What are you looking for in your next family cruise? Here are our top five cruise ships for families, all with a unique approach to fun that include go-kart tracks, waterslides, kids clubs, and some Disney magic.
At the top of every kid’s wish list might just be a Disney cruise. For two and half decades, the happiness factory that is Disney has brought family fun to the high seas. And, with the launch of their newest ship, the Disney Wish, tickets are going fast. View Prices on Cruises on Disney Wish
In addition to the signature shows, favorite characters, kids’ club and lots of pools, this ship has raised the bar on family entertainment. Ride the 760-foot AquaMouse (vintage Mickey) with special effects and storytelling. Sign up the kids for creative activities in the Imagineer interactive lab. And, play in a Star Wars Cargo Bay.
See films from Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm and become your favorite superhero at this “castle on the sea.” Enjoy adults-only lounges and dining locations. Then, relax in one of the staterooms (with adjoining doors) inspired by storybooks.
Our next favorite cruise ship for families is the Carnival Panorama. Why? The Suess at Sea fleet-wide program! As one of the cruise line’s newer ships, there are plenty of activities for parents and children alike. Bring the whole family to the Dr. Seuss Bookville. This space has games, books and whimsical furniture.
Attend a Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time event where kids can sit on the stage with Cats in Hats, Fish (red and blue!), Thing 1 and Thing 2, hear and participate in stories. And, of course, there’s a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast complete with characters, decorations and photo ops.
Spend the day in the huge water park or visit the first Sky Zone at sea. View Prices on Cruises on Carnival Panorama
While not as widely known, this cruise line is attracting families with children of all ages. The MSC Meraviglia has seven clubs grouped by ages zero to 17 – something for everyone! Those (sometimes) hard-to-please teenagers even have their own movie theater, live performances and game room.
Make some memories and have some laughs at the karaoke bar. Catch a Broadway show; watch Houdini’s magic; hear greatest rock hits; and, compete in a virtual Formula race car.
For outdoor fun, there are three waterslides in the Aquapark on this vessel. It also has the “highest ratio of sea-view balcony cabins.” Also, on MSC cruises departing from certain locations, the kids (18 and under) can sail free. (Age two and younger always get a free ticket!) View Prices on cruises on MSC Meraviglia
Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas
Our top choice for adventure-loving families is the Symphony of the Seas. For starters, it has one of the tallest slides at sea! There are also three waterslides and a Flowrider. There are two rock walls to climb and an ice-skating rink.
One of the most unique aspects of this cruise line are the “neighborhoods.” These are unique decorated areas to visit and hang out – like Central Park, a boardwalk and the Royal Promenade.
For Caribbean itineraries, you’ll find more adventure at a stop in CocoCay – the cruise line’s private island. Here you can zipline, play in another waterpark (with the tallest waterslide in North America), snorkel or just relax on the beaches. View Prices on Cruises on Symphony of the Seas
This is the cruise line to shop around for one of their best promotions – “Kids Sail Free.” Additionally, the Norwegian Joy has a nice variety of activities for everyone. Drive a race car; play laser tag; drive a racecar simulator; watch the kids enjoy their own Aqua Park, creative play, sports and theme parties; and, let the teenagers have their own movies, games and dance parties in the Entourage Club (no parents allowed!).
Parents walk the quarter-mile waterfront promenade; relax in the spa; exercise in the fitness center; and, try your luck in the casino. Afterward, the family can show off the skills on the nine-hole mini golf course.
To commemorate a fun family cruise, have your photos made at various locations around the ship or in the studio. The professional portrait artists will capture every smile – and it’s free to try. View Prices on Cruises on Norwegian Joy
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com