Are you searching for the perfect family vacation? Many cruises provide all-inclusive experiences that are fun for the whole family, no matter how young or old you are! Among all the cruises out there right now, one stands out above the rest.
The most amazing cruise for families is the Navigator of the Seas cruises to the Bahamas. This Royal Caribbean fleet member offers an amazing family experience through their kid-centric programming and excursions. This ship even has the longest waterslide at sea and an improved pool deck.
In this post, we’ll dive into what characteristics to look for in an awesome family cruise, the costs for different family sizes, and tips to help you plan the best family cruise vacation you can!
What Are The Best Cruises For Families?
The best cruises for families are ones that can meet everyone’s wants. Both parents and children alike can be satisfied with the overall experience. The best cruise will fulfill your adventurous spirit, your yearning to relax, and keep your kids happy!
The following list gives you specific characteristics to look for when booking your next family cruise:
- Amusements and activities just for kids
- Flexible scheduling
- Kid centric programming
- Kid’s club so you can relax while they play
Most cruise lines are geared toward family fun with activities designed just for children and clubs filled with games for kids to hang out in and play around. There are also multiple cruise lines for families that have made numerous promotions with your children in mind. CNN provides an extensive list of different itineraries fit for any family!
These cruise lines have great cruises for families:
- Carnival Cruise Line – Covers programming for ages 2 to 17; large focus on family fun and the overall family experience, partnerships with kid-friendly brands, like Build-A-Bear and Hasbro; their newest ship offers Family Harbor, a block of rooms for families with access to a private lounge.
- Celebrity Cruises – Inclusive environments for neurodivergent children; Fun Factory programs for kids of all ages
- Costa Cruises – European based cruise line, has arts and crafts and other activities for the whole family, with programming for kids ages 3 to 17!
- Disney Cruise Line – Covers ages 6-months to 17 years old; themed experiences; Disney character meet-and-greets.
- Holland America Line – Entire deck devoted to teens, more relaxed child-friendly experience than other more extravagant ships, offers karaoke nights, swim parties, and more for kids.
- MSC Cruises – Has programming for ages 3 to 17; partnership with LEGO; kids under 11 sail free on many cruises; daycares, kid’s clubs, water parks are all included amenities.
- Norwegian Cruise Line – Offers childcare for kids aged 6-months to 3-years; multiple youth spaces, with teen nightclubs and age-specific programming; family suites
- Royal Caribbean Cruises – From countless pools on deck to mini-golf and ziplining, there are endless activities for your family; they offer a family suite complete with your very own slide!
These seven cruise lines are devoted to the family experience. If you want the best cruise experience, you can opt for new ships and focus on the big three destinations:
These destinations and more are discussed in detail later on in the post. Read on to find out more about which cruising destination is right for your family.
Some additional tips on things to avoid when choosing a cruise line for your family are:
- Avoid expedition cruises due to the age restrictions on many excursions, especially if you have younger children.
- Avoid extremely luxurious cruise lines as these fleets have almost no facilities for kids and make traveling as a family outrageously expensive.
- Avoid traditional lines as these experiences tend to have stricter dress codes, less kid-friendly facilities, and reduced scheduling flexibility.
Check These Out: The Finest Cruises for Families
Family cruises are fun experiences, but there are so many options that you may have trouble finding the perfect cruise for your family. With that in mind, below are five cruises tailored to your family and the adventures you want to have!
The Most Private Experience – Disney Cruises with the Disney Dream provides:
- Best for children ages 4 to 11 years old
- Countless private islands to choose from
- Easy to meet Disney characters
- Family-friendly rooms
- Magical deck parties for the whole family
- Not just for kids, there are restricted areas for adults only, too
- Over the top themes and stylized entertainment
The Best Personalized Cruise – UnCruise Adventures offers:
- Adventures to satisfy the most rambunctious of kids
- Best for children ages 8 and older
- Explorations of nature and wildlife
- Playtime on land and at sea
- Small ship size creates a personalized travel experience
The Cruise for Explorers – Princess Cruises with Discovery at SEA has many kid-friendly amenities with:
- Camp Discovery for kids aged 3 and up
- Excursions themed after the Animal Planet and Discovery channels
- Great for Alaskan cruises with ties to National Park Service excursions
- Magic shows and fairs for kids of all ages
- The more traditional cruising experience
- Outdoor movies
The Most Unique Cruise – Adventure Life and their Galapagos cruise are one of a kind because:
- Costume party for the kiddos
- Educational activities designed specifically for kids
- Endless ice cream sundaes – Yum!
