The Best Cruises for Kids Gallery
The Best Cruises for Kids
Cruises are one of the top choices for an all-inclusive value vacation. Known for their superb dining, award-winning entertainment, impressive amenities, and the chance to visit more than one destination, cruises are one of the best options for a family vacation with plenty for everyone to enjoy. If you’re traveling with children, however, certain ships do outshine the rest in terms of kid-friendly activities and entertainment.
When planning a cruise with kids, you want to make sure that your ship not only has family-friendly dining options and entertainment, but also activities and clubs just for kids so that you can get some adults-only fun time at the bar, lounge, or even just on deck. Journeys no longer than a week are best, as kids tend to get restless after being on a ship for a while. Keeping this in mind, we’ve created a list of the ships best suited for fun and food for all ages. If you’re looking for a fantastic spring break option or somewhere to go for summer vacation with the whole family, consider going on one of these best cruises for kids.
Adventure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Royal Caribbean is a leading family cruise line, and its Adventure of the Seas was awarded a third place ranking by Cruise Critic’s 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards in Best for Families. Chock full of activities, kids will love taking part in things like poolside movie screenings , mini-golf, ice skating, parades, a jewelry making class, and all kinds of shows. There’s an arcade on deck, as well as intense waterslides and a rock climbing wall. Itineraries for 2018 include journeys through the eastern, western, or southern Caribbean, whereas 2019 will also bring cruises through Canada and New England or the Bahamas. Not only are the destinations like paradise, but the Adventure of the Seas also ranked second in Best for Shore Excursions at the Cruisers’ Choice Awards.
Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Until Harmony of the Seas set sail in 2016, its sister ship Allure of the Seas was the largest cruise ship in service, winning tons of awards along the way and continuing to do so. It took the top spot in Best for Entertainment at the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards and was second only to Harmony in Best for Fitness and Recreation — perfect for energetic families with young children. In addition to the rock climbing wall, arcade, and kid-friendly activities found on all Royal Caribbean cruises, Allure of the Seas also offers zip lining, a surf simulator, carousel, and H20 Zone – a full water park with pools, geysers, fountains, climbable sculptures, and more. It’s even home to one of the coolest Starbucks stores in the world. As you sail for a week through either the eastern or western Caribbean, shows on deck include an ice skating rendition of How to Train Your Dragon and an aquatic show featuring the characters of Madagascar.
Harmony of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
The largest cruise ship on the water until the launch of Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas on March 31, 2018, Harmony of the Seas swept the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards. It won awards for Best Cabins, Best for Embarkation, Best for Fitness and Recreation, and Best for Value, also coming in second for Best Overall and Best for Entertainment, as well as third for shore excursions. On board you’ll find Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, which will send you shooting down 10 stories, as well as an awe-inspiring acrobatics show right on deck. There’s even an escape room game which gives you an hour to puzzle your way out with hidden clues. Enjoy just a few days at sea in the Bahamas or take a weeklong cruise through the eastern or western Caribbean.
Carnival Breeze (Carnival Cruise Line)
With cruises to Bermuda and the Caribbean, the Carnival Breeze is one of the most kid-friendly ships at sea, as well as off deck, having been declared the best cruise ship for families and shore excursions by the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards. In addition to amazing stage shows and games on deck thanks to a recreation center and video arcade, guests can take part in a Hasbro game show, Clue murder mystery game, water park featuring twisting waterslides, and children’s clubs designated for younger children, pre-teens, and teens separately, as well as a late-night club for children ages 11 and under.
Carnival Dream (Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream isn’t too different from its sister ship Carnival Breeze — which is why it also made the list. Like the Carnival Breeze, Dr. Seuss lovers will love it here, with a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, Seuss-A-Palooza Story Time, and a Seuss-themed parade. There’s even a Build-A-Bear Workshop and a candy store on deck!
Crown Princess (Princess Cruises)
In addition to original theater productions, freshwater pools, hot tubs, and on-deck sports like golfing, basketball, and volleyball, Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess has plenty of activities geared towards its younger guests. Guests ages three to seven can enjoy arts and crafts and movie nights in the their pajamas at The Treehouse, while The Lodge is specifically designed for kids ages eight to 12 to enjoy games, competitions, and activities like dancing, rocket building, and treasure hunts. Teens onboard will enjoy The Beach House where they can take part in video games and sports competitions, hip-hop dance classes, and a teens-only party featuring mocktails.
Disney Dream (Disney Cruise Line)
When it comes to vacationing with the kids, Disney is always a good bet. That doesn’t mean just theme parks, however. Disney Cruise Line has an award-winning fleet of four ships, and the Disney Dream is great for a short three-to-five-night trip through the Bahamas. Hang out with the mouse and many other Disney characters on deck, including Star Wars’ Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon, or get a makeover as your favorite character at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It’s unsurprising that Disney Dream ranked third in Best for Entertainment with the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, with entertainment options like its Beauty and the Beast theater show and virtual reality video games at the Infinity Game Room.
Disney Fantasy (Disney Cruise Line)
Disney Fantasy offers a longer cruise — six to 11 nights, depending on the itinerary — through the Caribbean, and won second place as the best cruise for families according to the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards. Catch a show of Disney’s musical Aladdin, visit the Star Wars Command Post to train with the Jedi, or attend the Marvel Superhero Academy to practice your crimefighting skills. Disney Fantasy also features Star Wars Day at Sea, in which select sailings are entirely Star Wars-themed!
Disney Wonder (Disney Cruise Line)
Unlike the other two, Disney Wonder also offers passengers the chance to set sail on a cruise to Baja California, along the Mexican Riviera, or along the California coast from San Diego, as well as Alaskan cruises from Vancouver — perfect for those looking to sail from the West Coast. Here you’ll find Tiana’s Place, a The Princess and the Frog-themed restaurant with amazing Southern cooking and music to boot, as well as the chance to watch Frozen in musical form.
Norwegian Epic (Norwegian Cruise Line)
In addition to Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean, the Norwegian Epic also takes passengers on cruises through Mediterranean Europe and on transatlantic journeys to and from there. As with all of Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships, entertainment includes music and dance stage spectacles as well as amazing acrobatic shows, a video arcade, and sports complex. The waterpark features a kids’ pool for younger swimmers as well as 200-foot waterslide, and there’s even a bowling alley on deck. Teens can hang out in their own lounge that turns into a teens-only nightclub at night, and younger kids can enjoy Splash Academy, where they can play video games and take part in all kinds of activities just for kids. For more great vacations to take with the whole family, check out these affordable family-friendly trips for summer.
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