In June of this year, our family went on our very first Carnival Cruise. Not only was this our first Carnival Cruise, it was also our first trip to Boston and our very first Seminar at Sea. In January of this year, we purchased a Travel Franchise, CruiseOne, and started our new business, Magnified Vacations CruiseOne, so going on a Carnival Cruise and attending a Seminar at Sea was strategic for our business. However, we also wanted to make it as much of a vacation as we could, since we have always wanted to go to Boston.
We decided to drive to Boston from Indianapolis, IN instead of flying, since flights would have only added additional expense to of vacations/business travel. By driving, we thought it would give us an idea as to the feasibility of making Boston a Drive to Port for those that live in Indiana (or target market) in addition to testing Park and Cruise Hotels and then to give a chance to visit Boston itself after the cruise, post cruise.
I would like to break our travel experience into 3 separate posts. The first one will focus on the actual drive to Boston. The second one will focus on the cruise itself and how we felt about the Carnival Glory as well as the seminar at sea. The third and final post will be about Boston and Cape Cod, which we decided to visit after Boston (since we were int he area!).
Drive to Boston
Our initial projections were that the Drive to Boston was going to take about 14 hours. However, knowing my family, we would want to stop often to eat, we planned 16. Additionally, we knew that we needed to be in Boston on Sunday morning, so leaving the day before and parking the van at a park and cruise hotel would be the right direction to go.
We left around 8 am on Saturday morning. The trip went very well, with no issues. We drove to Columbus and then up around Cleveland. We then spend a long time in Pennsylvania on our way to the East Coast. Pennsylvania was a beautiful state. We did not realize how mountainous it was. We did end up stopping at a few places to eat. Our favorite restaurant was in Milford, PA, the Apple Valley Restaurant. The food and service were excellent.
Since we knew it was going to take about 16 hours, we decided to get a hotel in Providence on Saturday night and then drive to our Park and Cruise Hotel on Sunday morning since they had a shuttle at the hotel in Boston. So, on Saturday night, around 9pm, we arrived at our hotel in Hartford. Because it was dark, we did not get to see much of the town of Hartford.
Early the next morning, Sunday morning, we awoke and finished our drive to Boston. We had to drive through downtown Boston, but because it was early morning, the traffic was not too bad. It was a good thing, because the traffic pattern in downtown was very different and could have been tough if the traffic was busy. We finally arrived at our Park and Cruise Hotel, Holiday Inn Express : BOSTON. This was a GREAT Hotel. The staff was friendly, and Hotel was clean and the shuttle was prompt and safe. Since we arrived so early at the Hotel, we were able to get the parking portion checked in, and we were able to eat the free breakfast there and wait for the shuttle.
What we Learned about our Drive to Boston
- Make sure you leave the day before if you are going to Drive
- Take plenty of things to do for the family, we listened to audio books as a family to pass the time.
- Pack some snacks and drinks for the travel. It is cheaper and more convenient.
- Make sure you have plenty of gas and food as you travel through Pennsylvanian. We realized that there are not many exits and the exits are far between on the east side of the state.
- Try to drive through Boston early morning during a Sunday, if possible
- Pay for a Park and Cruise in Boston….well worth the money. We strongly recommend the Holiday Inn Boston. You will find out more on later posts as to why this location was ideal for the time we spend in Boston after the cruise.
- Definitely doable drive from Indianapolis with two children.
Next week we talk about the Port of Boston and the Carnival Cruise itself.