Family Cruise – Which Cruise Line Has the Best Kid Program?
Now that you have decided to take a family cruise, find out which family cruise line is best for you. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports that over a million kids under the age of 18 set sail with their families last year. And the reason is pretty simple, cruise lines are offering more and more amenities and activities to appeal to children and their families.
CLIA points out that its member lines have put together aboard programs that let families play together, but also programs that provide parents with time alone.
As well, family cruises also offer value, with several CLIA members featuring accommodation that’s tailor-made for families – that includes large staterooms with cordoned-off sleeping quarters for parents and inter-connecting cabins for families with older a sampling of what Celia’s member lines have to offer:
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES – Family Cruise
Carnival’s Camp Carnival offers activities that divide children into age groups of 2 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 11, 12 to 14 and 15 to 17. For the younger set, Carnival ships feature kid-friendly amenities and programs supervised by highly trained youth counsellors. On several of its ships,
kids can also enjoy arts and crafts centres, cascading poolside slides, activity walls, indoor climbing mazes and computer labs. As well, Carnival features expanded children’s menus in the dining rooms and poolside restaurants.
CELEBRITY CRUISES – Family Cruises
Each Celebrity’s ship has a dedicated staff of eight to 12 youth counsellors, including one supervisor and one lifeguard. Counsellors are trained in child psychology, child development, education and/or recreation. Age groups are 3 to 6; 7 to 9; 10 to 12; 13 to 15, and 16 to 17. And on all of its ships, there are Celebrity Science Journeys offered. There’s also youth summer stock theater, junior Olympics, magic lessons, treasure hunts and clown parties.
CRYSTAL CRUISES – Family Cruises
A number of facilities on Crystal’s ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, have been designed with young guests in mind. Fantasia has supervised activities, tables and chairs for board games, arts and crafts, giant padded cubes, Sony PlayStation(r) kiosks, and large-screen televisions. Waves is a venue where teenagers canenjoy a video arcade. The line also offers Etiquette Training for Juniors. Additional activities are available during holidays and on selected sailings.
CUNARD LINE – Family Cruise
Both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 have nurseries staffed by accredited British nannies. On the Queen Mary 2, age-appropriate programs for children are available in three groups. The Nursery provides cribs and cots for children ages 1-2 years; The Play Zone has activities for kids 3 to 6 years old; and The Zone has programs for kids ages 7 to 10 years.
DISNEY CRUISE LINE – Family Cruise
Disney’s ships Disney Magic and Disney Wonder have dedicated almost an entire deck for children ages three months to 17 years. Oceaneers Club welcomes kids 3 to 7, while the Oceaneer Lab provides activities for children 8 to 12. The Stack on the Disney Magic and Aloft on the Disney Wonder are reserved for kids 13 to 17.
Holland America Line’s Club HAL youth program offers age-specific activities for kids and teens. Activities for children ages 5 through 8 could include arts and crafts, face-painting, campout night and candy bar bingo. Tweens, ages 9 through 12, might learn golf putting, have dance parties, compete in on-deck sports events, play arcade games and tie-dye t-shirts. Teens will enjoy the teen disco, dance lessons, arcade games, sports tournaments, play stations, and movies.
MSC CRUISES – Family Cruise
Each of MSC Cruises’ ships feature a designated children’s area, and MSC Sinfonia also offers a Teen Club. Children are under the supervision of trained youth counsellors who co-ordinate organized games, sports, arts and crafts, and special age-appropriate parties. Activities are organized by age group, with more activities planned during the holiday and summer vacation seasons.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
Norwegian Cruise Line ships offer supervised programs (ages 2-5, 6-8, 9-12 and 13-17) with a number of Kid’s Krew venues, including dining areas exclusively for kids, video arcade rooms and teen clubs. NCL America’s new vessel, Pride of America, features extensive recreational opportunities for kids, including 250 interconnecting cabins.
PRINCESS CRUISES – Cruises for Families
Princess Kids has a wide range of activities for children in three age-specific programs, with age-appropriate activities and often separate facilities, for kids 3 to 7, 8 to 12 and 13 to 17. Most ships feature youth and teen centres. Newer ships offer features like a toddler’s play area and theatre, doll’s house, crawl-through castle and splash pool. Larger vessels also offer children’s and teen centres with indoor and outdoor areas or separate areas for each age group.
RADISSON SEVEN SEAS CRUISES – Family Cruise
Radisson Seven Seas’ Club Mariner children’s program caters to children age 6 to 17 and is offered on select voyages. To better accommodate families, Paul Gauguin now boasts 28 triples in categories C, D and E. There are 25 state-rooms on Seven Seas Navigator that can accommodate children.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL – Family Cruise
Royal Caribbean’s Ad-venture Ocean Youth Pro-gram offers five age-appropriate groups for kids that include a host of programs. Adventure Science blends science experiments with wacky entertainment. Adventure Art by Crayola gives kids the chance to try their hand (or hands) at a variety of crafts. Sail Into Story Time combines a story hour with activities and projects. Adventure Family offers kids and their parents the chance to spend quality time together with a host of activities. The line’s Freedom of the Seas, offers six different family-focused cabin categories specially designed to accommodate larger families.
Information provided by CLIA
If you are traveling with very young children, check out our tips for cruising with babies and toddlers.
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