What Are the Best Cruise Lines for Families?

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When it comes to picking out a cruise for your family, you certainly won’t be short on choice. All the cruise lines offer family-focused cruises and with so much competition, there are some fantastic deals to be had.

When choosing a cruise line for your family holiday, the two most important things are likely to be the activities and the kids’ clubs. You want to make sure that there’s plenty for your kids to do so that you get time to relax and unwind too. So which of the cruise lines have the best offering here? Here are three of our favourites:

Royal Caribbean

For 2015, Royal Caribbean is set to be the big name in thrills and spills on the seas and if your kids are doing the choosing, this is likely to be top of their list. The new Anthem of the Seas ship, available from spring 2015, features some amazing new activities including the first ever bumper cars at sea and a skydiving simulator. It also has a jewel-like viewing pod named North Star which rises 300ft over the sea and gives its guests an amazing view of the ocean and the ship’s destinations.

Royal Caribbean is also one of the best cruise lines when it comes to kids’ clubs. They divide children up into age specific groups and this works really well, because kids like to befriend other kids of similar ages and the activities are all age-specific. There are Aquanauts (3-5s), Explorers (6-8s) and Voyagers (9-11s), and all enjoy a great range of well planned activities. When they’re not in kids’ club, there’s the brilliant H20 Zone waterpark and plenty of activities from outdoor poolside movies to a full sized carousel, a 3D cinema, mini golf and ice skating.

For kids over 12, there are plenty of teen-specific activities, a teen hangout space and teen-only nightclubs Fuel or Optix. Last but not least, if your kids are into Barbie, then Royal Caribbean has to be your first choice – families can book extra-pink cabins and kids can take part in Barbie-themed activities which include dance classes, a fashion design workshop and fashion shows.

Princess

For the teens, Princess Cruises are a popular choice. Your big kids will love their own deck space which includes a hot tub, sun loungers and table football. They can take part in sports competitions and talent shows, watch late night movies, take part in DJ workshops and take hip hop dance classes. There are also hot tub, dance, pizza and mocktail parties, not to mention teen-only formal dinners; and for the gamers, there are Playstation and Wii tournaments.

Princess has clubs for kids too, although these are split into wider age groups than Royal Caribbean – they are Princess Pelicans (3-7s) and Shockwaves (8-12s). Activities for the tots include arts and crafts, movies, cartoons, disco nights, talent shows and afternoon ice cream. There are also pyjama, pizza and ice cream parties, and kids-only dinners.

The 8-12s can take part in most of the above and in addition, karaoke, games and sports tournaments, scavenger hunts, cookery lessons, and a lot more. The range of activities is diverse so there’s something for every taste.

Carnival

Carnival is another name well known for its family friendly cruises and if your kids are into the Dr Zeuss books, this is the perfect cruise line for you. The kids can meet the on board characters including the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two over breakfast, or take part in activities with them that range from a carnival parade to arts and crafts and interactive storytime. Aside from the excitement of Dr Zeuss, kids of all ages will love WaterWorks, the on board waterpark.

The twister slide is a decent size to keep kids of all ages happy, and some ships have racing slides too allowing kids and grown-ups to race side by side. On stage, Carnival presents Hasbro, The Game Show which lets the kids take part in giant versions of popular games like Connect 4 and Yahtzee. There’s also make your own pizza, poolside movies, a 3D movie theatre and plenty more to do.

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Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Peter Dedina

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About Author

Claire Wilde

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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