Cruise ships have typically been seen as more of a senior citizen’s-type holiday, but they can also offer affordable and hassle-free overseas holidays for families. You’ll get to see lots of new places, and never have to worry about accommodation, or constantly packing and unpacking as you go. Best of all, there are no cruise ships that cater specifically for families!

Are Cruises Good for Families?

We think cruising is a fantastic option for Families. Either as the holiday destination itself, or as an extension to an overseas trip. You’ll get to see lots of new places, and never have to worry about accommodation, or constantly packing and unpacking as you go. When you add up the cost of all the food, accommodation, daily activities and entertainment, cruising can actually be quite cost-effective for a family. And best of all, there are cruise ships that cater specifically for families!

With the average age of cruise ship passengers coming in at just 42 last year, intergenerational cruising being a great option for parents, kids and grandparents to holiday together, and cruise ships actively targeting families with great new facilities and entertainment options, it could be time to consider cruising with your family.

Read on for a selection of family-friendly cruise ship operators that we highly recommend.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Cruise ships have become so popular with families that Disney has its very own fleet of cruise ships complete with Broadway-style live shows and Disney movies playing while you swim in a Disney-themed swimming pool.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship

It’s latest ship, the Disney Dream, features an AquaDuck Water Coaster, an animated turtle that engages children in conversation about life in the ocean and a Royal Palace dining room inspired by the classic Disney films Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship-Plays

Dine at the Animator’s Plate, a restaurant that serves up a unique dinner show with animated Disney characters. Or step inside the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, an enchanted beauty salon that offers magical, head-to-toe makeovers for young princesses, pirates and knights.

Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship

The Carnival fleet of cruise ships are purpose-built for family-friendly entertainment, and you’ll see all ages aboard. With all the grandiose and splendour of cruising well catered for, the real allure for family travel is the huge itinerary of kids’ activities, and the awesome facilities.

Carnival Cruise-water slide

In fact, the supervised youth programmes mean the kids may have even more fun than you! Parents can relax at the spa or Serenity, the our adult-only area. Then later, you can pick up the kids for an evening of live entertainment… music, comedy and more. Carnival has a nanny service, so you can drop the kids back at the cabin, and stay up dancing!

For the children there’s an extensive list of what’s on the Carnival Splendor on their website, but a few of our favourites have to be Hasbro, The Game Show. Giant versions of Connect 4, Operation, etc played out on a stage in a competition format! Or the ‘dive-in’ movies, a giant movie screen set up pool side to watch movies while you swim!

Carnival Cruise Ships-Dive-in Movies

Pacific Adventure Cruise Ship

P&O Cruises have been serving up family-friendly cruising for a long time. With tonnes of kid’s activities like, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, discos and talent show nights, as well as hip-hop classes and mocktail parties for the older kids, there’s always plenty to do. And this year P&O are bringing us the super-sized Pacific Adventure.

P&O Pacific Adventure

The cruises all offer a wide array of fun, safe, family-friendly activities – from waterslides and Kids’ Clubs to adventure parks and shore tours. Explore their interactive waterparks, or join the adrenalin junkies at the Edge Adventure Park. The Kids’ Clubs cater to all ages with age-specific activities happening every day.

P&O Cruises- Kids Club

Cruise Ship Tips

  1. The longer the trip, the older the passengers and the less likely you are to find many children so check that kid’s programmes are running on the dates you’re sailing.
  2. You’ll also find that cruises on and around the Northern or Southern hemisphere school holiday dates will have mostly families on board. So try and book around these times if you want lots of friendly kids around for your children to get to know.
  3. Pack plenty of clothes for cruising. You’ve got the luxury of a cabin the whole time, so you can unpack and make the most of your wardrobe. It’s fun to dress up on board, wearing something new every day. Plus you never know what the weather at port stops will be like; it can be hot and balmy at one city and wet and cold at the next.
  4. It’s unlikely there will be a bath in your cabin, so if you’re travelling with a baby, think about taking an inflatable baby bath in your suitcase. Also, bring your baby monitor, because even sitting on the deck outside your cabin the sound of the sea may prevent you from hearing a crying baby.
  5. Many cruise ships don’t allow passengers in their third trimester, so if you’re pregnant make sure you take a note from your midwife or doctor to verify your due date, and pick a cruise in gentle waters because you might not be able to safely take seasickness medication.
  6. Talk to other families who have travelled by sea, or even a travel agent (you don’t have to book with them, but they’re always there to help), to get the best intel on what it’s like on board, and what to expect.

For more great family holiday destinations, and tons of travel advice, check out our Family travel section.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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