For Christmas a couple of years ago our family received an interesting gift: an week long cruise in the Caribbean with our extended family. My dad must have really run out of gift ideas or just can't do math. A year of logistics later and thirty family members boarded Canival Cruise Lines in Florida, bound for a week of tropical paradise.

Cruise ships are ridiculous contraptions. There is only one reason to build a floating hotel that holds 6000 occupants: because you can. While no one will win any awards for writing a travel book from the cushy confines of their stateroom, cruise ships are a great way to get out and see a little peek of the world -- especially if you're carrying a three year old in tow. While Cole would quickly tire of a walk up the Eiffel Tower or an all day visit to the Louve, the short day-trips and consistent evening surroundings of the ship were perfect.