Family cruising is a fun filled holiday that everyone will enjoy, no matter the age. Cruising with children can seem daunting but with the latest generation of cruise ships specifically geared towards families, there really isn’t anything to worry about.
The children’s facilities on these family cruising ships surpass those that you would find at any land-based resort and with waterslides, rock-climbing walls and world-class entertainment shows so it’s not hard to see why many people are cruising with children. What’s more, most cruise ships accept children from the age of 2 years-upwards and some will even accept children as young as 4 months.
With family cruising there are organised activities to suit all ages, supervised by fully-trained professionals. From toddlers through to teenagers, kids often get their own dedicated play areas and swimming pools, and can take advantage of exciting features such as rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, surf simulators, sports courts, mini-golf courses, games rooms and video arcades. Many of the larger cruise lines also offer babysitting services. In addition, some cruise lines even organise children’s shore excursions to keep them amused whilst in port ensuring cruising with children is hassle-free for you and fun for them.
Many cruise ships have connecting rooms, making them perfect for family cruising whilst some cruise lines offer spacious Family Suites. If you want a connecting room or a Family Suite as you are cruising with children, simply request one at the time of booking with your Cruise Concierge. Cots can also be requested.
During family cruising, the trend towards relaxed dining on the big resort ships means families can eat what they like when they like, and with meals included in the cruise fare, parents aren’t also constantly paying for snacks. Most restaurants have special kids’ menus and high chairs. Some cruise lines even offer beverage cards for non-alcoholic drinks so if you are cruising with children it means they can have drinks at any time during their cruise.
The safety of your children is always of paramount importance to the cruise lines with staff specially trained to ensure this. When leaving children in the care of supervisors, parents must always complete a sign-in, sign-out form.
Most cruise lines will welcome and cater for children, however, some are more geared to families than others and choosing the right cruise line, is extremely important, so here are some details on the more family-friendly cruise lines.
Carnival offer one of the most comprehensive programmes of any cruise line with Camp Carnival, Circle "C" and Club O2.
Camp Carnival for 2-11 year olds, includes a wide range of activities designed for children in three different age groups – Toddlers (ages 2-5), Juniors (ages 6-8), and Intermediates (ages 9-11). All supervised by qualified and experienced staff. They have their own space, games, paints, crayons, pool area and everything else that young cruisers love. An additional bonus for parents is the babysitting service that is available every night from 10pm - 3am.
Circle "C" is where children aged 12-14 can cruise, chill, and make great new friends. All activities, events and parties are supervised and were created just for this age group and include games, dance parties, outdoor movies and more.
Club O2 is for teens aged 15-17 where they can hangout with their friends and watch a movie, listen to the latest music, play video games, join karaoke jam sessions or play sports for a teen-themed cruising experience unlike any other. There are even teen-only shore excursions for them to enjoy the sites and sounds of each port.
With some of the largest, most innovative ships in the industry, Royal Caribbean offers fantastic options for families with their signature Adventure Ocean Youth Programme for children aged from 3-17, split into 5 age groups.
Aquanauts (ages 3-5) Time onboard will not only be fun, it will be educational too. They’ll get to learn about local customs, do terrific science experiments and take part in storytime, face painting and other games. Parents receive a pager so they can be reached anywhere on the ship.
Explorers (ages 6-8). All kinds of exciting activities await such as handson science experiments, scavenger hunts, theatre games and more. Children can join parties, make kites and even learn to make sweets.
Voyagers (ages 9-11). All about kids having a great time, learning new things and making new friends. They can take a backstage tour, play List-o-Rama and even learn a new sport like Gagaball.
Navigators (ages 12-14) & Guests (ages 15-17). The Teen programme is not structured and kids can come and join activities and games when they want to or just chill with friends in the teen-only Living Room lounge. Activities include ice-skating, karaoke, talent shows, bingo tournaments, rock-climbing and learning to surf on the Flowrider surf simulator (on selected ships) or they can even dance into the night at the teen-only nightclub.
