Since Disney Cruise Line introduced family style accommodations on its newer ships in the 1990’s, the concept has caught on like wildfire. Newer cruise ships are being designed with the entire family in mind, and along with spacious cabins come a host of perks and incentives to help you choose the right cruise for your brood. If you require space-saving innovations, privacy partitions, a family suite or connecting cabins, there are affordable options to suit your style.
Avoiding family holiday horror stories
We have all seen and heard about family vacation horror stories, where confinement in close quarters with loved-ones soon turned into the holiday from hell. Everyone has individual needs for self expression and privacy, and it’s often the simple aspects of living in close quarters that can destroy family harmony; like the sound of snoring all night long, lights left on when you would prefer them off, fighting over bed bunks, coming in and out at inappropriate times – and the list goes on.
Fortunately, many cruise ships provide accommodation options designed for families and groups. Expansive staterooms resembling studio apartments are extremely popular, with many including spacious balconies – especially useful for time-out while the kids are sleeping. Another popular option is to book adjoining cabins, giving everyone plenty of privacy while still retaining the togetherness of a family.
Here are a few cruise lines that comfortably accommodate families and group bookings. This list is by no means comprehensive, and every ship has a different cabin design configuration, so check with your preferred cruise line regarding your individual requirements.
Disney Cruise Line
- Ocean view staterooms can fit 5 passengers
- One-bedroom family cabins can accommodate up to 7 people
- Balcony doors have child-proof locks
- Some balcony-less rooms have built-in window seats
- Kid-friendly features and facilities such as magic portholes, complimentary cribs, bottle warmers and diaper pails
- Bathrooms feature Disney characters
Carnival Cruise Lines
- Standard staterooms exceed industry standards
- Ocean view staterooms can fit a family of 5
- Dream-class ships have staterooms with two bathrooms that include shower and a junior tub
- Family Harbor Suites feature two bedrooms and a lounge with large-screen TVs and games
- Solstice-class ships have spacious family suites that fit 5 people
- Veranda Staterooms feature a master bedroom and second bedroom
- Large balconies
- Convertible sofa
- Family balconies connect to double ocean view cabins
- Privacy partitions
Norwegian Cruise Line
- Newest ships feature staterooms for families of 5
- Most staterooms can be turned into connecting rooms
- Two-bedroom family suites with two bathrooms
- The Haven’s family villas sleep up to six passengers; some fit eight
- The Haven features a private pool and sun deck
- Private balconies
- Close to kids’ clubs, kiddie pools and teen clubs
- Connecting staterooms that accommodate six passengers
- Separate sitting area with sofa bed and coffee table
- Private balcony
- Two bathrooms
- Some larger suites with a separate bedroom
- Family Suites with adjoining inside cabin
- Lounge areas with sofa and coffee table
- Some have balconies with tables and chairs
- Sleep up to six passengers
- Large balcony
- Personal butler service
- ‘Family Savers’ rates
- Aqua Theatre Suites accommodate up to eight passengers
- Presidential Family Suites with four bathrooms, large balconies, spacious living and dining areas fit 14 passengers
- Two-storey Loft Suites with one or two bedrooms can fit six
- Ultimate Family Suites span two decks and offer kid-friendly features (Lego wall, table tennis, board games, climbing maze)
Family and group bookings continue to gain traction in the cruise industry, prompting cruise lines to invest in adjoining rooms and connecting cabins. It’s worth comparing the cost of connecting cabins as an alternative to a stateroom or suite. Depending on the size of your family or group you can save money and still get the comfortable configuration you desire.
Newer ships provide the greater array of accommodation options. On some ships there are a limited number of family-friendly staterooms. Book early to avoid disappointment, especially if you plan to travel during school holidays.