They say, ‘travel is the only thing that makes you richer’. Living your life in a backpack and choosing your next destination by pointing at a map may be the ways of a young traveller – but with a family, a planned vacation is high on the agenda.
A vacation with kids has the following checklist – clean and economical housing options, a whole lot of exploration, tons of family quality time and a destination that everyone approves of! Not an easy one to tick off, till you have looked at these child friendly cruises. Kill all birds with one stone and let your dreams set sail!
Check out these top international cruises for a fun vacation with the little ones!
One of the oldest players in the luxury cruises sector, Royal Caribbean International has been treating millions worldwide to incredible cruise vacations since its inception in 1969. Its fleet has a selection of 25 ships with options such as Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. Anthem of the Seas’ rates start at US$1,028 per person. Its destinations are the Bahamas and a 12-day Southern Caribbean experience. The rest of the ships ride along the Western and Eastern Caribbean, for cruisers to have a vacation in Mexico, Haiti and Jamaica.
These ships have a host of different child friendly activities such as an Adventure Ocean Youth programme, a giant water park, sky diving and even a movie DreamWorks experience (Anthem of the Seas). Parents, your kids can also enjoy surf simulators, a 3D movie theatre and The Ultimate Abyss – the tallest water slide at sea onboard the Harmony of the Seas! Allure of the Seas has an ice skating rink and an 82-feet zip! Your kids can click pictures with Shrek and Kung Fu Panda onboard the Oasis of the Seas!
- Norwegian Cruise Line
How about a family trip to the Mexican Riviera, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cuba, Dubai, Alaska, Bahamas or Europe? Whisk your kids away to the sunshine of the Bahamas and Caribbean on the Norwegian Escape, or experience the Baltic lands with the Norwegian Getaway departing from Copenhagen! If the Mediterranean is more your thing, then cruise along with the largest bowl slide and interactive water game SplashGolf on board the Norwegian Epic.
It has activities for all age groups –
- The Guppies programme for infants and toddlers with full scale nursery activities makes it one enjoyable toddler friendly cruise
- Splash Academy for children from 3-12 years
- Entourage for teenagers who like to indulge in video games, hip dance clubs, sports and water entertainment
- Night activities for all ages so that the adults can have some romantic time to themselves!
Dining options include a kids’ menu and freestyle dining. Expedition on board the Norwegian Cruise Line starts at US$500 per person and kids sail free (subject to the 3rd and 4th guest rule on most of their ships).
If sunshine and sandy beaches are what your kids love, this is the cruise line for your family. Carnival ships ride along ports in the Bahamas, Mexico, San Juan, Western and Eastern Caribbean and all have ports of entry from the US. Its latest and newest ship Carnival Vista has a special Family Harbor cordoned off for families with a 24-hour lounge and concierge service! Kids can enjoy Flying Bicycles for great views, a giant twister water slide and the SportsSquare.
Carnival Breeze and Carnival Magic have packages starting from US$539 per person. If your child is Dr. Seuss fan, then this could be the dream cruise you’ve been looking for. Onboard, the little ones get a Dr. Seuss experience with Dr. Seuss at Sea. The characters come alive along with cultural activities and a parade for the whole family.
Carnival Dream promises quality time for the entire family with a dive-in theater in poolside lounge chairs watching your favorite flicks with popcorn and laughs! The cruise line also arranges for your flight tickets, airport transfers (kids travel free sitting on a parent’s lap) which can be booked up to four days prior to departure!
If there was a cruise your child wants to be on with his favourite cartoon friends, this would be it! A wide variety of destinations – the Bahamas, Caribbean Islands, Norwegian Fjords, Alaska, British Isles, Mexican Riviera, Baja Coast, the California coast and more are covered. Highlights for your kids include:
- A chance to meet and greet Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella on the ship
- Special themed days – Star Wars Day, a pirate night, a Pixar party with the characters from Toy Story and The Incredibles!
- A chance for kids to dress up as their favorite princess or hero and indulge in themed computer games in a safe, supervised environment.
Its specialty ships are Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic with a special Marvel Training Academy for the kids (on Disney Dream) complete with training missions. It has multiple ports of departure in Spain, Canada, Denmark, US, England and Puerto Rico. Cruise durations start from as low as two nights for Baja from San Diego for about US$1,200 and above per person.
This is one of the few cruise liners to offer Japan as a destination. The other highlight is South America. It has 18 ships in its fleet with a wide range of kids’ activities. A range of membership clubs for your children are available onboard the ship including:
- Pelicans for the toddlers
- Special dinner for the teens
- Dance classes for everyone
- Science experiences with Mythbusters
- A chance to create own sea inventions in an innovation class!
It also offers specialty on shore excursions for the whole family in partnership with Discovery and Animal Planet such as shark diving in Hawaii. Rates start from as low as US$99 per person for a single day cruise from British Columbia to Canada onboard the Ruby Princess and the Emerald Princess. The latest addition is an Ocean Medallion Class which is a highly personalised service for you and your family.
So what are you waiting for? Your next holiday plan awaits! Just remember to check the basics before you book any cruise – visa applications, taxes, city fares, its onboard medical facilities and of course, its value for money! Happy sailing!