Recently I was asked by a few clients how they can go on a cruise their children will love but that they can get the same service and perks as they would on a luxury cruise.
If you book the right staterooms, you can get the feel of a luxury cruise and your kids will have the time of their lives doing all the activities on board the big cruise ships!
BOOK THE SUITES!
Onboard the ships there are plenty of family cabins and loft suites which mean room for the family to spread out. There’s even a Royal Family cabin that sleeps eight, and Symphony of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas’ Ultimate Family Suite with a two-deck slide, LEGO wall and games aplenty.
Not only do you get a lot more square footage in your stateroom with concierge service or better yet, Royal Genie Service, you have access to the Suite Sun Deck, which includes a more private pool and dining options. And with the Star class suites you get first class service including:
Exclusive Access to Royal Genie Service
All Day Access to Coastal Kitchen
All Day Access to Gold and Silver Dining** for guests onboard Spectrum of the Seas®
Complimentary Specialty Restaurants*** (including Chef’s Table and à la carte dining)
Complimentary Deluxe Beverage Package (for guests 21 years or older, or 18 and over where applicable by law)
Complimentary Refreshment Package (for guests under legal drinking age)
Still and Sparkling Water Replenished Daily
Complimentary VOOM, The Fastest Internet at Sea
Expedited Boarding and Departure
Best Seats in the House in Select Entertainment Venues
Priority Reservations & Entrance to Many Onboard Activities (like private FlowRider surf lessons)
Suite Lounge Access (complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cocktails each evening)
Access to Suite Sun Deck
Royal Caribbean Plush Bathrobes for Use Onboard
Complimentary Minibar stocked with Coca-Cola® Beverages and Water
Complimentary Laundry and Pressing Services
Luxury Mattress and Pillows
Luxury Bathroom Amenities
Lavazza Espresso Coffee Maker
Whether you’re traveling with a toddler or a teenager, Royal Caribbean is one of the top family cruise lines around. The cruise line’s largest ships are the best Royal Caribbean vessels for kids of all ages, as well as for multigenerational family groups.
Adults-only solariums are perfect for parents and grandparents, and there are a plethora of dining and evening entertainment options.
You’ll be hard-pressed to ever feel bored during a Royal Caribbean family cruise. Each ship has an impressive selection of family-friendly activities and entertainment with multiple pools and activities that might include:
A 3D theater
FlowRider surf simulator(s)
Parades in the indoor promenade
The popular Royal Caribbean kids’ program with different levels for kids ages 6 months – 17
Ultimate Abyss slide, a 10-story light-and-sound filled drop that ends at the Boardwalk (children must be at least 43 inches tall to slide)
SeaPlex (featuring bumper cars, roller skating, video games and more)
The first skydiving simulator at sea
The North Star, a London Eye-esque ride that takes passengers in a glass capsule 300 feet above the ocean
You can rest assured knowing that your children are in good hands because the Royal Caribbean kids’ program counselors are some of the friendliest and most engaging in the business.
More than two-dozen dining options, including casual eateries like a hot dog joint and a New York-style pizza joint, as well as a variety of upscale specialty restaurants, meaning no taste is overlooked.
Johnny Rockets, the 1950s-style luncheonette, is always a kid magnet (and parents think it’s pretty cool, too). Excellent Broadway-style shows in the evenings will keep the older crowd engaged, while parades and ice skating shows will “wow” the whole family. The spa offers special treatments for teens.
This premium brand features large ships but aims to provide a more high-end experience than you’ll find on cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises. It also does a great job of catering to multi-generational cruisers.
Camp at Sea is Celebrity Cruises’ kids’ club for kids 3 to 17 years old. Camp is open every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is broken into 4 age groups. Activities range from arts and crafts for the youngest age group to video game tournaments, scavenger hunts, and movie nights for older kids.
Family-friendly excursions include cultural tours, water sports, volcano and glacier hikes, and swimming with dolphins.
There are 4 classes of cruise ships offered by Celebrity Cruises: Edge Class (its newest and most innovative), Solstice Class, Millenium Class, and Galapagos Vessels.
Cruisers say that Celebrity Equinox is the most family-friendly Celebrity ship thanks to 2 kids’ programs only available on this ship as well as over 100 adjoining cabins.
An array of staterooms exist to choose from on Celebrity Cruise ships, including family verandahs that sleep 5. Celebrity Cruise ships also feature staterooms that cater to solo travelers as well, so when traveling with a group, no one has to feel obligated to share a room.
There are a dozen dining options across each ship such as the French restaurant Normandie or the Mediterranean eatery Cyprus Restaurant. Specialty dining options include Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud, Raw on 5 Restaurant serving fresh seafood, and Fine Cut Steakhouse.
The Haven: a luxury enclave on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Prima Class Breakaway and Breakaway Plus ships – to enjoy spacious suites and elevated amenities, including a pool, lounge and dining area exclusively for Haven guests. Onboard Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy, and Norwegian Encore, adults can enjoy the service and sophisticated ambience of the Haven, while teens can experience the age-designated clubs and onboard thrills of these megaships: waterslides, laser tag, virtual reality gaming, and the only race tracks at sea (aboard Bliss, Joy and Encore).
Hidden away at the top of the ship is The Haven by Norwegian, home to our most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations. Not only will you have access to all the ship has to offer, you’ll enjoy the personal service of a concierge and 24-hour butler throughout your entire stay. On top of that, complete privacy and tranquility are just steps away on a sundeck reserved exclusively for guests of The Haven. From embarkation to debarkation, boarding of tenders to shore, onboard entertainment to dining times you will have priority. In your own ship within a ship, The Haven will make for a unique experience you’ll never forget.
And what about River Cruises? Are kids allowed?
For the most part, no – and almost any kid would be bored by traditional river itineraries. But several cruise lines do offer special family sailings timed to summer and holiday vacation periods and tweaked to include kid-friendly excursions and activities.
AmaWaterways has partnered with Adventures by Disney to offer family-oriented sailings on the Seine, Rhine, and Danube rivers. Age limits vary by itinerary.
Tauck Bridges is a family-friendly program river cruise program by Tauck that welcomes kids ages 4 and older (8 or older is recommended on certain itineraries) on cruises of the Seine, Rhine, Rhone, Danube, and Douro rivers.
The Generations Collection by Uniworld is a series of European river cruises designed for multi-generational travel and welcoming kids 4 and up on select summer and holiday sailings.