This year, why not leave your station wagon at home and try a family cruise. All you have to do is get the family packed and to the airport on time. The perfect family cruise vacation costs less than you might think. In fact, kids sometimes even sail for FREE! Sound interesting? Here is some information from specific cruise lines on their family cruise options.
Disney Cruise Line
With almost an entire deck devoted to age-specific children's programs, your kids will be practically begging to join the fun at Disney's Oceaneer Club or Disney's Oceaneer Lab each day. And an unusually high counselors-to-kids ratio means your kids get tons of that famous Disney one-on-one attention with their creative play. Which means peace of mind for you -- and more of that famous Disney grown-up fun!
On Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, kids have their own beach filled with supervised fun at Scuttles Cove.
These are just a few of the dozens of fantastic, imaginative programs we offer to captivate our youngest sailors:
Do Si Do with Snow White Let's dance with Snow White! After practicing their "Dance of the Seven Dwarfs," children will perform with their special guest.
Flounder's Fish Tales In this interactive puppet show, Flounder, from "The Little Mermaid," introduces some of the sea creatures that live in the coral reef.
Flying Off to Never Never Land A little bit of pixie dust is all your children need to take off on an imaginative flight to Never Never Land.
Eggsperiments! We make fun an "eggsact" science as children experiment with one of the engineering marvels of: the egg! They're sure to have an "eggciting" time!
Animation Antics Children are introduced to simple animation techniques and put their new skills to use by drawing Mickey Mouse.
So You Want to Be a Pirate There's a pirate on board! Never fear, he's only on hand to tell children adventure-filled stories tracing the history of buccaneers throughout the ages. Captain Hook may even stop by to visit his old friend.
Now a Word …Funny TV commercials are always memorable. But when kids make up the talented class of producers, directors, and stars, the results are hilarious.
Villainous Ventures The Disney villains have cast a spell on Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic and only our young sleuths can break it.
Apprentices Workshop Come witness a really cool demonstration and make a batch of Flubber-like goo.
Marblemania Have you lost your marbles? You might think so as you work with a team of fellow inventors to design the ultimate marble racetrack!
Science Sorcery It looks like sorcery when we encounter a solid liquid and a liquid colder than ice! Come conjure up some goo with us!
Goofin' Around with Animation Kids learn animators' secrets while drawing a favorite Disney character, Goofy! Explore some of the history of animation and even create your own flipbook to take home!
Celebrity Cruises Kids Program
Celebrity Cruises offers activities geared to young people as part of its overall onboard entertainment program. Celebrity takes care of children ages 3 - 17 with three-tier, imaginatively created children's program for each age group, run by an exceptional staff of warm, caring, highly trained counselors. It's program of exciting and educating entertainment in a safe environment of which parents can feel totally secure. During summer and seasonal sailing periods, a qualified youth staff is onboard to offer an expertly developed Family Cruising Program on all Celebrity vessels. Youth activities will be directed and organized by a special staff of youth counselors. The youth staff is highly qualified and specially trained in the fields of child psychology, child development, education and recreation. In addition to their shore-side teaching experience, the youth staff has previous cruising experience - working with young people - on our ships as well as a variety of other cruise lines. Most of the counselors hail from the U.S., U.K., and Canada. On sailings when the Family Cruising Program is operational, Celebrity offers group baby-sitting in the playroom, for children ages 3 and older, from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am for a nominal charge of $3.00 an hr for one child, or $5.00 per hour for two or more children in the same family. No shore excursions specifically for the children are offered, nor do the counselors take the children off the ship at any time. However, children's tickets are available for most shore excursions.
Celebrity's Family Program Includes:
Holland America Line offers kids-only shore excursions on its Alaska sailings. The excursions are offered in Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka and will include canoe rides, treasure hunts, craft sessions and hikes. The excursions are designed to be educational as well as entertaining and will be accompanied by a youth coordinator or naturalist.
