There are so many quality cruise lines out there, but there are some cruise lines that truly shine as family-friendly options. This doesn't always mean that the entire ship is centered around children and child activities, but rather that it's an incredibly accommodating cruise for families traveling with children, parents and grandparents, and even single parents who desire time with their kids but also want some adult-only activities.
The Best Family-Centered Ocean Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line
Let's get obvious out of the way! Disney Cruise Line is fantastic for providing engaging kids club activities in a safe and secure environment and while also offering luxury dining, spa, and entertainment opportunities for adults.
Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, is an oasis of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. 100% included with your cruise, spend a day relaxing at one of the world's most jaw-dropping beaches. The kids will have a blast playing on the huge in-water climbing structure, snorkeling, or in the kid's club making new friends and enjoying once-in-a-lifetime experiences with trained childcare staff.
Disney is known for their level of care and has become the gold standard of family travel. Disney cruises will run you a bit more money, but the staterooms are larger in comparison to most other ships, and the character interactions, shows, and special Disney parties go unmatched.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
For adventure-loving families looking to push the boundaries, I suggest Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Incredible onboard activities make this one of the most extreme and engaging family vacations you can take! Rock wall climbing, zip-lining, ice skating, surf simulators, and waterslides - and that's just ON the cruise ships. At ports, explore new terrain with exciting excursions like four-wheeling, catamaran rides, horseback riding, or hiking.
Kids ages 3-12 have a blast in the free Adventure Youth Programs aboard Royal Caribbean ships. Specially designed programs, broken up into ages, include Adventure Science Lab, Aquanauts, Imagination Studio, Adventure Theatre, and Adventure Voyagers. Your kids will love the talent shows, art classes, video games, and imaginative play spaces. I hate to tell you, but they won't want to leave the Adventure club! Bond with your baby in a Parent & Tot Session, an interactive playgroup where you engage in educational and fun activities with your child led by a trained childcare expert. Drop-off nursery care on select ships.
UnCruise is a totally different twist on family cruising. Instead of a major focus on relaxing (although you WILL have time to relax), UnCruise is devoted to providing their guests adventure at sea. These small group cruises revolve around engaging activities and excursions.
One of my favorite itineraries UnCruise offers is a Hawaiian 7-day cruise sailing between all four islands. You'll snorkel with sea turtles, hike to a towering waterfall, immerse yourself in Hawaii's rich culture and history while speaking with locals. You'll paddleboard amidst surrounding volcanic cliffs, go whale watching, experience a traditional luau, and so much more. If you're looking for a truly adventurous cruising experience, UnCruise will be a perfect fit.
This high-end cruise line traditionally caters to adults but you'd be pleasantly surprised by the care taken to ensure the kids will also have a blast. This cruise line goes above and beyond to ensure that their guests have an incredible experience - and it's no different when they are catering to kids!
Dedicated children's programs are offered during select times of the year where children are likely to be sailing - summer and during the holidays and special spaces donned with art supplies and video games are available year-round.
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