AAA Travel Tips / Best Cruise Lines for Families

Best Cruise Lines for Families

AAA/Inspector 511
By AAA Travel Editors
December 06, 2019
Planning a family vacation can be a challenge—a destination that's great for Mom and Dad may be a dud for the kids, while places with lots of fun for the little ones can be less than relaxing for their parents. A cruise can be the perfect solution, offering something for everyone. These cruise lines offer kid-friendly cruises your whole family will love.

Adventures by Disney

You wouldn’t think of a European river cruise as family friendly, but Adventures by Disney has created excusive family river cruises onboard AmaWaterways that make it possible—and fun! Itineraries offer a variety of experiences for parents, children and teens, ranging from active excursions, castle and museum tours and unique onboard activities to Disney movie nights for Junior Adventurers and wine tasting for adults. Onboard entertainment includes a nightly piano lounge, a baking class for kids, karaoke nights and more. Adventure Guides along with local experts tell the story of each destination, helping families connect to the people, culture and traditions of the places you visit. Sailings are in the heart of Europe on the Seine, Rhône, Danube and Rhine rivers.
Water park on Carnival cruise for kids
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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line offers youth programs for kids ages 2 to 17 and is one of the best cruise lines for teens. Their “Suess at Sea” program features a special onboard character parade, interactive story time, arts and crafts activities and breakfasts with Dr. Seuss characters. The “Night Owls” program for kids under 12 lets them stay up with others their age until as late as 1 a.m. At “Hasbro, The Game Show,” families can play giant versions of Connect 4, Yahtzee and other popular games live on stage to win prizes. Carnival’s ships feature onboard pools, waterparks, miniature golf and, on selected ships, a ropes course and Skyride—a two-lane suspended course with pedal-powered “bikes” that take you high above the ship for a fantastic view.
Family-friendly Disney Cruise Ship at Cape Canaveral

Disney Cruise Line

Everyone in the family is sure to find fun things to do aboard a Disney cruise. Dance with Disney characters at family parties, participate in family game shows and watch fireworks at themed deck parties. See original Disney live shows and first-run movies including some in 3-D. Age appropriate youth clubs feature characters from Disney, the Marvel Universe and Star Wars, and meet-and-greets give kids the opportunity to get autographs from their favorite Disney character. Disney ships offer fun swimming pools, water slides and “water coasters” onboard, and there are plenty of kid-friendly options on the dinner menu.
Cruise on Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Ruth Peterkin/

Princess Cruises

No matter what ages your children are, Princess Cruises has you covered with programming for babies, toddlers and preschoolers all the way to “not-quite-adult-yet” 18- to 20-year-olds. Experience unique Discovery™ and Animal Planet™ shore excursions and onboard activities including meet-and-greet gatherings such as “Puppies on the Piazza” on Alaska cruises and “Parrots in the Piazza” in the Caribbean. Discovery at Sea™ theme days feature activities inspired by Shark Week and Animal Planet, and kids can take part in Animal Planet Endangered Species and Glacier Bay Jr. Ranger programs and make Animal Planet puppets, masks and paintings inspired by regional wildlife. Princess offers top-deck stargazing with an expert guide to show you all the stars and planets. Group kidsitting is available for children ages 3 to 12 so parents can spend a day in port or savor a relaxing dinner for two. There are kids-only dinners on select nights, and teens have their own special dinner in a reserved section of the dining room on a formal night.
Family-Friendly Royal Caribbean cruise ship and New York City
Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean

Royal’s award-winning Adventure Ocean® Youth Program will keep kids and teens busy with fun educational activities. Teens can hang out at Fuel, a club just for them with a soda fountain, computers and a dance floor, or The Living Room, a teen lounge area with movies, games and a live DJ. While the kids are having a blast with new friends their age, Mom and Dad can relax in the Solarium, a tranquil, adults-only covered retreat with loungers and whirlpools. The whole family will delight in hit Broadway shows including the musical “Grease” and “Mamma Mia!” plus aqua shows, ice-skating shows, parades and parties on the Royal Promenade. Onboard activities include the FlowRider® surf simulator, rock climbing wall, miniature golf, RipCord® by iFLY® skydiving simulator, multilevel waterslides and slides. and the first-ever carousel at sea on select ships. After a day of fun adventures, relax with family-friendly dining that includes an expedited service for kids, who are then picked up by the Adventure Ocean® staff so parents can enjoy a leisurely dinner.

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