Full-time youth coordinators with daily programs for kids, "tweens" and teens
Bingo, karaoke, t-shirt painting, tournaments, swimming pool activities, Special dinner menu Special infant and children's fares, Complimentary diapers and baby diapers
There's only one thing better than being on the Big Red Boat. And that's being a kid on the Big Red Boat. They’ve designed a host of personal programs for your kids and teens that run every day until 10 pm. And because our ships have a total of 35 of the most responsible, enthusiastic, well-educated counselors you've every met, your kids will have the time of their lives while you relax and do the same. What's a kid to do? How about undersea dancing, treasure hunts, parachute games, magic shows, volleyball, karaoke, ship trivia, pool Olympics, beach basketball, snorkeling, dancing. Only the Big Red Boat has everyone's favorite Looney Tunes characters. Sylvester, Tweety, Wile E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Bugs Bunny, and TAZ. Your kids can have breakfast with these legends. And at bedtime, you can have any one of the zany characters tuck your kids into bed. Talk about an animated vacation. Clearly, on the Big Red Boat we do whatever it takes to ensure that you and your family have a great time. together and individually. Which, coincidentally, is why families remember their vacations on the Big Red Boat for years and years.
NCL's kid's programs are "supervised by our special NCL Youth Coordinators, selected from leading universities and organizations across the country. These enthusiastic leaders attend a comprehensive course covering everything from activity-design safety to communication skills." Following are the activities listed:
Jr. Sailor (Ages 3-5): Storytelling, indoor games; outdoor sports; cartoons and movies; arts and crafts, parades, parties. Available 1 to 3 hours each morning at sea and is offered in summer months (end of May-first week of September), President's week, the week before Easter, Easter week, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to New Year's.
First Mates (Ages 6-8): Olympic Games, guest athletes, magic shows, arts and crafts; balloon sculptures; face painting; indoor games; circus at sea; ice cream treats; juggling; movies; ship trips. Activities are planned for the morning, afternoon, and early evening.
Navigators (Ages 9-12): Olympic Games; circus at sea; scavenger hunt; private bridge tours; Nintendo; magic shows; joke telling; guest athletes; ship tours; arts and crafts; parties; and dances; Koosh games; sports activities; movies; contests. Activities are planned for morning, afternoon, and early evening.
Teen Club (Ages 13-17): Parties; movies; tanning time; volleyball; basketball; ice cream social; T-shirt painting; The Newly Met Game; scavenger hunt; Dating Game; trivia contest; photo hunt; Olympics; dancing; talent show; Dive-In shore excursions; shows; pool party; Liar's Club. Activities are scheduled throughout the day and evening.
Babysitting: Available from noon until 2 am in passenger cabins for an additional fee. Reservations can only be made onboard at the Information Desk at least 24 hours in advance.
These programs are available on The Norway, Seaward, Dreamward, Windward, Leeward, and the Norwegian Crown. There are playrooms on every ship and even a special kid's menu at every meal. Coordinators are available mornings at sea, year round on the Norway. On all other ships, they are available mornings at sea, during the summer months, winter break, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
Love Boat Kids
Princess' comprehensive Love Boat Kids program makes child's play of family travel. On Sky, Sun, Dawn, Sea, Ocean and Grand Princess, you'll find complete Youth and Teen Centers with everything from arts and crafts to games, movies, splash pools, discos and video games. Sun, Dawn, Sea, Ocean and Grand Princess even offer a toddler's play area and theatre, a dolls' house, a castle, computers and ice-cream kiosk. In addition to these features, Grand Princess offers kids their own deck space with a whale's tail slide splash pool and teens rate their own Jacuzzi and sunning area. Children are welcome on all Princess ships, but facilities vary. While Crown and Regal Princess do not have dedicated youth and teen centers, a Youth Activities Coordinator sails year round to organize activities. When 25 or more children, ages 2 to 17, are traveling on Royal, Sky and Pacific Princess, they'll enjoy a varied schedule of supervised activities as well. Other children's programs include "Save Our Seas" in which kids participate in activities that teach them about the oceans, special shore excursions designed for kids, a pizza party scheduled one night on each cruise, children's TV programming, kid's portraits with special backdrops, cookies in the stateroom and more. Additionally, Princess provides group baby-sitting services while the ship is in port between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and at night between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. in the children's centers at $4.00 per hour per child.
