The 10 Best Ships for Multigenerational Cruising

by Donna Heiderstadt

The 10 Best Ships for Multigenerational Cruising

by Donna Heiderstadt

A multigenerational family cruise needs multifaceted amenities to keep everyone happy—from energetic tots and thrill-seeking teens to parents looking to relax and grandparents eager to enjoy culture. These 10 ships deliver a satisfying spectrum of onboard memories and family-friendly itineraries.

A multigenerational family cruise needs multifaceted amenities to keep everyone happy—from energetic tots and thrill-seeking teens to parents looking to relax and grandparents eager to enjoy culture. These 10 ships deliver a satisfying spectrum of onboard memories and family-friendly itineraries.

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Princess Cruises / Photo courtesy of the cruise line
Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Encore
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Norwegian Encore

Active families will enjoy all the ways they can play aboard 3,998-guest Norwegian Encore as they rev it up on the Encore Speedway, spiral down tandem waterslides, play laser tag in the Lost City of Atlantis, and try virtual-reality gaming in Galaxy Pavilion. Plus, with clubs for toddlers to teens, Broadway shows, a Mandara Spa, and 27 places to eat and drink, this ship satisfies all cravings.

Read more: 10 Places Every Member of Your Family Will Love

Active families will enjoy all the ways they can play aboard 3,998-guest Norwegian Encore as they rev it up on the Encore Speedway, spiral down tandem waterslides, play laser tag in the Lost City of Atlantis, and try virtual-reality gaming in Galaxy Pavilion. Plus, with clubs for toddlers to teens, Broadway shows, a Mandara Spa, and 27 places to eat and drink, this ship satisfies all cravings.

Disney Cruise Lines' Disney Magic
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Disney Magic

Disney knows how to craft enjoyable experiences for all ages and aboard 1,750-guest Disney Magic the family fun includes character meet and greets, Pirate Night, and a day at sea devoted to generation-spanning Marvel superheroes. But adults-only activities—dining in Palo, relaxation at the Quiet Cove pool, and live music at Keys nightclub—give Magic a versatility that grown-ups appreciate, too.

Disney knows how to craft enjoyable experiences for all ages and aboard 1,750-guest Disney Magic the family fun includes character meet and greets, Pirate Night, and a day at sea devoted to generation-spanning Marvel superheroes. But adults-only activities—dining in Palo, relaxation at the Quiet Cove pool, and live music at Keys nightclub—give Magic a versatility that grown-ups appreciate, too.

Billboard
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Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam

There’s always a catchy tune in the air aboard 2,666-guest Nieuw Statendam, where Holland America’s MusicWalk offers rock, jazz, blues, and pop performances that are a magnet for everyone from older teens to youthful retirees. Add in family cabins, cooking demos, a cool $3 million art collection, indoor and outdoor pool areas (one with a big screen), a sports court, and who needs waterslides?

Read more: 15 Epic 2021 & 2022 Cruise Itineraries That Visit Extraordinary Islands

There’s always a catchy tune in the air aboard 2,666-guest Nieuw Statendam, where Holland America’s MusicWalk offers rock, jazz, blues, and pop performances that are a magnet for everyone from older teens to youthful retirees. Add in family cabins, cooking demos, a cool $3 million art collection, indoor and outdoor pool areas (one with a big screen), a sports court, and who needs waterslides?

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas
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Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas

Like its Oasis-class siblings, 5,518-guest Symphony of the Seas features seven neighborhoods designed to entertain all ages, including the Boardwalk with its carousel and sports bar; the Pool and Sports Zone, home to corkscrew slides and zip lines; and Entertainment Place for live theater, ice shows, and laser tag. Plus, open-air Central Park beckons adults with chic bars and specialty eateries.

Read more: 15 Cool Outdoor Spaces on Cruise Ships

Like its Oasis-class siblings, 5,518-guest Symphony of the Seas features seven neighborhoods designed to entertain all ages, including the Boardwalk with its carousel and sports bar; the Pool and Sports Zone, home to corkscrew slides and zip lines; and Entertainment Place for live theater, ice shows, and laser tag. Plus, open-air Central Park beckons adults with chic bars and specialty eateries.

Princess Cruises' Enchanted Princess
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Enchanted Princess

For families that prefer edutainment to adrenaline rushes, 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess is an ideal option, offering activities inspired by hit Discovery™ TV shows, Movies Under the Stars (with popcorn), and The Voice of the Ocean singing competition. The Italian-style Piazza (home to Gigi’s Pizzeria), a lively piano bar, and decadent Chocolate Journeys desserts sweeten the at-sea experience.

