Planning a cruise with your little one? Wondering how to choose which cruise line is the best fit for your family vacation? Check out these tips from CruiseCritic.com to find the best family friendly cruise.
General & Safety
- “Carnival, Disney, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean provide pagers for parents. Other lines have you sign your child in and write down where you will be on the ship.”
- Some ships have minimum age required to sail. (12 wks, Disney; 4 mos, Carnival; 6 mos, Princess)
- Ask if they provide baby equipment: crib, stroller, bouncy seat, etc.
- Disney cabins have a room partition (great for naps and early bedtimes) and bathtubs (a rarity in cruise cabins)
- Check potty-trained restrictions. Children in diapers are not allowed in the playroom, even when accompanied by a parent, on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.
- Carnival and Princess don’t allow in-cabin babysitting, but have a children’s center instead that is open late enough for sleepers.
- Many cruise lines offer family friendly dining: Carnival has 24-hr pizza and ice cream; Disney, Princess and Norwegian offer a different type of family friendly dining each night.
- Private islands offering an extension of the onboard kids activities, as well as a more protected environment for exploring makes lines like Disney, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian and Holland America popular choices.
- Some lines group kids in only 2-3 year age spans (Carnival, Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean). Others have broader groupings of about 4 years (Holland America, Princess, Crystal).
- “Royal Caribbean has partnered with Fisher Price to offer music and art oriented “play-groups” for parents to join with their 6-mo to 3-yr old children.”
- Princess offers educational children’s programs like dissecting a squid.
- “Family time activities: Disney has nightly stage show that’s family friendly. Royal Caribbean hosts game shows, shipbuilding regattas, and play-groups.”