turf. One of the last of its kind in the country, the house now serves as a museum and provides a genuine insight into farm life in Iceland over the past centuries.

Next up, we’ll begin exploring Northern European ports that we’re visiting this summer during our Baltic cruises. Remember, when the ship’s in port, venture ashore!

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Exploring ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’ in Reykjavik, Iceland with Disney Cruise Line

posted on March 4th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


One of our brand-new destinations this summer is Iceland, the awe-inspiring “Land of Fire and Ice,” known for its geothermal waters, majestic waterfalls, volcanic areas and breathtaking canyons. Today I want to give you a look at some of what you can experience in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital.

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Rich in culture, eclectic architecture and natural beauty, Reykjavik is also home to the famed saltwater Blue Lagoon, located in the middle of a lava field and known worldwide for its healing properties. We offer two Port Adventures for you to bathe in these warm waters: a half-day experience focused on rest and relaxation and a full-day adventure with an adrenaline-packed volcanic journey.

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On our Let’s Go Volcano And Bathing at the Blue Lagoon, the day begins with an invigorating trek up the steep flanks of a volcano crater in a specially modified super truck, followed by lava-tube caving experience to explore the mysterious depths of the Icelandic underworld. Then, after a visit to bubbling hot springs and the fishing village of Grindavik for a lobster soup lunch, you’ll finish your day with a relaxing afternoon in the therapeutic mineral-filled waters of the Blue Lagoon!

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Here are some of the other super cool tours in Reykjavik you’ll want to check out:

The Golden Circle With Family Barbeque – Classic “can’t miss” Icelandic landmarks take center stage on this tour, where you’ll explore a national park, a glittering waterfall, popping hot springs and a high-tech geothermal energy exhibition. Plus, in true Disney fashion, folk stories come to life during a barbeque lunch in the woods hosted by Iceland’s most famous troll wife, Gryla, and her helpers, who tell the legend of troll giant Bergthor of Bláfell.

Lava Family Workshop – An exclusive for Disney cruisers, get your family “fired up” during an exhilarating trip to the edge of a hardened lava field for an up-close look at volcanic craters. Parents and children alike will take part in an art workshop, using real lava to create your very own framed lava art.

Glacier Safari 4×4 & Ice Cave – On this adventure, you’ll jump into an Icelandic super truck and journey over ice and snow to the “Ice Cave” on the flanks of Europe’s second largest glacier, Langjökull. The man-made “Ice Cave” stretches deep inside the glacier with an impressive series of tunnels and caves carved through solid glacier ice. The ice chapel and ice bar are two of the featured attractions!

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Check back later this week for my suggestions on adventures in Akureyri, Iceland. Remember, when the ship’s in port, venture ashore!

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Adventures Ashore in Norway Exclusive to Disney Cruise Line

posted on February 27th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


Have you enjoyed learning Norwegian phrases for your Disney cruise as much as I have? I have one more video from this fun series to share with you today. This video features Kenneth, a local you may meet during our Molde Folk Museum & City Tour. Hear what phrases he has to teach you …

Now that I’ve showcased Port Adventures in Molde, Geiranger, Alesund, Stavanger and Bergen, I want to highlight more Disney-exclusive excursions in two of our other Norway ports, Olden and Kristiansand

Visit Iconic Fjord Horses in Olden with Disney Cruise Line Visit Iconic Fjord Horses in Olden with Disney Cruise Line

Iconic Fjord Horses in Olden
From the quaint village of Olden, you’ll travel to a Norwegian Fjord Horse Center to experience one of the world’s oldest breeds and one of the country’s national symbols, the Norwegian Fjord Horse. The adventure includes an up-close look at the stallions, mares and foals in a tour of the stables. Disney cruisers also have an opportunity to interact with the horses and see these magnificent animals in action during a dynamic riding performance before meeting the local students who come here to train and care for their horses.

