There’s never been a better time for a family holiday onboard a cruise ship. With exciting water parks, kids’ camps for all ages, and family-friendly shows, you’ll find something for the littlest to the oldest member of the family. Even the teens won’t be able to keep the smiles of their faces!
Naturally, some cruise lines cater for families better than others. So to help you decide, here’s our guide to family-focused cruise lines:
Carnival Cruise Lines
According to our sources, Carnival hosted no fewer than 725,000 junior passengers in 2013. And looking at all the entertainment Carnival ships have to offer, this comes as no surprise. What’s more, as one of the best value cruise lines, Carnival is the perfect choice for families on a budget.
The ship with the biggest family focus is Carnival Breeze, which features an array of waterslides, shows and entertainment for kids. One of the ship’s highlights is SkyCourse, a rope course that kids can clamber and climb on until they are 45 metres above the ocean! The whole family can also join in giant games such as Yahtzee. Not to be outdone, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic also boast massive waterparks, complete with waterslides over four decks.
When it comes to kids’ activities, Carnival doesn't hold back with a fun-filled schedule for toddlers to teenagers. Not sure what to do first? Don’t panic; Carnival Magic features an onboard social networking platform – “Fun Hub” – which gives teens and parents the lowdown on daily activities.
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 provides a royal kids’ experience like no other cruise line. In addition to the British nannies available for the youngest passengers, junior cruisers can take part in fancy events such as high teas and family balls, complete with mini ball gowns and penguin suits! Queen Mary 2 also features a planetarium, allowing kids to gaze into the heavens and learn all about the planets and stars.
The creator of the family favourite films Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks, brings a dash of magic to Royal Caribbean ships. With special parades, 3-D movie screenings, shows and even dinner parties with your favourite DreamWorks characters, the whole family will be mesmerised.
Royal Caribbean also offers a fantastic program for kids of all ages, including Royal Babies (6-18 months) and Royal Tots (18-36 months) programs with age-appropriate toys and activities supervised by trained staff.
By far one of the highlights for parents is the expedited kids’ dining for 3-11 year-olds – as soon as they’ve finished their food, they are bundled away to a play-zone so mum and dad can enjoy their dinner in peace! Another exceptional service is “Babies 2 Go”, whereby parents can order baby items such as baby food, nappies, wipes and creams onboard.
When it comes to family-sized rooms, Royal Caribbean also provides staterooms accommodating up to six passengers. Unlike many cruise ships, Royal Caribbean provides an in-room babysitter service as well as a group sitting service.
Princess knows how to cater for kids, especially teens. Older kids can refine their hip-hop dancing and DJ skills, and the girls can learn makeup and facial techniques. There’s also a wide range of social events, including pizza and mocktail nights and formal dress-up balls. Kids as young as 3-years-old can find their Yen in yoga classes while older kids can learn how to make pizzas and sushi.
Available on Diamond Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess from late May to early September, Princess’s Alaskan adventures give families a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Cruising between Vancouver and the Alaskan city, Whittier, kids can explore nature from a whole new perspective.