Consciously Parenting Family-Friendly Retreats

Check out our video conversation with Rose Forbes, our travel agent. Hopefully it will answer your questions! If you’d like to join us, we have opened up another block of rooms!

Over the years, we’ve had a two family-friendly retreats. The first one was on St. Pete Beach in 2009 and then in 2011, we had a family-friendly cruise on the Carnival Inspiration where we sailed to Cozumel, Mexico. Both these events were well attended and the families who came really enjoyed them! It was a lovely combination of free time, connection with other families, learning opportunities, guest speakers, warm air and sunshine!

We’re planning our next event and we wanted you to be the first to know about it! We’ll be sailing in January/February 2018 on the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, FL. It’s been too long since our last gatherings and we’re excited to announce that this will now be an annual event each February!

Whether you’d like to attend by yourself, with your partner, or with your whole family, these events are created with you, the conscious parent, in mind. They’re the perfect blending of time to connect with others in structured and unstructured ways and time on your own to do what you need. And those needs may be lounging in the sun on the Serenity Deck with a Pina Colada, sleeping, or having a quiet meal with another family you met. Parents have told me that these retreats are deeply nourishing in every way.

Kids are always welcome on these retreats. These ships are very kid-friendly, with programs that kids really seem to love available and included in the cost of cruising, but of course not required. The food is very kid-friendly, too, and special diets can be accommodated. Kids are welcome at all events unless otherwise specified.

Here’s a sneak peek at what happens when you attend our retreat!

We’ll gather on Thursday, January 25th, 2018 in Tampa, FL. We can meet in the morning around 10:30am at the restaurants in the Port of Tampa just outside where we will board the ship beginning at noon. Once on board the ship, we’ll spend the afternoon getting settled into our cabins, eating, lounging by the pool, and having informal gatherings with our new and old friends before we leave port around 4pm.

We’ll sail out underneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge right around sunset before we head out to sea and into the Gulf of Mexico.

That evening, we’ll meet in the dining room as a group and enjoy being together. In the evening, we’ll meet to create our own personal journals to write about our experiences on the ship. (Kids, too!) We’ll have an informal gathering near the Serenity deck on the back of the ship after we make our journals for the adults who would like a little more time to connect.

As we begin Day 2 and our first Fun Day at Sea, we’ll have two formal meet-ups as we steam toward Cozumel. There will be one gathering for those who are completing the two-year training and another gathering open to everyone. The rest of the time, you’re free to explore the ship, hang out with others, and do whatever you and/or your family needs. A group will gather at noon for lunch, or you can have lunch on your own if you’d prefer. We’ll meet up again for dinner. The rest of the time, read, hang by the pool, sleep, or connect with your friends or family.

Day 3 will begin in Cozumel, Mexico. If you’d like to stay on the ship, you can enjoy the peace and quiet, book a massage, swim in the uncrowded pool, or sleep. If you’d like to leave the ship, you can join a ship’s excursion or a group of families who will rent cars to go to the other side of the island. Regardless of how you spend your day on la isla bonita, we’ll meet for dinner back on the ship and share the tales of our day. We’ll gather informally on the back of the Lido deck just above the Serenity deck again after dinner to enjoy being together before our last fun day at sea.

Day 4 is another fun day at sea. We’ll gather formally again, once for those in the 2-year training and another time open to everyone. Lunch and dinner will be enjoyed together and we’ll meet again on the back of the Lido deck after the sun sets to enjoy each other’s company.

We arrive back in Tampa on Day 5 in the morning and we’ll meet up on the Lido deck near the pool to say our goodbyes before we head off the ship and back into the real world.

One of the best things about this particular venue is that it truly is an all-inclusive floating city. There’s entertainment, the food and lodging are included, and you can walk everywhere without getting into a car! And you’ll have old and new friends who share your parenting values! There is a lot to do if you want that, from towel animal classes to dancing and contests, or you can create an experience where you just come out to connect for meals and take advantage of the comfortable quiet nooks. It’s a “create your own experience” adventure.

It’s the lovely combination of just enough structure without it being overly planned. And all your basic needs (and then some) are handled. That means NO COOKING, NO MEAL PLANNING, NO CLEAN-UP. And someone else will turn down your bed at night and make you a towel animal to entertain you.

