Family Cruise Travel Planner, 2019 Edition

2019 Family Cruise Travel Planner

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Chapter XVI- Contemporary Cruises

The contemporary cruise lines offer a variety of cruise schedules and itineraries that are perfect for younger adults and families. These are the lines with the largest ships, the most onboard entertainment options, and the widest variety of amenities. This great array of options allows you to choose the type of vacation experience you want once you are on board the ship.

These lines are well suited for:

  • Families with young children.
  • Families with teenagers.
  • Family reunions and multi-generational families.
  • Twenty- and thirty-somethings looking for soft adventure and sports activities, such as snorkeling, bike tours, fly fishing, and the like.
  • Forty- and fifty-somethings looking for a couple’s vacation.
  • Travelers looking for a wide array of activities.
  • Seniors looking for new friends.
  • Solo travelers.
  • Couples looking for romantic getaways.
  • Destination weddings.
  • Honeymoons.
  • Adventure travelers looking for high thrills.

 

Carnival Cruise Lines

Minimum Age: Six months (twelve months for transatlantic, Hawaiian, and South American destinations)

Children’s Programs: Extensive

Babysitting: Yes

Tickets: http://www.cruisecompete.com/lines/carnival_cruises.html

See the Top 10 chapter for complete information! Click here for full line info.

 

Costa Cruise Lines

Minimum Age: Six months (twelve months on some destinations)

Children’s Programs: Extensive

Babysitting: Yes

Tickets: http://www.cruisecompete.com/lines/costa_cruises.html

Overview

Costa Cruise Lines is the largest cruise line in Europe, and as it builds new ships regularly (just like its parent company, Carnival), it has one of the most modern fleets, particularly in the Mediterranean. And like Carnival, Costa Cruise Lines does regular upgrades. (In late 2013, the Voyager, Classica, neoRiviera, Victoria, and Mediterranea entered dry dock for multi-million dollar refurbishments.)

Known as the line that cruises “Italian Style,” Costa Cruise Lines projects a lively and appealing Italian vibe (count on finding delicious pastas on the menus) that attracts an international mix of passengers. The onboard currency is the Euro and announcements are made in a number of languages, including English, Italian, French, German, and Spanish.

Given the passenger mix, the entertainment bridges language barriers with theme parties, a mix of musical offerings from classical to rock, and games and contests cooked up by the youthful and energetic cruise staffs.

While most Costa Cruise Lines ships home port in the Mediterranean and offer the greatest variety of cruises there and in Northern Europe, they also travel to other destinations (including the Caribbean in winter, and Canada and New England in the fall). Costa Cruise Lines has even pushed the itinerary map to include exotic ports in China and Southeast Asia, as well as the United Arab Emirates (the line home ports two ships in Dubai).

Older Costa Cruise Lines ships have a sophisticated, European flair, but more recent builds, reflecting the parent company, have energizing color schemes. The onboard atmosphere is casual and fun, with lots of excitement, activities, and entertainment. Because the line attracts passengers of all nationalities, evening entertainment trends toward more music and dancing, and less toward language-based (comedy or theatre) productions.

Most nights are informal, so resort wear is fine. There are two gala evenings on the Caribbean cruises and at least one on European sailings; recommended dress is suits for men and cocktail attire for women. Costa Cruise Lines “suggests” that guests do not wear beach clothes in the dining room or restaurants.

Costa attracts adults and families who desire a fun at-sea experience with many onboard activities that will appeal to the entire family. The demographic varies with the itinerary; the ships carry mostly North Americans in the Caribbean, New England, and Canada, but mostly Europeans on all other itineraries. Costa Cruise Lines is also popular with young Italian honeymooners and Italian college kids on school breaks.

Costa Cruise Lines cruises are best for adults and families looking for a large cruise ship with varied onboard entertainment and a lively continental atmosphere, as well as cruisers who enjoy fellow travelers with diverse, international backgrounds.

