Cruising with kids can be very daunting especially if you have not done it before. When looking at booking a cruise it is important to explore the facilities it has for the age of the children you are travelling with. Does the cruise line cater for children of all ages? Do they have a kids club? Does the kitchen cater for children’s meals? These are all questions asked when trying to look for the best cruise line for families. You may want activities for the whole family? Or if a bit of adult time is want you need then a cruise line that offers babysitting or kids clubs will be perfect for you to relax knowing they are safely looked after.
What are the Best Cruise lines for families? Which cruise’s know how to entertain families and their kids?
How to choose a family cruise, things to consider when booking the best Cruises for Families
Newer ships can be a better choice
Cruise line’s newer ships can be better for families as when building the ship they would of designed facilities for families from the outset. Cruise lines are looking at ways of offering more exiting innovations all of the time including new things for babies, tots, teens and adults. New ships tend to be the biggest ships which offer more space and new innovations such as such as Bowling alleys, Simulators, Karting, Water parks and even Zip lines. Having said that cruise lines are also always looking at ways to adapt existing ships with ships often going back in to dry dock to have new updates added. So when looking at the best cruise for families with the cruise line you wish to travel with look at the individual ships to see what they also include onboard.
Cruise Itineraries for family cruising
When looking to book a cruise the cruise itinerary and destination is also important for families wishing to cruise. At certain times of the year cruise itineraries will be more catered to families such as school holidays or christmas with planner’s packed with activities. Some destinations are better suited for families such as the Caribbean’s beaches or destinations such as Norway for children. Perhaps flying is not your thing? You could always take a cruise from Southampton?. Cut out the hassle of the airports and go straight into holiday mode by boarding a ship. There are many cruise itineraries which sail out of Southampton where you can start your holiday the minute you board.
Which family cruise line is best?
Here is an overview of our top favourite cruise line’s and best cruises for families, including their kids club info and and onboard activities.
MSC Cruises for families
MSC are amongst the best cruises for families with ships packed with tons of great things to do for all ages. Their babies, kids and teen clubs have a range of activities and are partnered up with top childrens brands such as LEGO and Chicco. Offering multiple dining choices and plenty of onboard activities this family friendly cruise line are always a safe bet.
MSC Kids club age range
The kids club on MSC age range is from babies to teens. There are different clubs to suit the ages of the children The Chicco baby club is for babies 1-3, the Mini club age 3-6, Junior club 7-11 the Young teen club 12-14 and the Teen club ages 15-17. The kids clubs offer a range of craft activities, games, dance classes and sports tournaments.
Family Entertainment on MSC Cruise line
They have many great show’s suitable for all of the family from children to grandparents. The Cirque de Soliel at Sea is a fantastic show with circus acts and illusions. They also pride themselves in Family Friendly activities. With a range of activities for families such as bowling, VR games, Sports games and theatre shows.
Good to know
With MSC Kids can Cruise Free! With MSC Kids Cruise Free! MSC welcome passengers ages 11 and under to sail for free year round on selected cruises or from £119.
Disney Cruise lines for families
Disney magical moments for the whole family on a Disney Cruise.
With Disney there’s something fun to do every day on a Disney Cruise ship. The itinerary has a touch of disney magic wherever you sail. Disney are known for Deck Parties and themed days such as legendary saga in Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea. Disney cruise ships have Splashtacular pools, fun slides and splash zones for little ones. There theatre shows are magical and of broadway standard meaning the whole family can sit back and enjoy the magic of Disney.
Kids club age range on Disney cruise ships
Disney kids clubs for children are way up with some of the best kids clubs in the cruise world. Oceania club is for Children from 3 to 12 years old. They can interact with Disney characters and each other as they explore multi themed magical lands. Childcare for babies from 6 months to 3 years is available at “it’s a small world” nursery for a fee. The Edge is the cool club for the for the Tweens and the Vibe youth club caters for the teens.
Good to know
One of the best things at disney is the Disney Character meet and greets and storytelling by disney characters. Just imagine some Movie magic watching the latest releases or Disney Classics in the theatre under the stars. Disney is not all about the kids though it can also be perfect for an adults cruise with lots of spaces for adults to relax and enjoy. Don’t forget to decorate your stateroom door!
Royal Caribbean International for families
Royal Caribbean international certainly know how to entertain!. They are known for all round family thrill seeking activities and are considered one of the best cruises for families. Their cruises are second to none with innovative ways to enjoy yourself with zip wires, splash zones and best known for multigenerational family groups. The Oasis-class ships are the largest in the fleet and the largest ships in the world. These game changer ships are made to leave lasting memories. These ships have won awards for Best for Entertainment, Best Individual Cruise Ship and Best Large Cruise Ship, and its no wonder as they are packed with thing to do for all ages and you will have an absolute blast!
