Inspiration Explore Sail into Family Holidays with the Best Child-Friendly Cruise Lines 

Sail into Family Holidays with the Best Child-Friendly Cruise Lines 

April 18, 2023

With everything from wacky waterslides to ice-skating rinks and bumper cars onboard, these child-friendly cruise lines offer unforgettable fun for the whole family.   

Looking for a family escape with a difference? Embark on an unforgettable adventure aboard one of the best family-friendly cruise lines, for the experience of a lifetime. From the moment you’re welcomed onboard, you'll be surrounded by luxurious amenities, exciting activities, gourmet dining and exceptional service. Little ones can run free with world-class children's entertainment programs, endless pools and play equipment, whilst adults enjoy an indulgent cocktail or spa treatment.  

For precious family moments, savour delicious meals that are guaranteed to please even the pickiest of eaters, marvel at Broadway-worthy entertainment and explore days ashore at your own pace.  

Whether you are looking for the ultimate relaxation flop-n-drop or an adventure-packed escape, with so much to do and see, both onboard and ashore, your family is guaranteed to create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.  

Ready to set sail? Check out our selection of exclusive cruise offers.      

Disney Cruise Line: a magical experience for the whole family 

Disney Cruise Line is the ultimate experience for families seeking magic at sea. Designed to provide an immersive Disney experience, with elaborate theming, character meet-and-greets, and exclusive Disney entertainment from the moment you step onboard, you'll be transported to a world of enchantment that will leave you and your family in awe.  

Youngsters of all ages will love the kids' clubs, where they can participate in age-appropriate activities, games, crafts and more. From the Oceaneer Club for young children to Vibe for teens, every age group has a space that is dedicated to their interests and passions. Parents can take advantage of adult-only areas, including pools, lounges, restaurants, the spa and a vibrant nightclub.  

Disney's ships also offer a range of family-friendly amenities such as pools, waterslides, sports courts, and mini-golf courses. Families are also treated to endless one-of-a-kind Disney entertainment and live shows, including the signature Mickey’s Sail-A-Wave Deck Party and the Broadway-at-sea-style production of Beauty and the Beast.   

When it’s time to refuel, families can enjoy a variety of dining options, including the Animator's Palate, where guests can watch beloved characters come to life on their plates. And don't forget about the iconic character breakfasts with exclusive Disney, Marvel and Star Wars encounters.  

Set sail with Disney Magic at Sea Cruise onboard Disney Wonder. 

Royal Caribbean: high-octane adventure for active cruisers  

Boasting some of the biggest ships at sea and amusement park-like facilities onboard, Royal Caribbean is one of the best family-friendly cruise lines for active travellers. Across her fleet of 27 ships, Royal Caribbean boasts an array of amenities, including water parks, rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks and bumper cars, as well as surf simulators, zip-lines, the tallest dry slide at sea, skydiving simulators and so much more. The kids' clubs offer exciting and interactive programs for children of all ages, including science experiments, sports tournaments, cooking classes, ship-wide scavenger hunts and video games.  

Parents can relax and recharge at the spa and enjoy adult-only dining options or head to the Solarium; a serene, 18+ retreat that offers a tranquil escape from the excitement of the ship's other activities. Plus, parents can indulge in a romantic night alone, as all Royal Caribbean ships offer supervised late-night children's events.  

When it comes to dining, Royal Caribbean ships offer a range of options to cater to every taste and preference. From speciality restaurants like Giovanni's Table and Izumi to casual dining options like the Windjammer Cafe and Johnny Rockets, as well as the unlimited soft-serve ice cream on the pool deck, there's something for everyone.   

Even the entertainment is high-octane with Royal Caribbean. Broadway-style musicals, festive parades, water acrobatics performances and ice-skating shows wow the crowds. With sailing destinations all over the world, including Australia/Pacific, Asia, North America, the Caribbean and Europe, Royal Caribbean offers families a wide variety of options for adventure and relaxation.   

Norwegian Cruise Line: European opulence at sea 

Norwegian Cruise Line is a perfect choice for families seeking luxury at sea. The line's 18 ships feature a harmonious blend of gourmet dining and world-class facilities, along with a range of activities, including water parks, zip lines and rock-climbing walls, as well as the only go-karts at sea on Prima-class ships.  

The kids' clubs offer a range of age-appropriate activities, while a collaboration with Nickelodeon means exclusive character meet-and-greets and themed onboard activities. Children aged between 3-12 can enjoy sports challenges, scavenger hunts, trivia, and arts and crafts at Splash Academy, whilst teens have the flexibility to explore more of the ship and have their own dance club and lounge space to chill with new friends. For moments of serenity, adults can transcend into bliss at Mandara Cruise Spa.  

With destinations all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand, Norwegian Cruise Line offers families a chance to customise their escape and create the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Families can choose to explore the pristine beaches of the South Pacific, experience the wonders of New Zealand’s wilderness, or marvel at the beauty of Europe's ancient cities. 

P&O Australia: cruising Australian style 

Ideal for first-time cruisers and those with their sea legs alike, P&O Australia has a vast offering of family-friendly itineraries and onboard activities. In true blue Aussie style, P&O ships emphasize laidback family time. Each ship offers glittering pools, sports courts and dedicated kids' clubs.   

When seeking fun for the whole family, Pacific Encounter, Pacific Explorer and Pacific Adventure offer the Edge Adventure Park, which features countless high-adrenaline onboard activities. Walk the plank, abseil the side of the ship, climb the rock wall on the funnel and even have your own ‘Titanic’ moment on the bow. For more laid-back fun, enjoy a movie on the big screen, battle it out at the Level Up Arcade or settle in for a show in the Marquee. When night falls, enjoy themed events and live music.   

Onboard dining offers flexible options and menus that cater to all ages and tastes. Savour cutting-edge cuisine at Waterfront Restaurant or level up your dining experience at speciality restaurants 400 Gradi and Luke’s Bar & Grill by celebrity chef Luke Mangan.   

If you can tear yourself away from the onboard action, P&O Australia ensures excellent itineraries for families wanting to make the most of their escape. From snorkelling along the Great Barrier Reef to exploring the beauty of the Pacific Islands, P&O Australia's focus on family-friendly fun and relaxation provides unforgettable experiences for everyone to enjoy together. 

Carnival Cruise Line: affordable fun  

Carnival Cruise Line is known for its affordability and entertaining atmosphere, making it a great choice for families looking to have fun without breaking the bank. The two ships sailing Australian waters, Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa, offer a wide range of amenities that cater to families, including the thrilling Green Thunder (the steepest and fastest waterslide at sea) mini-golf courses, and a variety of sports activities.  

The whole family will be enchanted by the whimsical and wonderful world of Dr Seuss, as the cruise line’s ‘Seuss at Sea’ program brings childhood nostalgia to life. Meet the mischievous Cat in the Hat, and feast on a breakfast of green eggs and ham as you contemplate all the places you’ll go. 

When the kids are ready for adventures of their own, the marine-themed kids' club, Camp Ocean, is age-appropriate and offers engaging activities, games, and crafts that will keep kids entertained throughout their voyage.  

When it comes to dining options, families can’t go past the beloved Guy's Burger Joint, serving up juicy burgers and hand-cut fries and BlueIguana Cantina, offering delicious Mexican-inspired dishes.   

Looking for more cruising inspiration? Read What to Expect: Disney Cruise Line is Coming to Australia for the First Time Ever.   

About Annabel Fuller
Lover of gelato and all things travel, Annabel is happiest when exploring new places, soaking in the glorious sun rays and scuba diving. When she's not writing about the most glamorous destinations, she's on the lookout for her next adventure.

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