- Frequent contests aimed to get your kids amped about cruising
- Full of wildlife when both viewing from the ship and on the island
- Only allows kids that are over the age of 5, but make sure to check excursion age limits, too
The Best Cruise to the Bahamas – Norwegian Cruise Lines has you covered with:
- Complimentary youth programs for children aged 3 to 12 and 3 to 17 and nurseries for babies 6 months to 3 years old
- Freestyle cruising allows for flexibility in scheduling, dining, and creating your own experience that fits your family’s needs
- Premiere onboard acrobatic performances by Cirque Dreams
- Private island for meeting all your beach vacation needs
These are the best cruise lines to pick for your family if you want a unique, personalized, and private experience. With all these new and newly renovated cruise ships becoming more and more family-friendly, you are bound to choose a trip that will make all your family members happy in one way or another.
How Much Is A Cruise For A Family?
By now you must want to know how much a cruise will cost for the typical family. The price for a family can vary depending on your family’s size and how many days you plan to cruise. Additionally, costs may increase if you chose to purchase excursions. Many aspects can influence the overall cost of a family cruise. The average cruise runs about $215 per person per day.
Keep in mind the following factors from Vacation Kids when planning your next family cruise:
- Cruise line and ship – Older ships will cost less, and less fancy cruise lines will cost less
- Cruising location – Think about the ports of call, as some will cost more than others due to high demand and limited departures
- Port of departure – If you are departing from a faraway port, you will want to add airfare and potentially a hotel stay to your vacation budget
- Time of year – Cruises over the holidays or school vacations will cost more
Now let’s get to the question you have been asking: what will a cruise for your family cost? Using the estimate from Cruise Market Watch above of $215 per person per day, the chart shows average costs for your family on a 5-day cruise.
The following chart shows you how much money you can expect to spend on a cruise based on the size of your family:
|Number of People||Average Cost|
|Family of 3||$3,225|
|Family of 4||$4,300|
|Family of 5||$5,375|
|Family of 6||$6,450|
Now since these are averages, you may end up spending more if you want a larger room, a beverage package, or a better meal plan. Also, choosing different excursions or skipping these adventures all together will save some money. Yet, some places estimate a family of four can cruise for a week for about $2,212 by choosing the most minimal options.
Which Ships Are Best for Families?
There are some amazing cruise lines out there for any family. But which cruise ships are actually going to be the best for your family? Well, many times, with the newer ships, there are more amenities, but those features will have a higher price tag. These new ships are top of the line and decked out with all the newest adventure options.
Just for fun, let us look at the best of best, most anticipated cruise ships that are great for families:
- Carnival Mardi Gras – Features a Sea Coaster rollercoaster, Family Feud Live, WaterWorks water park, SportSquare, and arts and crafts sponsored by Michaels.
- Carnival Panorama – Offers Sky Zone trampoline park at sea, CHOOSE FUN WaterWorks water park, SkyRide zipline bikes, Suess at Sea, and clubs just for the kids.
- Celebrity Apex – For a more luxurious experience, has a Rooftop Garden, Magic Carpet, Camp at Sea, and enjoy Caravan, a circus variety show.
- Navigator of the Seas – Enjoy The Blaster, a water rollercoaster, and Riptide, a mat racer water slide, as well as the Splash Pad, ice skating shows, Flowrider, Sports Court, live entertainment, arcade games, laser tag, escape room games, rock climbing, and Adventure Ocean daycare.
You may have noticed that Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines are definitely at the top of the list for best amenities and activities just for kids and those young-at-heart adults in your family.
Which Months Are the Best to Cruise As A Family?
When cruising with your family, it is best to consider both your schedule and your children’s schedule. Typically, holidays and vacations are busier cruising times for many cruise lines. Planning a cruise in the offseason may be less expensive, but it could conflict with school schedules.
Additionally, you have to consider that the time of year may be better for some destinations but not others.
