Which Cruise Lines are the most Family friendly?

Which Cruise Lines are the most Family friendly?

Looking for a cruise that will keep every member of the family happy?  You need a ship that offers a range of activities for both the young and the old.

Nearly every cruise line has expanded its offerings for children. On the bigger ships, it’s common to have expansive on-board children’s play areas broken down into separate zones for different age groups; multiple family-friendly pool areas; deck-top water parks with multiple water slides; video arcades and other kid-friendly amenities (Royal Caribbean’s latest ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, even have family-focused outdoor amusement areas called the Boardwalk). Disney Cruise Line, which has staked its business on catering to families, large mass-market lines Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian are top choices for families due to the diversity and quality of their children’s programs and on-board entertainment. Lines sailing smaller vessels, including the major luxury lines, generally offer fewer activities for children.


– Azamara Club Cruises – Premium Mid-Size ships

Azamara Club Cruises does not offer Children’s program onboard their vessels.


Crystal Cruises – Luxury Mid Size/Large Ships

Children & teens have a variety of activities to choose from on Crystal Cruises. Crystal offers a children’s playroom and babysitting services on all cruises. During holiday cruises and selected sailings, additional children’s activities are offered.

Crystal’s Junior Activities Program is three-tiered: 3-7 year olds, 8-12 year olds, and 13-17 year olds. Activities are determined by age and the number of children on board, and a detailed schedule of events is created at the beginning of each cruise. Once on board, you’ll receive “Surf Runner,” the daily newsletter for kids with details for the following day’s schedule and other pertinent information.

The children’s playroom offers supervised activities and arts & crafts, popular Sony Play station game titles, a large screen television set and board games. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity also feature a teenager’s video arcade, Waves. The library offers children’s books and videos for the televisions/VCRs available in all staterooms.

Kids can also choose from a special Junior Cruiser’s menu, and Crystal’s executive chefs and other culinary staff can prepare custom dishes. The Trident Grill serves complimentary hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and more. Baby food, high chairs and booster seats are available.

For a small fee, Crystal offer in-stateroom baby-sitting. Guests should contact the concierge onboard for this service at least 24 hours in advance. Crystal Cruises is unable to accommodate children less than six months of age and reserves the right to restrict the number of those less than three years of age aboard the ships.


– Carnival – Contemporary Large & Mega ships

On a Carnival one low price covers just about everything including Carnival’s, Camp Carnival children’s program for ages 2-17.

As soon as your children come aboard, they’ll find a special welcome from the Camp Carnival counselors qualified to make sure your children are safe, happy and having the time of their lives. During the cruise, your kids will have fun exploring their Carnival “Fun Ship”, enjoying all kinds of games, parties, talent shows, and other fun – all under the friendly supervision of Camp Carnival counselors. This is a family vacation they will never forget!


– Celebrity Cruises– Premium Large ships

Celebrity Cruises’ Family Program offers onboard entertainment and activities for children and teens. The four-tiered supervised youth programs are specially created for children ages 3-17, with entertainment and activities well suited for each group. Each morning, a daily program lists the day’s activities, games, parties and more. And special areas are set aside for “kids only,” such as the Shipmates Fun Factory, teen centers and pools. Guests can feel secure leaving their children with specially trained and educated Celebrity youth counselors.

The newest addition to the exciting children activities is Celebrity’s Science Journeys. These six, hands-on educational science and nature experiences allow kids to discover insects, experiment with sea life or explore the world of pirates, including Buccaneer’s Bounty, which traces the history of pirates, sunken treasure and excavation. Created for children between the ages of 3-12.


 – Cunard Line – Classic Luxury Large ships

Children traveling on Cunard will not want to leave the Play Zone filled with toys, games and activities. As the younger children relish in the soft play area you can be certain that they are in the best care with a fully trained nursery staff. A range of engaging activities will be thoughtfully prepared by youth staff including sports, arts and crafts and a disco, as well as themed days such as Pirate Day! The teen area, with its game consoles and relaxed layout provides an ideal setting for older children to meet and make new friends. Please note that children must be a minimum of 2 years old to participate in the nursery without parental supervision. Children under 2 years old are welcome, provided they are accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times.


– Disney Cruise Line  – Contemporary Large Ships

Children and Teens will delight in specially created programs and activities that let them play with others their own age. From 9 am to midnight, it’s hands-on fun for four distinct age groups. For moms and dads, this means flexibility to be together when they want. For teens ages 13-17, it means having independence to chart your own course. And your kids will be taken care of in true Disney style with 3- to 12-year-olds receiving attention and supervision from a large staff of fun-loving Disney counselors.

For an additional charge, children under 3 can receive the special attention of caregivers at the Flounder’s Reef Nursery, a whimsical soft play area that’s open for select hours every day. Just be sure to book your child’s nursery stay early, because space is limited. If your kids are 12 or under, you’ll be given a pager when you drop them off, so you’re always just a beep away. Disney provides a level of care and thoughtfulness that will make this vacation one of the best family cruise you can experience.


– Holland America Line – Premium Mid-Size & Large ships

Club HAL provides a wide variety of exciting activities for kids ages 5 to 17. Participating youngsters receive an activity program delivered to their stateroom and a Club HAL t-shirt.