Destinations

Atlantic Ocean

Caribbean

Dubai/Emirates

Eastern Mediterranean

Far East

Indian Ocean

Norwegian Fjords

Northern Capitals

South America

Transatlantic

Western Mediterranean

World Tour

Minimum Age

Minimum age to sail on Costa is six months for most cruises, and twelve months for transocean crossings, world cruises, and cruises of fifteen days or longer in duration.

Babysitting

Costa Cruise Line – There are no organized activities for children under the age of three, but during the low season/off-peak times families can access the children’s areas. Costa also provides a group baby-sitting service in their “Miniclub” (between 11:30 PM – 1:30 PM) so that parents may take part in cruise entertainment. Costa also provides cribs, high chairs, baby bath, bottle warmers, and liquidized food on request.

Pregnancy Policy

Bookings will not be accepted from passengers who have entered the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy at any time during the cruise. All pregnant women must produce a medical certificate attesting to their good health and their child’s.

Children’s Programs

The children’s program is called Squok Club and is handed out to all children upon boarding by a member of the entertainment staff. The program shows the exact times of the different daytime and evening activities.

Infants and Toddlers (0–3 years)

Children must be at least three years old to participate in Costa Cruises’ children’s program. Children under the age of three are allowed to enter and stay in the children’s area only during certain times (not during busy times in high season) and must be accompanied by an adult.

Children (3–11 years)

For all children between the ages of three and seventeen, Costa Cruises’ Mini and Maxi clubs are open all day from 9 am until midnight. This is a free group service. There are four Clubs. Two for children: Mini from 3–6 years and Maxi from 7–11; and two for teenagers: Teen Junior from 12–14 and Teen from 15–17. Teen Junior is only active during certain periods. Children under the age of three are allowed to enter and stay in the room only during certain times (not during busy times in high season) and must be accompanied by an adult. Activities include:

Arts and Crafts – Painting T-shirts, preparing costumes for theme nights, sculpting, edutainment in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, and creativity and imagination courses.

Games – Treasure hunts, an interview with the Captain, sea games, Squolympics (Olympics for young athletes), group dancing lessons, a ship rally, and fun quizzes. Younger guests can have hours of fun in a pirate ship or the giant Lego brick room, with a vast assortment of video games.

Athletics – Volleyball, basketball, table tennis, table football, watersports, bowling, and shuffleboard.

Parties – Ice cream, Nutella, and chocolate parties, Spooky Halloween parties, Pirate parties, an evening at the circus, games at the Squokkotheque (Squok’s disco), fun fairs with face painting, and fancy-dress parades with Squok, Costa Cruises’ half-shark, half-dolphin mascot.

In addition, there are two themed dinners for kids on every cruise, featuring menus designed by Costa Cruises’ chef for the younger guests.

The special Kid’s Menu that is served at every meal contains all the foods that kids love: spaghetti, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled cheese, and ice cream. Costa also offers a Boys & Girls beverage card for ten non-alcoholic drinks.

Costa Cruises now features Peppa Pig. Children from 3 to 6 can meet Peppa Pig and enjoy Peppa Pig-themed activities in the Squok Club.

Tweens and Teens (12–17 years)

TeenZone activities for teens and junior teens (varying from ship to ship and high or low season) include:

Arts and Crafts – Tattoos and body painting, painting on TeenZone T-shirts, murals, ethnic or pearl necklace making, and preparation of costumes for themed evenings.

Games – Treasure hunts, Olympicteen and swimming pool games, video quizzes and quizzes on modern culture, ship rallies, talent shows, and international karaoke.

Education and Entertainment – Capoeira, hip-hop dancing, Latin and group dances, juggling, pantomime, clownery, magic, and video recording and editing.

Athletics – Volleyball, basketball, football, tennis, table tennis, table football, water polo, water basketball, water volleyball, darts, hoops, bowling, shuffleboard, and video games on giant screen.

