Just recently, I wrote about the advantages of going on a cruise for a family vacation. While there are a lot of cruise lines with different destinations to choose from, not all cruise lines are family-friendly. Some, especially the “luxury” cruises, actually discourage kids in favor of the adult’s convenience. To make it easier to search for the best cruise for you, let me give you five cruise lines that are geared towards family.
Before I start, just a quick run-through of the features that define these cruises as “family cruises”. First all of these cruise lines offer age-specific programs that divide kids into age ranges. This is a plus, especially for parents of teens, who only want to hang-out with kids their own age. Some of these programs are supervised by crew members who usually have education degrees, so parents can be assured that they’re leaving their kids in capable hands. The programs vary depending on the age group. Also, these cruise lines have baby-sitting services with fees ranging from $5-$10 per child. There’s a minimum age where parents can leave a child, however. In most cruise lines, kids have to be at least 3, and potty-trained, since they won’t change your kid’s diaper for you. They also don’t allow kids that are not potty-trained to use the pools, even if you use swimmer diapers. Another plus is these cruises usually have kiddie menus, although the more adventurous kids can always choose to pick regular dining options.
DISNEY – Need I say more? Of course, Disney is always associated with kids. For starters, it’s the only cruise line that has a nursery dedicated to the 12-week – 2 year age group. Also, kids can join their peers in daily supervised fun in their own age-specific clubhouse (with its own daily newsletter). There’s the added magic of having favorite Disney characters popping out to interact with the kids. Suprisingly though, this cruise is not solely for kids. There are a lot of activities and some areas strictly for adults as well.
CARNIVAL – Carnival, along with Disney, has the most family-friendly cabins. Carnival is also one of the cruise lines that accepts kids as young as 2 in it’s programs. Another plus is that it’s 1 of the rare ships that accepts toddlers not yet potty-trained for
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE – NCL’s Kid’s Crew and Teen’s Crew programs are divided into four age-specific groups. And parents, take note, the kids program starts at age 2 as well! NCL also prides itself on it’s “Freestyle Cruising” policy. Which basically means you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. NCL also has family-friendly cabins & staterooms. The ships Jewel, Star, Dawn & Spirit have facilities specially for kids. And for those who can afford it, check out their Garden & Courtyard Villas at the Jewel & Dawn Class Ships. Simply divine!
There are other cruise lines that cater to families as well. Whatever you decide on, just remember to have fun, and spend quality time with your kids! Bon voyage!