In anticipation of hosting more that 100,000 kids
aboard its "Fun Ships," Carnival Cruise Lines, the leader in family
cruising has made the most popular cruise choice for families even better,
nearly doubling the number of full-time counselors and adding a wide variety of
fun-filled activities to its year-round "Camp Carnival"
"Because Carnival takes its position as the number one cruise line for families very seriously, we have committed significant financial resources to ensure that we maintain that distinction and continue to live up to our 'Fun Ship' philosophy of offering a memorable, quality vacation experience for everyone, including the kids," said Carnival President Bob Dickinson. Carnival, which currently employs the largest staff of trained and qualified youth counselors in the industry, continues to recognize that children have their own unique cruise expectations and has increased its full-time staff to nearly 80 fleet wide. A youth director position has been created for each ship, providing constant hands-on leadership for the staff and enabling the cruise line to increase both the number and variety of on-board activities for kids. For example, children interested in keeping in shape just like Mom and Dad can "feel the burn" in aerobics classes held especially for them or perform their favorite hits as part of Carnival's new kids' karaoke parties. Additionally, the ships' entertainers offer special performances and hold exclusive backstage tours just for children. Other behind-the-scenes peeks for kids include tours of the ships' bridge and galley. Teen makeovers and fashion tips from the ships' beauty experts, photography workshops, spin and sand art classes and cowboys-and-Indians-themed "pow-wows" are being added, as well. Also, children who participate in Camp Carnival go home with more than just great memories. Each child receives a prize as a special reminder of the "Fun Ship" cruise experience. Another family-oriented enhancement is a "kiddies slide," which has been added to the children's pools on all vessels. For the more adventurous, each ships' main pool offers a cascading 114-foot-long, 15-foot-high water slide. The cruise line's baby-sitting service ensures that childcare is always available whether in port or at sea, during the day or at night and even during meals. All of these amenities are in addition to Carnival's organized morning 'till night activities for children in four age groups available fleet wide Toddlers (2-4) (on all ships except Tropicale), Intermediate (5-8), Juniors (0-12), and Teens (13-17). Additionally, every "Fun Ship" comes complete with a playroom stocked with toys, games and puzzles for children of all ages. They might also feature multi-colored "ball pools," or kid-sized tables and chairs, as well as host a variety of activities throughout the cruise conducted by Carnival's trained staff. Each ship also features an electronic game room filled with the latest video games. One feature with particular family appeal on the SuperLiner Holiday is a one-of-a-kind $1 million entertainment complex, which features the first virtual reality machines on a cruise ship. The center also includes a teen disco, an ice cream parlor serving snacks and refreshments, and more than 60 state-of-the-art video and arcade games. That ship sails from Los Angeles on three- and four-day Baja Mexico cruises. Most "Fun Ship" staterooms designed to accommodate families consist of twin beds which convert to a king, as well as one or two upper berths. Because Carnival boasts some of the largest staterooms in the contemporary cruise industry, a fifth berth in the form of a roll-away can also be easily accommodated, as can a crib (available from the line), if needed Carnival also offers special menu selections for children at mealtime. "All of these exciting enhancements allow us to build on our proven formula for creating a vacation environment that provides adults and kids their own space and activities, along with plenty of options for shared experiences," Dickinson said.
Camp Carnival Includes: Special-designed programs for 4 age groups, Babysitting (for a nominal fee), Water-slide, Specially trained staff, Children's playrooms, teen club and video game rooms,
Children's wading pool with children's slide, Special Children's menu.
Royal Caribbean's "Adventure Ocean" youth program has age-specific facilities and programs supervised by youth counselors for toddlers (age 3-5), Kids (age 5-8), Tweens (age 9-12) and Teens (age 13-17) year-round in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. Organized activities are offered from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., with group babysitting from 10pm to 1:00am at a rate of $4.00 an hour. Private babysitting is offered from 8:00am to 2:00am, provided sitters are available, for children from six months old. The rate is $8.00 per child per hour with a minimum of 3 hours and a $2.00 per hour charge for each additional child. Cash payment is made directly to the sitter. Private teen clubs and discos are found on Legend/Grandeur/Splendour/Rhapsody/Vision/Enchantment/Voyager of the Seas. Supervised activities are available on RCI's private islands, Labadee and CocoCay. Request cribs through your travel agent; strollers are not available. Voyager of the Seas & Explorer of the Seas at 142,000 tons, these are the largest ships afloat, boasting activities like rock climbing, roller skating, golf plus extensive supervised activities for kids of all ages. Teens have their own private club and activities. In addition, adults will enjoy lavish floor-shows, a huge casino and venues for all types of entertainment. Staterooms are small, but these vessels do have family apartments. Through March 25, 2001, Voyager of the Seas makes weekly cruises from Miami to the western Caribbean ports of Labadee (RCI’s private island), Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. Sister ship Explorer of the Seas enters service Oct. 28, 2000 sailing to the eastern Caribbean ports of San Juan, St. Thomas and Labadee through March 31, 2001.