Family cruising is enjoying a wave of popularity. There’s good reason. Cruise lines now feature a cornucopia of family fun, including sports, art activities, planetarium shows, disco parties, pizza fests, ice skating, youth Olympics, rock climbing, scavenger hunts, wildlife exploration and much more.
Family travel is on an upsurge, according to the Travel Industry Association, with one in four household trips-or more than 170.1 million- including children under 18.
The experts at Travelers Advantage offer these tips and trips for the ultimate family cruise:
Family Cruise Tips:
• Be sure the kids’ programs are operating on the dates of your trip.
• Check the size and location of the cabin, and the guardrails on the bunks.
• Some ships have cabins that can sleep five; some have adjoining cabins; some give special rates for a second cabin for teens.
• Check required documentation for your children (ID, etc.).
• You never know when illness might hit your household and change your plans, so check cancellation fees and fees for changing dates. Trip-cancellation insurance may be worth the price.
Family Cruise Trips:
• Royal Caribbean International
There are a number of fun and educational complimentary programs including Adventure Ocean, a program for ages 3 to 12 and teens from 13 to 17 with special meals and play areas. The program has supervised activities for day and night. It includes educational entertainment programs and special menus.
• Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival will host 525,000 kids this year on its “Fun Ships.” These vessels offer parties, special performances by entertainers, ship tours for kids and teen shore excursions, face painting, scavenger hunts, talent shows, photography workshops, art classes and waterslides.
• Disney Cruise Line
As you’d expect, families will find special facilities and activities with Disney Cruise Line, all beautifully executed. There’s an entire deck for kids, with a large staff, age-specific programs, and hands-on activities.
Other family-friendly cruise lines include Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.