A Taste of Norway in Kristiansand
For those with a culinary passion, a Port Adventure exclusive to Disney Cruise Line in centuries-old Kristiansand provides the perfect hands-on cooking experience. You’ll don aprons and create Nordic specialties, such as succulent wild game filets and krumkaker, a heavenly waffle cookie typically served around Christmastime. Then, you get to sit back and relax, enjoying your sumptuous meal paired with a glass of wine.

Those of you joining us in Norway this summer, tell me, which of the Port Adventures I’ve shared with you are on your family’s must-do list? Up next, I’ll suggest excursions in Iceland, another one of our brand-new destinations for our summer in Europe!

For more on visiting Norway with Disney Cruise Line, visit the links below:

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Exploring Stavanger and Bergen, Norway with Disney Cruise Line

posted on February 24th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


Selecting which Port Adventures in Norway to tell you about isn’t an easy task because there are so many incredible options for your family! Like in all of our destinations, we’ve developed a variety of shore excursions to meet your interests, whether it’s the great outdoors, tantalizing cuisine, historical locations or rich cultural immersion. Today, I want to take you to Stavanger and Bergen, two of the breathtaking locales on our Norwegian fjord sailings this summer.

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Let’s start with Stavanger, home to the amazing Pulpit Rock, one of the most photographed sites in Norway. Our Hike To Pulpit Rock Port Adventure is the perfect way to take in the awe-inspiring views from this steep cliff. Your journey includes a 2-3 hour scenic hike to the top of the mountain, passing ponds, mountains, forest and marsh. The reward? One of the world’s most spectacular views! Don’t think you can face the hike up? Choose the Stavanger Helicopter Sightseeing to see it all from up above or even the relaxing Lysefjord Cruise, where you can see the majestic rock from the waters of the fjord below.

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Now on to Bergen, a city nestled between seven magnificent mountains on the western coast of Norway. In addition to its natural beauty, it is also a city rich in art and medieval history. On our Bergen City Highlights tour, you’ll get a glimpse of the area’s heritage with visits to a number of well-preserved historic sites, including the iconic Fantoft Stave Church. You’re sure to be impressed by this beautiful 12th-century church, relocated to this site in 1883 and reconstructed after a fire in 1992. Your day concludes with a walking tour through the charming streets of Bryggen, Norwegian for The Wharf, a major trading center of the medieval Hanseatic League and now home to boutique shops, museums and eateries.

Exploring Bergen, Norway with Disney Cruise Line Exploring Bergen, Norway with Disney Cruise Line

Later this week, I’ll tell you about two exclusive Port Adventures in Olden and Kristiansand, Norway, created just for Disney cruisers. Remember, when the ship’s in port, venture ashore!

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Learn Helpful Norwegian Phrases for Your Adventures in Molde, Norway with Disney Cruise Line

posted on February 20th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


Are you having fun learning Norwegian phrases before sailing to the land of “Frozen” with us this summer? Get ready for more! In our next video, Synnøve, a little girl you may meet on your adventures in Molde, Norway, teaches you a few important phrases to know, one that friends of Anna and Elsa probably find themselves saying often these days. Take a look …

Just outside of Molde is one of the largest folk museums in Norway, established in 1912. The Romsdal Open Air Museum, set amid beautiful mountain pastures, features more than 50 historic buildings and a recreated city street that captures the essence of Molde prior to World War II. You’ll travel back in history during our Molde Folk Museum & City Tour Port Adventure to explore the century-old property, including lush gardens, farmhouses, smokehouses and a chapel. A highlight of this adventure is a spirited performance of Norwegian folk dancing featuring local children in traditional regional outfits. Be on the lookout for sweet Synnøve! Here’s a glance at what you’ll experience …

Coming up next week is the final video in our series. I’ll be sharing it along with more of my recommendations for Port Adventures in the breathtaking country of Norway!

For more helpful Norwegian phrases for you Disney Cruise, visit the posts below:

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‘Frozen’ Friends Join Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures in Norway

posted on February 18th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


For the first time in forever, Anna, Elsa and Kristoff are joining us ashore for a one-of-a-kind family Port Adventure! When we call on Ålesund, Norway during our Norwegian fjord sailings this summer, you’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit with these Disney friends from the neighboring kingdom of Arendelle.

