With something for everyone onboard and cruising to fun-filled destinations, family cruises are great for both young and old, meaning that parents, grandparents and kids of all ages will love every moment they spend at sea. As well as making memories together while on a family cruise holiday, parents can also relax and enjoy some time to themselves knowing that their children are in safe hands under the supervision of a highly trained team of staff. What's more, when it comes to family-friendly accommodation, family specific staterooms and suites can make nights as restful as daytimes are exciting.
If you're wondering which are the best cruise holidays for families, keep reading for a quick overview of some of the most popular lines out there. Or, if you're looking for more information, our family cruise lines and suites blogs have even more details. Alternatively, if you're travelling with younger kids, be sure to read our guide on cruising with toddlers.
Carnival Cruises are a popular family cruise line, offering an informal, fun-filled atmosphere. Kids clubs cater from 2-17 year olds, with 2-11 years going to Camp Carnival, ages 12 -14 heading to Circle "C" and Club O2 for teens aged 15-17. There is also a babysitting service from 10pm to 3am for kids of all ages, should you need a quiet evening or fancy one of the shows.
When it comes to accommodation, the staterooms are similar to those of most cruise lines, with the more budget-friendly inside and outside cabins offering pull down beds, while even more comfort and space can be found in the balcony staterooms and suites.
Disney Cruise Line offers fun-filled and lavish family cruises in the magical surroundings of their cruise ships. The super family-friendly ships are equipped with everything you would need on a family cruise holiday, from kids clubs and Disney shows to character meet and greets. The kids clubs onboard include Disney's Oceaneer Club and Disney's Oceaneer Lab, while Edge is the tweens-exclusive area, just for 11-14 year olds, and Vibe is reserved for 15-17 year olds.
When choosing where to sleep, Disney Cruise Line's staterooms offer some of the most spacious accommodation at sea. As well as Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms with Verandahs for families looking to splash out on space and comfort, to the standard inside and oceanview cabins which sleep up to four people with the use of pull-down beds, whichever you decide on you're in for a great night's sleep.
Royal Caribbean offer award-winning children's program Adventure Ocean, including on Icon of the Seas. With Royal Babies and Royal Tots, from ages 0-3, Aquanauts for ages 3-5, Explorers for 6-8 years and Voyagers for 9-11, the youngest guests can have fun all day, while teen-only clubs mean that the older kids are also well looked after.
Onboard Royal Caribbean ships family cabins are available for groups of five or more, and offer separate sleeping areas, similar to a suite, while smaller families can book inside, outside and balcony staterooms which can sleep up to four people. Interconnecting cabins are also an option, linking up several staterooms to make a larger space, as well as the Ultimate Family Suite onboard Wonder Of The Seas.
Norwegian Cruise Line are an attractive option for family cruise holidays thanks to their famous water parks and various play zones, with fun-packed activities for guests of all ages. When it comes to kids clubs, there are four groups to make sure no youngsters miss out: Juniors from ages 2-5, First Mates for kids 6-9, Navigators from 10-12, and Teen Club for 13-17 year olds. During the evenings and in port there is a group-sitting service available at an extra cost meaning parents can enjoy an evening to themselves.
As well as low cost options including inside and outside cabins where you'll be able to fit the family without having to splash out, NCL also offers family suites with space for four or more guests, while a dining and living area make life at sea even more comfortable.
P&O Cruises are Britain's most renowned cruise line, with several of their ships, such as Iona, Ventura and Britannia, being particularly family-friendly. The Reef is P&O Cruises youth program and is split into four age groups: the Splashers run from ages 2-4, the Surfers from ages 5-8, the Scubas ages 9-12 and H20 teen club from 13-17 years. There is also a nursery offering child-minding from 6pm until 2am, for children from 6 months old.
As with most cruise lines there are a variety of four-berth cabins on offer with P&O Cruises. In standard cabins- inside, outside and balcony- the configuration is twin beds with one or two pull down beds, while in the Superior Balcony staterooms there is a sofa bed which can be made up into an adult-friendly double and a double bed that can be split into twins.
Princess Cruises are sometimes overlooked as a family option, but boast facilities including the California Science Centre, where young passengers can enjoy award-winning chemistry experiments, and Pete's Pals, a programme of youth events teaching children about endangered species where the ships sail. There are also Princess Youth and Teen Dinner Events and Pelican's Perch, a supervised play area on Princess Cruises’ private Caribbean island, Princess Cays. The kids clubs run from 3 to 17 years, with an evening babysitting service between 10pm and 1am for an additional cost.
Princess Cruises’ accommodation can be adapted to comfortably fit families, with most of their three and four berth cabins featuring pull down beds, while family suites offer more space through two interconnecting balcony staterooms.
From waterparks and high ropes courses on ships such as MSC Virtuosa to pools and the sports courts, MSC Cruises are a fantastic choice when it comes to family cruise holidays. What's more, the 5 dedicated kids clubs for those aged 0-17 years are guaranteed to keep babies, kids, teens and tweens busy throughout their voyage.
If you're wondering where to cruise to, Med cruises are a firm favourite, particularly cruises from Southampton. With no need to fly to meet your cruise ship, this is the perfect stress-free option for anyone travelling with young children. Alternatively, if you're looking to enjoy some winter sun during the Christmas holiday, there's nowhere better than the Caribbean. To find out more about where to cruise, make sure to read our blog on family-friendly cruise destinations.
Whether this is your first cruise as a family or you're seasoned sailors, you'll find a huge range of cruise deals waiting to be snapped up, with cheap cruises, all-inclusive family cruises and family cruise deals for school holidays offering great value for money to suit any budget for the best family cruise holidays.