Family-friendly cruising has risen to new levels in recent years, with scores of new programs and amenities designed with families in mind. From giant-sized versions of board games, to sled dog camps, Royal Court Tea, and scuba expeditions, most lines have something to match every family’s ideas of fun and adventure.
CruiseCompete member-agents are the most well-educated, forward-thinking, and trusted cruise specialists in the industry, and they assist every day in helping their clients create the ultimate family cruise vacation. Part of this process involves asking CruiseCompete users about the most exciting part of their family cruise vacation; survey feedback indicates that the lines’ family-specific programs and activities top the list.
Here are some of the CruiseCompete users’ favorite programs and activities:
Contemporary Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Line – Guests aboard Carnival Cruise Lines will delight in their many family options. The line offers: Hasbro, The Game Show, which lets participants play giant-sized versions of Hasbro’s most popular games (fun-filled options include Sorry!, Sliders, Yahtzee Bowling, Connect 4 Basketball, Operation Sam Dunk, and Simon Flash All). Carnival also offers an IMAX Theater for family viewings, and the ever-popular SkyRide pedal-powered zip line.
In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Carnival’s Pirate Cruise shore excursion is a must-do. This high-intensity activity takes you on an adventure where pirates swing from the highest masts, walk the plank, and jump straight into the ocean! There are also beach games and a special treasure hunt for kids.
Upscale Contemporary Cruise Lines
MSC Cruises – Kids eleven and under (who share a stateroom with their parents) sail for free on MSC Cruises on select sailings. Enjoy the longest single rider water slide at sea, the Vertigo, onboard the MSC Preziosa. Plus, the ships have mini bowling, swimming pools, and a 4D cinema. The line also offers cooking classes and a family disco, among other family-friendly activities.
Royal Caribbean International – Royal Caribbean offers a myriad of family activities. The adventurous will love RipcordSM by iFLY®, the first sky simulator on any cruise line; NorthStarSM, a jewel-shaped capsule with 360-degree views; rock-climbing walls; FlowRider®; and surf simulators. The line also offers SeaPlexSM , an activities complex with the first bumper cars, roller skating rink, and circus school at sea. For families who love professional-level entertainment there’s Broadway at SeaSM shows and AquaTheater shows, plus a 3D movie theater, ice shows, outdoor movies, and their exclusive DreamWorks Experiences.
A family adventure can be had in Juneau, Alaska with Royal Caribbean’s Dog Sled Summer Camp shore excursion. Join an educational tour of the remote Sheep Creek Dog Camp, see a replica of an Iditarod Race checkpoint, and learn about how important dog care and the dogs’ health are to the Iditarod racers. Board a wheeled dog-cart and mush approximately 1.5 miles through Sheep Creek Valley.
Premium Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line – Disney is designed with families in mind. The line incorporates live theater shows staring favorite Disney characters, themed deck parties, and Royal Court Tea with the Disney Princesses aboard the Disney Fantasy. Studio Sea, a family entertainment center on the Disney Wonder, is a television studio–themed area where families can sing, dance, play games, and watch live entertainment together.
Disney Cruise Line Shore excursions are also geared toward families, with options such as a led by “Hans Christian Andersen,” and an Alaskan Dog Sledding and Glacier Flightseeing excursion.
Princess Cruises – Princess Cruises offers the popular Movies Under the Stars program, complete with complimentary blankets and popcorn. The line also offers the Discovery at Sea program, which includes Shark Week at Sea, Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions, Stargazing at Sea, and Discovery at Sea Trivia Challenge.
Ultra-Luxury Cruise Lines
Crystal Cruises – Crystal Cruises offers swimming pools and a theater on board their ships and has a variety of exciting shore excursions that families will love.
Paul Gauguin Cruises –Paul Gauguin Cruises offers a program for families in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). This program is called Stewards of Nature. During the cruise naturalists from WCS will offer hands on learning opportunities for children from 7 to 17. Activities include island and beach excursions, science activities, crafts, and games. There is a cost for this program. It is offered during Summer and Holiday months.