How much does this cost?

For all the food you care to eat, your room, towel animals, access to meeting rooms for our group, and all the ship’s amenities, the total cost is about $495 per person for 2 adults in the cabin, and $185 for each child in the cabin (up to 2). That includes everything except gratuity ($50pp) and optional travel insurance. We’re getting a special rate because we’re cruising together and there will be some lovely little extras included for you as well for being a part of our group. Included in the above price are my fees for the Consciously Parenting programs and materials I’ll be sharing with you on the ship (including our craft night).

Example: Family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 children

$395 for the first two adults in the cabin. $185 for each additional child. Adults pay a $100 retreat fee for my programs and that covers any children who are attending with you.
We need $25 deposit for each person by September 15 to hold our group space and your cabin rates.
We need $150/pp more by the end of September and final payment is due November 26.
On the cruise, you’ll have gratuities of $12.50/per person per day. You can pay that on the ship or you have the option of prepaying it.
So for a family of 4, the total payment would be $1360 plus $200 for gratuities for a grand total of $1560 for everything.
The only thing not included is the optional travel insurance, which would be $50/pp if you choose to purchase it. And it doesn’t include flights if you need to fly into Tampa and possibly a night in a hotel prior to the cruise. (We may have some families who live nearby and are willing to host a person or family flying in from another location for the day and night to help save costs. Let us know if this would be helpful for you and your family.)


To be a part of our group, you must book through us.

If you need to fly into Tampa, you’ll need to include those costs, as well. Plan to fly in the day (or night) before and spend the night in Tampa, so be sure to include that in your budget. Many people book their return flights for later in the day we’re back in port. A flight in the afternoon is usually a safe bet and not too rushed to get to the airport from the port.


What airports can I fly into?

St. Pete/ Clearwater International Airport

Tampa International Airport

Orlando International Airport (usually has been flights for International travelers- check JetBlue from Central or South America)

Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport

Sanford Airport (Orlando area)



Do we all need passports?

While passports are strongly recommended, they are not required. If you are a US citizen, you are not required to have a passport because this cruise embarks and disembarks in the same US port. You will need proof of citizenship such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, driver’s license.

If you are not a US citizen, you will definitely need a passport to fly into the country and to board and disembark the ship for each family member who will be attending the retreat.


Are there restrictions for age on a Carnival Cruise?

Yes. Unfortunately, children under 6 months (to the day on the day of sailing) and pregnant women over 24 weeks are not permitted to sail.


I’m on a special diet. Can Carnival accommodate my needs?

Carnival does a great job of meeting the dietary needs of travelers. If you have allergies or special dietary restrictions, please just let us know and we’ll make sure they know what you need. They can easily accommodate gluten free, dairy free, Kosher, vegetarian, and other dietary needs.


Can I get a balcony?

We have reserved all window cabins. This ship has very few balconies, but they are available at an extra cost as long as they aren’t sold out. If you’re interested in that option, please let us know and we’ll get you the pricing and availability.


What if I get sea sick?

Carnival ships are generally quite stable and the Gulf of Mexico is generally not very rough at the end of January. That said, some people still get motion sickness. If you’re prone to motion sickness, you can purchase sea bands and other aids to help prior to boarding or once you’re on the ship for ship prices (which are more than land prices).


What does it take to get started?

We’ll need a deposit of $100 to hold your space, and you’ll need to call our travel agent to pay a deposit for your cabin, as well as work out your payment schedule for the cruise fees.

Click here to get started!


Can I share a cabin with someone else?

We will have a list of people who are looking to share a cabin with someone else. Just let us know if you’d like to be included on the list and we’ll try to match you up with someone else. Email


Can I have a cabin all to myself?

Yes, but you’ll need to pay for a double occupancy.


When are the rest of the payments due?

Carnival accepts payments at intervals or you can pay in full at any time.


What if life happens and I need to cancel?

$50 deposit for Consciously Parenting’s retreat fee is non-refundable, but we can refund the rest to you up to 2 months before the cruise. Carnival will refund partially at their own schedule. ( for more information.) Carnival also offers travel insurance for an additional fee to protect your purchase. Ask Rose for more information when you call to reserve your cabin.