Cruises have become an extremely popular holiday choice for families. The cruise lines are aware that more children are sailing these days and have made preparations for them. It is commonplace that special zones have been set-aside for the younger ones, complete with age appropriate activities.
The really good thing about these extensive children’s programs is that it allows parents time for themselves to enjoy gourmet dinners and late night shows, whilst children are safely supervised.
The best family cruise lines can offer an experience which will be highly memorable to children of all ages and is also relaxing for parents.
One of the first to promote families and characters onboard a ship was the Disney Corporation and it didn’t take long for other major cruise lines to catch on.
Having special popular culture children characters onboard cruise ships is one way to distinguish whether that particular cruise ship is ultra family friendly.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
Carnival has been known as being a line not to be outdone. In 2014, the ‘Fun Ships’ line announced its partnership with Dr. Seuss Empire. A new program for children will be in place within the next 18 months. The Green Eggs and Ham breakfast includes a typical “Seussical’ theme filled with lopsided table settings and breakfast favourites such as actual green eggs and ham.
There will be cabins themed to Dr. Seuss characters in decor, along with character parades, favourite Dr. Seuss films such as “Cat in the Hat” and “Seuss-a-palooza” story hours.
DISNEY CRUISE LINES
Originally licensing their characters to Premier Cruise Lines (no longer in business), the corporate office developed their cruise line in 1999 with one ship. This concept flourished and three more Disney ships were added to the fleet.
You never know who might show up on a Disney cruise. Mickey and Minnie may stroll through the pool area. Cinderella may pop in for dinner or Goofy may greet the family in the cruise ship terminal before boarding. There will be plenty of photo ops as many as 22 characters will be on board on a single sailing.
Disney Cruise Lines also operate traditional cruise features, where there are no specific themes or Disney characters, such as an adult only pool area and specialty restaurants to dine without the children.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES
Norwegian Cruise Line soon teamed up with Nickelodeon television. On many of their ships you will be greeted with feature “character experiences” from Team Nick that children will adore. Nickelodeon channel’s cartoon stars like SpongeBob Squarepants and Dora will certainly be around, so bring along the autograph book. Children will fancy special onboard events including Dora’s Dance Party.
They can leave their PJs on and partake in a Nickelodeon’s Pyjama Jam Character Breakfast to sing and dance the morning away at breakfast. There are theme arts and crafts workshops where children and their parents can create a masterpiece together and gain some good quality time.
The Nickelodeon television theme is on most sailings on five of the line’s ships.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE
Children and their families can experience Madagascar, Shrek and many others at character breakfasts on designated ships. A weekly parade filled with characters offer photo opportunities throughout each sailing. RCCL also shows DreamWorks movies in 3D movies to coincide with the characters on board.
Recently introduced, ladies of a certain age will find that the Barbie Premium Experience is tailored to their Barbie fashion sense on selected RCCL ships and sailings. Girls between the ages of 4 and 11 (with their parents) get to stay in Barbie-themed staterooms and even have fashion design workshops available as an activity.
The cruise industry has come a long way in making a family cruise holiday extra special.
At times, a particular ship may offer a “Kids Travel Free” promotion, which is a win and a financial perk for any family.
Written by Veronica Shine