During the past decade, cruising with the kids has become an extremely popular family vacation choice, and a lucrative market for cruise lines. It’s no wonder that so many new ships are being designed with all ages in mind. The abundance of giant water slides, fun parlours and family sized accommodations tells us that the kids are on board to stay. If you are looking for an action packed vessel that caters to youngsters, or a more peaceful alternative, it’s worth researching the options in order to choose a voyage that suits your needs.
More than 2 million kids of all ages set sail on cruises every year. Competition between cruise companies to capture the growing market share is intense, and choosing the right vessel for your youngsters can be quite daunting. It’s impossible for any single vessel to feature everything for everyone, so some ships cater more for toddlers, some for teens, and others for ages in-between. A good place to start your search is with newer ships that have been designed for kids rather than adapted as an afterthought. Here are a few options to help put you in the picture.
Royal Caribbean International
Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas are among the largest cruise ships in the world, boasting onboard attractions for kids of all ages. The sheer size of the vessels means there is plenty of room for adults-only facilities including solariums and evening entertainments. Royal Caribbean host progressive nursery and after-hours care for the young ones, allowing adults to slip away in the evenings and kick up their heels. Kids programs on Allure and Oasis are reputed to be among the best in the cruise industry, with exciting and engaging programs dedicated to toddlers, children and teens. There is every chance older kids and teens will be ready for a good nights sleep after a day on board. Highlights include:
- four swimming pools
- 10 hot tubs
- rock-climbing walls
- 3D theatre
- FlowRider surf simulators
- zip line
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian prides itself on being a progressive cruise company ready to adapt to passenger expectations. Norwegian Breakaway, Getaway and Epic offer all the bells and whistles to keep youngsters occupied and entertained. Children’s activity centres stimulate imagination and creativity with features that include a jungle gym, dance floor, high-tech games, cinema and even a circus school. Onboard kids clubs cater to different age groups ranging from 3 to 17 year olds. Other great entertainment and amusement features include:
- giant water-slides
- separate kids pools
- rock-climbing walls
- bowling alleys
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Breeze and Carnival Sunshine host two of the world’s largest at-sea water parks. Kids are attracted to WaterWorks aqua parks where they will find a myriad of water features including waterslides, soakers and sprayers. When its time to dry off for a while they will venture to SportSquare, an activities area with basketball courts, mini golf and foosball tables. Indoor kids club programs are entertaining and interactive also, where kids can learn T-shirt painting, explore arts and crafts, enter contests and enjoy dance parties with kids their own age. Other notable features include:
- outdoor movies at the Seaside Theatre
- a ropes course
- kids-style stage shows and competitions
- family-style cabin options
It’s impossible to imagine what cruise ship designers and architects will come up with next. It’s a sure thing that future generations are going to be accustomed to cruising as a regular holiday option, and it’s only a matter of time before it will be the norm rather than the exception to take advantage of a great value vacation on the high-seas. A cruise ship family holiday is cheaper than most theme park vacations, especially when you factor in accommodation, meals and the rest. And still the best part for many cruisers; your kids will get the opportunity to visit amazing destinations in between enjoying the ride.