Family cruises are great fun for both young and old, with Med cruises being a firm favourite, particularly cruises from Southampton. While on a family cruise holiday, parents can relax knowing that their children are in safe hands under the supervision of a highly trained team of staff.
Browse our family cruise deals for school holidays
or see specifically Disney Family Cruises
Most cruise lines now offer facilities for children ranges from nursery for children up to three years old, through to teen clubs with their teenager only venues, though some cruise lines are more family friendly than others. There is also the question of family friendly accommodation, family specific staterooms and suites can be few and far between, though there is plenty of suitable accommodation for families onboard.
The Mediterranean offers calm waters and short flight times. For those who have never been on a cruise before, the Med is also the perfect destination for a first time cruise. Iglucruise offers a wide selection of cheap cruises and family cruises from Southampton to a range of destinations, meaning they can offer great value for families.
For an insight into family cruises, read a blog by Dave Mills Iglu Cruise Commercial Director, after taking his baby on his first ever cruise. Also, check out the great selection of family cruise offers for 2016 and selection of the best value cruises for kids.
There are also come great family cruises all-inclusive holidays to consider, whether onboard an all-inclusive ship or taking advantage of an all-inclusive upgrade package.
Below are the highlights of our most popular family cruise lines, but if you need more information our team of cruise experts are only a phone call away.
Thomson Cruises Family Cruises
Thomson Cruises family cruises welcome the whole family onboard with great family facilities and family services at sea. Thomson Kids’ Club is a fantastic free service providing kids with engaging entertainment whilst parent s can relax. Thomson Kids’ Club activities are organised for various age groups with 3-5 year olds at Tots, 6-8 year olds in Team and 9-11 year olds at Tribe. Age appropriate activities can include movie nights, pyjama parties, behind the scenes tours, a trip to the bridge to meet the captain, arts, crafts and lots more. TUI Discovery and TUI Discovery 2 also feature Babytainment for parents and babies, Splash Live! for mini cruisers and The Hideout for teens. Family dining includes kids dining menus fully loaded with favourites such as pizza and ice cream. Onboard keep an eye out for cuddly character Thomson the Dog and whilst exploring ashore, check out Thomson Cruises’ family friendly shore excursions including waterparks, aquariums, beaches and bike rides.
Find many options for family accommodation onboard Thomson Cruises ships including family sized cabins and interconnecting cabins.
Royal Caribbean Family Cruises
Royal Caribbean family cruises offer an award winning children's program called Adventure Ocean©. The youth programme begins with Royal Babies and Royal Tots, from ages 0-3, with activities designed for children and their parents to enjoy together. The activities are all aimed as per the age of the children with the age groups separated into: Aquanauts, ages 3-5, where they take past in activities including the Jr. Adventure Science, Explorers run from 6-8 and Voyagers are age 9-11. From 12 years and older there is there are teen only venue such as the Fuel Night Club and the Living Room. Royal Caribbean also boast great activities such as climbing walls, the FlowRider© and their current tie-up with DreamWorks©, which includes their latest films and character based entertainment.
Family cabins (FI, FO, FF grades) for Royal Caribbean are only available for groups of five or more and offer separate sleeping areas, similar to a suite. There are are plenty of comfortable cabin types for smaller families available. If you are on a budget the insides, outsides and balconies can sleep up to four people. Inside cabins tend to be pull down beds, outside cabins offer bunk beds and the Superior Balconies (D1 & D2 grade) offer twin beds and a sofa bed - which is suitable for two adults. If finances and child ages permit, you can also choose from a variety of interconnecting cabins, including inside, outside and balcony, though are booked up very quickly. Last but not least, only junior suites and higher grade cabins offer a bath.
P&O Cruises Family Cruises
P&O Cruises family cruises are Britain's most renowned cruise line and their ship, the Ventura, offers the best of British family cruising and the best of P&O Cruises family facilities, though the Azura, Aurora and Oceana are also family friendly. The Reef is P&O Cruises youth program and is split into four age groups, where the Reef Rangers organise daily activities and entertainment aimed at the children in each age bracket and the facilities include a children’s pools and discos for teenagers The Splashers run from ages 2-4, the Surfers are from ages 5-8, with the Scubas ages 9-12 and the h2o is the teen club from 13-17. There is also a nursery offering child-minding from 6pm until 2am, for children from 6 months old. You can also pre-book travel cots, baby baths, bottle sterilisers and food warmers — all of which are free!