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Your adventure begins at a charming countryside village, recreated with buildings dating back to the 1800s. Here, at the outdoor Sunnmøre Museum, only Disney cruisers are invited to a Norwegian summer celebration where the festivities culminate with the arrival of the beloved royal sisters and their ice-loving companion.

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At this outdoor celebration, you’re invited to dance to folkloric tunes from local musicians, play old-fashioned games and explore the beautiful grounds and historic homes. You’ll also get to sample tasty Norwegian specialties, including svele, a traditional sweet pancake from the region. The photo opportunities will be plenty, when visiting with the many locals wearing traditional Norwegian outfits and the village’s beautiful Fjord horse, and of course, during your personal meet-and-greets with our special “Frozen” friends.

This Disney-exclusive Port Adventure marks Anna, Elsa and Kristoff’s very first visit to the land that inspired their story. Who’s ready to bring back summer so we can get this party started?

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Adventures in Geiranger, Norway and More Helpful Norwegian Phrases for Your Disney Cruise

posted on February 12th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


It’s time to learn more helpful Norwegian phrases for your Disney cruise! I hope you enjoyed the first video I shared last week. Today I want you to meet Maja, a young woman in Geiranger, Norway, where goats may actually sleep on top of houses! Watch her video and then read on to find out more about the Port Adventure you can join to visit this picturesque mountain farm.

If you would like to taste some brown cheese, this Port Adventure is for you! Our journey to the charming Herdalsetra Mountain Farm is a unique cultural experience for the entire family where you’ll celebrate agricultural traditions dating back to the Viking age. Not only will you learn about the process of making rich cheese from goat’s milk, you’ll have the opportunity to taste some of the delicious food produced on the farm, including Norway’s famous brown cheese, similar to sweet fudge. Take a look at these photos for a glimpse at some of the fun your family will have at this quaint farm set amid the breathtaking Norwegian mountains!

Be sure to check back next week for another Norway video and Port Adventure feature!

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New Video Series: Helpful Norwegian Phrases for Your Disney Cruise

posted on February 6th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


We’re just a few months away from our first-ever cruises in Norway! Our team has been busy developing some pretty awesome shore excursions so that you can have the adventure of a lifetime on your trip to the land of “Frozen.” I’ll be telling you all about our Port Adventures in Norway, starting today, but first I want to share with you a video from a really fun series we created, “Helpful Norwegian Phrases for Your Disney Cruise.”

While we were exploring all there is to see and do in the ports we’re visiting in Norway, we spoke with some of the locals about what phrases will be helpful for Disney cruisers to learn. In this first video, we caught up with Arne during our Viking Village Experience from the port of Alesund, Norway. Check out his video, and then keep reading for details about this Port Adventure.

This video was filmed on the island of Giske, an area known for its rich Viking history. One of our Port Adventures, designed exclusively for our guests, includes a quest there to a Viking village where you’ll meet the chieftan and his family. On this unique and interactive adventure, you’ll head back in time to experience the Viking world and be a part of their daily life, mingling with members of the Norse families and experiencing first-hand the traditions, authentic food and games that come with being a Viking. Check out this photo gallery of some of the fun your entire family will have while being immersed in this intriguing culture!

Next week, stay tuned for another Norway video and Port Adventure sneak peek. Farvell!

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Top 10 Beaches for Adults to Visit on a Disney Cruise

posted on November 13th, 2014 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


Adults cruising without little ones, I haven’t forgotten about you! Last week I shared my top 10 beaches for families to visit on a Disney cruise, and while all of these are great options for you, too, today I’ll give recommendations specifically for those seeking a little more seclusion or some fun with just the adults. Some of these spots may be off the beaten path, but the journey to get there will be well worth it!

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1. Serenity Bay at Castaway Cay (Bahamas)

Just like on our ships, we have a hangout exclusively for adults on our private island, Castaway Cay. Serenity Bay is only a quick tram ride away from the family beach, but you’ll feel like you’re miles and miles away from any hustle and bustle. This age 18+ beach has everything you need for a relaxing day, including lounge chairs, umbrellas, hammocks, yummy food and tropical drinks!

