Cruise holidays are perfect for families, providing plenty of fun for children at sea, as well as a whole host of offerings for adults too. In fact, some of the cruise facilities are so fantastic that you won't find many of them on land.
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Amazing activities (including skydiving on a ship), Disney characters galore and excellent family-friendly shore excursions are just a few of the reasons why cruising is a great option for travellers with children.
Europe, the Caribbean and America are popular destinations to explore on a cruise with your family, and with a vast array of on-board entertainment, you will wonder why you didn't treat the kids to a holiday at sea before. Here's our pick of the best cruises to book for an unforgettable family holiday...
Carnival's Seuss at Sea
Carnival Cruise Line' Seuss at Sea is fun for all the family, with dining and entertainment experiences inspired by the world of Dr. Seuss. Young passengers can enjoy the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends, featuring deliciously playful food straight from Dr. Seuss' imagination. Carnival's ships also host Seuss-a-palooza story time and a character parade, where guests join Dr. Seuss characters in a swirly conga line along the promenade. The array of classic Dr. Seuss books, toys and games are stocked on board, and there are special showings of beloved movies such as The Cat in the Hat on the giant outdoor screen among other activities your children won't want to miss.
Princess Cruises' Discovery activities
One of the most terrific offerings for children at sea is thanks to Princess Cruises' partnership with the Discovery Science Channel to bring a range of fun and educational activities on board and on land. The activities are adapted to where in the world you are cruising, such as inventing tools to survive the harsh environment of Alaska, and some of the excellent shore excursions include getting personally acquainted with sloths in Costa Rica and exploring the ancient ruins of Pompeii. Meanwhile, the reimagined kids' clubs offer plenty of indoor and outdoor excitement, and creative youngsters can learn cake decorating, make jewellery and design their own inventions. For the teens, there's a beach-themed lounge, parties and scary movie nights.
Norwegian's Freestyle Cruising
Teens will love a cruise on Norwegian Breakaway where they can enjoy their freedom with Norwegian Cruise Line's Freestyle Cruising, allowing them to dress up or down, sleep in or catch the sunrise and dine somewhere different each day of the week. The best part is that they don't have to follow an itinerary and can look forward to the casual holiday atmosphere every teen wants. The outdoor sports complex is an excellent space to play basketball, conquer a rock climbing wall or play mini-golf with the rest of the family. Teens aged 13 to 17 can also take part in theatre or fashion workshop, watch scary movies or go to a night-time pool party. The teen lounge has flat screen TVs, air hockey and foosball to keep them entertained inside too.
P&O Cruises' kids club for all
From the exciting kids' club for ages two to 17, to children-only cookery classes, P&O Cruises knows how to treat its younger guests. The new Cookery Club Kids Classes on Britannia allow children to get hands on with food, having fun as they learn kitchen skills with two chefs. When it comes to the Reef children's club, which is free to use and split into four age groups, there are glove puppet shows, discos, karaoke and football to keep everyone entertained on board, while the shore excursions include treasure hunts, trips to water parks and family city tours to help children explore the cruise destinations. And the complimentary Night Nursery is a dream for parents with children aged six months to four years.
Disney's Holiday Cruises
Disney Cruise Line's Holidays Cruises offer families the chance to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with Mickey and the gang at sea. As you sail from port to port, your family can enjoy festive parties and activities. The Very MerryTime Cruises, from November and December, offers all the magic you'd expect from Disney on a Christmas cruise, including the King Triton's Tree Lighting Ceremony, a life-sized gingerbread house, as well as teen-only and tween-only Christmas parties. Children can meet Father Christmas, go caroling with the crew and enjoy special Christmas surprises.