As with most cruise lines there are a variety of fourth 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, in the Superior Balcony staterooms (Ca, CB & CC grades) you have a sofa bed which can be made up into an adult friendly double and a double bed that can be split into twins. Superior staterooms and suite are equipped with a bath and if you require a family sized suite with separate sleeping areas the AE grade suite on Ventura and Azura are the most suitable option.
Norwegian Cruise Line Family Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line family cruises and their Freestyle Cruising concept offer an attractive option for family holidays. The family friendly cruise line boast the Aqua Park and climbing walls onboard Norwegian Epic, along with 10-pin bowling alleys and family games among their activities. Families can join games of Pictionary, Charades and the Family Friendly Face-Off Game Show, they can attend Family Pizza Making or go to the Family LEGO Creations, and we haven't even gotten onto the kids clubs yet! NCL also use a four tier system with Junior from ages 2-5, First Mates for kids 6-9 and Navigators from 10-12. Entertainment varies from storytelling to arts & crafts and from disco's to team-building challenges. The Teen's Center and Teen's Crew are for kids from 13-17, where teenagers can escape their parents and younger kids and enjoy their own parties, sports events and even karaoke. During the evenings and in port there is a group-sitting service, though this comes at an extra cost, but gives parents the chance for an evening to themselves.
Carnival Cruises Family Cruises
Carnival Cruises family cruises are another popular family cruise line, offering an informal, fun-filled atmosphere. Carnival Cruises have taken a different approach to their age bands in their kids clubs with 2-11 years old going to Camp Carnival, where they split the group into toddlers and juniors and offer activities from storytime to finger painting and puppet shows. Ages 12 -14 then graduate to Circle "C", where they play video games, have movie nights and swim parties. Club O2 is for teens aged 15-17 and offers dance parties, sports and even shore excursions. There is also a babysitting service from 10pm to 3am for kids of all ages, should you need a quite evening or fancy one of the shows.
As you would expect, the staterooms are similar to those of most cruise lines, with the more price conscious insides and outsides offering pull down beds in their fourth berths, through to more comfort in the balcony staterooms and suites.
Princess Cruises Family Cruises
Princess Cruises family cruises are, like P&O Cruises, at the more elegant end of the market. Such is their popularity the Grand Princess often sells out of their family friendly cabins very early on, so first thing to consider when booking this re-fit ship is to get in early. Princess Cruise facilities include the California Science Centre, where young passengers can enjoy award-winning chemistry experiments, Pete's PalsSM, a programme of youth events teaching young passengers about endangered species where the ships sail. There are also Princess Youth and Teen Dinner Events and Pelican's PerchSM, a supervised play area on Princess Cruises private Caribbean island, Princess Cays. The kids clubs run from 3 to 17, with activities to suit the ages groups. There is also an evening babysitting service between 10pm and 1am, though this comes at an additional charge.
Princess Cruises offer similar accommodation to that found onboard P&O Cruises, with most of their three and four berth cabins featuring pull down beds and mini suites and family suites offering larger accommodation, with the family suites being based on two interconnecting balcony staterooms.
Disney Cruise Line Family Cruises
Disney Cruise Line offer fun-filled and lavish family cruises in the magical surroundings of their cruise ships. The four super family-friendly ships are equipped with everything you would need on a family holiday, from the kids clubs, Disney films (and shows!), to character meetings — such as breakfast with Pluto. The kids clubs onboard include Disney's Oceaneer Club — offering traditional kids entertainment — and Disney's Oceaneer Lab — the activity centre packed with fun ways to play and learn. Edge is the tweens-exclusive area, where 11 to 14 year olds can hang out with friends, listen to music and enjoy activities such as karaoke. Vibe is for the older teens, from 14 to 17, where they can escape the younger kids and the grown-ups. Vibe has TVs, videogames, music and teen-friendly activities.
Disney Cruise Line's staterooms offer some of the most spacious at sea for the price bracket. Disney Magic & Disney Wonder offer Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms with Verandah for families looking for share a cabin in comfort, the standard inside and oceanview cabins will sleep up to four people with the use of pull-down beds. Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy offer the same cabin configurations as well as offering another more comfortable stateroom, the Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom. The Deluxe Family Staterooms come with a king-size bed that can be used as twins or a comfortable double sofa bed.
For more information on cruise holidays and to book your family cruise holiday please contact one of our dedicated cruise consultants on 020 8544 6301 or try our half term cruise holidays page where all the latest deals are.