Cruising is the ideal vacation option for families. With ships loaded with activities, great kids clubs, babysitting and family-friendly dining choices, you'll find exciting options for any age. Family cruises perfectly blend time together with some guilt-free…
Cruising is the ideal vacation option for families. With ships loaded with activities, great kids clubs, babysitting and family-friendly dining choices, you'll find exciting options for any age. Family cruises perfectly blend time together with some guilt-free alone time onboard the ships and in ports of call.
What are the best cruise lines for family cruises?
Most of the major cruise lines offer great family cruising options. The three biggest cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, all have excellent kids clubs and children's programming. Clubs and programming aim to be both fun and educational, encouraging socialization as well as learning. They also offer activities, like rock climbing walls, escape rooms, video arcades, go-karts and laser tag, which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Every ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet is designed with families in mind. Fans of superheroes and Disney movies will love character meet and greets, pirate and Star Wars themed parties, and shows everyone will sing along to. Disney offers an adults-only area designed for parents looking for mini-escapes.
What is the ideal month to take a family cruise?
June, July and August are the best family cruise months. Kids are out of school and weather is generally pleasant. It's also a great time to explore family-friendly bucket-list destinations, like Alaska. Princess Cruises offers shore excursions aimed at families in Alaska, and the cruise line's partnerships with Discovery and Animal Planet up the fun, with activities like interaction with sled dog puppies and a take on Finding Bigfoot. Winter holiday time is also great for family cruises, as kids are out of school. If you sail when school isn't in session, expect to see a lot of families on your ship.
Will my family of five be comfortable on a family cruise?
Cruise ship cabins, or staterooms, are generally sold on a double occupancy basis, but many rooms actually have third or fourth berths, usually sold at a discounted rate. Bunk beds might drop from the ceiling, or a couch might fold out to provide more sleeping space. If you're traveling with older children or five people or more, consider connecting cabins. This allows you to keep tabs on everyone but gives you more space. Keep in mind, cruise cabins are generally smaller than hotel rooms; some start at about 140 square feet. If you're craving more space, think about a family suite, which offers plenty of space for everyone.
What shore excursions are best for families?
All cruise lines offer tours in ports, called shore excursions. These generally aren't included in the price of your cruise, so maximize their value by booking something everyone will enjoy. If you're traveling with young kids, aim for shorter, simpler excursions, like a half day at the beach or a glass-bottom boat ride. Older kids might like trips to amusement or water parks, or snorkeling. Movie shooting locations are also a big hit, with options like New Zealand, where "Lord of the Rings" was shot, or the Greek island Skiathos ("Mamma Mia!"). Shore excursion staff onboard can help you determine the right tours for your family. A handful of cruise lines, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean, allow parents to leave kids in the clubs while they go ashore.
How much does a family cruise cost?
Pricing ranges dramatically for family cruises. A great deal might start at $50 per person per night, while cruises during peak family season -- the summer and holidays -- could cost $150 or more, depending on the destination. Many cruise lines offer discounts on third and fourth berths in the same cabin. MSC Cruises has a Kids Sail Free program for children ages 11 and younger, and other cruise lines occasionally offer similar sales.