Cruising with kids has become more popular than ever. Many
cruise lines offer supervised activities for children of all age
groups. Traditionally, kids are grouped by age: 3-6 years old, 7-12
and 13 to 17 (although it can vary by cruise line). For the younger ones, there are games, coloring,
story time, face painting and more. For the 7-12 years olds,
there are pizza parties, sports battles, games and movies. The
13-17 years olds, can enjoy social events including
scavenger hunts, sporting games and dances. These are just some
of the many activities available. For a more comprehensive
list, please check he individual cruise line's website.
Below are some tips for cruising with kids.
- Although most cruise lines have kid's programs, Royal
Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) lead the
pack with the most activities and usually attract a large
amount of children.
- Most of the upscale cruise lines do not offer a children's
program and if they do it is usually only on select voyages.
- Most cruise lines children's program will only accept children 3 years
of age or older and
the child must be potty trained. There is one exception - NCL
- which will accept the children 2+ years - if the child is
not potty trained, NCL will provide you with a pager so you can
come back and change your child.
- On the days at sea, there is usually activities for the
children in the
morning, afternoon and evening. The evening session ends at
10:00 PM but additional activities are available after hours
for an additional charge (usually $5.00 per hour, per child).
- While in port, normally, the children's program activities do not
occur until the ships are at sea again.
- Although my kids love the kids program, I have spoken to
numerous parents who stated their kids either did not like the
activities or did not want to leave their parents. I recommend
bringing additional activities and small games to keep the kids
occupied. There is usually a game room onboard
the ship, where you can borrow board games to fill the down
time. The pool, hot tubs and ping-pong tables also serve as a great
- Food and drink cannot be taken off ship. At breakfast, take
an extra bagel or a box of your child's favorite cereal
to the cabin for a snack before or after returning from shore.
- Most cruise lines have a children's menu at dinner - but
do not offer them to you unless you ask. The kid's menu do
not change and offers the standards - macaroni and cheese, hot
dogs, chicken nuggets, french fries and pasta for example.
- The sun can be very strong. Be sure to bring ample sun
screen and the correct SPF rating for you child. Apply the sun
screen frequently to prevent sun burn and skin damage.
- Remember 3rd and 4th passengers, sharing a cabin with
two full paying adults, .travel at a reduced rate.
The items above provide tips on having a
successful vacation when traveling with children. The items
mentioned above are generalities. We strongly recommend checking
the cruise line's websites to confirm the information above and
learn more about each specific cruise line's policy and kid's
program offerings. The link below takes
you to our
Cruise Index Page
where you can find links to individual cruise line websites.