A balance must be achieved on a family vacation. On the one hand, you want to spend quality time together, embarking on new adventures that you’ll fondly remember for years to come. On the other hand, you also want some quiet “me” time. There’s nothing selfish about this: A vacation needs some relaxing downtime in order to set the world right again.
Yet finding “me” time can be difficult when kids are bored. Kids should never be bored on a cruise vacation, and they won’t be, thanks to a wide range of kids clubs and other awesome activities that will keep them entertained whenever you want to hit the spa or head out for a date night.
Staffed by certified youth counselors, kids clubs are separate areas packed with games and programs that appeal to certain age ranges. Most ships divide their clubs into groups for toddlers (1-3), young kids (4-8), older kids (9-12) and teens (13-18), creating unique areas where they can hang out and make new friends. Here are some of our favorite kids clubs we know your family
Royal Caribbean is well known in our agency for delivering epic cruise adventures that amaze guests of all ages. Onboard the most innovative ships at sea, your kids can feel the rush on gigantic slides, pulse-racing zip lines and skydiving right on deck, all while you chill out with robot bartenders, Broadway shows and boutique restaurants. Their award-winning Adventure Ocean® youth programs for Aquanauts (ages 3-5), Explorers (ages 6-8) and Voyagers (ages 9-11) explore a wild range of intriguing activities that make learning cool. Add in the lounges, theater and arcade designated for teens and tweens only, and everyone in your crew will have faces sore from smiling.
Norwegian Cruise Line
From a ropes course and bowling alley to cupcake decorating and Circus School, Norwegian delivers a ton of moments your family will always remember. At their complimentary youth program, Splash Academy, covering ages 3-12, certified youth staff leads your kids through creative games, sports and themed parties. And in Entourage, teens can enjoy video games, movies, music at the “coolest lounge at sea” and, most importantly, kids their own age. Plus, on port days, you can drop off your kids with the staff and race off to enjoy the city alone, an exciting bonus on late-night port visits when you can enjoy a romantic dinner without feeling rushed.
While Celebrity specializes in taking your family to exotic locales, there’s also plenty to do onboard. Movie nights under the stars, silent disco parties, archery tournaments and even a laser maze keeps everyone entertained when you’re not onshore exploring ancient temples and hiking Alaskan glaciers. The cruise line also provides kids with more enriching activities through Camp at Sea, which makes the most from partnerships with Xbox, Fat Brain Toys, Lonely Planet and Miami’s Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Through these mind-expanding partnerships, Celebrity has created more than 500 activities divided into Art, Recreation, Culinary and S.T.E.M. categories, giving your kids plenty of options to learn about the world.
Princess creates adventures every member of your family will love, thanks to more time spent in select ports coupled with educational shore excursions created through partnerships with Discovery™ and Animal Planet™. At their Camp Discovery centers, kids and teens can kick back and relax while surrounded by an immersive forest environment. Onboard, kids can also enjoy top-deck stargazing with real-time views of the planets, a kid-friendly bar area with delightful mocktails, the Reef Family Splash Zone and wild meet-and-greets at sea, including Puppies in the Piazza on Alaska cruises and Parrots in the Piazza in the Caribbean.
While kids will surely flock to Carnival’s SkyRide elevated bikes, the twisting slides at WaterWorks and Seuss at Sea activities, their clubs will draw the most attention. At Camp Ocean, kids 2-11 can enjoy age-appropriate activities like arts and crafts, games, movies and video games. Younger teens head straight to Circle “C” to hang out in an exclusive lounge, listening to music only they understand, and play the latest video games with new friends. Older teens prefer the vibe of Club 02, where dance parties and karaoke jam sessions are all the rage.
MSC Cruises is a family-owned company, so it definitely understands what it takes to keep kids happily engaged. MSC cruise vacations include high-tech gaming options like a Virtual World, F1 simulator and 4D Cinema, along with an entire day of each cruise dedicated to Lego® activities. Their younger kids clubs are staffed by professional entertainers who keep the energy up all day long, while their teen clubs come complete with sports tournaments, dance contests, Wii/Xbox/PS3 challenges and even Teenage Kicks Spa Hair and Beauty Treatments.