Are you trying to decide what to do when the kids get out of school for summer vacation? Here’s a surprisingly cheap idea: take the family on  a cruise! CBS News has a post up that describes the deep discounts the cruise industry is offering to keep itself afloat.  According to the post, some cruises are even cheaper than staying in a nice hotel!

Of course, if you have little ones, you’ll want to make sure they have fun, too.  Royal Caribbean is offering family-friendly Nickelodeon-themed cruises over the summer. So, adults get all the luxuries of life at sea, and kids get green slime and their favorite Nickelodeon characters. Everyone wins!

If you decide to take the family on a cruise, remember that you may need passports. Currently, only air passengers need US passports to enter the country from Mexico or the Caribbean. However, on June 1st, 2009, the rules change and getting a passport will become a necessity for land and sea passengers as well.

Cruise ship passengers on “closed-loop” cruises that begin and end in the same port will be exempt from the rule change, but passports may be required for your family to get off the boat in some countries-and who wants to miss out on on-shore activities?

In any case, getting a passport before going on an international cruise is the smart thing to do.  After all, if something happens and you need to get back in a hurry, you’ll want to have the ability to fly your family home.

Getting a passport for a child under the age of 16 is a little bit more time-consuming than obtaining a passport for an adult, because both parents have to provide consent. This link will give you more details about getting a child passport.

A private passport expediting company can walk you through the process of apply for passports for the entire family. With an expediting company, you’ll have professional help navigating through the passport application process, and you’ll get your passports faster, too!  Learn more about how easy getting a passport with an expediting company can be!