Best Family Cruises

My love for cruising started over 20 years ago on a family cruise to the Bahamas onboard the Big Red Boat. At the time there wasn’t half of the children’s activities of today’s mega ships but I still had a blast. Now some ships such as the Disney cruise ships cater almost exclusively to families with water parks, top notch children’s programs and even fireworks at sea. Basically what I am trying to say here is cruises make awesome family vacations and some would argue (including myself) that they are the perfect family vacation.

If you still aren’t sure cruising is for you or if you aren’t sure which family cruise is right, I’m putting together a little guide here to help you make your decision about which cruise to take and where to go on your cruise. Although, truth be told, you can pick any cruise to anywhere and have the vacation of a lifetime.

Best Family Cruise Lines

  • Disney Cruise Lines
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines


Best Family Cruise Destinations

  • The Caribbean
  • The Bahamas
  • The Mediterranean


Disney Family Cruise
Like I said, Disney caters to families, but that comes at a price that can be almost twice as much as other cruise lines. From magic portholes in inside cabins,ever changing dinner themes to water coasters and Disney characters, there isn’t a ship at sea your kids will love more than a Disney ship. But like I said they can be pricey. Disney cruises are typically 4 night trips to the Bahamas for more than the price of 7 night Caribbean cruises but it’s something every family should try at least once because its hard to put a price on your child’s happiness (no doubt Disney is well aware of this). To save a little bit of money try taking a Disney cruise after the summer rush.

Cheap Family Cruises
If you are cruising with a large family and you want to save a bit of money, Carnival cruise lines is your answer. Carnival’s older Fantasy class ships have all been recently upgraded with water parks that the kids will love and there is even an adult area called Serenity for the parents to relax. Next to Disney, Carnival also has probably the best overall kids program of any cruise line. Kids from 2-17 will have age appropriate groups to hang out in and meet other cruisers and most of the kid hangouts on cruise ships are nicer than the places you will find at home. They feature dance clubs for teens, private hangouts and state of the art toys all supervised by experienced and educated counselors.

Camp Carnival is for ages 2-11 but splits the ages up into three categories (2-5, 6-8, 9-11) to make sure each child experiences age appropriate activities. Circle C is a hangout for 12-14 year old kids where they can meet up for games such as air hockey and foosball as well as other activities planned by the Circle C directors. The older kids then have the Club 02 Lounge to relax, watch tv and play video games. The program also keeps older kids connected with each other and is a great way to meet new friends.

Family Cruises from New York
When planning a family cruise its worth giving some thought to where the ship embarks from because many times you can add a couple more days of fun to your trip. Cruising from New York City offers a great way to add even more fun to your family vacation as the family can visit the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square and even catch a show on Broadway. Not many embarkation ports offer this kind of opportunity.

Why Royal Caribbean or NCL?
Disney and Carnival may be the first two cruise lines that come to mind when you think about the best family cruises, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise Lines. In fact, if I had my choice as the best overall cruise line to take a family cruise on, it would be the new Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. I mean have you seen that thing? Its huge! What kid wouldn’t love a ship with surfing, rock walls, zip lines and daily parades down the promenade?

As for Norwegian Cruise Lines, they have recently teamed up with Nickelodeon on the Jewel and Epic to bring family fun to their cruise line. The water slides on the new Norwegian Epic aren’t too shabby either. NCL is also the first cruise line to introduce anytime dining and a more full time casual cruising experience. This is perfect for families. While some people may still enjoy a good cruise formal night, its nice not to have to worry about packing suits and tuxes for the kids…not to mention having to talk them into wearing them.

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