Read more: 6 Cruise Extras That Are Worth the Money

For families that prefer edutainment to adrenaline rushes, 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess is an ideal option, offering activities inspired by hit Discovery™ TV shows, Movies Under the Stars (with popcorn), and The Voice of the Ocean singing competition. The Italian-style Piazza (home to Gigi’s Pizzeria), a lively piano bar, and decadent Chocolate Journeys desserts sweeten the at-sea experience.

Emerils on Carnival's Mardi Gras
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Carnival Mardi Gras

A roller coaster at sea? When 5,282-guest Carnival Mardi Gras debuts later this year, its guests can ride BOLT, a first-of-its-kind top-deck thrill then enjoy flavorful New Orleans cuisine at Emeril’s Bistro (BAM!) or face off against fellow passengers on an authentic Family Feud set. Yes, Carnival’s ships are lively and loud—but some families wouldn’t have it any other way. 

A roller coaster at sea? When 5,282-guest Carnival Mardi Gras debuts later this year, its guests can ride BOLT, a first-of-its-kind top-deck thrill then enjoy flavorful New Orleans cuisine at Emeril’s Bistro (BAM!) or face off against fellow passengers on an authentic Family Feud set. Yes, Carnival’s ships are lively and loud—but some families wouldn’t have it any other way. 

MSC Seaview
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MSC Seaview

Another option for fun-loving families is 4,132-guest MSC Seaview, known for its European vibe and international passenger roster. Onboard? Four pools (plus 13 hot tubs and a waterpark), dueling zip lines, a Formula One simulator, 5D theater, glass skywalk, and four-story atrium shimmering with Swarovski crystals. Also irresistible: made-to-order pastas and Venchi coffee, chocolate, and gelato.

Read more: 10 Lavish Cruise Ship Suites

Another option for fun-loving families is 4,132-guest MSC Seaview, known for its European vibe and international passenger roster. Onboard? Four pools (plus 13 hot tubs and a waterpark), dueling zip lines, a Formula One simulator, 5D theater, glass skywalk, and four-story atrium shimmering with Swarovski crystals. Also irresistible: made-to-order pastas and Venchi coffee, chocolate, and gelato.

Oceania Cruises' Oceania Riviera
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Oceania Riviera

Mega-ships can be overwhelming, so a great mid-size option for a multigenerational cruise, especially when the youngest family members are young adults, is 1,250-passenger Oceania Riviera. Sophistication abounds, from a fantastic art collection to delicious dining options (including two bistros by French chef Jacques Pépin), while an Artists Loft and Culinary Center allow for immersive learning.

Read more: Secret Ports: 20 Great Places You Can Visit on a Small-Ship Itinerary

Mega-ships can be overwhelming, so a great mid-size option for a multigenerational cruise, especially when the youngest family members are young adults, is 1,250-passenger Oceania Riviera. Sophistication abounds, from a fantastic art collection to delicious dining options (including two bistros by French chef Jacques Pépin), while an Artists Loft and Culinary Center allow for immersive learning.

Norwegian Cruise Lines' Pride of America
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Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America

Hawaii is a terrific family destination and there’s only one ship, 2,186-guest Pride of America, that makes island-hopping a breeze by sailing roundtrip from Honolulu to Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Each day ashore offers scenic adventure, while nighttime fun onboard includes family-style Japanese teppanyaki and Brazilian churrascaria—with a chaser of karaoke in the Gold Rush Saloon.

Hawaii is a terrific family destination and there’s only one ship, 2,186-guest Pride of America, that makes island-hopping a breeze by sailing roundtrip from Honolulu to Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Each day ashore offers scenic adventure, while nighttime fun onboard includes family-style Japanese teppanyaki and Brazilian churrascaria—with a chaser of karaoke in the Gold Rush Saloon.

Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas
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Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas

Families with tweens and teens will find lots to keep them happy aboard 4,198-guest Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest Quantum Ultra Class ship. They’ll spend hours in the SeaPlex with its virtual reality gaming, bumper cars, laser tag, and SkyPad bungee trampoline—leaving the grown-ups to watch from the Playmakers Sports Bar above or enjoy classic rock cover bands in the Music Hall.

Families with tweens and teens will find lots to keep them happy aboard 4,198-guest Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest Quantum Ultra Class ship. They’ll spend hours in the SeaPlex with its virtual reality gaming, bumper cars, laser tag, and SkyPad bungee trampoline—leaving the grown-ups to watch from the Playmakers Sports Bar above or enjoy classic rock cover bands in the Music Hall.

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