There’s a popular misconception that cruises are just for adults. But with more family cruise deals available than ever before, there’s no reason why your little ones won’t enjoy your luxury cruise just as much as you do.
We know that parents often worry that their children will be bored on a cruise. However, the majority of cruise liners provide lots of amenities to help families get the most from their holiday - including on-board children’s entertainment, kids-only play zones, and family restaurants.
And don’t worry. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to relax and indulge in some ‘me’ time too.
So, if you want to learn more about planning the perfect family cruise, have a look below at our guide.
This page will cover:
- Child-friendly cruise liners
- Kids go free cruises
- Amenities and entertainment
If you ever thought that cruises were only for adults - then think again.
Child-friendly cruise liners
From toddlers, to teenagers, there are a range of on-board amenities and groups to keep children of all ages occupied.
The majority of cruise liners realise that all children are different. That’s why companies like Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruises offer a fantastic selection of things to do. This can include:
- Youth clubs
- Bowling alleys
- Ice-skating rinks
- Soft play areas
However, if you’re looking to get the best value from your family cruise package, then you’ll probably want to learn more about the popular ‘kids go free’ option.
Kids go free cruises
It’s to be expected that some cruise packages will come with optional extras.
If your child is keen on attending a supervised port excursion, for example, this might come at a small fee. But in the majority of cases, cruise package deals will include lots of freebies to help ensure your children have a memorable trip too. This could mean cost-free meals, drinks, and even access to all on-board amenities.
Here is a brief outline of which cruise liners offer ‘kids go free’ packages.
Norwegian Cruise Line
This popular cruise provider allows children free access to the majority of its on-board amenities - such as the pool and various sports courts. However, this option is only available until 10.30pm and parents may have to pay extras for specialist restaurants.
Royal Caribbean have an excellent selection of free offers for children. This includes free visitation to the ship’s skating rinks and theatre entertainment. Some Royal Caribbean ships also have cinemas, waterparks, and carousels - all of which incur no additional charges for young people. It is also worth noting that children eat free in all main dining facilities.
Despite there being some added extras, children have free access to the vast majority of on-board amenities and restaurants. Young people can enjoy XClub and Kids’ Fun Factory without additional charges. Furthermore, dining is free throughout the ship - even in specialised eateries.
There is a range of standard amenities and and on-board entertainment options that children can enjoy free of charge. This includes access to the pool and all kids’ clubs. However, MSC Cruise will incur extra fees for children who wish to visit the 3D cinema and bowling alley.
The only additional cost on Carnival Cruise lines relates to arcades and onshore excursions. However, all youth clubs and amenities can be enjoyed by children completely free of charge.
Amenities and entertainment
Child-friendly cruises aren’t all about the kids. Nearly all of the main cruise liners offer a selection of child-minding options - ranging from children’s clubs, to nurseries, and even ‘after hours’ services.
So, if you think your child deserves some pampering too, or you want to enjoy some precious time to yourself, then here is a run-down of the most popular on-board child-minding services.
‘After hours’ services - available with Carnival Cruises, parents can pay for this service at $6 per child and a trained professional will look after your children from the hours of 10pm onwards
Nurseries - ran by child care professionals, these facilities come equipped with toys and plenty of activities to keep young children occupied. The minimum age for this service, with Cunard, is one year old.
Children’s clubs - available throughout most cruise ships, usually free of charge. These clubs will often be catered to different age groups, ranging from toddlers to preteens and teenagers
The Royal Babies (Royal Caribbean) - providing arguably the greatest child-minding services available, Royal Caribbean offer facilities for children as young as six months. This includes everything from baby gymnastics to lots of fun musical classes. Furthermore, Royal Caribbean also offer all-night baby-sitting services on some of their newest ships
Regardless of what you choose, there are lots of different ways that parents can keep their children occupied throughout their trip.
We’ve already explored some of the child-friendly amenities that can keep your little ones entertained throughout their holiday.
But what if you want to enjoy quality time together as a family?
The majority of cruise ships offer lots of activities that the whole family can take part in. This can include:
- Mini golf
- Sports activities - tennis, basketball, etc
And it goes without saying that families will have plenty of opportunity to experience excursions together - if you can drag the kids away from the pool, of course.
Long-gone are the days where cheap cruise deals were only for adults.
All of the major cruise liners offer an unparalleled selection of great kids entertainment - making cruise holidays a much more flexible option than typical land resorts.
However, we all know that keeping children happy isn’t always an easy task. But there are lots of activities and on-board amenities that can entertain even the most selective of little guests. This can range of family-orientated events like the cinema, or a fantastic selection of kids-only events - like creches and exclusive excursions.
At Cruise Nation, we have a passion for finding the best family cruise deals for our customers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re travelling with babies, toddlers, or teenagers - there’s the perfect cruise liner just waiting to take you on the voyage of a lifetime.