Evening Events – Music match, election of Miss Teen and Mr. Teen, beach parties, themed evenings (including Peace & Love, Kitsch, Tribal, Rave, and Funk), and pool parties with a midnight dip.

Catered Entertainment –Tex Mex or Asian dinners, barbecues and pizzas, group breakfasts, Nutella parties, and a guitar party under the stars with pizzas and soft drinks.

P & O Cruises

Minimum Age: Six months (twelve months for transatlantic, world, and remote cruises)

Children’s Programs: Extensive

Babysitting: Yes

Tickets: https://allthingscruise.com/cruise-research/cruise-lines/po-cruises/

Overview

P & O Cruises is a British cruise line. Most of the itineraries depart out of Southampton and the line caters to a British clientele. Three of their ships cater exclusively to adults, but their remaining 4 ships offer award-winning family vacations.

Destinations

Africa

Baltic

British Isles

Canada & USA

Caribbean

Central America

Far East and Asia

Iberia and Canary Islands

Indian Ocean

Mediterranean

Middle East

Scandinavia

South America

South Pacific

Western Europe

Minimum Age

P & O Cruises has three adult-only ships—the Aurora, Arcadia and Oriana—which have a minimum age of eighteen years. Minimum age to aboard the remining P & O Cruises ships is six months; however, transatlantic cruises, world cruises, and remote itineraries have a minimum age of twelve months.

Babysitting

The Reef—starting at age two. Splashers, for ages 2–4, is a day program filled with activities designed for young children. In the evening, parents can take advantage of the cruise line’s supervised night nursery for children from six months to four years of age. Parents should be aware that this service is operated on a first-come, first-serve basis, and infants must be settled and sleeping before they leave.

Pregnancy Policy

Bookings will not be accepted from passengers who have entered the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy at any time during the cruise. All pregnant women must produce a medical certificate attesting to their good health and their child’s.

Children’s Programs

Infants and Toddlers (0–2 years)

Children under the age of two cannot be signed into the supervised daytime activities; parents/guardians must be present with them at all times.

Children (2–10 years)

Age groupings for older children in the following clubs may depend on the number of children on a particular cruise:

Splashers for 2–4-year olds: Ball pool, outdoor play areas, and age-appropriate activities such as puppet shows.

Surfers for 5–8-year olds: Outdoor play, board games, and active games such as mini-Olympics.

Scubas for 9–12-year olds: Music, game consoles, and organized arts and crafts sessions. In the evening there are discos, games, and karaoke.

Tweens and Teens (13–17 years)

h2o for 13–17-year olds: Interactive games, music, discos, table tennis, and organized activities such as talent shows and sports coaching.


P & O Cruises (Australia)

New for 2019

P&O Cruises Australia now allows infants as young as 6 months to sail on Australian Domestic and New Zealand Domestic cruises. For all other itineraries, infants must be 12 months old.

P&O Cruises Australia has slightly changed the ages for each of their children’s groups.

Minimum Age: One year

Children’s Programs: Extensive

Babysitting: No

Tickets: https://allthingscruise.com/cruise-research/cruise-lines/po-cruises-australia/

Overview

P & O Cruises Australia offers a range of cruises from two to twenty-eight nights in duration departing from Sydney, Brisbane, and Auckland. The ships are large enough to offer a variety of activities on board include P&O Edge, the largest adventure park at sea, aboard the Pacific Jewel. Deck games, race car simulations, trivia, karaoke, plus a gym and running track are also available.

Destinations

Australia

Pacific Islands

New Zealand

Papua New Guinea

Asia

Minimum Age

P & O Cruises Australia welcomes children aged 6 months and over on Australian Domestic and New Zealand Domestic cruises to cruise with us. For all other itineraries children must be 12 months and over to cruise.

Babysitting

There are no babysitting facilities on this line.

Pregnancy Policy

Guests who are pregnant at the commencement of their cruise are required to supply a doctor’s letter confirming they are fit to travel, including the estimated due date, prior to embarkation. P&O Cruises Australia are unable to accept any guests who will have entered their 24th week or later at any time during the cruise.