For example, the following chart shows you the best times of year to visit popular cruising destinations from Cruise Critic:
|Time of Year||Cruising Destinations|
|Fall Months – September through November||· Canada|
· New England
|Spring Months – April through May||· Europe|
· South Pacific
|Summer Months – June through August||· Alaska|
· South Pacific
|Winter Months – December through March||· Asia|
· South America
From this chart, you can easily see there are a lot of great places to go during the winter months! These warm destinations will have increased tourists from the United States due to the weather changes.
Even though many United States travelers vacation somewhere warm during the winter months, it may be more to your benefit to cruise during a different time of year to the warm destinations.
Also, keep in mind that the destinations close to the equator are warm year-round. So if you are just looking to get away, a destination close to the equator will always bring you some sun and sand!
What Is the Best Place to Cruise With A Family?
Now that you know when to cruise, you may be trying to decide where to cruise with your family. Read on to find out what destination is right for your family.
The following locations are the most popular destinations for cruising among families:
- Alaska – Unmatched wildlife and natural landscapes, including glaciers and fjords, are a staple of an Alaskan cruise.
- Bermuda – Best for travel in the summer months, but a good year-round destination as it is so close to the equator.
- Canada – Dubbed by many the “Alaska of the East Coast,” Canada is great during the leaf-peeping season and for the natural trails, mountains, and landscapes.
- Caribbean – Beaches, sun, surf, fish, dolphins, and more at all these island destinations.
- Europe – European cruises allow you to experience many different cultures and cuisines with your family in a short amount of time!
- Hawaii – Shaved ice, coral reefs, traditional Hawaiian food, and historic Pearl Harbor are spotlight spots on your cruise to Hawaii.
- Mexico – From snorkeling to historical sites and Mayan ruins, there are options for all families in Mexico.
- New England – Rocky beaches and historic sites are present all along the East Coast, with some special highlights in New England, like Bar Harbor, Maine, Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island.
Any of these eight locations will have your family smiling. And there are activities that suit any type of vacationer at these destinations. From the outdoorsy types to the history buffs, these destinations provide a unique experience for every family member.
What Can Your Family Do On A Cruise?
Whether you are talking about the cruise ship itself or the ports of call on your trip, there is so much to do on a cruise with your family. And if you do not want to do anything, there are places strictly for adults and spas to help you relax and unwind.
If you are wondering what you can plan for your family, look ahead at your trip’s itinerary and get some excursions in place. The daily schedule of events on the ship will vary from day to day, but you get the whole schedule when you arrive so you can plan accordingly.
The following table shows activities you can do at sea and on land on most of the popular and larger cruise lines:
|Activities and Amenities On Board The Cruise Ship||Activities and Amenities to Do When In Port|
|· All-you-can-eat buffets|
· Arts and crafts
· Board games
· Dance and exercise classes
· High ropes courses
· Mini golf
· Napkin or towel folding classes
· Rock climbing
· Swimming – multiple pools and some restricted for adults only
· Trivia games
· Water park with slides and other rides
· Work out equipment
|· Bike through the city|
· Check out the local historical sites
· Go on a helicopter, airplane, or hot air balloon ride
· Go shopping
· Go to a museum
· Go to the beach
· Golf on a local course
· Kayaking or canoeing
· Swim with the dolphins (or any other sea creature!)
· Take a guided tour of the area
· Try some new cuisine
As you can see, there are a lot of onboard activities you can do and an endless number of activities to do while in port. Remember that each port will have different excursions specific to that destination.
Do your research ahead of time to schedule your excursions and finalize booking because they sell out fast.
Royal Caribbean’s Got The Best Cruise For Families
There is no doubt that cruise lines everywhere are making cruise ships designed with the family experience in mind. There are many amenities that will keep your kids busy and that they will love on the newly refitted Navigator of the Seas. It also has some relaxation zones just for parents and daycare for you to make sure your kids are safe and supervised.
The programming on Royal Caribbean Cruises is extensive. Their daily itineraries are jam-packed with activities for those of all ages, from towel artistry to ice skating, the options are endless.
However, if Royal Caribbean is not for you, you can choose from many other cruise lines that offer similar activities, amenities, and programming, just not to the same extent as Royal Caribbean.