Babysitting Services. A chargeable babysitting service is available in your stateroom from 8.00am until 2.00am for children at least one year old. Group sitting service are also available for older children (3 years and older) in the youth facilities from 10.00pm until 1.00am.
NCL have one of the widest choices of connectable accommodations and family suites at sea plus kid-friendly amenities designed into all of their ships. Ships feature cinemas, wet and wild fun areas, kids-only pools, kid-size buffets, PlayStation� games, Nintendo Wii and a lot more. NCL’s Kid’s Crew and Teen’s Crew programmes provide professionally supervised, age-appropriate activities.
Kid’s Crew is divided into 3 age groups – Junior Sailors (2-5 years); First Mates (6-9 years) and Navigators (10-12 years) with each group having its own special activities including pyjama parties, scavenger hunts, pizza making, arts and crafts, high energy games and other fun age-appropriate activities which include T shirt painting, treasure hunts and dancing in the children’s disco.
Teens Crew (13-17 years) is a great way for teens to meet each other while engaging in some cruising fun. By day they can enjoy pool parties, volleyball, basketball, the Newlymet Game and trivia contests during. By night, there's also plenty to keep them happy with Broadway-style shows, line dancing, teen discos and fantastic themed parties.
More and more families are realising the ease and enjoyment of family cruising with Costa with menus, activities and entertainment designed to suit every member of the family. Costa Kids Programme is split into 4 age-group specific clubs for 3-17 year olds.
Mini (3-6 years) and Maxi club's (7-11 years) spend their days immersed in activities like fancy dress parades, painting T-shirts, quizzes, treasure hunts and sports. Costa also gives parents some time off by organising two events where kids spend the evening with people their age at a fun themed dinner especially for them. While the kids are being entertained, parents can relax and enjoy sumptuous cuisine and a romantic evening together.
Teen Junior (ages 12-14 years) and Teen (ages 15-17 years) enjoy a vast range of sports activities onboard as well as Olympicteen and swimming pool games. They can enjoy quiz nights, dance classes, talent shows and themed discos.Note: Teen Junior is only available during certain periods. Children under the age of 3 are allowed to enter and stay in the room at certain times but must be accompanied by an adult.
P&O Cruises fleet offers a choice of four family friendly ships specifically geared to the British market. Aurora, Oceana, Oriana and Ventura were created with family enjoyment in mind and all feature "The Reef" P&O Cruises kids programme for 2 - 17 year olds. Split into four age groups, there are a whole host of exciting activities organised daily by qualified Reef Rangers to keep children of all ages entertained. There are children's pools on Aurora, Oriana and Ventura, and for teenagers, a disco serving non-alcoholic drinks. Each ship features a supervised night nursery, toys, ball pools, rockers, soft-play areas and snug areas for younger children and videos and gaming consoles for older children.
Splashers (2- 4 years), Surfers (5 - 8 years) and Scubas (9 - 12 years). Toddlers will love appearances from Noddy and Mr.Bump on selected cruises whilst activities for older children include treasure hunts, face painting, group singing, quizzes, parties and crafts plus there’s Cirque Ventura a circus skills training school for anyone aged from 8yrs and up.
H�O (13 - 17 years). Teens enjoy more autonomy, hanging out with new friends, trying the latest gaming technology and going to late-night discos. On Ventura they’ll even find a DJ’s mixing station and a Rock School during the school holidays.
Junior cruisers aged 3 to 17 can enjoy exciting onboard activities onboard most Princess Cruises ships with dedicated youth centres supervised by trained staff. On most ships you’ll find Youth & Teen Centres with everything from arts and crafts corners and games tables to movies and splash pools.