Kids club age range in Royal Caribbean kids clubs
The kids clubs on Royal Caribbean Cruises are separated into five age groups with their own activities and separate rooms. Adventure Ocean and is divided in to Aquanauts 3-5 years old, Explorers 6-8 years old and Voyagers 9-11 years old. The older children are in Navigators 12 – 14 and Teens club 15 -17. There is also a nursery from 6 to 36 months.
Family Entertainment onboard Royal Caribbean
They have world class entertainment onboard with top broadway shows such as Hairspray and Grease. The extensive indoor and outdoor activities include Ziplining across the sky, climbing rock walls, surfing waves and trampolining in a virtual world!
Good to know
Royal caribbean cruise all over the world and has the largest ships in the world as well. They have cruises from Southampton in to the med as well as extensive cruise to Norway and the rest of the world. They also have thier own private island in the caribbean called Cococay
Norwegian Cruise line for kids
Norwegian loves families and is fast becoming one of the best family friendly cruise lines. There are so many onboard amenities and a children’s clubs for all ages. While adults are relaxing at the spa or sipping a cocktail kids can attend supervised youth programs where they can play with their friends, learn to circus skills, play dodgeball or attend themed parties. There are children’s menus which are available in all of the restaurants.
Kids club age range on Norwegian
Norwegian Kids clubs range from babies to teens. Guppies for under 3’s , Splash Academy ages 3 to 12 with 3 groups split groups Turtles, Seals and Dolphins and Entourage 12 to 17.
Family Entertainment on NCL
Onboard family entertainment is vast with a variety of things to do. Their latest ship the Encore hosts a karting track, laser tag and an American diner. There is plenty to do for the adults as well with a Cavern club and top theatre entertainment. If your kids are tech minded they will absolutely love the Galaxy pavilion onboard the encore which is a whole floor of VR! Norwegian Cruiseline have The Plank! Walk on the wild side in a harness as you extend 8 feet over the side of the ship!
Good to Know
The Norwegian ships have won awards for their ships which travel to many destinations such as Alaska, Asia, Canada, Europe and even the Panama Canal!
Celebrity Cruises for families
Celebrity is best known as a luxury line but thats not to say that it doesn’t love having kids onboard. There are culinary experience’s is influenced by global cuisines and designed by Michelin-starred chefs. There are 14 ships in the fleet so you will be sure to find one to suit you family.
Kids club age range on Celebrity cruise ships
Camp at Sea is the Celebrity Edge’s kids club. There are three different sections Shipmates 3-5, Celebrity Cadets 6-9 year olds, Captains 10-12 year olds and Admirals the teen club for 13-17 year olds. The Camp at Sea program on Celebrity is a new innovation. The schedule of activities changes on every sailing based on the interests the junior cruisers. Celebrity have partnered with world-renowned companies such as Anturus, Lonely PlanetTM, Xbox, Fat Brain Toys and Budsies. The categories of activities are Art, Recreation, Culinary, and S.T.E.M. (which stands for Science, Technology, Engeneering and maths) The Youth daily programme promises to be engaging and exciting.
Families can enjoy activities such as movie night under the stars, silent disco parties, archery tournaments, and even cupcake decorating. The Celebrity edge has a laser maze as well.
Good to Know
Celebrity offer family friendly excursions, children menus and they are Autism Friendly. Their cruises take you to the Caribbean, South Asia, South America and even Australia.
Carnival pride themselves on”quality time” together, so multigenerational families are well thought of. They also have frequent sales and can be budget friendly, meaning you and your children can save some money as well as enjoy time with each other. Ships have water parks (water world), basketball courts, mini golf (sportsquare) , and ropes courses to entertain kids of all ages. If the grown-ups want to escape whilst the kid are in the clubs they can head to the casino or the Serenity Adult Only Retreat.
Kids club age range
The kids camp for children is Camp Ocean for children ages 2-11 Penguins 2 to 5 years, Stingrays 6 to 8 years and Sharks 9 to 11 years. Circle “C” for pre teens and Club O2 for teens. Kids activities include arts and crafts, songs, games, toys, dancing, movies and video games. KidS can also choose to eat together and get their own menus with kid friendly food. Carnival also have Night Owls time where kids get to stay up late having fun while their parents can enjoy themselves well into the night, fees apply. Carnival also have an innovative new kids app to make cruising with kids a breeze.
