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Our Favourite Family Cruise Ships

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Aqua Park

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If you are travelling as a family unit then you probably have the widest choice of cruise ships available to you. Just about every cruise line offers ships that are ideal for families looking for excitement and adventure at sea.

Although at first it may seem like a bombardment of ships being thrown at you from every direction, if you give just an hour to research you will soon be on your way to discovering your perfect family cruise ship.

To make it a little easier we have put together a guide to some of our favourite family friendly cruise ships.

Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Line offers 4 ships within their fleet; each one is perfect for those with young children looking for a family themed cruise. Although we are showcasing Disney Fantasy you can also find very similar facilities onboard Disney Wonder, Disney Magic and Disney Dream so give them a look too!

With Disney you know what to expect, a magical world onboard a truly magical ship and there will never be a dull moment during your cruise.

So let’s have a peek at what’s onboard!

Buena Vista Theatre – A large theatre located at Decks 4 and 5, Midship, the Buena Vista Theatre offers a cinema experience in 3-D.

O Gills Pub – O Gills Pub is a traditional Irish pub. Enjoy an Irish beer, watch live sport and best of all relax knowing the children are being taken care of.

The Tube – This is an adult only nightclub located on Deck 4, aft. Here you can enjoy an illuminated Union Jack dance floor and a cocktail or two whilst you dance the night away.

Arr-cade – The Arr-cade is the ideal gaming area that is cool for both parents and kids! Here you can enjoy some of the latest videogames available.

Disney’s Oceaneer Lab – The Disney Oceaneer Lab is the perfect place for children to take part in games using computers and enjoy a variety of themed activities.

Disney Fantasy Oceaneer Lab

D Lounge – D Lounge is a family club lounge where parents and children can dance, play games and enjoy live entertainment together.

Remember, this is not all that awaits you, there is far more to discover onboard!

Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas

World’s joint largest cruise ships, these two sisters will leave your head spinning and your adrenaline meter craving more! They are quite literally packed with every type of feature, facility and activity option you can imagine.

Although great for families with children of all ages they are especially good for those with children in their teenage years.

Most facilities found onboard Allure can also be found onboard Oasis, so let’s have a look!

FlowRider – This is an onboard surfing machine and will keep you entertained for hours. Not for the faint hearted this machine packs a punch but is perfect for those looking to improve their skills or just show.

Oasis of the Seas Flowrider

Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Zip Line – Located right at the top of the ship you can glide across from one side to the other not only high above the ship but also high above the ocean.

Ice Skating Rink – Another one of Royal Caribbean’s signature features and one that never gets boring. You can try your hand at some skating or pop along in the evening for some amazing shows on ice.

Aqua Theater – Another unique concept by Royal Caribbean, the Aqua Theater located at the Aft of both Oasis and Allure is entertainment with a difference. Here you can sit back and relax whilst you are dazzled by diving routines from some of the world’s best divers. The Aqua Theater can also be transformed into a dry stage where live bands will also play.

Central Park – The heart of many Royal Caribbean ships, Central Park is a green landscape of exotic plants and tree’s where guests can enjoy a relaxing stroll, sit and read or grab a bite to eat. It really is like bringing the outdoors indoors.

Again, this is not all you can find on these two wonderful ships.

P&O Cruises, Ventura

Ventura is the ideal option for families looking for a British cruise holiday and one that does not involve flying. Many cruises onboard Ventura sail round-trip from Southampton, making her one of the nations favourite family friendly cruise ships.

She may not be jam packed with as many crazy features and facilities as some of her American competitors but she certainly has everything you could want from a family cruise.

Beachcomber Pool – This is one of Ventura’s largest swimming pools. It features a sky dome which allows this pool to be used in all weathers. Here you can often find the kids club having an evening party or playing water games during the day.

Ventura Beachcomber Pool

Image courtesy of P&O Cruises

Frankie’s – Frankie’s Grill and Pizzeria are the ideal poolside snack dining options. On one side you have the Pizzeria and Ice Cream parlor and on the other the grill where you can chose from Burgers, Hot Dogs, Fish Fingers and more all made to order.

Arena Theatre – This is Ventura’s main onboard theatre where both parents and children can enjoy live Broadway style shows of an evening.

The White Room – One of Ventura’s specialty dining options. Marco Pierre White’s, The White Room offers guests the chance to enjoy some true fine dining.

Metropolis – The ideal adult haven where you can enjoy a relaxing drink, 19 decks above the ocean and with a floor to ceiling 20m plasma video wall. The destination here changes each evening so who knows where you might go.

Again Ventura has many more facilities onboard; you may also like to look into Oceana and Azura as they too are ideal family ships from P&O Cruises.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Epic

Where do you start with one of the world’s most innovative cruise ships? Norwegian Epic is one of the best cruise ships on the planet. She has an array of facilities that no other cruise ship has and she was designed with family fun and adventure in mind.

Epic Theatre – This is where you can enjoy world famous entertainment like the Blue Man Group. This is a show for all ages and certainly one not to be missed. The theatre seats around 680 people.

Norwegian Epic Theatre

Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines

Aqua Park – The ideal outdoor activity for the water babies amongst us! There are two swimming pools, a children’s pool, three multi storey water slides and the 200-foot Epic Plunge, the only bowl slide to be found on a cruise ship.

Recess Children’s Area – This is a kid’s paradise. Kitted out with Playstation 3 consoles and Wii consoles along with a dance floor and more. Your children can be happy around the clock!

Mandara Spa – This is something for the adults. One of the most impressive Spa complex’ at sea you will find every beauty treatment literally under the sun is available to you.

O'Sheehan's Neighbourhood Bar & Grill – This is Norwegian’s signature American classics restaurant and is always popular with guests. Food here is served 24 hours a day and if you fancy burning a calorie or two after your meal there is also a three lane bowling alley at your disposal.

Although the above are some of our favourite family friendly ships, there are hundreds of others out there waiting for you to discover and explore them.

Have a browse and see what others have to offer. Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, these too all cater for families.

The hardest decision to make when it comes to a family cruise is whether to actually take the kids or go and enjoy all the facilities yourself!!

Article written for About2Cruise by Danielle Fear (CruiseMiss). Follow her on Google+

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