2. Atlantis, Paradise Island, Nassau (Bahamas)

The famous Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in Nassau offers a great beach retreat for families, but it’s also at the top of my list for an adult-only beach day. When you join our Atlantis Beach Day & Discover Atlantis Port Adventure, not only will you have access to the resort’s exclusive beach, you’ll also have the chance to try your hand at Blackjack in the casino or shop in the nearby Marina Village.

3. Playa Uvas, Cozumel (Mexico)

The upscale and chic beach park at Playa Uvas, with its trendy scene and sofa style seating, is an awesome place to relax in Cozumel, and it’s just a 10-minute ride from the port. Since it is part of a marine park, snorkeling and kayaking are two of the best ways to enjoy your day here. We offer the Clear Kayak and Beach Snorkel Combo for those who want to mix in a little fun with their relaxation.

4. Rum Point Beach, Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands)

The beautiful Rum Point Beach on Grand Cayman offers more seclusion than some of the island’s other beaches, making it perfect for those wanting a chill beach day. The best way to get to enjoy this authentic island atmosphere is on our Rum Point Beach Adventure, which includes a relaxing one-hour catamaran cruise and plenty of time to relax in a hammock on the warm sand.

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5. Trunk Bay Beach, St. John (US Virgin Islands)

Located in a national park, St. John’s pristine Trunk Bay Beach is home to amazing snorkeling and stunning views. Since the ship docks in St. Thomas, you’ll need to take a ferry to the island of St. John, but the 45-minute ride over is part of the fun! Our St. John Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel Tour is a great option for those who want to enjoy the bay’s impressive underwater snorkel trail.

6. Great Bay Beach, St. Maarten (Virgin Islands)

St. Maarten’s Great Bay Beach is in Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of the island near where the ship docks. It’s a nice beach for you to visit if you also want to take advantage of the area’s shopping and dining. Plus, the ship is in sight from the beach, making for a great photo opp!

7. Ocean Park Beach, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

If you’re looking for a quiet beach day in San Juan, head on over to Ocean Park Beach. There aren’t as many facilities there as you’ll find at other beaches, but its natural and less-crowded setting is perfect for a peaceful and relaxing afternoon.

8. Doctor’s Cave Beach, Falmouth (Jamaica)

Montego Bay in Jamaica is well known for its beautiful beaches, and it’s just a half-hour ride from the port in Falmouth. Doctor’s Cave Beach, home to a beach club where you can rent chairs, umbrellas and snorkel gear, is a hot spot for fun in the sun. The beach is also nearby the area’s shopping and dining hub.

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9. The Baths, Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands)

Virgin Gorda is a nearby island to the port in Tortola, most known for The Baths National Park. The breathtaking beach is filled with giant granite boulders surrounded by natural tidal pools. You’ll need to take a ferry to get to The Baths at Virgin Gorda, but you’ll be happy you spent the extra time to get to this gorgeous destination!

10. South Beach, Miami (Florida)

Chances are, you’ve heard of the trendy South Beach in Miami. This colorful, Art Deco neighborhood is famous for its energy, shopping, dining and of course, a beautiful beach. Once you’ve had your fill of lounging on the white sand beach, there are many options to continue the fun, like riding a jet ski down the coast or eating at one of the many delicious restaurants on Ocean Drive.

If you’ve traveled to any of these locations without kids, tell us, which beaches are your favorite for some peace and quiet or fun in the sun?

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Top 10 Beaches for Families to Visit on a Disney Cruise

posted on November 11th, 2014 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Manager, Port Adventures Research & Development


If you love cruising to tropical locations, chances are you also love visiting beautiful beaches. Luckily for you, there’s no shortage of warm sand in the Bahamas and Caribbean where our ships frequent throughout the year. But deciding which glorious stretch of sand is a good fit for your family isn’t always easy.