Children’s Programs

Infants and Toddlers (0–2 years)

Children under two years of age must remain with their parent/legal guardian at all times, including when they attend the Children’s Centre.

Children (2–10 years)

Turtle Cove (2–5 years)

At Turtle Cove, kids can enjoy toys, educational games, and lots of activities, all carefully supervised by the experienced youth staff. All children must be potty-trained in order to participate. Activities include music, arts and crafts, movies and cartoons, story time, theme nights, talent show, and video games. *Available only on Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel & Pacific Pearl

Shark Shack (6–9 years)

Shark Shack is a club for older children, where they get to play with kids their own age and enjoy great activities including arts and crafts, movies and cartoons, scavenger hunts, video games, theme nights, jewelry making, air hockey, table tennis, karaoke, and talent shows. *Available only on Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel & Pacific Pearl

Tweens and Teens (10–17 years)

Kids and teens aged 11–17 have their own lounge, called HQ (10-13) and HQ+ (14-17), where they can make new friends, play video games, check out movies, and interact with a great youth staff. Activities include stop-motion filmmaking, teen jam (where kids can form a band and perform for an audience), sports competitions, movies, karaoke, talent shows, dance classes and parties, and theme nights.

 

Star Cruises

Minimum Age: Six or twelve months, depending on ship

Children’s Programs: Minimal

Babysitting: Yes

Tickets: https://allthingscruise.com/browse-cruise-lines/genting-star-cruises/

Overview

Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in the Asia-Pacific region, operates five vessels—the SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius, SuperStar Libra, and Star Pisces—and offers various cruise itineraries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Destinations

China

Hong Kong

Japan

Malaysia

Singapore

Thailand

Taiwan

Vietnam

Minimum Age

Children aged six months or less at the commencement of the cruise will be refused permission to board the vessel and Star Cruises will have no liability whatsoever for any consequences of such refusal. Certain cruises also have prohibitions on children aged twelve months or less.

Babysitting

A babysitting service is available at a nominal charge.

Pregnancy Policy

Pregnant women will be permitted to sail only before their twenty-fourth week of pregnancy.

Children’s Programs

Star Cruises’ Child Care Centers provide fun activities for the young ones under the care of their staff. If your kids are old enough to look after themselves, there are plenty of facilities and activities to keep them occupied and entertained. Please check with the respective Child Care Centre for detailed programs.

Marella Cruises

Minimum Age: Six months

Children’s Programs: Moderate

Babysitting: No

Tickets: https://allthingscruise.com/browse-cruise-lines/marella-cruises/

Overview

Marella Cruises is a mainstream British cruise line, catering to a mostly British clientele. The ships have a casual atmosphere. West End–style entertainment is available in the evenings. Open dining options give passengers flexibility. Bars, lounges, casinos, and sports decks and gyms, plus the Kids’ Clubs, all offer a variety of fun activities for all ages.

Destinations

Asia

Central America

Caribbean

Western Mediterranean

Eastern Mediterranean

Canary Islands and Atlantic

North Africa and Middle East

Fjords, Iceland and Arctic

Northern Europe and UK

Minimum Age

Children from six months old can travel on Marella ships. Some itineraries are adults-only.

Babysitting

None.

Pregnancy Policy

Women can sail up to their twenty-fourth week of pregnancy.

Children’s Programs

Infants and Toddlers (0–3 years)

There are no programs on board for children under three.

Children (3–11 years)
Three to eleven-year olds can spend their days on board at the Kids’ Club. Activities include arts and crafts, superhero-themed parties, searches for hidden treasure, and behind-the-scene backstage tours and trips to the bridge. Children are split into three age groups: 3–5-year olds, 6–8-year olds, and 9–11-year olds, with age-appropriate activities for each group.

Tweens and Teens (12–16 years)

On Marella’s two newest ships, the Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2 there is a teens-only space called The Hideout.

 

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