Family Entertainment on Carnival
Carnival also have the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss onboard with Cats in Hats and Fish Red and Blue Dr. Seuss leaps off the page and onto Seuss at Sea. There are timeless stories that whole family can enjoy including special onboard character parade’s. You will also find and IMAX theatre onboard as well the Punch liner comedy club.
Good to know
Check out the Sky Ride! It is a bit like riding a bike but SkyRide is high above the deck and the sea! This Zips you safely around a two lane suspended course b y pedal power. Each cruise itinerary with Carnival includes at least two days at sea leaving you free to explore the ship and take part in all of the entertainment and activities.
Family activities on Princess cruises.
Princess cruises have many family zones such as the Reef Family Splash Zone which is the perfect place to relax, have fun and enjoy the water. This interactive splash pad with a giant whale feature entertains kids of all ages with showers, sprays and water jets. You will also find oversized backyard games in the all-ages in the game zones.
Kid clubs on Princess cruises
Princess cruises have three different groups for children. The Treehouse – Ages 3-7 which is a bright whimsical forest-themed centre. The kids club The Lodge is for Ages 8-12 and has been Inspired by the great outdoors and The Beach House a contemporary space for kids aged between 13 and 17.
Cruises activities for young adults in Club 1820. Imagine a secret society with only those invited that can join? Guests ages 18-20 will a special code word to unlock an exclusive list of Club 1820 events made just for them. With no parents, no little siblings and no official hosts find events on the planner.
Family entertainment on Princess ships
Princess have dazzling entertainment with broadway shows and they also run the Voice of the Ocean musical competition. You will find a variety of theatre shows, magic shows and even Jim Hensens puppet show ( now on Sky Princess and June 2020 on Emerald princess )
Whats Good to Know about Princess cruises.
Princess cruises do Discovery Family and Animal Planet family Shore Excursions. Their dining options include special kids’ menus in the Main Dining Room. Princess also make it easy to sail together in comfortable Mini-Suites and larger groups can opt for a Family Suite which includes two interconnecting staterooms and sleeps up to eight on selected ships. Princess cruises also have the new Medallion at seathe all-in one app interacts with your Medallion and helps you with everything onboard from check in to disembarking.
Are P and O the Best Cruises for Families
P&O offer families lots of choice when it comes to sailing from Southampton they pride themselves on entertainment. they offer Laid-back days ashore which are excursions aimed at families and stress free meals for children.
Kids clubs age ranges on P&O
Each ships children clubs are slightly different, but the Reef clubs are separated in to different age groups. Splashers is age 2-4, Surfers 5-8, Scubas 9-12 and H20 is the cool club for teens aged 13-17.
P & O also offer Carefree nights a Night Nursery which is available free of charge on all family friendly ships for children aged between 6 months and 4 years of age.
Family Entertainment on P&O cruises
P&O pride themselves in multigenerational family entertainment and with a new brand ambassador Gary Barlow they certainly know how to entertain. With dazzling West-End style shows in the ship’s theatres to comedy, live music and dancing there is something for everyone.
Good to know
P and O have many cruises in the school holidays with cruises out of southampton enabling the action to start the minute you board. With destinations such as the Canary Islands, Norway Spain and Portugal you can be sure you will find a suitable family cruise. P & 0 offer a price promise when booking if you find the same holiday for less elsewhere within 24 hours of booking they will match it. P&O also offer Rooms for families with plenty of cabin choices.
More help on cruising with your kids
Babies on Cruises
Can you take a baby on a cruise? Can Babies go in the splash pools? there are some many questions to be answered about taking babies on cruises. Find out all you need to know in our in-depth guide on cruising with a baby.
Which cruise lines have the best cabins? Our in-depth guide to the best family cruise cabins takes a look around some of the ways you can travel with your family. From 5 berth cabins, interlinking staterooms and mini suites there is something to suit every budget.
Family cruises with free child places
Occasionally cruise lines do special offers for children with free child places or cheap £99 places. Here are a few offers at the moment.
MSC Children,s Cruise Fare, Infants under the age of 2 years cruise free. Children up to the age of 11 are charged at a reduced fare from £119, and price for children aged 12-17 start from £119. Child prices are available all year round when sharing with two full paying adults.
P&O Kids Sail FREE on selected Summer 2020 Cruises
NCL’s free at sea promotion you can choose two offers one of being 3rd and 4th passengers sail at reduced prices.
It is still really important to research the Best Cruise lines for Families but rest assured whichever cruise you choose your family will have everlasting memories.