Our Port Adventures are the best way for your family to experience a hassle-free beach day, and we’ve worked with tour operators to take you to some of the best beaches in the places we visit. Here’s a look at my favorites in 10 of our tropical destinations:

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1. Castaway Family Beach, Castaway Cay (Bahamas)
Most cruises from Florida include a stop at our private island, Castaway Cay, and if you’re traveling with little ones, Castaway Family Beach is the perfect spot for you. The beach is lined with umbrellas, chairs and hammocks for your complimentary use, and the water is sectioned off for swimming, floating and snorkeling. Plus, the Pelican Plunge water slide is within swimming distance from shore and the all-you-care-to-eat lunch buffet is steps away.

2. Blue Lagoon Island, Nassau (Bahamas)
This spectacular private island is just a half-hour boat ride from the port of Nassau. We offer several excursions there with different options for what your family would like to do, whether that’s swimming with dolphins, snuggling with sea lions or swaying in hammocks! The family-owned island has all of the amenities you need, yet it’s set apart by its untouched natural environment and authentic Bahamian experience.

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3. Playa Mia, Cozumel (Mexico)
With its water park, water trampolines and water bicycles (just to name a few!), Playa Mia is an active family’s paradise on the island of Cozumel. The full-facility beach also has plenty of space where you can relax, including lounge chairs both on the beach and by the pool. Our Cozumel Beach Break excursion is a convenient way to get time at this popular locale, with a delicious lunch buffet included!

4. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands)
Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is famous for its long stretch of coral sand and clear blue water, and it’s just a short ride from the port. On our Family Beach Day at Tiki Beach Port Adventure, you’ll have access to full amenities there, including lounge chairs, fresh-water showers, a restaurant and not to mention a gorgeous view!

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5. Magen’s Bay Beach, St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands)
With its calm waters and half-mile stretch of white sand, Magen’s Bay is home to St. Thomas’ premier beach. The beachside café in this untouched environment makes it a great option for families, especially on our Magens Bay Beach Break excursion, which also includes a stop at Drake’s Seat to enjoy the panoramic view of the bay.

6. Orient Bay Beach, St. Maarten (West Indies)
Known as the “French Riviera of the Caribbean,” Orient Bay is the most famous beach in St. Maarten. Adventures like our Afternoon Beach Bash Tour and French Riviera Beach Rendezvous are great options if you want to just relax in this stunning locale. For a more active day, our Family Fun, Beach and Nature Walk adds the option to boogie board and join a guided walk through part of a nature reserve.

7. Isla Verde Beach, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Isla Verde Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico is especially popular for families with its gentle waves, huge expanse of white sand and access to amenities. If you’re visiting San Juan during your cruise, you can join our Isla Verde Beach Escape or our San Juan Family Beach Day, both including a lunch buffet and the chance to play beach volleyball!

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8. Rose Hall Beach, Falmouth (Jamaica)
Rose Hall Beach in Jamaica is home to several upscale resorts, adding an air of exclusivity to this beautiful stretch of sand. We give Disney cruisers the chance to enjoy time at one of these beautiful resorts on our Resort Beach Break – All Inclusive Port Adventure. Access to the resort’s amenities, including pools, slides and dining, makes this excursion a great day for families.

9. Cane Garden Bay Beach, Tortola (British Virgin Islands)
Tortola’s Cane Garden Bay is considered by many to be finest beach on the island. Restaurants, bars and shops are steps from the beach, making it an ideal spot for families. We just announced Tortola as a destination in 2016 and are working with local operators to develop family-friendly Port Adventures so you can enjoy this destination to its fullest. Stay tuned!

10. Crandon Park Beach, Miami (Florida)
Miami is one of our homeports for cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean, and no visit there is complete without stopping by one of the area beaches. My top pick for families is Crandon Park Beach, located on Key Biscayne in front of a sandbar that keeps the surf calm. This park also has an amusement center, picnic areas and plenty of other amenities for a comfortable family beach day.

All of these beaches are sure to be enjoyed by cruisers of all ages, but later this week I’ll give more recommendations in these same locations for adults traveling without the little ones. Until then, are there any family-friendly beaches in these destinations that you want to add to this list?

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