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
- 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
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
Cruise Index Page
where you can find links to
individual cruise line websites.