All Aboard! Top Cruise Lines for Kids

Vacations can be difficult with children, which is why many families turn to the water for a floating getaway. And if you don’t, you definitely should. With the best accommodations, play-zones, child care, destinations, family cabins, and attractions, these cruise lines can ensure a family fun retreat on the sea.

Why Cruise?

Cruises offer a wide variety of fun for all ages. No other location can provide accommodations that cater to the needs and wants of all family members. Traveling to new destinations is also effortless as the cruise ships do all the work. A family cruise may just create the best vacation yet. This list of top cruise lines for kids will help you plan the perfect trip for your family.

Disney Cruise Lines

Calling all Disney fans! With a multitude of Disney ships to choose from, the Disney cruise is a touch of fairytale magic for the whole family. Bring little ones as young as 12-months-old to join in on the fun. On Disney cruises, whole decks are designated supervised play zones starting at 3 years old which offer activities specific to your child’s age. Such areas include the “Toy Story Boot Camp,” “Jedi-training” and “Become Iron Man” to inspire your young superhero.

While the children have the time of their life with their favorite stars, the adults can relax at the adults-only pool area. Elegant restaurants and late night shows cater to the parents who want a sophisticated evening to themselves.

Traveling with kids is easy with a family store on the ship, as well as a Disney Cruise Line Navigation app to stay connected with family and friends while delivering up to date cruise line information regarding events and offerings on the cruise.

The most popular route for this cruise line is to Disney’s Castaway Cay. Both the Bahamian and Caribbean cruises visit Castaway Cay to provide a day full of boating, swimming and snorkeling.

When Micky Mouse greets you on deck, how could you go wrong?!

Carnival Cruise Lines

When a cruise line has a program called Camp Ocean, you know it is going to be fun for kids. Camp Ocean orchestrates an unforgettably fun experience tailored for ages 2 to 15. Age appropriate activities are planned to keep your child entertained whether toddler or teen. Catching the attention of all ages is the huge waterslide at 15 feet high and 114 feet long.

A destination to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, delivers time on the beach and the opportunity for horseback rides, jeep tours and snorkeling as adventures outside of the camp onboard.

Camp Ocean is also an excellent choice for parents looking for their own fun. On the new Vista ship, an IMAX theater and zip line are included along with the usual amenities on Carnival cruises. Let enthusiastic camp counselors orchestrate an exciting experience while you enjoy the undisturbed time on the water.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Many large, family-friendly ships offer even bigger family fun through a Royal Caribbean Cruise. There’s no need to stress about packing because Royal Caribbean has their “Babies 2 Go” program for you. “Babies 2 Go” provides parents with the option to order any baby product needed. Diapers, baby food, wipes and more can be delivered right to your cabin door. Child care is also available for ages 6 months and older.

Similar to Carnival, Royal Caribbean hosts Adventure Ocean, which is a camp for kids on the water. The camp has separate programs for different ages to target activities that will best engage each group. Outside of the camp, the Royal Caribbean cruise line offers ice-skating, rock climbing, zip line, surfing and Broadway shows all on the boat to enjoy on your way to exotic locations.

While the kids are off at camp or in daycare, the parents can explore through day trips. Such trips include cooking classes in Naples, kayaking in Province or relaxing on a secluded beach.

There are several destinations to choose from through the Royal Caribbean cruise line. From the beaches of Barcelona to the pyramids of Cozumel, you can choose the cruise that best fits your family.


Out of their many pools, super-sized family suites, 4-D cinema, bowling alley, water park, arcades with a virtual world, and a Lego activity playroom, MSC is a kid’s dream. However, possibly the best thing about choosing the MCS’s cruise line is their “Kids Cruise Free” promotion. This promotion allows passengers under 11 to cruise for free. As of 2019, some of MSC’s ships include ages 17 and under in their “Kids Cruise Free” promotion. In addition, childcare items such as strollers, bottle warmers, baby backpacks and more are free on the ship making the travel that much more convenient.

Caffe Italia provides the espresso energy to have a blast keeping up with your young ones. A Garden Pool is a relaxing destination for parents looking for a break, as well as the Wine Maker’s Dinner for adults only.

These Mediterranean themed boats travel from Miami to the Caribbean with stops in locations such as St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nassau. Off of Nassau, Balmoral Island welcomes family day trips with zip lines, kayaking, snorkeling and fun stingray encounters.

Everyone loves free and MSC delivers by welcoming your family on board for all the fun with a fraction of the cost.

Best Time to Visit

Summer is a typical time for families to cruise due to the break from school and the great weather. However, this season is the most popular, which means there are fewer promotions. To find a better deal, wait for fall when cruise lines sell the last of the rooms at discounted rates. Or if you want to beat the summer crowds, visit during “Wave Season.” January through March is considered “Wave Season” and it’s the best time to get a great deal on a cruise. The weather is much more unpredictable during this season so just be sure to plan accordingly.

Cruising for a Family-Fun Vacation

Think twice before you pile into the car for another family road trip. Instead, let one of the top family cruise lines take the stress out of a vacation with kids. Now that’s what we call a fun, family getaway.