Kid-Friendly Voyage: The 12 Best Cruise Ships for Family Adventures

Adorable little girl at tropical beach on vacation

If you are a parent, then you know kids are your toughest critics. When they ask for something, they want it now not later. They throw temper tantrums and can be fussy when they don’t get their way. If you are a home, you can send them to their room with no playtime when they are being bad. But on a cruise ship, there are a small amount of places that serve as punishment for your child’s bad behavior. Well, if you are taking your child(ren) on a cruise, the likelihood of bad behavior is much less than at home. The trick is to find the best cruise ship that caters to your child’s needs and wants. Each child is different and if you have ages gaps between your children, you will want a cruise ship that accommodates everyone. The list below is compiled of the best cruise ships for kids 17 and under. You can chose the destination and the length of the cruise, but the guessing game is over for the best cruise ships for kids. Have you kids help pick out a cruise ship that will be beneficial to the whole family. Who knows, you may make it an annual family vacation.

1. Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Disney cruise ships allows cruises between 3-5 days, which is perfect for kids who are still in school. As you leave a port, the Disney horn plays different songs from the Disney movie collection. Your kids will be thrilled to hear some of their favorite songs like, Frozen’s “Do you want to build a snowman” and Beauty and the Beast’s, “Be our guest”.

2. MSC Cruise Line, MSC Divina

Mediterranean cruises can be a blast for the whole family. You can dock at one port and be in another country the next day. There is a Smurf’s themed play area encourages children to play and meet new people.

3. Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

It is no surprise that another Disney Cruise would be on this list. The Acquaduck is a popular water park that children and adults can have fun in. There are five different youth clubs that cater to children from the ages of 6 months- 17 years old.

4. Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Getaway

On board the Norwegian Getaway, guests of all ages can enjoy a great magic show and illusion performances. There is an amazing fireworks display show that attracts everyone’s attention.

5. Disney Magic Cruise Ship

The Disney themed live broadway shows on this cruise are a real crowd pleaser for children and adults. This cruise ship offers three different clubs for children to join. There is a teen only club that has dance parties, internet access, and video games.

6. Royal Caribbean, Allure of the Seas

Kids and adults on board this ship can splash around in the outdoor pools of this cruise ship. There is also a ice skating rink aboard the Allure of the Seas.

7. P&O Cruise Line, Ventura

The cruise ship Ventura offers youth groups to children between the ages of 2-17, called “The Reef”.  There are play areas spread out throughout the ship. The main character from the cartoon show Noody is known to make appearances on board.

8. Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas

In the fitness and spa center of this ship, there is a spa dedicated to teens. There is a mini golf course and a gaming center. There is also a nursery for the smaller tots on board.

9. Carnival, Carnival Dream

This cruise ship has a water park that holds multiple slides at once. This is a great treat for the whole family to enjoy. The movie Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was filmed on the Carnival Dream cruise.

10. Queen Mary 2

Although the Queen Mary 2 caters more to adults, kids are not left unnoticed. While the adults are having a great time, kids can play in their age appropriate youth clubs. The best part about this cruise ship is that all children that are checked in and out of the clubs must have a parent or guardian present. The children are also required to wear wristbands for security reasons.

11. Carnival, Carnival Breeze

Aboard the Carnival Breeze cruise ship, kids can have a great time in the outdoor water park. Kids can also watch a 5-D movie in the 5-D movie theater.

12. Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Equinox

One of the best parts of the Celebrity Equinox cruise is that they are autism friendly for children who need extra attention. Being a parent to a child with autism differs than a child without autism. Parents can sleep easy knowing their children are in great hands on board.

13. Princess Cruise, Golden Princess

Aboard the Golden Princess, there are three different youth clubs that cater to kids. There are hip hop dance classes for teens to join. For the younger children, there are theme nights and talent shows.

14. Holland America, Westerdam

On the Westerdam cruise, there are three clubs for children between the ages of 2-17. If you have a child under the age of 2, there are babysitters on board. Sign your kids up for the clubs from day 1 of the cruise because the spots fill up quickly.

15. Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas

This cruise ship offers many activities for children of all ages. There is an outdoor water park, a rock climbing wall and ice skating rink. If you or your children have a sweet tooth, there is a Ben & Jerry’s on board.

16. Princess Cruise, Ruby Princess

Family vacations on a cruise run much more smoothly when everyone is on aboard, literally and figuratively. This cruise ship offer parents a break from their kids by allowing them to join their kid clubs. There are activities geared towards every age, as well as young adults.

17. Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Epic

On board this Epic cruise, children can have a splash at the Acqua Park. There is also a Nickelodeon themed area on board. Your kids can meet characters from the network channel as well as compete in game shows.

Written by Rachel Pearson

Rachel reports on a wide range of topics from the United States and around the world. She keeps a close eye on the rapidly pour in of new headlines to get the best research and sources possible.

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