Fun Zone Activities are designed for junior cruisers aged 3 to 12 years in two age groups. The Princess Pelicans (3-7 years) and Shockwaves (8-12 years) programs offer activities such as arts and crafts, discos, movies, kids only dining, video games, edutainment programs, scavenger hunts, karaoke and talent shows, ice cream and pizza parties, shipboard Olympics, T-Shirt colouring and theme parties.
The Teen Centres (13-17 years) are packed with Playstation� 2, the latest movies and music, Karaoke, giant screen TVs, card games, board games, ping pong tables and juke boxes. In addition to all these features, on Grand and Golden Princess, teens have a separate Jacuzzi and sun deck area and on Grand Princess, children can enjoy a variety of theme-park-style rides in a 12-man virtual reality simulator. The centres also offer teenage passengers a wide range of activities such as teens-only disco, T-shirt painting, sports tournaments, Karaoke and talent shows and teen dinners.
There's so much for your children to do with Celebrity X-Club Youth Programs, which features Fun Factory for ages 3-11 years and Teen Entertainment for ages 12-17 years. From teen-oriented entertainment to special opportunities for toddlers and their parents to interact with each other, they are designed to make sure your children enjoy their Celebrity experience as much as you do.
Celebrity offer a five-tiered program offering a wide range of age-related activities such as treasure hunts, T-shirt designing, quizzes, contests and more. The clubs are Ship MatesSM (ages 3-5); Celebrity CadetsSM (ages 6-8); EnsignsSM (ages 9-11) and Admiral TeensSM (ages 12-17).
Toddler Time (under 3 years old) allow you to attend playtime with your little one and suitable toys and products are provided.
Holland America Line provides a wide variety of exciting youth and teen-friendly activities and facilities for guests aged 3 to 17. All Club HAL� activities are supervised by qualified staff and are designed to be kid friendly and age appropriate.
Club HAL� - Kids (ages 3-7) participate in such activities as story telling, fabric painting, indoor games, arts and crafts, drawing contests, ice-cream sundae parties, puzzles, bingo, pirate treasure hunts or a farewell pizza party. Children in the Kids age group must be toilet trained.
Club HAL� - Tweens (ages 8-12) learn golf putting, have discos and theme parties, participate in the award-winning National Park Service Jr. Ranger Program on Alaska cruises, compete in on-deck sports events, compete in scavenger hunts or simply play table tennis with a friend.
The Loft and The Oasis - Teens (ages 13-17) will especially enjoy the teen disco, karaoke sessions, video games, teen sports tournaments, card games, trivia contests, bingo, movies and videos. When there are more than 100 children on board, a HAL Talent Show is offered. (The Oasis is not available on all Vista-class ships)
With 24 hour dining, kids' menus, family friendly accommodation, child prices and great excursions for children, Island Cruises really does offer fantastic family holidays. For kids, young and old Action Zone – Arcade has a variety of games such as Ferrari racing and football challenges.
Kids Clubs (3-6 years) and (7-11 years). An experienced children's host will organise activities such as face painting, scavenger hunts, magic shows and discos to keep the children entertained. One of the highlights of the week is the stage production carried out by the kids complete with professional sound and lights. On selected days during your cruise, your children can be collected from your cabin and taken to the Island Restaurant to enjoy breakfast with the Children's hosts.
Teen Club (12-17 year olds) - summer and major holidays only. A host will arrange a time at the beginning of the cruise to discuss with the teenagers what they want to do during the week. The week’s activities will be based on what is requested at this meeting, but may include activities such as DJ lessons, Salsa dancing, beauty tips and film nights. As well as these activities there will be a chill out zone with music and disco's.
With MSC Cruises, your kids will have plenty of fun and games with similarly aged children. A highly qualified staff member looks after the smaller children's needs and will organise different activities everyday. The onboard Mini Club splits kids into There are three age groups. Mini Club (ages 3-9); Junior Club (ages 9-13) and Teenagers Club (ages 14-18) and is a space entirely devoted to them, with videogame rooms for older children and playrooms for tots, filled with a wide selection of toys.