The Best Cruise Lines for Families

by ShermansTravel Editorial Staff

The Best Cruise Lines for Families

by ShermansTravel Editorial Staff

Traveling with kids? A cruise is a great choice, with activities that cater to everyone in your gang.

Traveling with kids? A cruise is a great choice, with activities that cater to everyone in your gang.

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Family on the beach / iStock / Bicho_raro
Carnival Breeze's SportsSquare
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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is the ultimate mainstream line, with big, lively ships that cater to all age groups and impressively deep discounts. The sales are so good, those Caribbean beaches feel within reach as soon as you see the advertised fare. The vibe on board is casual and unpretentious — which means that if you would turn up your nose at a poolside hairy-back competition or late-night R-rated comedy, this line probably isn’t right for you. Read our full line review.

Carnival Cruise Line is the ultimate mainstream line, with big, lively ships that cater to all age groups and impressively deep discounts. The sales are so good, those Caribbean beaches feel within reach as soon as you see the advertised fare. The vibe on board is casual and unpretentious — which means that if you would turn up your nose at a poolside hairy-back competition or late-night R-rated comedy, this line probably isn’t right for you. Read our full line review.

Norwegian Getaway's Aqua Park
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Norwegian Cruise Line

Think of these family-friendly, all-ages ships as amusement parks at sea, and you won't be too far off base. They have everything from game rooms to large gyms — and even bowling alleys. Best known for having pioneered "Freestyle Cruising" over a decade ago, this family- and budget-friendly line of mega ships was at the forefront of moving the cruise industry away from the dated traditions of the past. Read our full line review.

Think of these family-friendly, all-ages ships as amusement parks at sea, and you won't be too far off base. They have everything from game rooms to large gyms — and even bowling alleys. Best known for having pioneered "Freestyle Cruising" over a decade ago, this family- and budget-friendly line of mega ships was at the forefront of moving the cruise industry away from the dated traditions of the past. Read our full line review.

Aquaduck on Disney Dream
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Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line serves families with kids like only this company can. The prices are high, but for lovers of Mickey Mouse, these cruises are worth the splurge. In addition to all of the characters and brand partnerships you would expect on the at-sea version of this venerable brand — from princess meet and greets with Elsa and Anna to "Star Wars"-themed parties on deck — you’ll find polished, well-executed service at unprecedented levels for a family-focused cruise line. Read our full line review.
 

Disney Cruise Line serves families with kids like only this company can. The prices are high, but for lovers of Mickey Mouse, these cruises are worth the splurge. In addition to all of the characters and brand partnerships you would expect on the at-sea version of this venerable brand — from princess meet and greets with Elsa and Anna to "Star Wars"-themed parties on deck — you’ll find polished, well-executed service at unprecedented levels for a family-focused cruise line. Read our full line review.
 

Kids' club activities in Alaska
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Princess Cruises

This line may have been made famous by the TV show “The Love Boat,” but it isn’t just for honeymooners and singles looking to make connections. Instead, while Princess does try to offer a romantic experience for couples, these large mainstream ships also aim to appeal to the widest range of age groups. The demographic does vary depending on the time of year; in the summertime and on holidays, the number of kids on board soars, and the number of teens and tweens running around the pool deck and lining up for soft serve seems to skyrocket. Read our full line review.

This line may have been made famous by the TV show “The Love Boat,” but it isn’t just for honeymooners and singles looking to make connections. Instead, while Princess does try to offer a romantic experience for couples, these large mainstream ships also aim to appeal to the widest range of age groups. The demographic does vary depending on the time of year; in the summertime and on holidays, the number of kids on board soars, and the number of teens and tweens running around the pool deck and lining up for soft serve seems to skyrocket. Read our full line review.

Anthem of the Seas' North Star
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Royal Caribbean

These big, bold, loud ships are packed with activities you wouldn't expect to find at sea — from ice skating rinks and rock climbing walls to skydiving simulators, bionic bartenders, bumper cars, and even surfing simulators. Just how big are these vessels? The fleet includes the largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, which sails with 6,780 passengers when it is at full capacity. Read our full line review.
 

These big, bold, loud ships are packed with activities you wouldn't expect to find at sea — from ice skating rinks and rock climbing walls to skydiving simulators, bionic bartenders, bumper cars, and even surfing simulators. Just how big are these vessels? The fleet includes the largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, which sails with 6,780 passengers when it is at full capacity. Read our full line review.
 

MSC Musica in Venice
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MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises’ ships feel thoroughly European: The Swiss-based cruise line has partnerships with brands like Eataly and Lego, and the big, glittery ships carry primarily European travelers. The company has a presence on this side of the world, though, with plentiful voyages aboard its Armonia, Divina, Meraviglia, Seaside, and Splendida heading to the Caribbean. Read our full line review.

MSC Cruises’ ships feel thoroughly European: The Swiss-based cruise line has partnerships with brands like Eataly and Lego, and the big, glittery ships carry primarily European travelers. The company has a presence on this side of the world, though, with plentiful voyages aboard its Armonia, Divina, Meraviglia, Seaside, and Splendida heading to the Caribbean. Read our full line review.

Eurodam in Puerto Rico
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Holland America Line

Holland America Line attracts scores of devoted fans who love the grown-up-focused experience on board. Entertainment centers on what a mainstream, slightly older crowd would enjoy: The line has hosted “Dancing With the Stars” celebrities and musicians straight from B.B. King’s nightclub in Memphis, Tennessee, and a partnership with Manhattan’s Lincoln Center brings classical musicians on board the line’s Koningsdam ship. Passengers appreciate the little extras, too, from complimentary hot appetizers during the very much observed pre-dinner cocktail hour — at bars all over the ship — to free tote bags for all passengers. Read our full line review.
 

Holland America Line attracts scores of devoted fans who love the grown-up-focused experience on board. Entertainment centers on what a mainstream, slightly older crowd would enjoy: The line has hosted “Dancing With the Stars” celebrities and musicians straight from B.B. King’s nightclub in Memphis, Tennessee, and a partnership with Manhattan’s Lincoln Center brings classical musicians on board the line’s Koningsdam ship. Passengers appreciate the little extras, too, from complimentary hot appetizers during the very much observed pre-dinner cocktail hour — at bars all over the ship — to free tote bags for all passengers. Read our full line review.

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