Although vacationing on a cruise ship has long been considered a couples activity, more and more families are looking to share the experience with their children. As a result, more cruise lines are geared to their activities and programs towards younger guests.
Perhaps the leader in providing good cruises for kids is Carnival Cruise Line, which sees 100,000 children aboard its ships each year. Its Camp Carnival allows infants as young as four months, although all guests under 21 are required to have an adult or guardian at least 25 years old booked to their stateroom.
The Camp Carnival program features daily activities for children 2-15, as well as supervised free play and a babysitting service. Each ship also has a fully-stocked toy room and an electronic game area.
While many activities aboard the ships have family time in mind, there is also a chance for adults to hang out together. The Camp Carnival program has adverse activities targeted towards specific age groups, including toddlers (age 2-5), juniors (6-8), intermediates (9-12) and teens (13-15).
The personnel are hired with special training or experience in child care or related fields. They are also trained in CPR and basic first aid skills.
Of course, anything to do with the world of Disney is magical for families, and the company's line of cruises is no exception. Like the Camp Carnival, Disney Cruise Line has day-long activities aimed at specific age groups of children, which are housed on an entire deck of the ship. Children can meet the characters from their favorite Disney productions, while mom and dad enjoy time at a spa or the adult-only pool.
While Disney cruises include activities for children and adults to enjoy separately, there is plenty of entertainment the whole family can attend, including stage shows, first-run movies, family game shows, deck parties and excursions to selected shores.
Celebrity Cruises offers its Family Cruising Program onboard some of its ships, but not all. The Family Program features entertainment and activities for various age groups of children beginning at age 3 in addition to family outings. Each morning, a list of that day's activities is posted and certain areas on the ship are set as "kid only."
Children 3-10 must be signed in and out of a counselor's care by a parent, who must also show a Celebrity ID card. Every child receives a security wristband for immediate identification, which is worn during the entire trip. The staff is also trained in child care-related fields.
Any of these three boats provide good cruises for kids. They all allow opportunities for kids to play with other kids and adults to congregate with each other, but they will also supply a lifetime of family fun memories.