Club HAL activities are designed to be age appropriate. Examples include storytelling, arts and crafts, ice-cream sundae or pizza parties, ship tours and bingo for the little ones (ages 5 to 8). For tweens (ages 9 to 12) there’s miniature golf, Ping-Pong, theme parties, on-deck sports events and scavenger hunts. Teens (ages 13 to 17) can enjoy a teen disco, dance lessons, arcade games, sports tournaments, card games, trivia contests, bingo, movies and videos.

Select itineraries even offer “kids-only” shore excursions to Half Moon Cay (their private island in the Bahamas) and exploratory adventures in several Alaskan ports of call.

All activities are supervised by permanent, full-time Club HAL directors and assistants. Club HAL directors hold degrees in education, childhood development, recreation, leisure studies or related fields.

Holland America Line provides a number of other services to families. They serve a wide variety of kid-pleasing food, including special sandwiches, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza. Baby food, high chairs and booster seats may be requested in advance of boarding. Baby-sitting services are available for a small surcharge.


– Norwegian Cruise Line – Contemporary Large & Mega ships

Norwegian Cruise Lines family-friendly comprehensive youth program is one of the best at sea. The award-winning Splash Academy and Entourage programs were recently expanded to provide activities for children under the age of two, plus a wider range of fun for tween and teen cruisers.

NCLs complimentary kids and teens program is divided into two groups Splash Academy designed for kids 6 months – 12 years old and Entourage for teens 13-17 years old. The Youth Staff offer an age-appropriate selection of organized activities including crafts, parades, sports, games, stories and parties, campouts with flashlights and tents, and cooking classes. Teens can head to their own designated lounge with vending machines, flat-screen televisions, PlayStation 3, air hockey, pinball and more.

You can enjoy a massage while they’re on a treasure hunt. Play roulette while they’re camping out, or head for the Chocoholic Buffet while they’re having a pillow fight at a pajama party. If you would like to have a romantic dinner for two, or see a late-night comedy show, kids are able to hang at Late Night Fun Zone open every night until 1:00am for a small fee. Want some alone time while in port? Then drop off your kids at Port Play for free (small fee during lunch and dinner hours). There is no in-room babysitting available on a Norwegian cruise ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line has teamed up with the #1 entertainment brand for kids to take family cruising to a whole new level. With Nickelodeon, exclusively on Norwegian Cruise Line, they are offering one-of-a-kind family activities year-round aboard Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Getaway. It’s the ideal vacation where parents relax, kids play and families connect.


– Oceania Cruises – Ultra Premium Mid-Size Ships

Even though guests of all ages are welcome onboard Oceania, the unregimented lifestyle and upscale ambiance onboard are designed for adults and do not provide for the care, entertainment, or supervision of children.


– Princess Cruises – Premium Large Ships

The Princess Kids & off Limits Teens programs make child’s play of family travel. Princess Youth and Teen Centers offer a boatload of fun, featuring everything from arts and crafts to video games, discos, movies, splash pools and more!

Junior cruisers ages 3 to 17 can enjoy a boatload of exciting onboard activities. Princess’ dedicated youth centers are staffed by trained counselors, who are ready to ensure each young sailor stays happy all day long. And older kids can enjoy Teen Centers that are packed with Nintendo, movies, Karaoke, giant screen TVs, card games, board games, Ping-Pong tables and jukeboxes. In addition to all these features, on select ships, teens have a separate Jacuzzi and sun deck area made just for them.

Princess also offers teenage passengers a wide range of activities such as: Bop ’til you Drop, teens-only disco, the Dating Game, shipboard Olympics, T-shirt painting, basketball tournaments, Karaoke and lip-sync shows, casino night, pizza parties and movie nights.


– Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Ultra Premium Mid-Size Ships

Club Mariner is a program offered on several RSSC ships during the summer months and the holiday seasons. Available on all Regent ships, Club Mariner offers a variety of activities for children from the ages of 6 to 11 and 12 to 17.

Young cruisers are divided into two age groups, and activities are designed for each group. Club Mariner counselors have many activities, including games, craft projects, movies, and “food fun” to make sure each child has a memorable experience. Teens help the counselor select the activities they prefer to do on their cruise.

Whether cruising to Alaska, the Baltic, Bermuda, the Caribbean, or on a Hanukkah/Christmas sailing, young cruisers will have a fun and memorable experience to take home with them.


– Seabourn– Ultra Luxury Small Ships

Seabourn does not have a dedicated Children’s Program onboard.


– SeaDream Yacht Club – Luxury Yacht style ships

SeaDream does not have a dedicated Children’s Program onboard.


– Silversea Cruises – Ultra Luxury small & mid-size ships

 Silversea does not have a dedicated Children’s Program onboard.


Viking River Cruises – Ultra Premium small ships 

Viking River Cruises does not have a dedicated Children’s Program.


– Viking Ocean Cruises- Ultra Premium Mid-Size Ships

Viking Oceans does not offer dedicated children’s facilities or services. On all cruises, minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied and share a stateroom with a parent or legal guardian over the age of 21. Viking Oceans reserves the right to limit the number of minors on board. Please contact your Cruise Specialist for more details.


– Windstar Cruises – Casual Style Small Sailing Ships & Power Yachts

Windstar does not have a dedicated Children’s Program.